Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Jessie reviews Playing House by Donna Brown

Today we have a book review from team member Jessie, she blogs at http://behindthewillows.com/

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Jessie chose to read and review Playing House by Donna Brown

I can be a bit of a Goldilocks when faced with a new romance novel.

I held this new book in my hand hoping it would strike just the right balance…

That it would be a love story that wasn’t too sappy, but yet not too uptight.

I wished for romantic interludes that kept the bodice ripping to a minimum, but not so much as to be puritanical.

I looked at the cute cover hoping the plot would be realistic, but not to the point of boredom.

I wanted to fall in love with the characters, yet hoped those characters would have plenty of annoying, humanizing faults.

I longed for those characters to grow through painful experiences, but not so much trauma that it becomes hard to read.

And finally, I hoped that this book would know its own length. A story should never stretch itself too long or cut things off short.

Would I recommend it? Yes. This sweetly painful, refreshingly real, novella was, decidedly, just right!

This honest review was given in return for a free copy of the book from its author.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Diane reviews Losing Heart by Donna Brown

Today we have a review from Diane, she blogs at http://www.fictionzeal.com/

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Diane chose to read and review Losing Heart by Donna Brown

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Losing Heart by Donna Brown

FictionZeal’s Review:

No one knows how they will react to certain situations until said situations actually come about.  In the case of forty-five year old Helen Winslow, her heart was failing.  If she didn’t receive a donor heart, she would most certainly die within a few weeks / months leaving behind her husband, Tom, and their eighteen year old daughter, Josie.  But, Helen is one of the lucky ones.  She receives a donor heart after Sylvia Chambers, a twenty year old young lady, dies tragically in a car accident. 

After the surgery, Helen is doing well and shortly thereafter falls into bed with her surgeon, Dr. Jack Meadon.  Marian Chambers doesn’t like that.  Marian is the mother of Sylvia, whose heart now resides and beats in Helen’s chest.  Only a good person should have the heart of her precious daughter.  Marianne decides it’s time to do something about this mess.

This novel was thought provoking.  It demanded and received my full attention.  It was fast-paced and intense; a quick read at only 83 pages. However, the characters were not fully developed leaving me with as many questions as answers.  Like, why was Tom and Helen’s marriage so dysfunctional?  Why was her husband so eager to believe other people more than his wife?  How did Marian gain so much insight into stuff that she wasn’t privy to?  Although the ending was action filled, it was rather abrupt begging for an epilogue for a couple of months later.  Overall, I rated Losing Heart at 3 out of 5.  

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Judith reviews Bound by Blood by Margo Collins

Today’s review is from team member Judith, she blogs at http://judithbarrowblog.com/2015/

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Judith chose to read and review Bound by Blood by Margo Bond Collins

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My Rating 3 out of 5 stars

The cover of this novella is creepy; it says all that the reader needs to know about the genre. This is a horror story – vampires and all. I need to be honest here and admit this is not my kind of book but I chose to review it and so have read it as I would any other kind of genre.

I felt the story was more plot driven than character revealing. Although the protagonist, Lili,a doctor who works for the CDC, was portrayed as courageous and determined to do everything to save humanity, I still felt there was something lacking. Something that didn’t quite make her into a rounded character for me.

The descriptions of the virus in each scene were vivid. But I struggled to get a sense of place – of the hospital the story is set in.

The book’s strength is the dialogue. Sharp and to the point,  much of the back story of all three main characters, Lili,  Will, the doctor – colleague and ex lover, Harry Iverson – uncle of one of the children at the hospital and a detective, is revealed through their speech. And the internal dialogue of the protagonist shows the struggle she is experiencing against the virus.

