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

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT WHAT TIM KNOWS by Wendy Janes @wendyproof

Today’s team review is from Olga, she blogs here http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

#RBRT Review Team

Olga has been reading What Tim Knows, and other stories 

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 Wendy Janes Getting to know the characters, a feeling at a time.

A gallery-owner’s quest for beauty; a dancer in danger; a new mother struggling to cope with her baby; a sculptor’s search for inspiration; a teenager longing to live in the perfect family; a young boy lost and confused by the rules of life that everyone else seems to understand. Six stand-alone short stories, spanning five decades. Each capturing a significant moment in the life of a different character. Separate lives linked in subtle ways.

I received an ARC copy of this book and I voluntarily decided to write a review.

I had read some of Wendy Janes’s articles about editing and I was aware of her novel ‘What Jennifer Knows’ although I had not read it. So I came to this book feeling quite curious. I had read some of the reviews, both of the novel and of this book and they were all positive, and after reading it, I can say deservedly so.

The author explains that these “stories” are scenes and background information she had written when preparing her novel, but later they did not seem to fit in with it and she did not include them but thought readers might enjoy them in their own right. Not having read the novel, I can confirm they can be read independently, although I got the feeling that perhaps some of them would be enjoyed more fully by readers who were already familiar with the story, as they would offer further insight into well-loved characters.

They stories are not typical of other short-story collections that I’ve read in the past. Although self-contained, they don’t necessarily tell a ground-breaking story, and have no sting in the tail (we might perceive one, but this is up to the reader, rather than because of an imposed twist in the action). It’s easy to work out as we read that there are connections between the characters, as many of them appear repeatedly in the stories, playing different parts (a bit like in the Seven Ages of Man by Shakespeare), but if something is distinctive about them is that they are beautifully observed. Written in the third person but from different points of view, these are clearly different people with different interests and attitudes, men and women, children and adults, and they vary from the very personal to the professional. If I had to pick up some favourites, without a doubt ‘The Never Ending Day’ (I’ve never had a baby but as a psychiatrist I’ve worked with mothers who became very depressed following the birth of their child and I recognise the themes and the description of her feelings), ‘The Perfect Family’ (where Blythe reminded me of myself, as an only child who always thought that to have a bigger family must be fun) and ‘What Tim Knows’ that is a very successful peep at how an autistic boy sees the world.

I hope to read more of the author’s work and I can recommend these stories if you want to make your own mind up about how you might feel about reading her longer fiction.

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

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT WHAT TIM KNOWS by @wendyproof #shortstories

Today’s team review is from Liz, she blogs at https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Liz has been reading What Tim Knows by Wendy Janes

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What Tim Knows by Wendy Janes

 The short stories in this book are connected to significant moments in the lives of a group of people who feature in Wendy Janes’ novel What Jennifer Knows. There is no need to have read the novel first but it certainly gave an added dimension to me.

The first story, Beauty, describes the paramount need for beauty to surround Rollo, an Art Gallery owner. When he parts company with one of his exhibitors, the “empty plinths,” are reduced, “to totem poles with no message,” so it is essential that he finds beauty elsewhere. Never-Ending Day struck a chord with me as it reminded me so well of those awful first weeks, as a new mother, when you realise that you know nothing about babies and that you are making a terrible mess of trying to care for this one. Similarly, Perfect Family made me aware of the contrast between my home life as an only child and that of lively families with several siblings which seemed to have such fun together.

What Tim Knows contrasts completely with What Jennifer Knows. Jennifer knew too much, but Tim knows too little, or at least his comprehension of the world is very different to that of the people who surround him. Having taught children on the autistic spectrum, I have been caught out by my inability to state exactly what is a fact and am aware that there are no greys for many. I love the way this story puts us inside Tim’s head and shows us what an inexplicable world we live in!

A refreshing look at life through a wide variety of characters.

