Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT American #Histfic THE COTILLION BRIGADE by @glencraney #TuesdayBookBlog

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Terry has been reading The Cotillion Brigade by Glen Craney

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4*
This novel is quite an achievement, and I so appreciated how much it taught me about the American Civil War, a subject about which I knew very little before.  


The Cotillion Brigade tells a fictional version of the true story of the Nancy Hart Rifles of Georgia, begun by former debutante Nancy Colquitt Hill, who lived on a plantation.  Her chapters alternate between those of Hugh LaGrange from Wisconsin, on the side of the Abolitionists; he and his men’s aim is, initially, to make sure that the territory of Kansas remains a free state when it joins the union.

The novel is intricately researched, and the characters are clearly defined.  I liked the way in which the author wrote the characters authentically, using (some of) the dialogue they would have used at the time, rather than sugar-coat it too much, so as not to offend the sensitive ears of the 21st century.  He has walked a successful middle line between the two possible extremes.


Nancy was an interesting character from the start; she dived into her new role with the same gusto and impulsiveness that she displayed when all she had to think about was her standing in society, and her love life.  Hugh’s side of the story contains all the gritty atmosphere you would expect, and I felt the author had really got into the heads of the people of the time.


My only complaint is the length – I think it could have been chopped down by 20% to gee up the momentum a little.  The first third sets up the lives of Hugh and Nancy in great detail; I thought this, in particular, could have been edited down, though I did love Nancy’s wrangles with her rival in love!  As the story progresses into the war itself, and the conditions under which the army fought, the pace did ramp up somewhat.


At the end is a most fascinating author’s note, telling what happened to the people after the end of the book – and, best of all, photographs of the characters within and some of the actual places mentioned.  If you have a particular interest in the American Civil War, I would recommend buying this straight away!  As it is, I’m interested in reading another of his books, either The Yanks are Starving (set in the Depression), or The Spider and The Stone set in 14th century Scotland.

Desc 1

1856. Sixteen-year-old Nannie Colquitt Hill makes her debut in the antebellum society of the Chattahoochee River plantations. A thousand miles to the north, a Wisconsin farm boy, Hugh LaGrange, joins an Abolitionist crusade to ban slavery in Bleeding Kansas.

Five years later, secession and total war against the homefronts of Dixie hurl them toward a confrontation unrivaled in American history.

Nannie defies the traditions of Southern gentility by forming a women’s militia and drilling it four long years to prepare for battle. With their men dead, wounded, or retreating with the Confederate armies, only Captain Nannie and her Fighting Nancies stand between their beloved homes and the Yankee torches.

Hardened into a slashing Union cavalry colonel, Hugh duels Rebel generals Joseph Wheeler and Nathan Bedford Forrest across Tennessee and Alabama. As the war churns to a bloody climax, he is ordered to drive a burning stake deep into the heart of the Confederacy.

Yet one Georgia town-which by mocking coincidence bears Hugh’s last name-stands defiant in his path.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BooKReview Team #RBRT #SpeculativeFiction HER MAD SONG by C.J. Halbard

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Her Mad Song by C.J. Halbard

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3.5 stars

I admit to struggling a bit with this book, although it was well-written in many ways. A look at Goodreads half way through told me that Her Mad Song is not the first in this series, and I did feel as though I needed to understand more about the world the author has created, to fully ‘get’ it. An introduction tells us that Tempest Bay {a remote coastal town in New Zealand where the series is set} exists in novellas, podcasts and interactive experiences.

The story begins with an unnamed man and a twelve-year-old girl, Lucia, arriving at Tempest Bay, and moves on to curious relationships with the people they meet there, including a meteorologist they’ve sought out. CJ Halbard certainly has literary talent and has produced some fine atmospheric prose. The characterisation and dialogue are both fairly good, though the experimental style didn’t always work for me; the predominance of the subordinate/dependent clause became irritating after a while. The subordinate clause in place of a full sentence can have such impact, but it needs to be used sparingly. Then there’s that lack of speech marks thing … writers such as Cormac McCarthy manage to get away with it by leaving you in no doubt when a passage or line is speech rather than narrative, with minimum use of he-said-she-said, but it’s not the easiest of skills to master. Breaking ‘the rules’ tends to work better once you’ve worked within them for a while.


Readers who appreciate poetic writing and like something a bit unreal and outside the box may absolutely love this, but I thought it could do with the hand of a good developmental editor to give it better structure and definition; the story seemed a bit ‘all over the place’. There is much to commend, but I’m just … not sure. 


I read the information at the back, hoping to get a bit more insight. Much of it appears to be allegorical; an ’emotional climate change’, an ‘external imaginative environment that connects us all’, in which we could be ‘causing permanent lasting damage’. The concept seemed rather vague, without much substance or explanation, though I took a look at the excerpts from the other stories, at the end, and I liked them well enough. Could be that I’m just the wrong audience; the website is enticing and well-presented, for anyone who is interested; it’s HERE.

Book description

The strange and haunting story of rediscovering yourself in a time of madness.

A man and his adopted daughter come to Tempest Bay seeking a mystery. The world outside is aflame with anger and turmoil, but here in this tiny coastal town the old ways still hold. They take shelter with an obsessive meteorologist, in the shadow of a dark tower on the clifftops. From here they must navigate the labyrinth of small-town secrets and their own fears as a long-awaited storm approaches…

Her Mad Song imagines a world on the cusp of emotional climate change: a profound shift in how our inner lives connect to the places around us. The warring forces of this world are kindness and cruelty, creativity and death, history and memory and possibility and the deep primordial terror that echoes from the ocean to the stars.

Welcome to Tempest Bay.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Noir #Mystery BLACK IRISH BLUES by @andrewcotto

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Terry has been reading Black Irish Blues by Andrew Cotto

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4.5*
Black Irish Blues is a long novella (or possibly a short novel) featuring Caesar Stiles, a man whose childhood was spent in a rough area of a small town in industrial New Jersey.  His father left the family when Caesar was thirteen, and his two brothers are now dead; he loved the older one who died in a tragic accident, whereas the middle brother was a vicious thug. Caesar spent most of his life travelling all over the country, but returned when his mother died, moving into the family home and buying the local inn.


The story centres around blasts from the past, friends reunited, mysterious disappearances and the local gangsters.  Written in the first person, much of the narrative details Caesar’s observations about small town life and his impressions of the town and people in which and with whom he grew up.

The plot is perfectly paced and structured, and fits well into the shorter length; although the story itself is fairly standard, I loved Caesar, the writing itself is as good as that of any classic American novel, and the characterisation is outstanding, making it a real page turner.  All the side characters are beautifully observed, the dialogue is spot on, and the atmosphere is vivid and so well described without ever being wordy.  I could tell by reading this that the author really knows his subject, along the place, time and people about whom he has written.  I’ll definitely read something else by him, probably the book before, which I’ve already had a look at.  Highly recommended.

Desc 1

Black Irish Blues is the return-to-origin story of Caesar Stiles, an erstwhile runaway who returns to his hometown with plans to buy the town’s only tavern and end his family’s Sicilian curse.

Caesar’s attempt for redemption is complicated by the spectral presence of his estranged father, reparation seekers related to his corrupt older brother, a charming crime boss and his enigmatic crew, and – most significantly – a stranger named Dinny Tuite whose disappearance under dubious circumstances immerses Caesar in a mystery that leads into the criminal underbelly of industrial New Jersey, the flawed myth of the American Dream, and his hometown’s shameful secrets.

Black Irish Blues is a poetic, gritty noir full of dynamic characters, a page-turning plot, and the further development of a unique American character.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Scifi THE RINGS OF MARS by Rachel Foucar

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading The Rings Of Mars by Rachel Foucar

About a 500-strong crew on a year-long mission to Mars, to establish a society that will, it is hoped, be part of the solution for all the troubles on earth.  But there appears to be a saboteur on board ship…


I liked the premise very much, and Ms Foucar has a most readable, flowing writing style.  I was drawn in quickly; the beginning, with Jane Parker leaving a dying country, held great promise, and there is an excellent part early on in which a maintenance crew member gets killed.  Around a third of the way through, though, my interest began to lapse.  There are a lot of main and secondary characters, all with unmemorable names like Pat, Pamela, Jane, Mark, Frank, Beth, Sam, which wouldn’t have mattered so much if the POV didn’t change so often, and most of them didn’t talk in the same way.  It was okay at first, and I had a clear picture of Jane, Mark and Pat, but after that it all got a bit hazy.  Having said that, most of the dialogue is basically good; natural, convincing.  