When I finished my review I looked back on other reviews of BOUND by Blood, just to make sure I was being as fair as I could be. I have to say I am in the minority; there are readers who thoroughly enjoyed this novella. In one of them I read this sentence -“There are graphically violent situations in this book that involve children, so sensitive readers should steer clear”. So there we are – proof that I’m a sensitive soul.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Terry reviews Losing Heart by Donna Brown

Today’s book review comes from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

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Terry chose to read and review Losing Heart by Donna Brown

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Losing Heart by Donna Brown

3 out of 5 stars

I’ll start by saying that this is a terrific plot, a great idea. Helen has a heart transplant but gets more than she bargains for when the mother of the donor invades her life. Marion Chambers does so in such a way that at first the reader feels sorry for her, then thinks she’s a bit full-on, then realises that there’s a lot more to her than meets the eye. That was good – I didn’t expect it. Losing Heart would make a great thriller film (something like The Hand That Rocks The Cradle) – or a novel. The problem with the book I’ve just read is that it’s crammed into novelette length.

We find out at the beginning of the story that Helen is having an affair with her doctor, Jack. There is no build up to this, or explanation for why she is being unfaithful to her husband other than a basic lack of communication. Helen comes over as a cold, selfish person who cares only about herself and her own needs, from what I could tell from the brevity of the narration, as does Jack, who keeps reassuring Helen that she is perfect and has done nothing wrong, despite the fact that she appears to consider her husband and Marion Chambers nothing more than irritating inconveniences. When Marion’s behaviour becomes more bizarre and overwhelming, however, she has a personality u-turn and just accepts it. There are some excellent opportunities for development, with a story line that is reasonably well thought out, but it just felt so rushed, as if I was reading a first or second draft, or something with the bare bones written down that is waiting to be fleshed out into a novel. Period breaks are given with small horizontal lines, but in some cases just plunge straight back into another scene without it being clear who is talking or what is going on.

To sum up, it was good enough for me to get to the end to see what happened; it has potential but needs more work and attention to structure, I think. Sorry I couldn’t be more positive about it; people who like a quick read that concentrates on events rather than character development might enjoy it more.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Raven’s Choice by Harper Swan

Raven's Choice (The Replacement Chronicles Book 1)Raven’s Choice by Harper Swan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Raven’s choice is a short historical fiction book, just fifty seven pages long and the first book in The Replacement Chronicles series. It’s like a tantalising introduction to what there is to come. The book has two time settings the first is California in the twenty first century, the second is set in the late Pleistocene era (think early man),

In the present day Mark Hayek works for the Parkinson’s Institute as part of Genetics and Me Inc. He’s recently been asked to provide a saliva sample as part of some routine investigations.

The reader is then taken back in time to meet a group of early humans travelling back to their tribe when they come across a bison hunt led by a despised group they call “Longheads”. Neither of the two groups like or accept each other, their ways being alien to the other group. Yet there are clues that this may well change in the future.

The book ends back in present time looking at Neanderthal ancestry and genetics through the generations, leaving the reader with plenty of questions to be answered in the next book in the series.

This is a good storyline and made me immediately think of very popular Clan Of The Cave Bear series. The present day parts were written in present tense third person and didn’t quite work for me.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads

The Museum Of Fractured Lives by Sally Jenkins

The Museum of Fractured Lives OmnibusThe Museum of Fractured Lives Omnibus by Sally Jenkins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Museum Of Fractured Lives is a quick read, a collection of four inter-connecting stories. Vanessa’s husband drops the idea of divorce in her lap after thirty tears of marriage and on the day she agreed to take early retirement from her job. A new start frightens her. Steven is also on the brink of a new dream and they find themselves both bidding for the same property.

The idea behind the museum comes from a Museum for broken relationships in Zagreb. People will donate objects from their past misery so that they can move on with their lives. Steven will run the museum and Vanessa will run a tea shop. The tea shop becomes a place where people will go for a little comfort while finally deciding to release their object to the museum and Vanessa gets their stories which will anonymously be attached to the museum items.

