Being a Beta Reader & receiving ARCs #FridayReads #AmReading

Jessie

I’m feeling like a real book reviewer this week as I’m a Beta reader for non-fiction author, Barbara J Starmans’ first fiction book. Barbara is responsible for the fascinating Social Historian website https://www.thesocialhistorian.com/ and she is now writing a novel based on the story of her great-grandmother.

Clockmaker

I’ve also received 2 ARC books.  The first, being delivered in instalments, is “The Clockmaker’s Daughter” by Australian author, Kate Morton, whose time-shift novels I always enjoy. It will be published on September 20th.  I am reading this on my iPad via The Pigeonhole which includes comments from current readers. I found this very distracting so have deleted that feature!

Gift Horse Cover MEDIUM WEB

The other ARC is by Jan Ruth, one of my favourite authors.   Called “Gift Horse,” it is about a real horse but also about the eponymous proverb and will be published in October. I am looking forward to reviewing both these books.

 

 

Advertisements

You Wish By Terry Tyler #Bookreview

You Wish

You Wish begins with an alarming prologue where a dramatic drugs raid takes place, but immediately afterwards in Chapter One we find ourselves in the warm relaxing surroundings of a Mind, Body and Spirit Fair in Norfolk. It is a book of contrasts between the hopes and yearnings of several young women and what might happen if their wishes come true.

As usual with novels by Terry Tyler, the characters are captivating. We share their feelings, their mistakes and in some cases their gradual self-understanding. All facets of relationships; friendship, passion, dependency and selfishness are shown in the interconnecting tales. In Sarah’s case, obsession causes addiction, while Petra’s experience of rejection leads her to stalking. There is a sweet, almost mystical account of happiness after years of longing, by young teacher, Kate.

But it is Ruth and her friendships with Fleur, and later Jessica, whose story is the most complex and rewarding. The description of young love certainly took me back to that age, while her frustration with her idle but loving husband will strike a chord with many women. As light relief her experience of making contact with an old friend via Facebook is hilarious.

I have always found Terry Tyler’s books quite different to those of any other author. She is completely in touch with all the concerns of today’s women but she also remembers so well what it was like living in the 1980s. This novel would be great to discuss in a book group but it is also compulsive reading.

TT

Terry Tyler’s first Amazon publication, ‘You Wish’, won ‘Best Women’s Fiction’ in the eFestival of Words 2013, while short story collection ‘Nine Lives’ and family drama ‘Last Child’ have won other small online awards. She’s fascinated by the psychology behind relationships, which forms the background of her character-driven contemporary dramas; from the rock star aspirations of the lighthearted ‘Dream On’ and ‘Full Circle’, to the dark and complex psychological web of ‘The House of York’, it’s all about the characters. And the plot twists…

Her novella, Best Seller was released earlier this year~ it’s a quirky tale of three writers trying to succeed in the modern, hugely competitive publishing world.

You can read my review of Best Seller here.

A Most Reluctant Princess by Jean M Cogdell

Princess
This is a simple, pleasing story in rhyme about a small girl, whose father calls her his little princess, which is illustrated with cute drawings of a no-nonsense child. Quite logically, as children often are, she believes that she can’t be a princess because Daddy isn’t a king, so what can she be? She thinks of a variety of professions to which her mother, lovingly comments, “Don’t worry. What will be, will be.” I was little unsure of the rhythm and vocabulary in some verses, such as “Don’t speak without permission,” but I loved the moral of the story, that she shouldn’t grow up too quickly while she can enjoy being Daddy’s little princess.

Rosie's Book Review team 1

#AtoZChallenge Letter Z

ivy-capital-letter-zis for Zuleika Dobson

 

Zuleika

I read Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm about 40 years ago.  It is an ironic satire on the life of undergraduates at Oxford University in 1911.  Into their lives comes the stunningly beautiful Zuleika.  All the young men fall in love with this femme fatale, but she resists all their charms, even when she falls in love herself.  At the end of the book after the young men have proved they were prepared to die for her, Zuleika sets out for Cambridge, where perhaps the students might have been less melodramatic.  This was Beerbohm’s only novel but it was very successful and established him as a wit whom George Bernard Shaw called,  “the Incomparable Max.”  Max was also admired for his caricatures of famous figures.  Here he shows the pre-Raphaelites William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones in their rooms in Red Lion Square.

