Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT TURN OF THE TIDE by Margaret Skea @margaretskea1 #HistFic

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs at

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Turn of the Tide by Margaret Skea


3.5 stars

Set in Scotland in the late sixteenth century, Turn of the Tide’s central character is Munro, who is caught between his allegiance to the Cunninghame clan and his friendships with the rival Montgomeries, and also between his active part in this ancient feud and the demands of his family; his desire to protect them is at the root of all he does, but his dedication to those in power mean that he spends much time away from wife Kate and his twins.

Reading this story I felt transported back to the time, a necessity for me when reading historical fiction.  All aspects of day to day life of the era have been researched in detail, and written in such a way that adds so much to the novel.  Margaret Skea clearly has a great love for the history and the country, and this shines through in the writing.

There is no doubt that this is well written in many ways, with Munro and young William Glencairn, in particular, becoming three dimensional very quickly.  The dialogue is written formally, in the style of the time (as far as I could see) and sometimes this adds authenticity, but at other times it halts the flow.  Also, there are so very many characters and I had trouble remembering who was who and whose allegiance was to whom, which made it flow even less well, because I kept having to refer back to previous chapters.  The other slight problem I had with it was a few instances of incorrect punctuation: missing commas and a few semicolons that should have been commas, but there are only a few and would probably only bother someone who is particularly picky about such things.

I liked the intrigue at court and the subtle humour in some of the dialogue, but I found this novel a little too slow and confusing for me to say that I really enjoyed it; I wanted to like it more than I did.  Margaret Skea is an accomplished writer who has won much acclaim and many awards, so if you like intelligent, detailed, literary historical fiction you may well enjoy this.  It just didn’t quite tick the boxes for me.

Book Description

Old rivalries…new friendships…dangerous decisions. 
Set in 16th Century Scotland Munro owes allegiance to the Cunninghames and to the Earl of Glencairn. Trapped in the 150-year-old feud between the Cunninghames and the Montgomeries, he escapes the bloody aftermath of an ambush, but he cannot escape the disdain of the wife he sought to protect, or his own internal conflict. He battles with his conscience and with divided loyalties – to age-old obligations, to his wife and children, and, most dangerous of all, to a growing friendship with the rival Montgomerie clan. Intervening to diffuse a quarrel that flares between a Cunninghame cousin and Hugh Montgomerie, he succeeds only in antagonizing William, the arrogant and vicious Cunninghame heir. And antagonizing William is a dangerous game to play…

About the author

Margaret Skea

Margaret Skea grew up in Ulster at the height of the ‘Troubles’, but now lives with her husband in the Scottish Borders. 

An interest in Scotland’s turbulent history, and in particular the 16th century, combined with PhD research into the Ulster-Scots vernacular, led to the writing of Turn of the Tide, which was the Historical Fiction Winner in the 2011 Harper Collins / Alan Titchmarsh People’s Novelist Competition and the Beryl Bainbridge Award for Best First Time Author 2014. 

An Hawthornden Fellow and award winning short story writer – her recent credits include, Overall Winner Neil Gunn 2011, Chrysalis Prize 2010, and Winchester Short Story Prize 2009. Third in the Rubery Book Award Short Story Competition 2013, a finalist in the Historical Novel Society Short Story Competition 2012, shortlisted in the Mslexia Short Story Competition 2012 and long-listed for the Historical Novel Society Short Story competition 2014, the Matthew Pritchard Award, the Fish Short Story and Fish One Page Prize, she has been published in a range of magazines and anthologies in Britain and the USA.
New collection of short stories – including some those from competitions mentioned above available for pre-order now.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Goodreads | Twitter also available on kindle unlimited




Need a Scottish Fix? #FridayFiveChallenge Hamish Macbeth #Mystery, Would You BUY or PASS?

This fun feature is a mini workshop. We look at book covers just from their thumbnail pictures at online selling book sites and make quick fire buying decisions. We look from a READER’S Point of View and this exercise is very EYE OPENING.

From the book cover we will browse the book description, price and some of the reviews BUT we only have 5 MINUTES.


