THE WINNERS! #TuesdayBookBlog #RBRT Bookreview team presents: The Gold & Silver 2016 Book Awards

The Winners!#RBRT Rosie’s Book Review Team presents: The Gold & Silver Rose Awards 2016

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*Cough* … On behalf of my team, I’m delighted to announce the winners and runners-up in the #RBRT 2016 book awards!

Books were selected from the several hundred submitted to our team for review over the past year, with the 24 finalists voted for by the reviewing team. These finalists were then offered up to the public for voting. Congratulations to the 8 winners and runners up!

A click of the book’s title will take you to Goodreads, where you can see reviews, and also leads to the Amazon, etc, buy links.

 

Fantasy / SciFi/ Horror

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Winner: The Prince’s Man by Deborah Jay

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Runner-up: Passing Notes by D G Driver

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Historical Fiction

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Winner: The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James

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Runner-Up: Back Home by Tom Williams

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Mystery Thriller

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Winner: On Lucky Shores by Kerry J Donovan

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Runner-Up: Rack & Ruin (previously titled Murder & Mayhem) by Carol Hedges

Contemporary

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Winner: The Disobedient Wife by Annika M Stanley

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Runner-Up: Scotch On The Rocks by Lizzie Lamb

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Congratulations to all the following finalists:

The Black Orchid by Celine Jean-Jean

Blood Of The Sixth by K R Rowe

Flesh by Dylan J Morgan

The Final Virus by Carol Hedges

La Petite Boulain by G Lawrence

When Doves Fly by Lauren Gregory

Jasper by Tony Riches

The Code For Killing by William Savage

Trust Me I Lie by Louise Marley

Wings Of Mayhem by Sue Coletta

Murder at the Lighthouse by Frances Evesham

Trust Me by Earl Javorsky

What Jennifer Knows by Wendy Janes

The Bad Girl by L Donsky-Levine

Silent Water by Jan Ruth

The Brazilian Husband by Rebecca Powell

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT THE FINAL VIRUS by @carolJhedges #YA #Dystopia

Today’s Team Review is from Georgia, she blogs at http://www.georgiarosebooks.com

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Georgia has been reading The Final Virus by Carol J Hedges

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#Bookreview for The Final Virus by Carol J Hedges @caroljhedges

I don’t generally read YA books but having enjoyed another book by Carol Hedges I chose The Final Virus and was delighted I did. This is the start of a series but can be read as a standalone and for me its greatest strength is in the superb characters the author creates. You know exactly who everyone is and they are as real as they would be if they were sitting right next to you, which with Mr Neots I’m glad is not the case as he really is a despicable man.

We have Will, a popular boy at school, and with the girls, he’s kind to his younger sister Dahlia and they are both struggling since their father was killed in an accident at work. At least they are told it was an accident but Will doesn’t believe it and sets out to find the truth. Amber is a rather strange girl who sees terrifying visions about the end of the world and lives a lonely life with parents who are mostly absent. As already mentioned there is the odious Mr Neots a teacher from school who hates his family, apart from his equally revolting daughter, Kayla, his pupils and everything about his life as he seeks to better himself. I felt dreadfully sorry for his son Chris. But best of all we have Ned and I think we should all have a character as useful in our lives.

And then of course there is…The President.

At the start of this story there are just the usual teenage life issues going on but gradually there are more and more hints about the perfect, and totally controlled, world they are all now living in since the old one was practically destroyed in a cybercrash. Will and Amber gradually come together and this is very well handled as they are total opposites so their relationship evolves naturally and wasn’t rushed which I liked a lot.

For me the read occasionally felt a little rushed but that is probably because I’m not a YA and like to take my time with the build up towards events happening in stories but I’m sure this book will be hugely enjoyed by those who are. Well-written and with many thoughtful points to consider such as the four horsemen and the stick people, I highly recommend.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and this hasn’t changed my opinion of the read one iota.

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

 

 

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE FINAL VIRUS by @carolJhedges #YA #Apocalyptic

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

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Barb has been reading The Final Virus by Carol J Hedges

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My Review: 4 stars out of 5

Back in 2007, SciFi writer Bruce Sterling proposed “An Eschatological Taxonomy“. (Yeah, I had to look that one up too. Apparently, eschatological means the study of the end of the world. Who knew?) According to this world-ending events scale, Carol Hedges’ new post-apocalyptic YA thriller is a level 2—

Global civilization destroyed; millions (at most) remain alive, in isolated locations, with ongoing death rate likely exceeding birth rate. Chance of humankind recovery: slim. Many non-human species die off, but some remain and, over time, begin to expand and diverge. Chance of biosphere recovery: good.”—http://www.openthefuture.com/2006/12/an_eschatological_taxonomy.html

 

So readers might be surprised to meet the main characters—teenagers who live in suburban houses, attend high school, go to the mall, and play video games on their home computers. At school, they are taught the history of the previous century’s disaster, The Great Cybercrash. Following the destruction of much of the world’s population due to climate change, worldwide crop failures, and plagues, a single company—Globaltraid—under a seemingly immortal President, led the remnants of humanity back to relative prosperity in a regenerating world. Or did they?

High school senior Will begins to question this version of events when his father is killed in a mysterious workplace “accident”. He is accompanied by the class outsider, Amber, who sees ever-increasing visions of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. With the help of Ned—an artificial intelligence construct with a video-game addicted multiple-personality disorder—Will and Amber begin to kick over the stones that their world is founded on. What they find underneath could kill them. And destroy the world.

There were so many things I loved in this book, such as the way the action was set in a suburban location so normal it took a while to realize that for this Earth, the setting was anything but normal. I particularly liked the creepy President, a man so ancient he has trouble remembering to care about anything except his own ongoing survival. Both Will and Amber’s characters were believable as the high school’s golden boy and outsider girl. And even the supporting characters such as Will’s little sister, and the brother and sister of Will’s nemesis Mr. Neots, were fun to read if less well-rounded.

There were some pieces that didn’t work for me. Even in a low-tech post-apocalyptic tale like this one, the science was dubious at best. Okay, maybe there was an instantaneous and globalwide virus that caused every machine in the world to fail simultaneously. Didn’t anyone ever hear about backups? If most of the world’s ecosystem is wiped out, what are Will’s town and the others using for raw materials to make their cars, computers, and provide their food? And don’t even get me started on Ned, the all-powerful computer (who somehow survived the cybercrash and hundreds of years later still can hack current code?), or on the fact that despite it being centuries later, there has been no noticeable change in dress/morals/family structure/customs/language/housing/machinery? Why are all parents invisible, evil, or dead? And especially why is it that apparently only the descendents of white middle-class types have survived?

But even with these elements, I would give The Final Virus four stars. I enjoyed the way it kept adding twists and turns at each step. Amber’s semi-prescient premonitions contrasted well with Will’s appealing cluelessness, both in their developing relationship and in the unfolding events. I realize that it’s already a little long for a novella, but I wish that the ending had gone into more detail about events and their wrapup. Maybe fodder for a sequel?

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

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE FINAL VIRUS by @carolJhedges #YA #Dystopia #SundayBlogShare

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs at http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com

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Cathy has been reading The Final Virus by Carol Hedges

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In a dystopian future Earth’s environment has completely changed following a spate of natural disasters, which claimed a huge percentage of the populace, and caused extreme climate change, plus a total cybercrash which wiped the data from every chip, memory board and circuit on the planet. This new world is governed by just one president who revitalised the world and improved life for the remaining population. Seemingly.

Will is still reeling from the sudden, and as he believes, suspicious, death of his father. When he finds a calling card which is able to be read by Ned, the computer his father built which Will now uses, his misgivings don’t seem unfounded. Will is desperate to find out the truth behind his father’s death. He is helped by Amber, his strange and unpredictable classmate, both of them unaware of the danger they are placing themselves in. Will and Amber are complete opposites but despite that, develop an attraction to each other.

Completely different in writing style and genre to other books by Carol Hedges that I’ve read but nevertheless, the characterisation is just as good. Will and Amber are well defined and distinct, as are the secondary characters, nasty ones too, of which there are a few, but all have their part to play in moving the story forward. I like how the relevant facts of the world setting were revealed by the obnoxious teacher, Mr Neots, in the form of history lessons.

A well written story with some great twists. It’s quite a scary picture of the possible effects and consequences of severe climate change. I like how Will and Amber’s relationship evolves realistically, given the situation and the disparity between them, yet somehow they complement each other. There are a few plot points which don’t quite add up and perhaps needed to be expanded upon, (I’m wondering if there will be a sequel) but on the whole, this is a very enjoyable read.

4 out of 5 stars

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

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE FINAL VIRUS by @carolJhedges #YA #Dystopia #WeekendBlogShare

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

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Terry has been reading The Final Virus by Carol J Hedges

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The Final Virus by Carol Hedges

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber’s Review Team

I’ve read Carol Hedges’ three Victorian murder mysteries and loved them; even though I am not a fan of YA books I love the whole post apocalyptic genre, so was keen to give this a go.

In this future world all countries are one, with one president, and peace reigns. This follows a cybercrash in which the computer systems of the world were wiped out within a couple of hours, and also the effects of climate change which has altered the entire landscape of the planet.

The story centres around Will and Amber. Will is popular, clever and sought after; Amber is a non-conformist with strange intuitive capabilities. Oddly attracted to each other, they come together to investigate the truth behind the death of Will’s father and possible government conspiracies.

As always, Carol Hedges’ characters are immediately real and three dimensional, the dialogue sharp, realistic and often funny; there’s a definite element of dry humour throughout this book that I liked very much. However, I would have liked to know much more detail about how the current situation came to be, and how the people now live, how the world had changed as a whole; at the beginning I couldn’t quite work out what was going on, when and where it was supposed to be taking place, etc, though some of my questions were answered fairly soon (by Mr Neots, the boring teacher, a great character!), and more later.

The Final Virus is a good mixture of the sci-fi thriller/adventure and believable relationships between the teenage main characters, and I think YA fans of the genre will enjoy this series very much.

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

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT FINAL VIRUS by @carolJhedges #YA #Dystopia

Today’s team review is from Teri, she blogs here http://teripolen.com/

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Teri has been reading The Final Virus by Carol J Hedges

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3.5 stars

Will’s father dies in an accident at work. At least that’s the official story. But Will knows it isn’t true. Somebody wanted his father dead – and he’s determined to find out why. But it’s not easy battling the might of the Globecorp empire that controls every aspect of human life.

The only person who understands and believes him is Amber. And she has problems of her own. Will and Amber are up against an evil that is far more dangerous and darker than anything they have ever encountered. And they only have a limited time to unpick the strands before the final virus is uploaded and time runs out.

The Final Virus is at the upper end of the word count for a novella, but could be read in one sitting if you have a couple of hours.  This book possesses a good concept, with a little something different in the dystopian genre, and has some likable characters – as well as some easily loathed characters.  It moves along at a brisk pace and the descriptive writing produces some vivid imagery.

With this book being a novella, I felt as if too much was compressed into these pages and think the story could benefit from expanding the word count into the novel range and adding more details about the world-building, characters, and their relationships, allowing for a more balanced plot line.  I never had a good grasp of the governmental structure and would have liked to know more about Will and Amber and see their relationship develop at more gradual pace.

There are some nice surprises and twists along the way, but the ending contained a lot of information over a few pages and I think with more details about the world-building, it wouldn’t have been quite as difficult to follow.

I received a digital copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review through Rosie’s Book Review Team.

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

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE FINAL VIRUS by @carolJhedges #YA #Dystopia

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

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Shelley has been reading The Final Virus by Carol J Hedges

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Book: The Final Virus

Author: Carol Hedges

Category: YA/Dystopian

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

Review:

 

Will and Amber live on a new ‘Earth’, one created after the planet was pretty much destroyed following a cybercrash. This new home is managed by the ‘President’, a character who remains elusive for the majority of the book.

 

At the start of the novel, we see the similarities to our day to day life. School and homework, children’s parties, and television shows, but as the story progresses we start to get a feel for the subtle differences in this dystopian world.

 

Amber is a loner with zero friends. Will is a ‘popular’ who is idolised by the entire student body. They are cleverly brought together, but it’s not a smooth road. I liked this aspect of the story. It’s all too easy to opt for the typical coming-of-age ‘boy meets girl-snog-save the world’ storyline. Carol Hedges keeps her characters quirky and at arm’s length, evolving Will and Amber’s relationship at a steady pace.

 

When their teacher, Mr. Neots, arrives on the scene I took an instant dislike to the man, a testament to the author’s ability to write a fully rounded character. He loathes the students, despises his family and oozes spite. Everything a good antagonist should be.

 

The storyline centres on Will and his father’s ‘accidental’ death. He meets a government official who leaves more clues to confirm what Will already suspects – that his father was killed. With help from his little computer, Ned, and his new friendship with Amber, they begin a dangerous journey.

 

Amber’s story is less straightforward. She hears voices and sees the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse at every turn, but she wants to help her friend discover the truth.

 

That truth, however, brings them face-to-face with the worst kind of evil. Suddenly Amber’s story becomes the main view point.

 

There are plenty of secondary characters to drive the story forward. I liked Will’s little sister, Dahlia for her injection of familiarity and I thought Chris and Kayla were fabulous in showing how two children from the same parents could be so different.

 

Although not as vividly descriptive as Carol’s Victorian Murder Mystery series, The Final Virus was a thoroughly enjoyable book, leaving enough threads for a follow-up but succinctly tying up all the loose ends.

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