Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE LOST BLACKBIRD: An emotional dramas based on true life events by @LizaPerrat

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading The Lost Blackbird by Liza Perrat

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This book is certainly an eye-opener.  In the 1950s and 60s (and as late as 1970), children were taken from English children’s homes for a ‘better life’ in Australia.  Sometimes the children were orphans, other times they were in care because the parents were temporarily unable to look after them, and they were shipped off without parental consent.  A few were fortunate, and were adopted by families, but most were used as slave labour on farms, until they were sixteen, when they would be sent to cattle stations to serve an ‘apprenticeship’ – more slave labour.  Most suffered permanent separation from siblings and families in England.

This is the fictional story of Londoners Lucy and Charly Rivers who ended up in ‘care’ (a brutal, regimental establishment) after their mother was wrongly convicted of having killed their father.  When Charly was six and Lucy ten, they were put on a boat with many others, to sail to the other side of the world.

The story alternates between that of Lucy and Charly, who fare very differently.  I found Charly’s story absolutely fascinating, and it was so well written by Ms Perrat; it involved a slow brainwashing until by the time she was sixteen she was not sure what was a memory and what a fantasy or dream; the way in which she tried to capture fleeting images was perfectly illustrated, as was the behaviour of the people who perpetrated this; the gradual unravelling was riveting stuff.  Lucy’s story was so tragic and I was equally engrossed in the first two thirds or so, though I was less convinced by a couple of developments later on.

The book is certainly a page-turner, nicely structured, making me eager to know what would happen next, as hope twinkles in the distance for the characters, then disappears. The writing flows well, and I’d definitely recommend it to any readers who enjoy emotional dramas based on true life events – the fact that all this stuff actually happened gives a hugely compelling slant to the whole story.  At the end of the book, Ms Perrat writes about her research process, giving details of some of the books she used for reference, which has now added to my reading list, too!  I give her a round of applause for bringing these heinous crimes to light in this highly readable novel.

Book description

A powerful story of sisters cruelly torn apart by a shameful event in British-Australian history. Clare Flynn, author of The Pearl of Penang
London 1962. A strict and loveless English children’s home, or the promise of Australian sunshine, sandy beaches and eating fruit straight from the tree. Which would you choose?
Ten-year-old Lucy Rivers and her five-year-old sister Charly are thrilled when a child migrant scheme offers them the chance to escape their miserable past.
But on arrival in Sydney, the girls discover their fantasy future is more nightmare than dream.
Lucy’s lot is near-slavery at Seabreeze Farm where living conditions are inhuman, the flies and heat unbearable and the owner a sadistic bully. What must she do to survive?
Meanwhile Charly, adopted by the nurturing and privileged Ashwood family, gradually senses that her new parents are hiding something. When the truth emerges, the whole family crumbles. Can Charly recover from this bittersweet deception?
Will the sisters, stranded miles apart in a strange country, ever find each other again?
A poignant testament to child migrants who suffered unforgivable evil, The Lost Blackbird explores the power of family bonds and our desire to know who we are.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Victorian #Mystery FAME & FORTUNE by @carolJhedges

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Fame & Fortune by Carol J Hedges

5 stars

This is the eighth book in Carol Hedges’ Victorian murder mystery, featuring officers of the law Stride and Cully.  The story starts with a mysterious hanging and the theft of rare Japanese artefacts, and takes the crime-fighting duo to the seediest areas of London and then off to more upmarket districts to see out the Black brothers, Herbert and Munro; Munro runs gambling clubs, while Herbert is often abroad, taking care of his trading empire – but what is he selling?

Running through the main story are a couple of juicy sub-plots – that of a romantic novelist accused by an aristocrat of using his marital dramas as a plot for her novels, and the tale of Izzy, a ten-year-old who works painting furniture for dolls’ houses by day, and washing dishes by night, then goes home to share a mattress with her uncaring mother in an unsavoury boarding house.

Fame & Fortune is up there with the rest of this series, a delight to read, as Ms Hedges spins her story around artfully-drawn characters, at the same time as highlighting the social injustices of the day.  Izzy’s story, in particular, is heartrending.  Another winner; if you haven’t read any of this series, they’re all completely stand-alone, even though certain threads are carried on throughout.  Highly recommended. 

Book description

When the body of a man is discovered hanging from some scaffolding under one of London’s bridges, Scotland Yard’s detective division is called in to solve the mystery of his identity & how he died. What they discover is a web of crime and extortion, and at the heart of it, two evil brothers, Munro and Herbert Black. Their inquiries will bring them into contact with the strange world of Gerald Daubney, collector of Japanese curios, whose priceless collection of netsuke has disappeared.

Facing a similar loss is Mrs Riva Hemmyng-Stratton, writer of ‘silver-fork’ novels, who suddenly finds herself embroiled in a court case when she is sued for defamation and libel by Lord Edwin Lackington. Her priceless reputation as a writer is on the line. How on earth can she prove her innocence when the only person who could vouch for it is incarcerated in a private asylum?

Many old friends make appearances in the novel … and a certain meaningful relationship finally reaches its conclusion.

AmazonUk |

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #PostApocalyptic The World Without Flags by @BenLyleBedard #TuesdayBookBlog

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading The World Without Flags by Ben Lyle Bedard

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5 stars

I have an endless hunger for post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction, but it has to be well-written, feasible, properly researched and edited, with great characters, realistic dialogue and a plot that keeps me turning the pages.  I am delighted to say that this ticked all the boxes.  I loved it.

It’s actually a Book #2, but it’s completely stand-alone; I didn’t know of the existence of Book #1 until I looked up the Amazon links for this review.

Birdie is around sixteen (she is not sure of her exact age), and lives in the Homestead in Maine, where she lives with Eric, who she thinks of as her father.  She has only vague recollections of the Worm, a disease that hit the world a decade ago, around 1990, rendering most of the population zombie-like, though only a few ‘cracked’ and became flesh-eaters.  She is happy enough in her world – but then a traveller appears with news of a coming war between two factions, both of whom want to rebuild the country under their command.

This news leaves the community in a state of extreme anxiety, but worse is to come.  Much, much worse…

Most of the story is about a journey that Birdie must make to ensure her own safety and that of those she loves, through land she doesn’t know, where she will come up against much danger.  The hazardous journey is a post-apocalyptic standard, but it works every time if done well, and this was.  It’s exciting, unpredictable, and Birdie’s development, as she learns more about the world outside her safe enclosure and finds much strength within herself that she didn’t know existed, is a joy to read.

If you love this genre, I recommend highly; even if you think you don’t, I still recommend.  Suffice to say that I’ve downloaded Book #1, and started reading it as soon as I’d finished #2.  One word of warning: it’s rather gruesome at times.  Don’t read it while you’re eating.  I say this from experience.

Book description

The old world is gone. Ten years have passed since a parasitic Worm nearly drove humanity to extinction. When the Worm infected its human host, it crawled up into the brain, latching on and taking command. The result was shambling hordes of infected people called zombies. When the Worm vanished, bringing the majority of humans with it, it left a ravaged landscape. Small communities struggle to survive while bandits prey on the weak and hunger marches in through winter’s gate.

Across this landscape, a young woman must overcome terror and isolation to survive. Driven by determination and loyalty, she must leave the only safety she has ever known. Confronting both death and her own past, pushed to her uttermost limits, she will discover who she is and what she is willing to sacrifice.

The stand-alone sequel to the award-winning The World Without Crows, The World Without Flags is a story of survival, loyalty, and what we suffer for the ones we love.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Celebrating 6 Years Of Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT With Team Member @TerryTyler4

Recently we celebrated our review team’s six year anniversary by revealing fourteen of the team’s favourite books.

You can find out which books they were in part one and part two.

I invited some of my team members to tell us more about being part of the book reviewing team.

Welcome to Terry Tyler, who also writes book reviews at https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

I have been a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team (#RBRT) for five and a half years, now.  I first ‘met’ Rosie online when looking for reviews for my own early books, and through her some of the other bloggers who later became part of the team.