Morris21042016

One last chance to view the choices of the other  AtoZChallngers

Smoke and Gold by Pauline Suett Barbieri

Smoke & Gold

Did Count St Germain, a European courtier and brilliant alchemist die in 1784 or had he discovered the secret to eternal life? In 1967 a Parisian, named Richard Chanfray appeared on TV apparently changing lead to gold and claiming to be Count St Germain.

This mysterious figure weaves in and out of the life of Rowena, a student of Art, as she returns to Amsterdam in 1976 to research a book on Dutch food through the ages. Four years earlier, she and her mother had met Meneer Surmount, a Frenchman dressed in 18th century style in a café near the red light district and now, her mother has died and her thoughts return to the mysterious stranger.

Juxtaposed with Rowena’s complicated adventures in Amsterdam is an account of her poverty-stricken childhood in Liverpool. Always dressed in hand-me-downs, her first new dress was a vivid memory spoilt by the actions of her best friend Sylvia, who tore the skirt. So enraged was Rowena that she pulled Sylvia’s plait until the roots bled and tied the girl by her hair to the centre of a manhole cover. But within a day they were friends again.

This intriguing book is packed with references to the artists of the city, to poets and philosophers, enriching the images created by the author. The prose is as rich as poetry. For instance, “The chef’s face was glowing from the heat of the cooking flames. Smoke plumed up from the butter he ladled onto the sizzling hobs, beneath copper pans which hung from a rack like Awards of Merit.”

Rowena (or the author) has an artist’s observation skills. Each Dutch scene, every character in Amsterdam is described vividly. She meets a man wearing five layers of pink brocade, velvet and leather. Although he was about 60, “he had the eyes of an enthusiastic teenager; they were ready to take on the world.”

This is a book to savour, to indulge in a vibrant yet mysterious world steeped in the history of the city. It is quite unlike any other novel I have read but I very much enjoyed it.

When Doves Fly by Lauren Gregory

Doves

Here is a book which takes us back to the Wild West we used to see in old movies, where men are tough and uncouth and women are there for their pleasure.  Into this setting comes Lily Wright, running away from abuse and tragedy, looking for a new life in a boomtown during the gold rush in Colorado.  Intending to open a dry goods store, her plans are in disarray after she loses her money and belongings.  Without any assistance she struggles to make a living despite the fates being against her.

 

Lily is an insecure but brave and determined woman, with whom the reader becomes intimately involved.  She learns a valuable lesson from Alice Durand, a wizened old woman whose life story could make another book!  We experience Lily’s suffering in intense detail and cannot help wishing that her knight in shining armour will appear.  However, Lily must make her own destiny.

 

The hypocritical residents of the ironically named Clear Springs include evil villains, honourable citizens and a hoard of dysfunctional individuals trying to make a fortune.  It’s the perfect setting for life-changing drama.  This could have made the story too predictable but this is far from the case. Lauren Gregory’s characters are real and vibrant.  They come with back stories which give them substance and their actions make for a dramatic plot.  There are the seeds of a saga in this novel.

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Teaser Tuesday #TuesdayBookBlog

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

 Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I’ve almost finished reading Never say Sorry by Rose Edmunds, which is full of exciting events but what makes it compulsive reading are the characters. These are two of them:-

Stephanie Clark wore pastel suits and matching shoes- ill-judged female business attire from the early 80s.  A blonde helmet of hair sat stiffly on her head.

Claudia sat queen of all she surveyed- arms folded, feet up on the table.  And what a pair of legs- beautifully toned showcased in a pair of purple leather leggings with vertiginous gold sandals.

Never say

A review will follow shortly.