Join in and see where it leads.

Grab a coffee and spend 5 Minutes on this exercise.

This week my search term was “Scotland”, as I’m off for a weekend in Glasgow visiting my dear friend Barb Taub and her “wee hobbit hoose.” or

Book Description

Now that Priscilla Halburton-Smythe has agreed to marry him, Police Sergeant Hamish Macbeth can’t imagine a more perfect life. There’s not much crime in his remote Scottish village of Lochdubh, nothing much at all to do but fish, drink coffee, and slouch around. And now to spend time with lovely Priscilla.

But his days aren’t as tranquil as his dreams. For one thing, Priscilla’s renovation schemes are driving him out of his cottage. Not to mention her ambitious plans for his career as a policeman away from Lochdubh. This might be a good time to find out why Peter Hynd’s arrival in nearby Drim was causing so much trouble.

An attractive, unmarried man with an independent income would always attract attention in such a small place. But this time Hynd’s arrival seems to have caused bitter rivalry among the women of Drim. Hamish finds their petty fights amusing and a clever excuse to avoid Priscilla and her schemes for a new electric stove (to replace his beloved woodburning appliance), a posh new bathroom, and virtuous nutrition. Amusing, that is, until death threats, physical abuse, and murder make statistical history in one of Scotland’s most picture postcard-perfect towns.

Price; £4.99 kindle, second hand hard covers from £2.81. $5.93 or a second hand copy from $4

Number of reviews; 44 Amazon Uk, 70 Amazon US

Would I buy or Pass?….Buy a second hand copy.


The piper on the cover screams Scotland as does a name of Hamish Macbeth, an easy option for soaking up some Scottish charm.

Over to you….

Mug 1

Get yourself a cuppa and give yourself 5 minutes.

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions from small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

My Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book,

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

(then write a little analysis about your decision)

Share your post, use #FridayFiveChallenge @rosieamber1 and I’ll help share all relevant posts.

Here are links to other bloggers taking the challenge today.

Shelley searched for Witches and found Moon Bayou by J.R Rain

Cathy found a murder mystery Hunting The Crows by Iain Cameron

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT THE ECOLOGY OF LONESOMENESS by @David_J_OBrien #SundayBlogShare

Today’s second team review is from Suraya, find her here

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Suraya has been reading The Ecology Of Lonesomeness by David J O’Brien


The Ecology of Lonesomeness

By David J O’Brien

A quick trawl through Amazon reveals any number of novels on the Loch Ness Monster. But I bet there are few like David O’Brien’s which mixed scientific expertise with a romance.

The descriptions of the Scottish countryside are almost so good I could draw a picture without having to refer to an actual picture. I could feel the chill air, see the wind playing over the lake and smell the fish and chips at the Canalside Fish and Chip shop.

We meet the term Lonesomeness early in the novel. This is a clever play on words and you will find out why as you read the novel.

This is where Jessie and Kaleb meet and while he does his post-doctoral research on the Ecology of Loch Ness he mends his broken heart and discovers something that the locals want to protect from tourism.

Kaleb and Jessie’s romance seems almost inevitable. She’s a local on holiday from University in London and Kaleb is American doing some post-doctoral research. As they fall in love they grapple with the issue of whether or not Jessie will move to the United States and all that entails. This is no surprise….nor is the solution.

But while they grapple with these issues Kaleb finds skewed readings in his data.

You will have to read the novel to find out what the source of these skewed readings is. As you do enjoy the scenery and the romance. Look inside Jessie’s parent’s pub, The Shredded Sail and tramp with Jessie, Kaleb and Jessie’s father through the rugged valleys and the Highlands.

This is an enjoyable and at times scholarly read. I liked that because although David O’Brien is clearly an accomplished ecologist, he respected that most readers did not want to read a text book.

It was enjoyable and allowed us a look into the scientist’s world without showing off.