I admit to being wary of making the commitment when I joined the review team, but I’m so glad I did; Rosie has created something so positive for the independently published world (the team deals mainly with the self-published or those published by independents), and I am proud to be a part of it.  When I joined, I decided to start my own book review blog – I don’t profess to be a ‘proper’ book blogger as I’m primarily a writer; I don’t take submissions and use it only for reviewing for Rosie and my own reading choices, but it’s something I enjoy doing.

There are two main reasons why I’m so glad I joined the team, equally important.  The first is the discovery of some truly excellent books; now and again, you find a real gem, that you want to shout about; so often these are books that are hidden away on Amazon and you would have never discovered, had the author not submitted.  Here are a few that made me feel this way (link takes you to my review):

The Men by Fanny Calder
The Usurper King  by Zeb Haradon
The World Without Flags by Ben Lyle Bedard
Singularity Syndrome by Susan Kuchinskas
The Unrivalled Transcendence of Willem J Gyle by James D Dixon
The Unravelling of Brendan Meeks by Brian Cohn

The second reason I love being a part of #RBRT is that some of us have become real life friends, too, enjoying several meet-ups. Here’s to six more years of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team!

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Mystery ODD NUMBERS by @JJMarsh1

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Odd Numbers by J.J. Marsh

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I chose this book from the review team list because I loved An Empty Vessel by this author, though this book is completely different.

For the past twenty years, Gael, Lovisa, Mika, Simone and Clark have spent every other New Year together, taking it in turns to choose the venue for a short holiday.  There used to be six of them, but Dhan died at their Y2K celebration two decades before.  At the time it was thought to be a terrible accident, but as the book progresses, we start to wonder if it was suicide, or even murder.

Interesting, interesting – and it is a testament to JJ Marsh’s storytelling skill that I enjoyed much of this, and was eager to find out what happened, despite some issues I had with the novel as a whole.

The book is told in first person chapters from all five friends, and dots back and forth in time between the present and the various reunions of the past twenty years, which were held in many different locations. To say I found the zig-zagging between time and locations confusing is something of an understatement; by half-way through I decided to stop trying to remember exactly where and when I was currently supposed to be, who was married to whom when, what already had or hadn’t happened in the chapter I was reading, and just concentrate on the relationship dynamics, and the uncovering of the mystery.

One of the characters comments that if it was not for Dhan’s death, maybe their friendship would not have endured. I thought she was probably right, as much of the time they don’t seem that keen on each other.  None of them are very likeable people (even the ‘nice’ one talks in humourless therapy-speak half the time), but I don’t mind that. I’d rather read about a sociopath than a saint any day; it’s far more interesting, the only problem being not having anyone to root for when all the characters are self-centred, cunning and/or in denial about more or less everything.

Aside from the chaotic timeline, I found it difficult to ‘know’ any of them, because each of their point-of-view chapters is written in much the same ‘voice’, despite their being of different nationalities, different social classes, etc. Aside from the varying subject matter, the odd Americanism from Clark, and Simone being a manipulative, particularly nasty piece of work, they all use the same language, have the same speech patterns, similar mood, tempo, vocabularies. Mika, Lovisa and Gael I could never ‘see’ at all; sometimes I thought I was reading Mika when it was Gael, etc. I also found some of the dialogue unrealistic.

Having said that… (and it’s a big ‘having said that’) I did enjoy reading this book, became immersed in the intrigue and thought the basic plot was great. I liked the slow uncovering of each person’s dark secrets, the truth about Dhan and the final drama, though it felt a bit rushed; I think more could have been made of it. There were a fair few irritations (not least of all the reiteration of the current trend I’ve noticed on new, young audience TV shows: that out of any group of young people, fifty per cent of them will have casual sex with either gender at the drop of a hat), but I found that … yes, I couldn’t put it down. It’s a hard one to rate. Yes, I liked it. Sort of. Mostly.

To sum up: The plot kept me interested throughout. JJ Marsh’s innate talent does come across, despite the book’s weaker elements; although the characters never really came to life for me, I liked the story a lot. So although I couldn’t say ‘yes, definitely, you must buy this’, I also want to say, it’s fun and original, and I did like it. Mostly. Sort of.