The book moves on to tell the tale of three very different people who have items for the museum. Vanessa has a big part in these tales but Steven’s role is lost as only the curator of the museum, I would have liked to see a little more of him as Steven in the latter part of the book. Just a small named interaction would have kept his earlier role alive.

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Baby Girl Book 2 – Moonlighting In Paris by Elle Klass

Baby Girl Book 2 Moonlighting in Paris (Baby Girl, #2)Baby Girl Book 2 Moonlighting in Paris by Elle Klass

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Baby Girl Book 2 – Moonlighting in Paris is the second book in this short book series. Just 37 pages long it follows the next chapter in the life of a young run-away. I do think you need to read book one first then you will understand why Chloe has changed her identity to be Justine and why anyone would want to take a flight from New York to Paris via Moscow.

To read this as a stand alone book we aren’t told much about Justine. In the first book she began as a twelve year old and the book could be read by the YA audience. Justine has now grown older but I’m unsure of her age and the writing in this book is for a much older audience. Both books are ok for adults but they may miss on other potential audiences.

For me Justine’s leap from life on the run with Einstein to life with Didier was too easy a step with luxury and opportunities which were the opposite of her life in book one. With the story being short we are fed tit-bits about the search for her past and we are introduced to a possible stalker, who may or may not be a threat to Justine’s life.

Her story will continue in book three.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

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Inkker Hauser Part 1: Rum Hijack by Phil Conquest

Inkker Hauser Part 1: Rum HijackInkker Hauser Part 1: Rum Hijack by Phil Conquest

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Inkker Hauser Part 1: Rum Hijack is a short book, just 76 pages, it’s very well written around a tale full of dark humour. The protagonist is an obsessive depressive wannabe author and the tale is the first book in a series. Years ago I tried reading “How To Be Good” by Nick Hornby and this book made me think of some of David’s behaviour from that book.

Living in a flat with nine TV’s, a fish, an emergency potato and a large quantity of alcohol our man tries desperately to climb over the wall of writer’s block and find inspiration to write the next best seller. However when the paper remains blank he plunges into violent alcohol fuelled depression. His quest for the elusive story involves meditation to connect to his dead Grandfather in a room accompanied by flashing orange lights stolen from building sites. The highs and lows, the grasping of wisps of ideas and the procrastinating which goes on really are the dark humour that the book promises.

Not your everyday easy read, this book is for those who’ll understand living on the cusp of reality and the pitfalls it may throw your way.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads

The Wannabe Author by Mary Papas

The Wannabe AuthorThe Wannabe Author by Mary Papas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Wannabe Author is just 13 pages long. It is a sad but realistic novel which will make many authors cringe when they think back to their first attempts at writing. It may also open the eyes of many first time authors who are currently writing their own masterpiece.

The main character hates her job and her boss and finds release in writing down scenarios which let her escape her frustrating reality. This gives her a reason to go on and actually opens a door. Beneath the process of amateur book writing and publishing, she has found the strength to resign from her job.

Her whole book process is a huge learning curve which looks depressing at first glance, but underneath she may have learnt lessons which she’ll use if she can get past this experience and her urge to write is stronger than her sense of failure.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

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Baby Girl Book 1: In The Beginning by Elle Klass

Baby Girl Book 1: In the Beginning (Baby Girl, #1)Baby Girl Book 1: In the Beginning by Elle Klass

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Baby Girl is the first book in a series, it is just 38 pages long and can be read quite easily in one sitting. We are introduced to a young girl who has had a harsh, lonely upbringing from a part-time mother who treated her shamefully. When her mother leaves her for several months, our twelve year old narrator, takes matters into her own hand and runs away.

The Big City offers an escape from prying eyes and our little girl survives pretty well considering what might have happened. She finally meets some other runaway kids and they become a family. Cleo and her friends make do as best they can, keeping one step ahead of capture. With Einstein she has a solid friend and they make big plans to leave America. Yet the path they all walk is never easy.

With a new identity the story will continue in the next book.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads.