Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Noelle reviews Raven’s Choice by Harper Swan

Today we have a book review from team member Noelle, she blogs at


Noelle chose to read and review Raven’s Choice by Harper Swan


Raven’s Choice: The Replacement Chronicles Part I but Harper Swan

Review by: Noelle Granger


I like books that travel back and forth in time, and this novella didn’t disappoint. The author uses the recent discovery that Neanderthal and Homo sapiens interbred and weaves just such a story. It begins in the present when Mark Hayek finds out from a company called Genetics and Me – which he had hoped would help him with Parkinson’s research – had actually tested his genome for Neanderthal DNA. And found it.

The book then drops back in time to the Late Pleistocene era in western Asia, where a band of early modern humans, led by Bear and including Raven, a healer and sister to his wife, come upon a group of Neanderthals hunting bison. They drive off the Neanderthals and take the bison the group had killed for meat, but also take one who was injured in the attack as a prisoner. Raven takes a deep interest in the man, watching him closely.

Bear throughout treats Raven, the new member of his family, with disdain, but nevertheless takes her as his mate, once the hunters have returned to their tribal home. Raven then uses what little hold she has over Bear to be allowed to reset the prisoner’s dislocated shoulder. As a former EMT, I found the description of this process to be spot on.

Two things occur to confound Raven: her sister treats her coldly in response to Bear’s absence from the tent at night, and suddenly the prisoner is gone, freed to return to his own tribe. Intermingled with Raven’s adventure are details of early human life in tribal groups and wonderful descriptions of the tribal hierarchy, food, and hunting, creating a rich palette against which the story is told.

You absolutely need to read this book to find out how Raven will handle her sister’s rebuke and whether Raven cares enough about the Neanderthal to follow him when he leaves. And what about Mark’s Neanderthal genes?

This story is, to my untrained eyes, meticulously researched, and has a great premise. I am hooked and looking forward to the next novella.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Noelle reviews A Cry From The Deep by Diana Stevan

Today’s review is from Noelle, she blogs at


Noelle chose to read A Cry From The Deep by Diana Stevan


A Cry From the Deep

I chose to read this book more or less as a challenge. I do not like the romance genre, but this book’s description intrigued me. A back and forth in time (I’m a time travel aficionado) along with some serious scuba diving off the coast of Ireland. I’m Irish, what more could I want?

Bottom line, I really enjoyed this read. The story is character driven, with not a lot of sex and heaving bosoms, but a real feeling of love between the four main characters: Margaret O’Donnell and her true love, seaman James Gallagher from the 1850s and Catherine Fitzgerald and Daniel Costello from modern time.

James returns to Margaret from a long voyage, just before her marriage to a truly dislikeable man, Barnaby Athol. They drown at sea on the day of the marriage, supposedly as the result of a curse Barnaby had put on them that day as revenge for being jilted.

A century and a half later, Catherine Fitzgerald, well known underwater photographer, is pulled from her lavender farm in Provence, France by the lure of a deep sea dive on a Spanish treasure boat off the coast of Ireland. The National Geographic wants her to document the find and any treasure recovery because the leader of the dive, Kurt Hennesy, has been linked to scavenging of such finds previously; her documentation will provide the basis for a special, while perhaps keeping Hennesy in line. Catherine is haunted by dreams from a near-death experience on a previous dive, but she convinces herself she needs to get back into the water.

The adventure begins when she buys a very old Claddagh ring, a wedding ring, whom the outdoor market vendor got from a man who found it in a cod caught off the Irish coast. You can see where this is leading! It fits Catherine perfectly, but when she wears the ring to bed, her dreams become more intense, with a breaching sailboat and an old man with a white beard trying to save her. Then she meets Daniel Costello, a member of the crew and a nautical archeologist to whom she is relentlessly drawn. Unfortunately, Daniel is already engaged to an overbearing society woman.

But wait! There’s more! Wonderful descriptions of colorful underwater life to which even this snorkeler could relate, a truly caring and perhaps still interested ex-husband, a daughter Catherine leaves with him while on the dive and worries about losing – perhaps to the ex-husband’s new girlfriend? – visions of a woman in a white dress who appears while Catherine is diving, and a very real elderly man with a white beard she meets while walking about the Irish village where the crew is staying- is he a ghost? Not to mention the growing feeling between Catherine and Daniel, complicated by his engagement, and the stealth of Captain Hennesy.

There was enough tension to keep me reading as fast as I could. I recommend A Cry from the Deep. Give it a look!

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In My Lady’s Shadow by Siobhan Daiko

In My Lady's ShadowIn My Lady’s Shadow by Siobhan Daiko

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In My Lady’s Shadow is set in Italy near the town of Asolo. It is a time-slip novel, present day 1989 and past date of 1504. Fern is holidaying with her aunt when she begins to have dreams of another time. They become more frequent and begin to take the format of visions.

Cecilia was a lady’s maid to Queen Caterina Cornaro. She enjoyed art and fell in love with a young artist called Zorzo, but she was destined to marry another. It seems that Cecilia is a restless spirit who has an unknown purpose by making contact with Fern.

Fern becomes friends with Luca, a local architect and his mother Contessa Goredon. While the Contessa researches her family, Luca takes delight in showing Fern the local sights and tries to help her solve the mystery behind her visions.

The time-slips back to 1504 work really well, I enjoyed meeting Cecilia in her own time and getting a little more of her story with each time-slip. However I didn’t connect with the present day characters. I particularly wanted Luca to be more Italian in his manner, more suave and a deeper romantic. With their English connections through marriage, education or birth, all the present day main characters were out-siders to the area and didn’t quite fit for me.

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