Book description

The Guilty Party meets The Secret History

Can you forgive a friend?

Strange things bring people together. Like a tragic death.

Over two decades, five friends reunite every other New Year. They celebrate, grieve and heal. Memories grow dusty and the nightmare starts to fade.

On the 20th anniversary, in a remote snowy chalet, old doubts surface.
Wounds reopen and morality comes into question.

Is friendship a safety net or a tie that hobbles to the past?

They thought they knew each other’s secrets.
Did they miss the biggest one of all?

When history is rewritten, they must act to preserve the future.
A fatal decision means this reunion will be their last.

A psychological drama with beautifully portrayed characters and an intricately woven plot. The suspense emerges between the lines, grabs you softly but never lets go.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT 1930s American #HistoricalFiction THREADS by @CWhitneyAuthor

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Threads by Charlotte Whitney

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4 out of 5 stars

Threads is a set on a farm in Michigan during the Depression, about a family struggling to survive.  The novel is told in alternating first person points of view of the three daughters: Flora, who is seventeen, Nellie, the youngest, who is seven, and Irene, somewhere in the middle.  Nellie is a tad wild, with a vivid imagination; Irene is a rather smug goody-goody on the surface, but is clearly suffering from ‘middle-child syndrome’, while Flora is very much the ‘big sister’, nearly an adult, who sees how the world works outside the concerns of the other two.  Each sister’s character is clearly defined, with her own distinctive voice.

The novel is primarily concerned simply with the way of life of that place and time; it is character rather than plot-driven, an illustration of the family’s world and their fears, joys and struggles.  These people were POOR.  If you’ve never dined on potatoes every night, or looked on a bean sandwich as a treat, you should never think of yourself as hard-up again!  Within the girls’ narratives, Ms Whitney has shown us a larger picture of the country in the 1930s; they tell of the ‘train riders’; unemployed, itinerant young men who travelled the country by stowing away on trains, begging for food wherever they stopped.  The way the community pitched in to help each other.  The fears that consumed them all; if they couldn’t sell enough produce, they would lose their homes.

I found Flora’s chapters the most interesting as she was concerned not only her own insular world (what happened at school, etc) but talked about the way of life as a whole.  On occasion, though, Irene and Nellie would reveal much within their own childlike eye-view; this was done most skillfully.

If I have any criticisms, it’s just that I would have liked a bit more actual plot; events coming to a climax and then being resolved, at some point.  There is a little mystery concerning an event from the first chapter about which we don’t get the answer until the end, but I felt there were missed opportunities to make the story more of a page-turner.  However, I did enjoy it, throughout, and would most certainly recommend it as an insightful and highly readable look at this recent and still relevant time in America’s history.

Book description

It’s a boring, hardscrabble life for three sisters growing up on a Michigan farm in the throes of the Great Depression. But, when young Nellie, digging for pirate treasure, discovers the tiny blue-black hand of a dead baby, rumors begin to fly. Narrated by Nellie and her two older sisters, the story follows the girls as they encounter a patchwork of threatening circumstances and take it upon themselves to solve the mystery.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Football Themed #Horror Novella BURNTBRIDGE BOYS by @john_f_leonard

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Burntbridge Boys by John F. Leonard

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I’ve read quite a few of John F Leonard’s shorter length horror tales, and always enjoy both his original story ideas and characterisation.  Burntbridge boys is set in 1979 and is about Sammy ‘the butcher’ Rafferty, a former footballer, football club manager and general bad boy, whose glory days are over; he is currently on the run from the police and from unfriendly criminal types.  When Sammy finds himself in the decaying stadium of a defunct club, it seems that his dreams might not be over after all….  

Much of the story includes flashbacks to the 1960s, detailing Sammy’s career and how deeply he became involved in the corruption to do with the game: the pay offs, the dodgy transfers, the darker side of life for many of those involved.  Sammy’s backstory is as much a part of the whole as the supernatural side, which I liked; in itself, it’s something of a horror story.