I wasn’t sure how old they were all supposed to be, but they gave the impression of being in their early twenties, and sometimes seemed more like students running around a campus than people especially selected to go on this important voyage; I didn’t have a sense of them being on a ground-breaking mission into space.


For a scifi thriller, there was a lot of talking but not very much tension or drama.  I also felt that the plot itself wasn’t very clear, as if there hadn’t been enough thinking through – having said that, it didn’t help that the mobi copy I was sent for review was badly formatted – on (literally) every other page there was a gap in the narrative, sometimes breaking a sentence in two, with the title and the words ‘ARC Not for Sale’.  Obviously I would not mark down the book itself for this, and I tried not to notice and just read the story, but it became off-putting, and made me lose concentration.  Also, early on, there were a few punctuation errors – simple ones, like apostrophes in plurals.  


This is a first novel – the author definitely has talent, and this story is a great idea.  I would suggest a) working with a good editor to pull it into shape, b) instructing her publisher to make decent review copies before she sends out any more! and c) having a re-think about some of the character names – perhaps make some of them more unusual, and more 21st century.  To sum up – it’s good, and has the potential to be very good, but it felt a bit 3rd-draft-ish, and needs more work to make it publication-ready, in my opinion.

Book description

For most people, colonising Mars is the opportunity of a lifetime. A chance for adventure. But for Jane, it’s a chance to escape her old life.

As the Earth grows more inhospitable, humanity’s best hope for survival is to start again on Mars. Jane Parker was lucky enough to be chosen from millions of applicants to join the first ship of colonisers. But before the crew of the Sleipnir can begin taming the red waste, they have to survive the voyage over. And there are those who would rather they didn’t reach their destination.

Trapped on a ship with a deadly saboteur, Jane will be forced to use her unique skills to keep the crew of the Sleipnir and her new friends safe. But will Jane be able to get the ship to its destination and keep her past a secret?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #TimeTravel Neander: Exploitation by @AuthorHarald

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Neander: Exploitation by Harald Johnson

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5 out of 5 stars
I read the first book in this series, in which Tom Cook first ends up back in Neanderthal times, and of course his first realisation about what had happened was so good to read, but I actually liked this book more.


In Neander: Exploitation, Tom has a family back in those ancient times, but must travel back to the 21st century to get medical help for his daughter.  The book just flowed along, all the way through, with no dreary bits to wade through, and was oddly convincing despite the subject matter being so bizarre!  I constantly found myself unwilling to put the book down because I was so looking forward to seeing what happened next.

The elements of this book that interested me, in particular, were the idea that a time traveller could enter another era only to find that time has moved more quickly, and the way in which Tom’s actions back in prehistoric times alter the world for millennia to come.  I would love to see more of that in book 3, which I notice is being written at the moment, and about how Tom feels about the 21st century versus his pre-history life, which was touched on at the end.


Anyway, top stuff.  Looking forward to Book 3, and if you’re a time travel addict, get it now!

Book description

“What kind of world is this?”
It’s five years later, and Tom Cook is living a “normal” life with his Neanderthal family 40,000 years ago.
But when a life-threatening crisis strikes his daughter, Tom decides to carry her to the future for the medical help she desperately needs. And in the process, he’s entangled in a modern world very different from the one he left behind.

Now, caught up in a secret plan to exploit his daughter’s unique Neanderthal DNA, Tom must find a way to save everything he loves and cherishes.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #SpeculativeFiction TOKYO MAYDAY by Maison Urwin

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Tokyo Mayday by Maison Urwin

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4.5*
The human race.  Migrating here and there for centuries, back and forth, whilst objecting to the influx of others.  Like migrating birds.  Like herded sheep.’


I love to read other authors’ view of the near future, and Tokyo Mayday is a clever and inventive slant on the subject.  In the 2050s, climate change, political/civil unrest and technological advancement have turned the US and the European states into third world countries, with poverty and lack of jobs.  The world’s greatest superpower is now Japan.  Outside the cities, economic migrants are kept in holding camps, hoping for work, but now many of these migrants are white Europeans and Americans.  