Five stars

Find a copy here from or

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS by @lizzie_lamb #SundayBlogShare #Valentine

Today’s team book review comes from Barb, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Barb has been reading Scotch On The Rocks by Lizzie Lamb


My Review: 5 stars out of 5


When I want to read a good romance, it simply makes sense to reach for one of Lizzie Lamb’s books. Not only are her heroines strong, snarky women, her heroes appropriately gorgeous and misguided, but… Scotland!

Since moving to Scotland, I’ve come to appreciate the beauty, color, and rugged appeal of the country. (Yes…the scenery. What did you think I was talking about? Oh. Well…that too!) So Lizzie’s books full of kilts and bagpipes and whisky are incredibly fun.

Her latest release, Scotch on the Rocks, certainly doesn’t disappoint. From heroine Issy’s first exhilarating dash across a fast-flooding causeway to reach her island home, the pace and story never falter. And how could it? The author subtly channels Emma, one of trope-defining Miss Austen’s most enchanting characters. Like Emma, strangers might have said Issy was “handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence…” (Emma by Jane Austen, 1815) As Emma might have done had she lived now, Issy had a successful career as an interior designer, her success due to her matchmaking abilities to produce dream interiors for her delighted clients.

Unlike Emma, however, as Issy flees back to her home with her father’s ashes strapped into her backseat, she is escaping a life whose appearances never matched reality. Her dysfunctional family—the rich father and famous mother who left her with neither love nor any of their wealth—her cheating fiance, even her job were left behind as Issy heads back to the only love and home she’s ever known, her Aunt Esme and her beloved Cormorant Island off the coast of Scotland.

Like Emma, Issy is bright, strong-willed, and painfully clueless. She has no concept of how to treat her attraction to and distrust of Brodie, no idea what secrets those around her hold.

“She felt as if she’d fallen asleep during a blockbuster movie, and had woken to find that she’d missed a pivotal scene; the one where the hero gets the girl, or the murderer is revealed. The scene which explains what the movie is really about. ‘Why are you all looking at me like that? Anyone want to tell me what’s going on?’”

If you’ve ever lived in a small village—and especially if you haven’t!—I think you’ll enjoy the way everyone casually assumes ownership rights to everyone else’s business. Chief among them is the adorable Lindy, whose drive to escape her island heritage has her showing up in completely different persona almost every day.

Poor Issy is often lost among the strong personalities around her. And, more often than not, she acts first and regrets her actions later. In another homage to Emma, she is then left to berate herself with an update of Mr. Knightley’s famous line— “Badly done, Ishabel Stuart. Badly done.”

Author Lizzie Lamb’s gift for dialog lets the reader hear the lilt of Scottish voices without overwhelming us with over concentration on syntax and grammar. I absolutely loved hearing the phrases I hear around me here in Glasgow, where a woman is affectionately called hen, everything from the dog to the chippy shop is wee, and health is toasted with a slainte mhath. And who wouldn’t love a heilan’ coo (Highland Cow)?


Of course, for American readers, it also holds a few surprises. For example, I was laughing out loud at Issy’s plans to renovate “outhouses” into artists studios. (My fellow Americans are used to picturing outhouses as Appalachian one-holer conveniences, perhaps with a little moon-shaped window cut into the door.) Or the way All-American Brodie’s university degree mentions taking a “first degree”, which is certainly not available from an American university.

For the beautiful pacing, character development, and that all-important HEA, I would give Scotch On The Rocks 5 out of 5 stars and would be the first in line to pick up any future books by this accomplished author.

Buy Links:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)

Scotch On The Rocks has been shortlisted for the Exeter Novel prize.

Scotch On The Rocks by @lizzie_lamb #Contemporary #Romance #Scotland #Bookreview

Scotch on the Rocks: A contemporary romance set in the highlands of ScotlandScotch on the Rocks: A contemporary romance set in the highlands of Scotland by Lizzie Lamb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Scotch on the Rocks is a wonderful romance set on a small Scottish island. Pull up a chair by a cosy fire and dive into this tale of love lost and found.

It opens with a daring dash across a tidal causeway by Ishabel Stuart to the island of Eilean na Sgairbh or Cormorant Isand. With her father strapped safely in the back seat she has just minutes to make it before the sea engulfs the only access to the island for another few hours.