I very much liked the unravelling of the ghostly mystery in the last 20% of the story, the strongest part; Sammy’s meeting with Burntbridge’s Chairman Millicent is stunningly good.  I felt that some of the earlier parts would benefit from a bit of fine-tuning, perhaps another draft or the hand of an experienced copy editor to tidy up some over-use of the subordinate clause and to make the delivery more concise.  A little more attention to detail could raise this author’s work to the next level.

Having said that, it really is an excellent story, and I love the way Mr Leonard doesn’t shy away from the distasteful, and builds tension so well – I think if you have an interest in football, you’ll love it, especially if you like your fiction on the dark side, but even if you actively dislike it, as I do, you’ll still enjoy!

Book description

It’s 1979 and Sammy Rafferty is on the run. From the past. From the police. And, perhaps more importantly, from some rather unfriendly criminal types.
He thinks his football dreams are over, but that might not be the case. He’s run to Burntbridge Lye. A place where dreams don’t always die.

Sammy “the butcher” Rafferty has long since kissed his playing days goodbye. Never kicking a competitive ball again was a hard pill to swallow and he’s not ready for his managerial career to come to an untimely end. The thought of forever being shut out of football makes his heart sink and feet itch.

There isn’t any choice. The cards have been dealt and you have to play the hand you’re given. Sammy grits his teeth and gets on with it. Life settles into monotony and offers only boredom and frustration …until he comes across an old football ground nestled in the back of beyond.

He can almost hear the roar of the crowd as he parks at the gates of the deserted Burntbridge Palmers, a decaying stadium on the outskirts of Bledbrooke Town.
The club that won’t die could be just the place for a man who still has a gleam in his eye. After all, they’re both ghosts that won’t go away.

Burntbridge Boys is about a lot of things.
Horror, for sure. No doubt there. Old school horror, with a twist. A ghost story where the ghosts aren’t really dead.
A fond reminiscence of football, back before football became completely commercialised? Yes, definitely, soccer plays its part. Although, it has to be said, the beautiful game is sometimes less than beautiful in Burntbridge Boys. It can be somewhat ugly and …disturbing. And often more than a game.
Deceit and double-dealing? Yeah, there’s a fair-sized chunk of that.

It might also be about power passed into hands too fragile for the holding. The darkness hidden in human hearts which is best kept hidden and secrets that are better not revealed. Society and its cruel attitudes, before society became an equally dreadful click-driven social media experiment.
You’ll draw your conclusions – that’s one of the joys of reading.

On a more prosaic level, is there such a thing as a football horror story? Let alone one set in the past which wallows in a darkly imagined history of the game.
Who knows? When the Dead Boxes are involved, anything is possible. Such items have always been scary things.
Even in the swinging Sixties and glam-shock punk revolution of the Seventies, they contained a terrifying mix of horror and salvation. Throw the Scaeth Mythos into the mix and stuff gets decidedly multi-dimensional.

There are different realities and the walls which separate them can be paper thin. The tiniest tear can allow horror and madness to bleed through.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #HistoricalFiction #Mystery INTO THE SUFFERING CITY by Bill LeFurgy

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Into The Suffering City by Bill LeFurgy

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3.5 stars

A most professionally presented book, which centres around the murder of a showgirl. Dr Sarah Kennecott is a doctor who happens to be on the autism spectrum, though of course this was not recognised in those days. She becomes fascinated with the case and can’t let it rest, despite much family and political opposition; she also has to contend with the attitude of the time towards professional, educated women. Through her passionate interest in Lizzie Sullivan’s murder, she becomes involved with Jack Harden, a down-on-his-luck private detective. This association is not looked upon kindly.
The author clearly has a great love for his subject, and I appreciated the pictures drawn of the development of this new city, with its excitement and opportunity, but also its dark side: corruption, narcotics, prejudices. It is most intelligently written (the author is a professional historian and archivist), and a most commendable debut.
The only problem for me with this book was that it lacked that spark that might have made it a real page-turner. I felt a lack of suspense, and didn’t become involved with the characters; they felt distant, and never became more than names on a page for me. This could be just personal taste, though, as I often struggle with third person characters written in the omniscient narrator style. I am sure that if the author works on his actual storytelling he could produce something marvellous in the future; the rest of it, I could not fault.

 

Book description

Baltimore, 1909. The city is jumping with danger and excitement. New thrills are everywhere: cars, cocaine, ragtime music, moving pictures. Old troubles also thrive, including murder, corruption, and the painful divisions of gender, class, and race.

Dr. Sarah Kennecott is on the autism spectrum—a trait that is unidentified and unappreciated at the time. Her passion is justice for murder victims, and after getting fired for looking too closely into the killing of a showgirl, she refuses to back down from the investigation. Sarah forms an unlikely bond with Jack Harden, a tormented, down-on-his-luck private detective. Jack pushes the case into Baltimore’s seedy underworld, a vitally corrupt realm of saloons, brothels, and burlesque theaters.

When Sarah and Jack pull the pieces together, they discover a stunning pair of secrets, each of which is worth killing to keep.

“Into the Suffering City” is a fast-paced, emotionally immersive story that combines originality and historical detail to explore the lives of people living in Baltimore during the early 1900s.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT #CrimeFiction OBSESSION -A Crime Of The Heart by @RobinStorey1 #TuesdayBookBlog

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Obesssion- A Crime Of The Heart by Robin Storey

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4.5*

Intellectually disabled Benny Goodchild is in his early forties, works in a warehouse where he suffers taunts from colleagues, and lives alone.  His life is humdrum indeed, but trouble starts when he starts doing gardening work for Olivia, who lives nearby.  Then he gets the opportunity to earn some serious money—the sort of serious that he suspects might be illegal.
I was engrossed in this book all the way through, looking forward to getting back to it at each session.  It’s written in the third person, with the deep point of view that allows the reader to see into Benny’s often rather confused mind.  The story has been planned well, and I couldn’t work out what was going to happen, at all—it could have taken a number of different turns.  Ms Storey has an easy, flowing writing style, and the characterisation is subtly but artfully developed, even for lesser characters.
I would have given it five stars if it wasn’t for a practical issue that didn’t convince me, but I do tend to read with an editor’s head on, and I doubt it would bother most people; if Amazon ratings had a ten star range, I’d give it eight.  Overall, this is a highly entertaining book throughout which I was not tempted to skip-read once (which is something, for me!) and it comes with a definite recommendation.  Buy it!
Book description

He’s lonely and desperate. But he wants far more than her attention…

The one thing Benny wants more than anything is a relationship. But he’s not smart or good-looking, so women ignore him or run the other way.

Then Olivia moves into the neighbourhood. It’s love at first sight for Benny. She is beautiful and kind, his fairy tale princess.

But there are two big obstacles:

Olivia doesn’t love him. Yet.

And her abusive ex-husband Lucas is still hanging around, making life difficult for her.

There’s only one course of action. But it will change everyone’s lives.

Forever.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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

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

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Highland Cove by Dylan J Morgan

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

4*

A highly atmospheric story that gathers momentum like skeletal fingers walking slowly up your back, Highland Cove is a book that will delight lovers of dark, horrifying ghost stories that do not necessarily end well…

The party of five who set out on this foolish mission—to make a documentary in a haunted asylum on a lonely Scottish island—each have their own story, and the characters are well-defined, particularly Liam, for whom this project is something of a passion, and Alex, the sceptical rich boy who has been invited purely because he is willing to fund it.  Dylan Morgan’s descriptive powers are first class, and I particularly liked the meeting in the pub, early on, with the old sailor who was to take them across from the mainland.  Chapters written in the past added an extra dimension to the story, and made it all the more poignant.

I was pleased to find that the horror certainly ramps up during the second half, with many surprises, and I thought the last twenty per cent was actually the best part, with a twist in the tale or two that I didn’t expect, at all.  I felt that some of the detail in the first half could have been chopped down a little, but on the whole I’d say that this is a fine, well-written book with good plot, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who likes to become immersed in a novel on the gory horror end of the supernatural genre.

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.]