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

2016-book-awards

 

*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

2016-book-awards-winner-fantasy

Winner: The Prince’s Man by Deborah Jay

19077903

runner-up-fantasy-scifi

Runner-up: Passing Notes by D G Driver

24745610

Historical Fiction

2016-book-awards-winner-histfic

Winner: The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James

29011518

runner-up-histfic

Runner-Up: Back Home by Tom Williams

27133963

Mystery Thriller

2016-book-awards-winner-mystery-thriller

Winner: On Lucky Shores by Kerry J Donovan

28588716

runner-up-mystery-thriller

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

Contemporary

2016-book-awards-winner-contemporary

Winner: The Disobedient Wife by Annika M Stanley

26256488

runner-up-contemporary

Runner-Up: Scotch On The Rocks by Lizzie Lamb

25849896

 

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 JASPER by @tonyriches #HistFic #Tudors

Today’s team review is from Alison, she blogs here http://alisonwilliamswriting.wordpress.com/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Alison has been reading Jasper by Tony Riches

29606309

Jasper – Book Two of the Tudor Trilogy by Tony Riches

England 1461: The young King Edward of York has taken the country by force from King Henry VI of Lancaster. Sir Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke, flees the massacre of his Welsh army at the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross and plans a rebellion to return his half-brother King Henry to the throne.  When King Henry is imprisoned by Edward in the Tower of London and murdered, Jasper escapes to Brittany with his young nephew, Henry Tudor. Then after the sudden death of King Edward and the mysterious disappearance of his sons, a new king, Edward’s brother Richard III takes the English Throne. With nothing but his wits and charm, Jasper sees his chance to make young Henry Tudor king with a daring and reckless invasion of England.  Set in the often brutal world of fifteenth century England, Wales, Scotland, France, Burgundy and Brittany, during the Wars of the Roses, this fast-paced story is one of courage and adventure, love and belief in the destiny of the Tudors. 

I love well-written fiction that’s based on actual historical events and people. Bringing these characters to life in an interesting and entertaining way while still maintaining historical accuracy is a difficult balance, but Tony Riches does this brilliantly. It’s no mean feat to research as thoroughly as Riches obviously has for this book, and then to turn that research into a gripping and engaging tale. The past is really brought to life.

I very much enjoyed the first in this trilogy, so was really looking forward to this novel. It doesn’t disappoint. The characterisation works really well, the writing is skilful and, for the most part, technically flawless (a few issues with tense at times, but nothing that really spoiled the reading experience), and the passion the author has for history comes across in the way that history is portrayed.

My only issue was that, as I don’t know a great deal about this period, I was sometimes a bit confused as to who was who and what their relationships to each other were. To be honest though, I’m not really sure what Riches could do to make this clearer, and possibly in a book that covers so much intrigue and differing alliances and allegiances, this is just how it has to be. These were complicated times, and Riches can’t change history! He does a very good job of writing it though.

Four out of five stars

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

 

 

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT JASPER by @tonyriches #HistFic #Tudor

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

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Noelle has been reading Jasper by Tony Riches

29606309

Book Review: Jasper – Book Two of the Tudor Trilogy

The Tudor Trilogy follows the emergence of the Tudor dynasty from its beginning with Owen Tudor, the subject of the first book, through Jasper, his son, the subject of the second.

I reviewed the first book and welcomed the chance to follow the story. This time period is a particularly difficult one, dealing with the War of the Roses, symbolized by the heraldic badges of the two battling houses of the Plantagenet line: the House of Lancaster (red rose) and that of York (white rose). Each claimed the right to the throne of England. During the thirty-two years of this prolonged war (1455-1487), there were sporadic battles with enormous loss of life, and – as the book so clearly illustrates – various men popping on and off the throne.

Given this long and convoluted history, the author, Tony Riches, does a yeoman’s job of taking us carefully through the years of involvement of Jasper Tudor in preserving and saving the Lancaster (Tudor) line, established by the marriage of his father Owen Tudor of Wales to Katherine of Valois. Katherine was the widow of the warring Henry V and mother of Henry’s son Henry VI.