Gunning the engine and with the water lapping at the wheels Issy is desperate to make it to the safety of the island and the waiting arms of her Aunt Esme, where she can lick her wounds and hide from the world. But much to her dismay Esme has a full house and is herself just off to one of her activist protests. Issy is left still full of her woes and on top of that there is a paying guest to accommodate.

For Issy the island has been a family safe haven, here the family once owned Stuart’s Twa Burns whisky distillery and Issy wants to give back something to the island and its inhabitants. She’s given up her job, and intends setting up artist workshops.

Stuck with Brodie, the American guest, she finds him annoying and intriguing, what is it he’s not telling her? And why does he have a tattoo of the McIntosh clan?

Lizzie writes with great passion and her characters feel like your best friends, from Lindy, Issy’s best friend who tries to win Brodie’s heart, to Pershing the talking parrot whose choice of words add so much to the tale. I also had a real soft spot for Aunt Esme, who, although “off set” for much of the storyline was there in so many other ways.

Feel good romance in a wonderful Scottish setting with Gaelic charm and a dram or two of whisky.

Find a copy here from or

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Scotch On The Rocks has been shortlisted for the Exeter Novel prize.

Romancing September #RomancingSeptember – Day 28


Welcome to Day 28 of Romancing September Across The World Tour. Today our guest is Liz Everly. Catch up with more from Liz in a few hours with the second part of our tour when Stephanie chats to her.

Like Honey (eBook)

Where is your home town?

My hometown is Aliquippa, Pa., just outside of Pittsburgh.

How long have you been writing romance?

About five years.

What is your favourite sub-genre of romance?

It’s a toss up between erotic romance and historical.

What originally brought Jennifer to Scotland?

Jennifer had a mad love affair with a man who inherited the farm. They married and moved to Scotland.

Tell us about her honey farm.

It’s been in her husband’s family for generations, but when he dies, it fall to her to run it and she notices things are “off.” She tries to save the farm out of love and memory of her husband.

How does Grayson know his honey?

Grayson grew up on a honey farm in Virginia.

What is Grayson’s secret job?

He works for Homeland Security.

What is it that he is looking for on the honey farm?

Without giving away too much, I’ll say it’s illegal contraband.

Tell us what you are working on at the moment.

I’m working on a non-erotic romantic suspense set in the Appalachians in Virginia, which is where I live.

Where can readers find out more about you?

Liz Everly

Amazon Author Page

Twitter @Liz Everly1

Find a copy of Like Honey here from or

Find out more about Liz from Stephanie Hurt’s blog and all our Romance writers

Romancing September #RomancingSeptember – Day 22


Welcome to Day 22 of Romancing September Across The World Tour. Today our guest is Lynn Montagano. Catch up with more from Lynn in a few hours with the second part of our tour when Stephanie chats to her.

Catch My Breath

Where is your home town?

Scituate, Rhode Island

How long have you been writing romance?

Three years

What is your favourite sub-genre of romance?


Where is Lia taking her Vacation?

Glasgow, Scotland.

Why does she need a break?

She’s recently broken up with her possessive, jealous boyfriend and is looking forward to a low-key vacation for her sister’s wedding in Scotland.

How does she meet Alastair?

It’s her first night in Scotland and she’s a little jet-lagged and tired but joins her friends for a charity benefit. She ‘bumps’ into Alastair at the bar there.

Why is she attracted to him?

Well, at first glance it’s because he’s so handsome and has the great accent and all that. As she gets to know him better, she’s enticed by what he doesn’t reveal. There’s a story behind his eyes that he keeps to himself and she wants to know what it is.

Can you hint at what Alastair has to hide?

He suffered a great loss as a child. Without saying too much, he’s closed off and keeps everyone at arm’s length as a way to deal with it.

Tell us what you are working on at the moment.

I’m doing some final rewrites on the third book in this series but haven’t started anything new….yet. I do have an idea for another contemporary romance with a dash of the supernatural.

Where can readers find out more about you?