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

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT WHAT TIM KNOWS by @Wendyproof #Shortstories #fridayreads

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

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Jenny has been reading What Tim Knows by Wendy Janes

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By Jenny Worstall Author on 25 July 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber’s Review Team.
This wonderful collection of short stories takes six characters from Wendy Janes’ novel ‘What Jennifer Knows’ and gives each of them a canvas to themselves. The stories link back cleverly to the novel and give further insights into the characters’ lives and behaviour. Jennifer, the heroine of ‘What Jennifer Knows’, appears in every story at different points in her life. Even though the stories are entwined with the novel, they can be read as a standalone volume with great enjoyment too. The fifth story, ‘The Perfect Family’, explores the shifting loyalties and cruelties of childhood friendship and how a child’s perception of her parents can change in a crisis. The emotional gem, for me, is ‘What Tim Knows’. Wendy Janes has a real understanding of what it feels like for a child to be different and how this affects the behaviour and feelings of others too. The closing scene between Tim and his mother Blythe is truly heart-wrenching. I have no hesitation in recommending this fantastic collection and hope it will send new readers in search of the novel it is so much part of.

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

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT WHAT TIM KNOWS by @Wendyproof #WeekendBlogShare

Today’s second team review is from Georgia, she blogs at http://www.georgiarosebooks.com

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Georgia has been reading What Tim Knows by Wendy Janes

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What Tim Knows features six short stories which all have links with this author’s novel, What Jennifer Knows, but you do not have to have read that (as I haven’t, yet!) to enjoy this, as each of these stories is complete in itself.

The stories cover five decades, all are very well written and each tells a very different tale which I found enjoyable and interesting. The writing style flows and I really liked spotting the links between each of these and What Jennifer Knows.

I don’t like picking favourites because each of them had something to recommend it but if I was pushed I would go for the story of the title, What Tim Knows. This is told from the point of view of a young boy with autism who goes to his first party. It shows terrific knowledge, insight and understanding on the part of the author, is very well written and the feelings of this little boy come across so well it manages to be both entertaining and heart breaking at the same time.

At the moment I am struggling to read anything longer than a short story so these fitted the bill perfectly. I also find a well written short story is a terrific introduction to an author’s work without too much investment of time and after reading these What Jennifer Knows is definitely on my to-be-read list.

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

 

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT WHAT JENNIFER KNOWS by Wendy Janes @WendyProof

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

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Judith has been reading What Jennifer Knows by Wendy Janes

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I gave What Jennifer Knows by Wendy Janes 5* out of 5*

I started off liking What Jennifer Knows by Wendy Janes; I finished the novel loving it.

To say this is an easy book to read could sound derogatorily, but, believe me, that is not what I mean; the author’s writing style is relaxed conversational and draws the reader in.  The story is told mainly in the first person from the protagonist’s point of view (which gives us an insight to her opinion and relationship with the other characters), but there is also omniscient narrator’s viewpoint from the other characters’ point of view. The clever use of texts between three of the characters, the flashbacks that reveal the protagonist’s past, are innovative and revealing.  It sounds complicated but it works so well.

The dialogue is true to each character and is skilfully handled, especially the internal dialogue of the character of Freya, a vulnerable young woman, susceptible to self-doubt and with a dread of returning to the mental unstable state she once found herself in – and of Jennifer’s friend, Abi, an outwardly confident career woman. And, as the story progresses, the initial portrayal of all the characters subtly changes as their personalities are truly revealed.  

The various settings are drawn with an economy of description, yet still give  a sense of place for the characters to move around in; the reader is given no doubt that this is a story placed slap bang in a Surrey community that is, in essence,an English upper middle-class society. And the small details, revealed mostly through the dialogue, show the amount of research the author has carried out to give a true sense of the era.

The various strands of the plot and sub-plots are shrewdly drawn together, each character sharing an almost equal portion of the story. By the end of the novel I felt as though I knew each character, their lives, and how they viewed the world and those around them.

