Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Na #Paranormal #Horror SINNER by @bchorpenning

Today’s team review is from Shelley, she blogs here https://shelleywilsonauthor.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Shelley has been reading SINNER by Blakely Chorpenning

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My Review:

I’m a sucker for a vampire story (no pun intended!), so when I spotted Sinner on the RBRT list I jumped at the chance to read it.

The book blurb assures us that the main character, Alice, is a vampire without a sire, but the books begins with her journey toward becoming a member of the undead. Wow! I can’t remember any other vampire book I’ve read going into such fabulous detail about the transition from human to vamp. It’s well written – I almost wrote well researched before remembering this is fiction, yes it’s that good!! You are pulled along the path of fear and terror as Alice throws up her internal organs and struggles to understand what’s happening.

Aside from the transformation, we all know to be developing there’s a dark menace that haunts our mc. Alice can’t be left in the dark, something is lurking in the darkness, and this pulls the reader between two distinct threats.

We get introduced to the first group of vampires who help Alice as much as she will allow. A quirky bunch of vampires with stories of their own. I liked them all, and was Team Gesick for most of the novel! Swiftly we’re torn from the sanctuary of this small group to the turmoil, excitement, and terror of Wolf and her group of less than orthodox vampires.

I didn’t like Wolf (Team Gesick all the way here), but Chorpenning has written a complex character which allows you to hate her yet still feel drawn to the dark side. You can understand why Alice is attracted to her world.

There are references to drugs and overdosing, cutting, addiction, and anxiety, but it’s beautifully done and managed. I like books and authors that don’t shy away from the tough topics, especially when writing for a young adult audience.

Sinner finishes off in a neat and tidy way while leaving a couple of threads for more stories in the series. Who is Pope, what hold does he have over the vampires? Will Alice do what she promised? These were a few of my unanswered questions (possibly to be answered in book 2), but they didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book.

I look forward to reading more from this author.

I read and reviewed Sinner on behalf of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team #RBRT

Book description

“The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.” ~Oscar Wilde

SINNER IS A GRITTY, CAMPY RIDE THROUGH THE HEART OF OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DARKNESS.

Alice’s life is spiralling out of control. After an accident leads to a tainted blood transfusion, Alice descends into the supernatural world of vampires, addicted to blood, destined to sin. Only, that’s her second largest problem. The first might kill her for real.

With no sire or formal keeper, Alice is among the feral vampires, marked by white eyes and the ability to live without drinking blood, unless the cravings prevail. Caught between old rivals, Alice doesn’t know what she wants to be, a sinner or a saint. Wolf, an enigmatic firecracker, has the power to make Alice embrace her troubles as strengths, no matter if she is wicked or kind. But Gesick cools Alice’s anxiety, accepting the paranormal activity surrounding her presence.

Will Alice choose Wolf, a woman with little standing in her way, or Gesick, a man who knows a little something about temptation?

Triggers: Addiction/Overdose, Anxiety/OCD, Grief/Depression

(*Please remember that Alice & her world are fictional. Her actions aren’t to be emulated. She is, after all, a vampire.*)

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #CliFi SINGULARITY SYNDROME by Susan Kuchinskas #TuesdayBookBlog

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Singularity Syndrome by Susan Kuchinskas

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4.5 stars

‘Finder’ is back, complete with dog/bird chimera The Parrott, and human/baboon Altima, as he uncovers a venture capitalist’s plan to rule the world by AI, making humans compliant by means of a nutritional energy drink. The idea that AI could eventually overtake humans is one I’ve read a fair bit about, also that its integration with humans (Numans, in this book) could be the next stage in our evolution. I find this hellish in the extreme, and it makes me glad I was born when I was.

We don’t know exactly when the book is set, but I imagine it is probably in about a hundred years’ time; Finder mentions helicopters being used in the wars of ‘the last century’. The state of the planet (the Big Change) is revealed to be not only down to the slow deterioration of climate change, but another disaster. I enjoyed the plot, but what I liked reading about most about is Finder himself, a most engaging character, and the world-building elements. Although the story paints a grim picture of human life in the future, it is not without a certain light touch that I wouldn’t exactly call humour; it’s more pathos mixed with astute observations, and off-the-wall characters.

In this book we find out a bit more about Finder’s life when he was younger, including his real name; I like the way his character is slowly building, and I’d love to read more about what has happened between now and the time in which the book is set – more background.

Having read the notes at the back, I know Ms Kuchinskas is well-informed about her subject matter, and this is evident; it is imaginative, clever and extremely well-written.  I’d definitely recommend it to fans of ‘cli-fi’, but you should read Chimera Catalyst first. I liked this more than the first book, and hope there will be more!

Book description

All humans have a complex colony of microorganisms living in our guts. This microbiome influences our health, our thinking and our moods. If you can change someone’s microbiome, can you control their thoughts?

That’s the plan of Thom Elliott, a power-mad tech titan who wants to create a new world order where humanity is ruled by Sekai, the most powerful artificial intelligence ever created. His weapon is Glorp, a nutritional energy drink beloved by the tech community that secretly includes genetically engineered microbes to transform human gut flora.

Finder is a brilliant detective who hates people. He might agree with Elliott that an AI could do a better job of running the world. But when Finder’s own microbiome is contaminated with Elliott’s brew, it’s up to him and his chimera sidekicks to stop him.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Mystery THE ALEXANDRITE by Dione Jones

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

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading The Alexandrite by Dione Jones

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I purchased the book for review as a member of Rosie Amber’s book review team.

This book covers multiple generations of the titled Scawton family of England. The center of the story is the current Lady Scawton, Pamela, who discovers the body of a stranger in the woods near the family home of Ashly House.

Pamela represents perhaps the last generation of the English upper class raised to be waited on and respected for their title alone, but she is, in fact, rather down to earth. She endured years of emotional and psychological trauma at the hands of her husband, CJ, and her only son, Charles, now Lord Scawton, is as selfish and overbearing as her husband.

In the pocket of the stranger is a letter addressed to Lord Scawton and an odd stone, one which changes color from green to pink, depending on the light. Pamela has no idea why the stranger, who had come to England from New Zealand, wanted to see her husband, what the abbreviated letter means, nor the reason for the stone. Eventually, she, against the strong wishes of her son, travels to New Zealand to get answers. The stone, an alexandrite, mined in Tsarist Russia, gives its name to the book.

The book has numerous flashbacks to scenes involving the family and their servants during the two decades after WWI, and from Ashly House to New Zealand farmland. Pamela’s trip reveals how the flashbacks to events after WW I are woven into the present.

I enjoyed the book, but for me it was a long read, with a great deal of exposition and some confusion with the many characters in the various time lines and places and multiple points of view. A character list at the beginning of the book would have been helpful. The site transitions within chapters also created some difficulties for me as I struggled to identify and remember the characters.

That being said, the author does a wonderful job creating the main characters. I felt pity for Pamela having such a difficult married life, knowing she was trapped there, and having a son who treated her disrespectfully. She is such a good character that I wanted to shake her and tell her to stand up for herself. It was gratifying that eventually she did. Her son Charles, the butler Godfrey, Ginny, the daughter of Pamela’s friend Di Williams and Theodore Cook, the brother of the dead man and a shambling old wreck in and out of his memories, made strong impressions. I also liked the scenes set in New Zealand, where the author resides, especially the sheep shearing and Karekare Beach.

Another strong element for me was the description of the different roles of women set against the British class system, class conflicts and changing societal values.

This book had much to recommend, but the numerous characters and their relationships are  difficult to sort out through the various stories winding within the book.

Book description

Who is the stranger found dead in the woods, outside Pamela Lady Scawton’s family home? Why was he carrying a stone that changes colour and a threatening letter?
The quest leads from World War One to the present day and from an English village to New Zealand farmland, to discover how past events are intertwined with the present. To unravel the mystery Pamela is forced to confront truths that shatter her beliefs about her family and their place in the world.
The Alexandrite is a story of class conflict, hidden sins, and deceit.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Horror HIGHLAND COVE by @dylanjmorgan

Today’s team review is from Shelley, she blogs here https://shelleywilsonauthor.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Shelley has been reading Highland Cove by Dylan Morgan

HIGHLAND COVE: a ghost story by [Morgan, Dylan J.]

My Review:

I’m a massive fan of this author and waited (im)patiently for the release of Highland Cove. It didn’t disappoint, and I devoured this in two sittings.

The book starts with a throwback to sixty years ago, setting the scene and introducing us to the reason for most of the horror that follows. We are then swept into the present day and introduced to our five main characters as they begin an expedition to film a documentary in a deserted asylum on a Scottish island.

Character development is vital to any novel as the ‘cast’ are the most significant part of any story. However, in Highland Cove, Morgan’s storm becomes a pivotal main character. You can almost taste the electricity crackling in each thunderclap and bolt of lightning, and feel the rain on your face. The descriptive prose adds another layer to the fear as it builds to the crescendo.

There’s a twist I didn’t see coming (no spoilers here) that raised the bar on the horror of this story. I physically squirmed in a few places, and I’m relatively sure I won’t sleep for a week!

As with all of Morgan’s novels, this would transfer beautifully to the big screen, and as I was reading, I could easily picture the terror and fear these characters were going through. You get caught up in the panic and terror of Highland Cove as Morgan weaves current day with occasional flashbacks into old inmates of the asylum.

When you’re nearly at the end of the novel, you dare to hope, but Morgan has a knack of blindsiding you with another twist or two leaving you with a book that stays with you for days, if not weeks after finishing.

I can’t recommend this enough.

I received an ARC copy of Highland Cove from the author in exchange for an honest review via Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team #RBRT

Book description

Highland Cove Sanatorium sits abandoned on a desolate island one mile off the Scottish mainland. It’s a dark, foreboding place, filled with nightmares. Even darker are the asylum’s secrets: a history of disease and mental illness, macabre experiments and murder.

The tales of ghostly appearances are said to be more fact than fiction, but no one has ever documented the phenomenon. Codie Jackson aims to change all that. Arriving from London with his small independent film crew, they plan to make a documentary that will forever change their lives.

But when one of the crew disappears, things begin to spiral out of control. A storm closes in to ravage the island, and in the darkness Highland Cove’s true horrors are revealed. Now lost within the institution’s labyrinthine corridors, Codie and his team realize that their nightmare is only just beginning.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

HIGHLAND COVE: a ghost story by [Morgan, Dylan J.]

 

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Horror Novella NIGHT SERVICE by @john_f_leonard

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

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been reading Night Service by John F. Leonard

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Some places don’t appear on any maps. Newgate Wood is one of them.

Luke and Jessica are travelling home after a date and make the wrong choice. They should have taken a taxi, instead they hop aboard the night bus. Big mistake. Surrounded by a cast of colourful characters they soon notice that the bus doesn’t stop again, in fact it only travels faster and faster into a night they no longer recognise.

What waits for them at the end is the hellish nightmare of Newgate Wood.

I have thoroughly enjoyed every one of Leonard’s books that I have read, and this is no exception. This is another short one, but it needs to be. The story races along leaving you breathless, but I loved the building terror for poor Luke, the atmospheric descriptions and this author’s writing.

Highly recommended for all who enjoy a darker read.

Book description

It’s been a great night, but it’s getting late. You need to make tracks and cash isn’t king.

No worries… all aboard the Night Service. It could be the last bus you ever catch.

Every journey is a journey into the unknown, but this trip is an eye-opener, unlike anything that Luke and Jessica have ever experienced. They’re going to learn a few important lessons. Being young and in love doesn’t grant immunity from the everyday awful… or the less ordinary evil that lurks in the shadows.

There’s no inoculation from the horror of the world – it’s real and it’s waiting to touch you.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #Memoir MY LIFE IN HORSES by @JanRuthAuthor

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

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been reading My Life In Horses by Jan Ruth

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My Life in Horses is a memoir and as such was hugely nostalgic for me. So many memories of my own life with horses resurfaced with its reading. Although I have to say that Jan Ruth was, for the most part, riding in considerably more beautiful parts of the country than I.

Jan Ruth’s riding was done at numerous riding stables, a sad fact being that over the years more and more of these have changed to become livery yards and it makes you wonder where people without access to horses in the future will be able to learn.

This relatively short book is full of stories that will bring a smile to your face and Jan Ruth’s telling of them keeps you reading as she builds in settings and atmosphere. If you love horses or have had any sort of background with horses, you will love this read. If you don’t then read it anyway, you might discover what you’ve been missing out on!

Book description

This is the memoir of an ordinary horse-girl. Fifty years of riding schools, borrowed horses and long lost dreamscapes. Fifty years of a passion which has seen considerable changes from the gradual demise of the public riding school, to the loss of access to safe bridleways. But My Life in Horses is not filled with sad nostalgia, it’s also a kaleidoscope of hope and inspiration. From the dappled sunlit lanes of Cheshire to the rugged mountains of North Wales, and beyond.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE LATECOMERS by Rich Marcello @marcellor #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Barb, she blogs here https://barbtaub.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Barb has been reading The Latecomers by Rich Marcello

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5 gold starMy Review: 5 stars out of 5

I’ve been struggling with this review. According to the blurb, The Latecomers is about—“…what it means to age well in a youth-oriented society.” 

Except I don’t think it is. Or at least, that’s only the beginning.

At first, the breakdown of Maggie and Charlie Latecomer’s love story does seem like any other relationship crisis tale involving aging lovers. Both had children by earlier failed marriages, meeting when they were prosperously established in professional careers. Their twenty-year relationship has survived job loss, infidelity, and reinventing their lives as a couple sufficient unto themselves—a smaller, more private world of art and music where Maggie paints and Charlie builds custom guitars. So as Maggie prepares to celebrate Charlie’s 60th birthday, she’s stunned by his announcement that he has to leave her.

As the layers peel back on this first part of the novel, we find out more about both Charlie and Maggie. To Charlie, Maggie personifies The Goddess—actually, a variety of them. Aware of this, Maggie allows him to believe in this view of her, without ever demanding that he accept her real person. But unknown to either of them, Charlie’s goddess has a sell-by date. His world view is skewed by his mother’s death—at age 60—and he can’t see beyond that.

At the same time, Maggie’s determination to fit them into a perfect two-person unit isn’t working either, as evidenced by her inability to paint the last canvas of her Charlie series, the one she calls Charlie’s Moai. They’ve defined their relationship by the Okinawan word moai, which means (to them anyway) “…a circle of people who purposefully met up and looked out for one another.”

After reinventing herself to the limited version of Charlie’s goddesses, Maggie doesn’t know how to cope with Charlie’s departure.

But what happened after your husband no longer saw the goddesses in you…

Both Charlie and Maggie turn to old friends and new relationships. And—if the book really was going to be about the whole aging gracefully theme—we would soon realize that Maggie would always be ultimately successful, while Charlie would have to battle his past.

Only… that’s not what happens. First, there’s the not-so-secret ghost in their private moai—Charlie’s dead mother Sabina who intrudes in Maggie’s portrait attempts. Her necklace, rejected by Maggie and a poor fit in his new relationship, becomes the noose beckoning him to join Sabina in death.

In the second part of the book, everything changes. With little fanfare, the lovers move into a world of magic. Magic realism is a genre I usually like better before and after (as opposed to during) the experience. Actually reading Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez or Thomas Pynchon is hard work. Or maybe the hard work happens at the beginning, when you have to turn off all the ways you normally look at and think about the world.

But The Latecomers is different. Unlike the Banana Massacre by the United Fruit Company that could only be told in a fictionalized version such as Gabriel García Márquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude, or like Thomas Pynchon’s 400-plus character “intro” to modern times in Gravity’s Rainbow, magic realism in Charlie and Maggie’s story is more accessible, perhaps because it occurs on a more intimate stage.

Traditional two-person family units won’t work anymore, Maggie realizes. When she reunites with Charlie, she proposes their new relationships and old friends be joined into a new and larger moai. But the pivotal event that changes all of them forever is about to occur. Following shocking acts of violence, their expanded moai experiences a magical event that changes their worldview, leaving them poised to possess secret knowledge that can literally change the world.

Again, it’s a necklace that represents this change. As each member of the new moai struggles to understand and accept the altered world view along with an incredibly precious gift symbolized by a new necklace, an unthinkable decision must be made.

The Latecomers is an onion of a book, which demands willing suspension of disbelief in favor of the slow reveal of answers to questions about the human condition. Flawed, strong, weak, murderous, loving, and above all human characters are asked to come to terms with that hardest of all questions:

What are you willing to give up in the name of remaining human?

This isn’t an easy book to read. But despite its symbols, indulgent self-examination, willful blindness, homage to SciFi classics, unwilling heroics, and super-annoying (to me anyway) foreign terms defining “new” relationship categories, The Latecomers is a stunning achievement. Getting to know Maggie is like meeting the Queen and realizing she’d be fun to grab a coffee with—and that the guy she hangs out with might be charming and attractive, but she’s the one who needs to be in charge. The writing is beautiful, the flawed characters are three-dimensionally human, the plot both surprising and inevitable.

Book description

Maggie and Charlie Latecomer, at the beginning of the last third of their lives, love each other but are conflicted over what it means to age well in a youth-oriented society. Forced into early retirement and with grown children in distant cities, they’ve settled into a curbed routine, leaving Charlie restless and longing for more.
When the Latecomers and their friends discover a mystical book of indecipherable logographs, the corporeal world and preternatural world intertwine. They set off on a restorative journey to uncover the secrets of the book that pits them against a potent corporate foe in a struggle for the hearts and minds of woman and men the world over.
A treatise on aging, health, wisdom, and love couched in an adventure, The Latecomers will make readers question the nature of deep relationships and the fabric of modern society.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Contemporary #Fiction BEYOND THE YEW TREE by @RachelJWalkley

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

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading Beyond the Yew Tree by Rachel Walkley

Whispers in the courtroom.

Only one juror hears them.

Can Laura unravel the truth by the end of the trial?

 

Laura is a sensible, well organised young woman. Setting out for her first day of jury service she is well prepared with a flask full of coffee.

“Laura preferred a predictable, uneventful day to exciting unplanned crises or emotional meltdowns. No surprises, no sudden happenings.”

So, she hopes for structured, uncomplicated days at the law court next to Lincoln castle.  But listening to the barristers, she is aware of a hissing noise, of soft whispers disturbing her concentration. And then when she returns to her empty home at night, her sleep is disturbed by distressing dreams of a woman imprisoned in a Victorian gaol.  It can’t be the fraud case which is causing her dreams, but strolling through the castle she spots the gravestones of those who had been executed for murder. Needing answers, Laura seeks the help of the museum curator, Sean.

Laura is also distressed by the long absence of her lover, Marco, who has been visiting his family in Italy for some time while maintaining very little communication with her.  Determined to seek out the source of her nightmares and come to a fair judgement on the court case, Laura’s calm demeanour conceals deep guilt about an event in her past.

Having endured jury service personally, I found Laura’s experience locked in a room with 11 disparate people very familiar.  Keeping alert during a complex case can be difficult and barristers are often very persuasive.  Luckily Laura’s intelligence and financial background help her detect weaknesses in the evidence, but does she have the confidence to speak up?

The threads of guilt and justice entwine between the present day and the past and as the trial comes to an end, Laura must also decide the path her life should take. A very rewarding read.

Book description

In an old courtroom, a hissing voice distracts reluctant juror, Laura, and at night recurring nightmares transport her to a Victorian gaol and the company of a wretched woman. Although burdened by her own secret guilt, and struggling to form meaningful relationships, Laura isn’t one to give up easily when faced with an extraordinary situation.
The child-like whispers lead Laura to an old prison graveyard, where she teams up with enthusiastic museum curator, Sean. He believes a missing manuscript is the key to understanding her haunting dreams. But nobody knows if it actually exists.
Laura is confronted with the fate of two people – the man in the dock accused of defrauding a charity for the blind, and the restless spirit of a woman hanged over a century ago for murder.
If Sean is the companion she needs in her life, will he believe her when she realises that the two mysteries are converging around a long-forgotten child who only Laura can hear?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #BookReview #Team #RBRT #Horror Novella NIGHT SERVICE by @john_f_leonard

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

#RBRT Review Team

Robbie has been reading Night Service by John F. Leonard

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I love the way this author writes. He uses short and sharp sentences and paragraphs which make you become part of the action and the horror. He also uses marvelously descriptive verbiage to bring his scenes alive and it definitely works for me. Some examples from the first page of what I mean in this regard are as follows:
“A few steps and everything changed.” – the first sentence. “They left the main drag and the night unfurled.” I love these short and punchy lines.
“The sort of place where getting hurt was to be expected, just an unavoidable consequence of being there.” and “There was nothing but a lonely field of darkness, fragranced with the unsweet smell of desertion.” For me, I had the chills just from reading the first page and a clear expectation of what was coming.

Luke and Jessica have been on a date which he expects to progress to an overnighter, but they need to get to her place. They decide to take the night bus as neither want to waste money and, after all, public transport is reliable and easy to use, barring the trawl through the neighbourhood to get to the bus stop and the wait.

Luke finds himself having some misgivings about using the bus and nearly decides to call a taxi, but Jessica convinces him that the bus is fine for their purposes. He agrees and that turns out to be a very bad decision.

His feelings of unease increase as other travelers gather at the bus station. A strange young woman with a baby, who seems quite out of context in the circumstances, a heavy-weight who appears drunk and disorderly, three tough-looking members of a band and a most annoyingly chatty elderly gentleman, who, on reflection, is also out of context in the setting. Luke has misgivings, but the bus arrives and he gets on. His journey to hell begins.

This book is not long so the author has limited time to build his world and bring the plot to its culmination. I thought he did a great job of creating this alter and creepy world which exists in parallel to the human world and which is real, but somehow not real.

The descriptions and world building gave me the same creepy and eerie feeling as The Langoliers by Stephen King, a short story I read as a young teenager, but which I have never forgotten. The monsters reminded me of H.G. Well’s morlocks, with the horrible tainted feeling you get when you read about them in The Time Machine. They is a disgustingly slimy suggestion to their looks and behaviour which gave me the shivers.

I really enjoyed this book and its interesting and unusual, but highly appropriate style, and think lovers of clever horror will enjoy this book.

Book description

It’s been a great night, but it’s getting late. You need to make tracks and cash isn’t king.

No worries… all aboard the Night Service. It could be the last bus you ever catch.

Every journey is a journey into the unknown, but this trip is an eye-opener, unlike anything that Luke and Jessica have ever experienced. They’re going to learn a few important lessons. Being young and in love doesn’t grant immunity from the everyday awful… or the less ordinary evil that lurks in the shadows.

There’s no inoculation from the horror of the world – it’s real and it’s waiting to touch you.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Thriller LOUD PIPES SAVE LIVES by Jennifer Giacalone @ryderswriters

Today’s team review is from Barb, she blogs here https://barbtaub.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Barb has been reading Loud Pipes Save Lives by Jennifer Giacalone

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My Review: 5 stars out of 5

During filming of the Bogart/Bacall classic, The Big Sleep, the plot was so convoluted that neither the director nor the cast knew who committed at least one murder. A cable was sent to author Raymond Chandler, who told his friend Jamie Hamilton in a March 21, 1949 letter: “They sent me a wire … asking me, and dammit I didn’t know either”. It didn’t matter. It was the chemistry and banter between the lead characters which made it a classic detective noir. 

That’s how I feel about Loud Pipes Save Lives. Despite the fact that the large cast lives in New York City along with roughly nine million other people, their lives intersect constantly. Girl motorcycle vigilantes rub shoulders with the mayor whose chief of police knows the newspaper publisher whose sister is a detective who is being manipulated by the district attorney who has a big beef with the deputy mayor who knows where the bodies are buried and whose brother is friends with the brother of the girl motorcycle ganger…

Don’t worry if you missed any of that because it doesn’t matter. The banter is so much fun, the pace so rollercoaster, the characters so very flawed, that I raced through the book in one caffeine-fueled late night session. Author Jennifer Giacalone had me with her first quote from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. She cemented my love with her characters’ joyful embrace of the variety of relationships that every New Yorker encounters before they get their first coffee of the day—gay, multi-ethnic, asexual, stupid, smart, handicapped, cross-religious, and of course, liberally laced with obscenities.

And she ensured her automatic-buy place in my book-heart with her combination love affair with New York—“The city didn’t care. It lay serene as they all loved and teemed and scrambled and strove. And then it was morning.”—and just plain wonderful writing. “The lights had been lowered in the room to that level where everything looked like it was covered in a layer of honey and everyone was twice as attractive.” 

So sure, this book has all the tropes of any damaged detective/police procedural. There is the cop who naturally distrusts her superiors, journalists, and politicians. She’s got a past full of trauma, a family who are frankly even more messed up than she is, and a city to clean up. The villains aren’t all bad and the good guys are pretty flawed. But just as with Bogey and Bacall in The Big Sleep, none of that matters. Because… women motorcycle vigilante gangs, a LOT of leather, Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance quotes, New York City, the kind of True Love that ruins your life and the kind that saves it, and serious amounts of world-class snark. Hell, yeah!

If you’d like a fresh voice with attitude, great writing, flawed characters, and a completely convoluted story I’d recommend Loud Pipes Save Lives.

Book description

New York City Detective Lily Sparr is stunned when she is inexplicably moved to the very same precinct that once upon a time handled her own father’s murder. There, she is assigned to the case of a women’s motorcycle club which has been committing acts of violence all over the city. Despite missing her former partner, Miri, and fighting the ghosts of her past, Lily dedicates herself to the case, unaware that her own sister is mixed up in the swirl of violence and chaos.

After secretly reopening the file on her father’s death, Lily slowly unravels  threads of history, discovering that both cases lead to corruption and betrayal at the highest levels.

Featuring an ensemble of characters as diverse as its New York City setting, Loud Pipes Save Lives is a thriller-mystery with a twist of queer representation.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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