As in the book, the real Jasper fought in battles, sieges and skirmishes and faced challenges from many sides, including friends who became enemies and enemies who became friends. In the War of the Roses, people flipped sides to improve their lot or just to save themselves, a never-ending game of chess.

Jasper’s path to putting a Tudor on the throne was determined by his brother’s son Henry, who together with his mother, Margaret, was given to him for safekeeping. The brother, Edmund, died of plague in 1456. His father, Owen, whose story is the first book, dies at the beginning of the second, in 1461, as a member of Jasper’s army in the battle of Mortimer’s Cross. He is captured and beheaded by Edward of York, and in the book, his death drives Jasper through the next decades and is the basis of his decisions of life and death for his enemies.

Jasper’s life is written as a series of unexpected and seemingly impossible escapes from death as he is pursued by York forces from Wales to Ireland to France and back. Along the way, the reader meets any number of fascinating characters, some real and some created: Gabriel, an Irish warrior and horse whisperer, who serves as a connection between Jasper and home and as the author relates, is the probably combination of a number of servants and friends; Lady Margaret, who gave birth to Henry at age 12 and who becomes the consummate politician, guaranteeing her survival and that of her son through deliberate subsequent marriages: Henry VI, a deeply religious man who experienced a mental breakdown during the protracted war, and spent time on both the throne and in the Tower of London as a prisoner; Máiréad, a young Irish woman with whom Jasper falls in love and takes with him on his wanderings but doesn’t marry; and Francis, Duke of Burgundy, a wily player in the French political scene.

Jasper Tudor was the greatest survivor of the Wars of the Roses, a man whose perseverance changed the course of English history. The author’s attention to the details of the often brutal world of the fifteenth century is exceptional and provides a rich background to a fast-paced story of courage and adventure and love and strength of family.

For aficionados of historical fiction with a strong basis in fact, this is a book you will love.

4.5 stars out of 5

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

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT JASPER by @tonyriches #HistFic #Tudors #wwwblogs

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

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Terry has been reading Jasper by Tony Riches

29565385

JASPER: Book Two of the Tudor Trilogy by Tony Riches

5 out of 5 stars

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

I LOVED this book. It’s a terrific page-turner, a real adventure, from the time when the country was such a dangerous place, when men were men and women waited in castles for them to come home (not so keen on that bit, as I am sure many of the women weren’t!). It made me long (as I often do) to go back to those times; this book brings the England of over five centuries ago to life so well. Book One, about Owen, Jasper’s father, was jolly good, but this is what I love to see ~ a sequel that takes the story to another level.

There is so much written and on television about the Yorkist side of the Wars of the Roses, I find, but less about the Lancasters, so this filled in many gaps in my knowledge. It’s expertly planned; I was particularly interested to see how Tony Riches would write about events during which Jasper was far away and out of touch, like Warwick’s change of allegiance, but he did this most convincingly, using the fictional Gabriel, an Irish mercenary who becomes a close friend of the hero, as a reporter of events. Similarly, the disintegration of the Yorks following the death of Edward IV is cleverly accounted for via the messengers who visit Jasper during his exile in Brittany. I also enjoyed the first appearance of the Duke of Buckingham, whose son causes trouble for Henry VIII, and of other characters who appeared as Plantagenet made way for Tudor.

In my opinion this is a book for those who already know something of the history, as there are so many names and changing allegiances that, even being quite well versed in this period as I am, I had to stop and think a few times about who was who. This isn’t Riches’ fault; he has dealt with a long and complicated story admirably. On occasion I got confused about the passage of time and felt that there needed to be a gaps in the formatting of paragraphs to indicate that a year or so had passed, but I’ve rarely read a book of this length, covering so many events over a long period, that conveys the passing of years perfectly.

To all avid readers of books such as the Game of Thrones series, I’d say ‘read this too!’ ~ it’s every bit as magical, every bit as exciting—and it really happened! Loved it; highly recommended, a real achievement, and I’d just like to say that the author’s note at the end brought a tear to my eye. I shall be the first in the queue for the final part of the trilogy (and plan to read ‘Warwick’ in the meantime!).

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

 

 

Our #Bookreviews featured in January editions of Fleet Life and Elvetham Heath Directory #TuesdayBookBlog

This month the review team and I have several of our book reviews featured in the following magazines,

Fleet Life is featuring the following books, for the online version go to http://www.fleetlife.org.uk, click on the online directory and load the magazine, turn to page 40 for this month’s book review page.

FL Jan

The House Of York by Terry Tyler

The Executioner by Ana Calin

Any Man Joe by Robert Leigh

The Sickness by Dylan J Morgan

Murder at the Lighthouse by Frances Evesham

Elvetham Heath Directory is featuring the following books, for the online version go to http://www.ehd.org.uk, click on the online directory and load the magazine, turn to page 32 for this month’s book reviews.

EHD Jan

The Man I Love by Suanne Laqueur

Moon Bayou by J.R Rain

Grimnirs by Ednah Walters

Owen by Tony Riches

Silver Rain by Jan Ruth

WINNER and Runner-Up of the 2015 Historical Fiction Award #SundayBlogShare

Winner Historical Fiction

The 2015 Golden Rose Book Award for Historical Fiction

went to Zoe Saadia with Two Rivers

Zoe Saadia Two Rivers

Meet Zoe

Zoe Saadia is the author of several novels of pre-Columbian Americas. From the glorious pyramids of Tenochtitlan to the fierce democrats of the Great Lakes, her novels bring long-forgotten history, cultures and people to life, tracing pivotal events that brought about the greatness of Meso and North America.

Having researched various pre-contact cultures of this continent for more than a decade, she is convinced that it’s a shame that such a large part of history was completely overlooked, by historical fiction most of all. Both Americas has an extremely rich, diverse, fascinating history long before this continent came in contact with the rest of the world.
So her professional motto is set. America has not been ‘discovered’, not yet. Not in her novels.

Find Zoe on Twitter @ZoeSaadia

Book Description

Having survived the failed raid on the enemy lands, Tekeni had no illusions. He was nothing but an enemy cub, adopted into one of the clans, but not accepted, never for real. To fit in was difficult, to run away – impossible. To get into trouble, more often than not, was the only available option. They did not expect anything else from him, anyway.

However, when a meaningless row during a ballgame grew out of proportion, resulting in a fight, Tekeni has found himself in a truly grave trouble. Neither he nor anyone else could have foreseen the chain of events the consequences of this fight would release, when the highly esteemed but controversial Two Rivers decided to help Tekeni out.

Two Rivers was a strange person with unacceptable notions and ideas. He maintained that to war on and on was a mistake of disastrous consequences. He went as far as suggesting a negotiation of peace with some of the neighboring nations. Even Tekeni, the despised enemy, thought such ideas to be far-fetched and wild. And yet…

With their trouble mounting and the revengefulness of some people around them growing, both Tekeni and Two Rivers find themselves pushed beyond limits.

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

The Silver Award went to

Frances Evesham with Danger At Thatcham Hall

Frances Evesham and Danger at Thatcham Hall

Meet Frances

Frances Evesham writes mystery stories: the Exham on Sea contemporary crime series set in a small Somerset seaside town, and the Thatcham Hall Mysteries, 19th Century historical mystery romances set in Victorian England.

She collects grandsons, Victorian ancestors and historical trivia, likes to smell the roses, lavender and rosemary, and cooks with a glass of wine in one hand and a bunch of chillies in the other. She loves the Arctic Circle and the equator and plans to visit the penguins in the south one day.

She’s been a speech therapist, a professional communicator and a road sweeper and worked in the criminal courts. Now, she walks in the country and breathes sea air in Somerset.

Catch up with Frances on Twitter @FrancesEvesham

Book Description Danger At Thatcham Hall published by Wild Rose Press

Ambitious lawyer Nelson Roberts, embittered by war, jilted by his fiancée, and trusting no one, aims to make his name solving the mysterious thefts and violence at Thatcham Hall, a country house in Victorian England.

Olivia Martin, headstrong and talented, will stop at nothing to overcome the conventions of the day, avoid a miserable fate as a governess and fulfill dreams of a musical future.