Jordan May and his family are offered the chance to live in Tokyo, which means a good job for Jordan at Matsucorp, the top car manufacturer in the world.  When they arrive there from England, however, they discover that all is far from utopian.  They are to live in a shared house, and both Jordan and his son, Alfie, immediately become aware of the opposing factions in the country – the far right who want to keep Japan for the Japanese, headed by the mysterious Yamada, and the movement for better treatment of migrants, more equal wages and fairer treatment for all, which grows in popularity amongst idealistic young people and the low-paid workers from the West.  As a skilled worker, Jordan sits between the two.


Manipulating all players is the mysterious Stepson Struthwin, advisor to the owner of Matsucorp.


It’s clear that the author is well-versed in Japanese culture; the detail provided by his insight is an added point of interest while reading this highly original and probably plausible look at the future.  His writing style is spare, which I liked very much, and the characterisation works well, throughout.  The picky might complain about a certain amount of ‘telling not showing’, but my view is that if it works well, who cares – and in Tokyo Mayday, it does.  


The book held my interest all the way through, with some good twists near the end that I hadn’t anticipated.  No complaints; this is a definite ‘buy it’ recommendation, for anyone who loves this genre as much as I do.

Book description

This is Maison Urwin’s debut novel, which follows the ordeal of a family’s economic migration from the Federal Republic of England & Wales to Tokyo.

The power is in the East.

The Federal Republic of England & Wales is in crisis.

Western economic collapse has led to mass economic migration to China, Korea and especially Japan. Jordan May is offered a transfer with Matsucorp and takes wife, Shaylie, and son, Alfie, to a new and bewildering life in the Orient. The book is set in the 2050s when, following the end of capitalism in Europe, the Far East is now considered the developed world. Society in the West has fallen apart and the East Asia is the destination of choice for economic migrants who are prepared to take risks and endure prejudice in the search for a better life.

The May family emigrates from Harwich, England to Japan and husband, wife and son battle discrimination, are embroiled in political activism and forbidden romance, are targeted in racist attacks and are endangered by unwitting gangland involvement. As the climax approaches in a violent political demonstration on the streets of Tokyo, we begin to discover the extent to which a mysterious, wiry Englishman has manipulated each of them.

This work of speculative fiction sees the Mays thrust into industrial politics, illegal unionisation and hostessing. Teenage love and the organisation of a mass demonstration take place against a backdrop of racial tension and the rise of the far right.

Could Shaylie’s life be in danger? Is the mafia involved?

And just who is the Machaivellian Stepson Struthwin who sits on Matsucorp’s board and has such a hold over the lives of those around him?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Family Drama THE OTHER MRS SAMSON by Ralph Webster

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading The Other Mrs Samson by Ralph Webster

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4*
This book, for me, went from nicely readable but only moderately interesting, to absolutely unputdownable, and back to only moderately interesting.  The first narrator, in the present day, finds a secret horde of papers belonging to his recently deceased, ninety-five-year-old friend, Katie Samson, from which he surmises that her husband had been married before.  At this point, although not enthralled, I thought, well, this is certainly no chore to read, being nicely written and with the possibility of a great story to come.


…and whoosh, there it was. I turned the page to the POV of Hilda, the first wife, and the book bloomed, opened up, emerged from black and white into glorious technicolour.  Hilda’s story went back as far as her grandparents’ experience in San Francisco Gold Rush days, and on to the making of that city, the role of women in the Victorian era, life in a small Bavarian village, changing times and growing problems in Europe, to do with Germany’s place in the world – I was gripped, all the way through.  Hilda and her grandmother were so alive, and aside from being a great story with wonderful characters, it was historically informative.  Fascinating.  Loved it.

Next came Katie’s POV, and at first I still liked it a lot, as I read about her family tragedies, the aftermath of WW1 and Berlin’s ‘Roaring Twenties’, the effects of American’s Great Depression on the rest of the world, the Nazi party’s growing control, and her and lover Josef’s route out.  Then the lead up to the WW2 … and I’m afraid it all went a bit flat for me, and became nothing more than a factual account of someone’s life. Events are recorded, but without emotion; all we ever learn is that the threat to Josef, a Jew, was ‘very unsettling’.  I read of their luck at being able to move from one place to another just in time, before the Gestapo established travel restrictions, but it was no more thrilling to read about than the sentence I have just written.  There was no emotion, no action, no feeling of danger, no story, just an account.

I was disappointed by my disappointment, if you know what I mean, because I loved the book so much earlier on; for instance, Katie’s only brother, Karl, joins the Nazi party and gains a position of authority, but that’s all—we never hear about him again, and there is no story attached to this.  At the end there is another little twist, but it seems almost like an afterthought.  


Four stars on Amazon because Hilda’s part was absolutely 5* plus, and because the author writes in an extremely accessible fashion, so that even the 3* bits were no effort to read.  I would recommend it to readers who like a family drama and are interested in reading about the history of the times mentioned – it’s worth getting just for the middle section.

Book description

Surviving two wars, sharing one husband, searching for answers.

A secret compartment in a black lacquer cabinet left in an attic reveals the secrets of two incredible women: Hilda, born and raised in one of the wealthiest Jewish families in turn-of-the-century San Francisco, and Katie, whose early life in Germany is marked by tragedy and death. Their lives are forever entwined by their love of the same man, the brilliant and compassionate Dr. Josef Samson.

From the earliest, rough-and-tumble days of San Francisco, through the devastation of the Great War in Berlin and the terrors of Vichy France, and then to a new yet uncertain life in New York City, their stories span the most tumultuous events of the twentieth century. In the end, one of these women will complete the life of the other and make a startling discovery about the husband they share.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #ContemporaryFiction THE SHADE UNDER THE MANGO TREE by Evy Journey

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading The Shade Of The Mango Tree by Evy Journey

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3.5*

This book was not as I expected from the blurb.  I did enjoy much of it, even though I was expecting to read about human relationships in general, travel, adventures in and the cultures of countries far away; however, this aspect of it does not start until Part 5, at 72% in the Kindle version.  For the most part, this book is a romance.

Luna and Lucien are two rather humourless, intense young people, both so introspective that I felt the powerful love between them was more about seeing a reflection of themselves in each other.  They meet because Luna leaves her journal in a café they both frequent, and Lucien finds and reads it.  I liked the beginning of the book, when Luna is young and spends her summers with her beloved grandmother in Hawaii; this came alive for me, making me feel nostalgic for a place I had never been to, which is always a good sign.  The grandmother was lovely, and I enjoyed reading about the life there.  As Luna grows older, falls in love for the first time and discovers secrets about her family, her naïveté is a little irritating, and I found Lucien’s obsession with her and her journal a little creepy.

I could easily have skipped the drawn-out detail about their love affair to get to by far the most interesting part of the book: Luna’s experiences in Cambodia.  I had limited knowledge about this country, and what I read made me want to find out more, so this certainly ticked a box.  

As for the writing itself, it flows very well, and the author writes nicely, though I found the dialogue rather unrealistic, particularly between Luna and Lucien. Much of the book is written in journal entry and letters between the two main characters, a structure I like, and alternates between their two points of view.  I found the main characters too bland to care much what happened between or to them, but this is only personal taste; other readers may see this story as a beautiful romance.  Had there been more about Hawaii and Cambodia and less about Lucien and Luna’s self-absorption, I might have loved it.

Book description

After two heartbreaking losses, Luna wants adventure. Something and somewhere very different from the affluent, sheltered home in California and Hawaii where she grew up. An adventure in which she can also make some difference. She travels to a foreign place where she gets more than she bargained for.

Lucien, a worldly, well-traveled young architect, finds a stranger’s journal at a café. He has qualms and pangs of guilt about reading it. But they don’t stop him. His decision to go on reading changes his life.

Months later, Luna and Lucien meet at a bookstore where Luna works and which Lucien frequents. Still hurting from her losses, Luna finds solace in Lucien’s company and his tales of world travel.

Inspired by Lucien, she goes to Cambodia. What she goes through in one of its rice-growing villages defies anything she could have imagined.

An epistolary tale of courage, love and loss, and the bonds that bring diverse people together.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Mystery Jane in St. Pete by @CynthiaHarriso1

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Jane In St. Pete by Cynthia Harrison

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4 out of 5 stars

Art lecturer Jane Chasen is recently widowed and moves from Detroit to live within a community in Florida.  Shortly after her arrival, she admires a neighbour’s unusual art installation – but then a murder takes place.  Detective Jesse Singer wants her help when dissecting the art angle of the case, and together with friend Kim and neighbour George, Jane sets out to help solve the mystery.  Also involved is FBI agent Barb, who has a special relationship with George.

It’s clear from the book that Ms Harrison is familiar with this part of Florida, and she makes it sound idyllic.  There is quite a lot of most interesting detail about Jane’s loveless marriage to the late Stan, and I couldn’t help feeling glad for her that she was able to start this new chapter in her life, despite the difficulties with her daughter, who accuses her of being glad her father is dead.  Jane is fifty-five; I very much liked the way in which she is not written as an ‘older woman’, but simply how your average fifty-five year old is, these days – still wearing cool clothes, being up for adventure and new experiences, and a new love relationship.  She could have been any age from thirty to sixty-five-ish.

The novel is nicely written, perfectly presented, and a cosy ‘easy read’; the sort of story to be relax with after a long, busy day.  Good for women who want to read about older female main characters – and I must just drop this quote in, that I really liked:

Jane felt bad for George. Young people didn’t get it.  Love wasn’t fate or soul mates, it was just hormones that evaporated with time.’

Book description

Widowed art lecturer Jane Chasen is not an impulsive woman. Why, then, does the formerly methodical workaholic quit her job, sell her house, and move from Detroit to Florida? Instead of pondering her atypical behavior, she takes a closer look at a neighbor’s intriguing outdoor art installation. Days later, Detective Jesse Singer discovers the murdered artist in his studio. With Jane’s help, Singer finds the victim’s bloody shirt, inexplicably located within Jane’s gated community. Singer knows nothing about art, and as he closely questions Jane, she offers to help with the art angle of the case. Singer soon takes Jane up on her offer. Then, Jane begins to receive anonymous threats. Singer, determined to protect Jane, keeps her closer to his side than ever—she’s not complaining.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Of End Of The World #Thriller APPARENT HORIZON by Patrick Morgan

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Apparent Horizon by Patrick Morgan

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4*
This was a terrific story, a most original idea that would make a marvellous film or miniseries. Three friends, Michael, Drew and Aaron, get together on the eve of Drew’s wedding. Aaron, who works on top secret projects at NASA, tells the other two about a gamma ray burst that will hit the southern hemisphere the next day. He warns that it will quickly destroy the food chain, cause massive radiation and thus end human life on earth, sooner rather than later. Basically, the world is about to end.
During Drew’s wedding the sky does indeed light up at exactly the time Aaron predicted, but the news media dismisses it as a harmless event, as he warned would happen.
The story is written in the third person POV of Michael, and details his reactions to this news, and the effect it has on him. Having always been an introverted sort of guy who lived a ‘safe’ life, he wonders if, now that there is so little time left, he can let loose a part of himself that he is not even sure exists.
The characters are all clearly defined, and the dialogue is great—you know it’s good when you don’t feel as though you’re ‘reading dialogue’, as I didn’t, in this. The plot itself is extremely well thought out, with plenty of surprises, though a few warning bells did ring for me early on. On the whole I enjoyed reading it, though I found it somewhat lacking in suspense; there was too much ‘Michael did this, then Michael did that’. I thought some of the detail could have been edited out; a loss of around twenty-per cent could have made it sharper, fast-paced, more of a page-turner.  t just needed a bit more pizazz, to do justice to the excellent plot. I also expected a final twist that never came; okay, I’d actually decided what it would be, but this is Patrick Morgan’s book, not mine!
This is a commendable first novel, and I’m sure that the author will develop his style as he continues to write. Nice one.
Book description
With no tomorrow, what are we capable of today?

On the eve of his best friend’s wedding, Michael is warned by an old classmate, now a NASA scientist, that a gamma ray burst from a nearby exploding star will hit the Earth the following morning at 11:13 a.m. – an incident that will irrevocably destroy the ozone layer, disrupt the food chain, and ultimately prove cataclysmic for all life on the planet.

Michael and the groom-to-be, Drew, laugh off the prediction as a demented joke. However, at precisely 11:13 a.m. the next day, a blinding light in the sky disrupts Drew’s wedding. News media outlets dismiss the cosmic event as a harmless phenomenon, but Michael knows better. Wrestling with the burden of his truth, uncertain of how much time he has left or just what to do with it, Michael finds himself alienated from everything and everyone he’s ever known.

Under Drew’s influence, Michael begins to transform his rather mundane life, previously shackled by powerlessness and fear, into something more unrestrained and ultimately dangerous. Feeling the weight of an unseen doomsday clock ticking his final days away, he pushes the moral envelope further and further on a quest for control over his own reality – no matter who might suffer for it.

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