 I finished the book with a sense of sadness; one that I had read the last page – always a good sign for any reader I suppose, and also a sense of sadness for the characters – so much did they seem to become real people. I’m not sure how I wanted it to end but …

 If I have any reservations about the novel it’s the instant friendship between, Jennifer and Freya, And the speed with which it grows. Yet, on reflection, I suppose, given the inner need of both these characters, it is plausible.

 I have absolutely no hesitation recommending  What Jennifer Knows. It’s a lovely début novel from Wendy Janes.

I received a copy of What Jennifer Knows from the author and  as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT  in exchange for an honest review. 

Find the book here:

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/1OO5u81

Amazon.co:  http://amzn.to/1ZJtIVW

OUR #Bookreviews in February FLEET LIFE Magazine #TuesdayBookBlog

Once again we have a book review page in this month’s Fleet Life Magazine

Fleet Life Feb

To find the online edition go to http://www.fleetlife.org.uk

Load the online directory and fins us on page 34

This month we are giving a shout-out to the following books;

Nagasaki; Life After Nuclear War by Susan Southard

Cry Of The Sea by D.G Driver

From Yellow Star To Pop Star by Dorit Oliver-Wolff

What Jenifer Knows by Wendy Janes

and The Prince’s Man by Deborah Jay

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT WHAT JENNIFER KNOWS by Wendy Janes @wendyproof

Today’s team review comes form Liz, she blogs at https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Liz has been reading What Jennifer Knows by Wendy Janes

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What Jennifer Knows by Wendy Janes

 

Jennifer is the kind of woman you would want as your friend. You could share your troubles and your joys with her and she would keep your secrets. A mother and grandmother, she works part time in a school, giving dance therapy lessons to special needs children and lives with her slightly grumpy, but loving husband, Gerald, who is a well-known sculptor.

But she has a dilemma; while supporting her friends with their relationship problems she discovers a secret which she ought to reveal but she prevaricates, putting off the awful day because she knows there cannot be a good ending.

And it is relationships which this book is all about. We learn of an important partnership in Jennifer’s past and she is trying to deal with a lack of communication with her daughter. Her young friend, Freya is a vulnerable, needy girl who experiences problems with personal relationships, be it boyfriend or sister. Jennifer’s other friend Abi, seems much more in control. A successful head teacher, she juggles work and social commitments quite well, until her lover moves in. And there is the pivotal male protagonist; a shadowy, complicated individual whose motives are difficult to understand but whose problems must stem from his unloved childhood.

What Jennifer Knows appears at first to be a simple story of village life but as Wendy Janes reveals the layers of complex relationships, conflict and regret it becomes a much deeper story and the outcome for the characters we have come to know, matter a great deal.

At times I was losing patience with Jennifer’s reticence. She is obviously a talented, empathetic woman but she is reluctant to rock the boat. However, in the clever twist at the end of the story she finally chooses to face a problem head-on and takes decisive action.

This is an ideal novel for a book club as there are so many moral issues to discuss. I also found the references to the three schools very interesting as they reflected issues I have also experienced. This is definitely a thought provoking novel.

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

 

 

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT WHAT JENNIFER KNOWS by Wendy Janes @wendyproof

Today’s team review comes from Babus, she blogs at http://ajoobacatsblog.com/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Babus has been reading What Jennifer Knows by Wendy Janes

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Jennifer Jacobs meets Freya by chance in a supermarket. Freya is open and friendly and tells Jennifer all about her plans to propose to her boyfriend, as the friendship between the two women grows, Jennifer becomes acutely aware that Freya has something vital in common with her old friend Abi, putting her dead centre in the throws of a moral dilemma.

I loved reading this contemporary fiction novel as Jane’s builds up the characters in a compelling way and makes them all like able but to different degrees. Jennifer I found hugely likeable and a bit of an underdog, but I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes facing the choices she has in this novel.

This novel is well-written, easy to read and impossible not to become invested in as you learn what Jennifer knows.

Find a copy herefrom Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com