Lynn Montagano

I happen to have an arsenal of links at my disposal.




Twitter: @LynnMontagano

Buying links:

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Google Play:


Find out more about Lynn from Stephanie Hurt’s blog and all our Romance writers

Romancing September #RomancingSeptember – Day 9


Romance September 2014 cover (1)

Welcome to Day 9 of Romancing September Across The World Tour. Today our guest is Debbie Peterson. Catch up with more from Debbie in a few hours with the second part of our tour when Stephanie chats to her.


Where is your home town?

Though I didn’t spend my early childhood here, I suppose I will have to claim Las Vegas since I have lived here for the greatest portion of my life.

How long have you been writing romance?

About six years ago I once again picked up my proverbial pen (keyboard) and wrote what ended up being my second published novel. Previous to that I spent about two years writing a few stories that I shelved when I made the decision to home-school my dyslexic daughter, but that’s a story for another time.

What is your favourite sub-genre of romance?

I love both paranormal and historical.

Tell us what Mariah does for a living.

Mariah Jennings is world-renowned artist.

What has she been hired to do?

She’s been hired to paint a series of castles for “The Gallery of Castles” project. Her final castle is in the highlands of Scotland and it is in this fictional castle where the story begins.

Who does she meet there?

Mariah meets the spirit of Sir Cailen Braithnoch, the very knight she has inexplicably been sketching and painting her entire life, as well as his entire garrison.

What must they discover together?

They must solve the mystery surrounding his death—a mystery that involves black magic.

Who is the jealous rival?

Evan MacGilroy meets Mariah the day she arrives in the village. He is immediately drawn to her and has every intention of winning her heart.

Tell us what you are working on at the moment.

I am working on the edits for my novel “Court of the Hawk,” which is more of a fantasy romance than it is anything else. This book will be published by The Wild Rose Press in 2015. I won’t get a release date until we reach final galley. At the same time I am working on my current WIP, which is another paranormal romance.

Where can readers find out more about you?


Author Website: Blog: Twitter: Facebook:


Please also let me have, buying links and links to author social media.


Barnes and Noble:


All Romance E Books:

Find out more about Debbie from Stephanie Hurt’s blog and all our Romance writers


Rosie’s Book Review Challenge – Stephanie reviews Tall Dark and Kilted by Lizzie Lamb

We have a book review challenge today from Stephanie. She blogs at

Rosie's Book Review Challengers 1

Stephanie chose to read and review “Tall Dark and Kilted” by Lizzie Lamb.

Tall, Dark and Kilted by Lizzie Lamb

Tall, Dark and Kilted by Lizzie Lamb

Here is her review.

Just finished reading Tall, Dark & Kilted by Lizzie Lamb. The characters are well written and they grab your heart almost from the start. I found myself pulling for Fliss to succeed in her business as well as in love. Now Ruairi was breathtaking from the moment he appeared on the phone. The author’s descriptive ability was really good as she described the characters and surroundings. I felt as though I was there with them. I could imagine every little detail. All in all it’s a great book with such intense romance that you just can’t put it down. I was left wanting more from their story. I do hope Lizzie is planning another book so I can get more of them.

Find a copy here from or

Guest Author Lizzie Lamb

Please give a warm welcome to Lizzie Lamb author of yesterday’s book Boot Camp Bride and Tall Dark and Kilted featured on the blog on May 28th

Lizzie Lamb New

1) Where is your home town,

Leicester, UK. Recently, the remains of King Richard III were located and exhumed in a Leicester City car park after lying there since 1485! Leicester is a very multi-cultural city and I think that one of my future romances will reflect that – plenty of research material to hand.

2) Have you always wanted to write romance?

I write what I love reading – and I love romance. Once, I thought I’d write historical novels because I have a history degree and love the subject. But I love the immediacy of contemporary romance. Having said that, I have the plot and outline for a romance set in Leicester (where else) in the 1960’s, I guess that’s history to some readers.

3) You’ve set Boot Camp Bride in Norfolk, is it an area you know well?

Oddly enough, it’s an area I’ve only just discovered in the last ten years of so. A friend took me to Old Hunstanton, Burnham Market and the marshes. At first, I didn’t ‘get’ the stripped back beauty of the landscape but then fell in love with it. I hope this shows in Boot Camp Bride. My fourth novel will return to Norfolk and hopefully will have a winter/Christmas setting.

4) Can you tell the readers what happened to Ffinch in Columbia?

Ffinch, an investigative journalist, is following the trail of a shady Russian who, on the surface, appears to be a philanthropic businessman helping dispossessed children. However, this doesn’t stack up and Ffinch begins to smell a rat. Under the cover of writing THE TEN MOST DANGEROUS PLACES IN THE WORLD he takes a team deep into the Columbian rainforest to investigate where he believes the Russian (working with an illegal group: The Black Eagles (Aquilas Negra) is growing and harvesting drugs. Ffinch’s team is kidnapped by the guerrillas and held to ransom and two of the team are lost in the Amazon. Consumed with guilt because they were lost on his watch, Ffinch makes it his business to bring the Russian to justice.

5) What was Charlee doing at the Book awards?

As a lowly intern, Charlee would not normally be invited to a prestigious Award ceremony. However, the norovirus has wiped out most of the team usually involved in its organisation and she is given a place. At first, she is over the moon and believes that the invitation will give her the opportunity to further her career as a journalist. However, she discovers that she’s only there to act as a cater waiter and, not in the best of moods, meets Ffinch for the first time. This is the beginning of a sparky relationship which eventually develops into a full blown love affair.

6) Who is Anastasia Markova?

Anastasia is the sweet super model girlfriend of the Russian. She is unaware of the extent of his illegal activities but is too frightened to go to the police. It is through her friendship with Charlee, who she meets at the Boot Camp for Brides in Norfolk that she sees her way to get free of his clutches.

7) You have a wonderful camper van in the story, have you ever owned one yourself?

I wish! We have a Ford Bongo which is a type of camper van but not as gorgeous as a VW. My husband has recently renovated a 1965 VW Camper Van for our nephew. If I won the lottery I’d certainly buy one.

8) Your first book “Tall, Dark and Kilted” is set in the Scottish Highlands, is this a favourite place of yours?

With my Scottish ancestry I am drawn to the scenery and culture of Scotland. I was born in Scotland and love anything to do with its history and romance, so it was a natural choice for me to set my first novel there. I am currently writing number three and I have returned to the highlands and islands of the west coast of Scotland for inspiration. In all, I hope to write three Scottish novels and one day publish them as a box set.

9) You’re part of the New Romantics 4, tell us how this helps to promote your work.

We have worked hard to establish ourselves as a ‘brand’ and offer readers four different genres of ‘romance’: historical, romantic comedy, suspense and women’s fiction. Each of us promotes the other three members’ novels in the back of their books and hopefully that helps to promote us. It helps to be part of a group as we can promote each other and (indirectly) promote ourselves. We also give each other masses of support and keep each other going when the enthusiasm flags. When we host our book launches it helps to have a wide variety of novels on choice.

Rosie, you have been kind enough to review our books and we are very grateful for your help and support. You’re very Welcome!

10)  What are you writing next?

Novel #3 returns to the west coast of Scotland and tells the story of Ishabel Stuart who turns her back on a promising career in interior design to return home to Cormorant Island. There she meets gorgeous American Brodie Mackintosh who comes to stay at her aunt’s Bed and Breakfast. After a rocky beginning their relationship develops and as she falls in love with him, she begins to suspect that Brodie has been economical with the truth. He could be the answer to her prayers or could destroy a long held dream of hers. What is he up to? Can Ishabel trust him? You’ll have to wait until 2015 to find out !!

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Boot Camp Bride – Romance and Intrigue on the Norfolk marshes – November 2013

BookCover Boot Camp Bride

Tall, Dark and Kilted – Notting Hill Meets Monarch of the Glen – 2012

Tall Dark and Kilted
Lizzie’s Links
twitter: @lizzie_lamb             twitter: @newromantics4