The pair stumble on a body. Is the farmhand’s death a simple accident, or something more sinister? Who attacked the livestock at the Hall and why are the villagers so reluctant to talk? Can Nelson and Olivia overcome their differences and join forces to unravel the web of evil that imperils the Hall?

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

Final congratulations to all our Historical Fiction nominees.

Alison Williams with THE BLACK HOURS

William Savage with AN UNLAMENTED DEATH

Tony Riches with OWEN

Vanessa Matthews with THE DOCTOR’S DAUGHTER

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Owen by @tonyriches #HistFic

Today’s team book review comes from Alison, she blogs at alisonwilliamswriting.wordpress.com

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Alison chose to read and review Owen by Tony Riches

25981952

Owen – Tony Riches

I love a good, intelligent historical novel. There are so many out there, and I have to be honest and say that, on many occasions, I have bought a promising looking book, only to abandon it within the first few chapters. Very often, the detail won’t be right, or the characters will behave in a way that just isn’t realistic for the time. One of the main issues though is that the dialogue can be so hard to get right. I’ve read so many historical novels where the characters use words that just wouldn’t have been around in the period in which they are set, or, alternatively, where the writer is so keen to make the dialogue authentic that they overdo it and render the book unreadable.

I’m pleased to say that neither of those things were issues in this book. The historical detail was rich and informative. I felt as though I learned a great deal about this particular period of history while immersed completely in Owen’s story. And the language was spot on too. Nothing felt out of place.

The story is fascinating. Owen Tudor, a Welsh servant, falls in love with Queen Catherine of Valois, the widow of King Henry V. I had never heard of Owen, and knew nothing of his remarkable story. Their romance, and the dangers it brings, is played out against the background of the conflicts, intrigues and betrayals of the time that led to the War of the Roses.

Riches certainly knows his subject. There was so much detail here. The reader is carried from Windsor, to Wales, to France, into battles and life at court, with rich detail at every turn.

I felt though, that there was so much detail here, so much going on, that Owen’s own story was a little lost at times – in terms of his emotions and feelings. I didn’t always feel connected to him, even though the novel is written in first person. It felt sometimes as though he was dashing from one event to another without pause for breath. When tragedy struck, I didn’t always feel that Owen’s feelings came across.

The novel is written in present tense which was a bit off-putting for me. While present tense can bring immediacy to a story, I do think this would have worked better in past tense. Having said that, the writing was solid.

I do recommend this to those who enjoy historical novels. It’s a thoughtful, intelligent book that doesn’t disappoint.

4 out of 5 stars.

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

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Owen by @tonyriches #Tudors #Bookreview

Today’s team book review comes from Noelle, she blogs at http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Noelle chose to read and review Owen by Tony Riches

25981952

Book Review: Owen, Book One of the Tudor Trilogy by Tony Riches

Move over, Philippa Gregory! I love to read books about the Tudors, so when Rosie Amber offered a historical novel about the founding of the Tudor dynasty, about which I knew nothing, I couldn’t resist.

The story begins in England in 1422. Owen Tudor, who comes from a line of Welsh nobleman but of humble beginnings, has risen by virtue of hard work and not a little luck, from being a soldier in the King’s army to keeper of the Queen’s household. His mistress, Catherine of Valois, is both beautiful and lonely – her husband Henry V, is a warrior and often away, leaving her with their infant son. Hers is a dangerous life, with civil war simmering at home as various noble families jockey to influence and rule Prince Henry, crowned King of England and France when his father dies. Owen begins an affair with Juliette, one of Catherine’s Ladies-in-Waiting, but it becomes clear that his real love is for the Queen. He becomes her protector, and against all odds, she falls in love with him. Eventually they risk all to marry and then have a large family together, in the process founding the dynasty that becomes an epicenter of British history.

The book is impeccably researched and written, quite an accomplishment given that there is not a lot of extant information on Owen Tudor’s life. I sensed a difference between the story up to the time of Catherine and Owen’s marriage and what happened afterward – a little stiff, as Owen’s relationships in the household were until his marriage, then more flowing and easy, as if marriage empowered and relaxed Owen. One thing that left me still wondering to the end is the unlikelihood of Owen and Catherine’s love and marriage, but history can’t be wrong! His other long term love interest, Juliette, also seems improbable, but there is a historical indication that such a woman existed. The author’s notes on the historical aspects and what he had to create were helpful and underscored his talent at putting together a great story based on limited facts.

The characters that populate Owen are distinct and colorful and the history is detailed and richly described. I know a little of the various noble families of the time, but to the initiate the names and warring factions might be a little confusing. Nevertheless, this does not distract from a grand pageant of a story.

Owen is written in the present tense, which I find tiresome in all but short stories, but Riches does such a good job that I actually didn’t even think about it until I was already hooked by the story. He managed to give the story an immediacy that maintained the tension but did not become wearing on the reader.

All in all, this is a great read. I recommend it and look forward to the next book in this series.

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

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Owen by @tonyriches #bookreview #Tudors #histfic

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

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Terry chose to read Owen by Tony Riches

25981952

Owen – Book One of the Tudor Trilogy by Tony Riches

4.5 out of 5 stars

I am deeply fascinated by all things Plantagenet and Tudor, so leapt on this book when it became available on Rosie Amber’s review team list. I was particularly eager to read it as Owen Tudor is someone about whom I knew little, apart from his having been Henry VIII’s great grandfather. My knowledge of the events leading up to the Wars of the Roses is sketchy, too, so this book was an education as well as a great story.

The novel is perfectly edited and proofread, which was a real treat in these days of dubious standards; I could tell that Mr Riches had spent a great deal of time drafting and redrafting, and the structure of the novel itself is extremely well thought out. The story flows beautifully throughout and is simply written in the present tense, which is always an odd choice but worked well in this case.

At first I was not very taken with Riches’ Owen Tudor; he seemed like a bit of a stuffed shirt and I couldn’t imagine why he aroused such passion in Juliette the servant girl and Queen Catherine de Valois. I found the prose a little stilted, though not terribly. I much preferred the latter half of the book, after Catherine’s death, when it loosened up considerably, Owen’s adventurous side came to the fore and I became engrossed. I looked forward to the introduction of characters about whom I know more: Margaret Beaufort (one of my favourite women in history), and Jasper Tudor, who I’ve always rather fancied; well done, Mr Riches, you portrayed him so well!

That the book is well researched is clear; many domestic details are included, but these are artfully woven into the story, rather than lumped in to show how much the author has mugged up before beginning to write. I did wonder if a reader who knows nothing of this historical period might get a little confused by all the dukes and bishops and their various allegiances, but then it is likely that anyone reading this would already have an interest in the period. There is an author’s note at the back to explain which characters come from Riches’ imagination and which are from real life.

If you’re interested in the Wars of the Roses and the origins of the Tudor dynasty I’d definitely recommend this book, and I look forward to reading the next one in the series.

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

 

Owen by Tony Riches #Tudors

Tony Riches has been a featured author and supporter on the blog. He has a new book out and wanted to tell you all about it. Over to Tony.

OWEN – Book One of The Tudor Trilogy, by Tony Riches

Powerful knight in the armor with the sword. Dark background.

 

England 1422: Owen, a Welsh servant, waits in Windsor Castle to meet his new mistress, the beautiful and lonely Queen Catherine of Valois, widow of the warrior king, Henry V. Her infant son is crowned King of England and France, and while the country simmers on the brink of civil war, Owen becomes her protector.

They fall in love, risking Owen’s life and Queen Catherine’s reputation—but how do they found the dynasty which changes British history – the Tudors?

This is the first historical novel to fully explore the amazing life of Owen Tudor, grandfather of King Henry VII and the great-grandfather of King Henry VIII. Set against a background of the conflict between the Houses of Lancaster and York, which develops into what have become known as the Wars of the Roses, Owen’s story deserves to be told.

 

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

and in all formats on Smashwords

 

 

About the Author

Tony Riches

Tony Riches is a full time author of best-selling fiction and non-fiction books. He lives by the sea in Pembrokeshire, West Wales with his wife and enjoys sea and river kayaking in his spare time.

For more information about Tony’s other books please visit his popular blog, The Writing Desk and his WordPress website and find him on Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches.