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.

 

 

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Away for Christmas (A Novella) by Jan Ruth #NewRelease #BookReview

Away

Jonathan is at a crossroads in his life; disillusioned with his work as an accountant he is about to launch his first book, but was it wise to give up his job just before Christmas?  As he and his girlfriend, Catherine, set out for a couples Christmas with their usual friends, at a rented house in Llangollen, their relationship is heading for a crisis.  And he already has unresolved issues with ex-wife Denise and their teenage daughter, Lizzie.

There are many complications with his book trilogy, due to the incompetency of the publishing company and he is concerned about Catherine’s grandfather Gwilym, who is rapidly developing Alzheimer’s.  He cherishes Gwilym’s small bookshop on the seafront and doesn’t want it to close.  Could he find a solution to all these problems?

There are some delightful observations about the difficulties of publishing a book.  Tangerine Press and editor, Eden Edwards, act as if they are on the ball as a prestige company but it is all smoke and mirrors.  It doesn’t take the reader long to identify the online bookseller, Marathon, where Jonathan searches for his sales figures.

For a novella, this story packs in many strands: of parental and romantic relationships, of friendship and community spirit.  Set over three Christmas seasons, 2015 -2017, we see Jonathan find a way through his problems, gaining wisdom and appreciating his friends and family.  He acquires a dog called Frodo and sets out on a new life.  There is a satisfying conclusion which keeps you guessing and even leaves the way open for the possibility of a follow-up book.  A warm, rewarding book for the Christmas season, set in a realistic, inviting location.

Away for Christmas can be purchased from Amazon UK

Jan Ruth

Jan Ruth

About My Books

Fiction which does not fall neatly into a pigeon hole has always been the most difficult to define. In the old days such books wouldn’t be allowed shelf space if they didn’t slot immediately into a commercial list.
As an author I have been described as a combination of literary-contemporary-romantic-comedy-rural-realism-family-saga; oh, and with an occasional criminal twist and a lot of the time, written from the male viewpoint.

No question my books are Contemporary. Family and Realism; these two must surely go hand-in-hand, yes? So, although you’ll discover plenty of escapism, I hope you’ll also be able to relate to my characters as they stumble through a minefield of relationships. I hesitate to use the word romance. It’s a misunderstood and mistreated word and despite the huge part it plays in the market, attracts an element of disdain. If romance says young, fluffy and something to avoid, maybe my novels will change your mind since many of my central characters are in their forties and fifties. Grown-up love is rather different, and this is where I try to bring that sense of realism into play without compromising the escapism.

Jan Ruth

Silent Water by Jan Ruth

 

The Wild Water series includes everything I desire for a perfect read.  It describes contemporary life in all its complexities; love, passion, family connections, humour and tragedy.  After the changes in family circumstances brought about by the blossoming romance between Jack Redman and his childhood sweetheart, Anna, when they reconnect in Wild Water, the plot grew menacing in Dark Water leaving readers on a cliff-hanger.  Silent Water delivers everything I had hoped for.  Events catch up with Jack and Anna and they must decide whether to reveal their secret.

 

Jack Redman can be embarrassing and foolish, but his passion and commitment to those he loves, make him irresistible.  Anna is quieter and more thoughtful, she takes longer to decide on her actions.  The other main characters are also fascinating.  Ex-wife Patsy is miserable in her new life in Chester and her depression leads her to be more manipulative than ever, but does she really deserve our sympathy?  Jack’s daughter Lottie is hilarious as she enters puberty, acting outrageously to cope with her need for a stable home.

 

In Silent Water Anna matures.  She takes responsibility and doesn’t rely on Jack to take care of her.  When she realises that he has been keeping secrets from her, she has to decide whether their love is strong enough to survive.  And as the storyline winds the threads together, there is a delicious twist at the end.

 

If I worked for a TV company, I would be commissioning this trilogy for a serial.  Against the backdrop of stunning scenery in Snowdonia, dramatic events, family misunderstandings, tears and laughter fill the plot.  If you haven’t tried it yet, you really must read all three books as soon as possible.

Rosie's Book Review team 1

 

 

Teaser Tuesday #TuesdayBookBlog

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jenn of Books And A Beat. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two or three “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!

Silent EBOOK copy

I am really excited at beginning to read Silent Water, Part Three of Jan Ruth’s tempestuous Wild Water saga.

The following sentences are from the Prologue.

As he began the ascent, the Irish Sea crashed and rolled against the headland and the old mine workings came into view, silhouetted against a band of rainclouds.  Which way?  The dogs had scattered.  He stopped and gasped for breath at the top of the track, and listened.

There was a noise that didn’t belong on that mountain.  A savage, inhuman noise.

White Horizon by Jan Ruth

 

new White H

This novel begins with the wedding of Daniel and Tina after they have been together in a tempestuous relationship for 25 years.  It is witnessed by the whole local community including old school-friends Linda and Victoria whose own marriages are disintegrating.  From the moment that Daniel walks into the church in old torn jeans, covered in plaster, it looks as if this marriage is also on the rocks but is it just the curse of the hotel which Daniel has just taken over?

 

Cefn Cyfarwydd, Daniel’s hotel, is in a beautiful setting by a lake and he has restored it sympathetically.  Jan Ruth’s description made me long to book in for the weekend and the food sounded delicious too!  But Tina hates being buried “in the middle of nowhere” and she has health worries which she is hiding from Daniel.  Linda’s husband has left her for a young Polish girl and Victoria’s respectable husband, Max, is a sadistic bully, behind closed doors.

 

The stage is set for life changing decisions by all the main characters, complicated by Daniel’s extended dysfunctional family, who provide humour and tragedy within the storyline.  It would seem as though there can be no fairy-tale ending but the denouement is eminently satisfying.  Another page-turner by Jan Ruth about passionate, real people.

You can find White Horizon in the UK here  and in the US there

Palomino Sky by Jan Ruth

Palomino Sky Cover LARGE EBOOK

Palomino Sky continues the story of Laura and James who met in Midnight Sky. Now they are looking forward to a happy life together as Laura plans their wedding and tries to set up a new home design company. James wishes to start anew by selling the farm and the equestrian business and looking for another home, but Laura has reservations.

In this book, Laura’s sister, Maggie, gains strength as a character and in practical ways. She is faced with increased problems form her wayward daughter, Jess, but she takes constructive action to help Laura and James as their lives take a tragic turn. Towards the end of the book we lose touch with Laura, but this is because she needs to step back from events, feeling lost herself.

The bleak winter landscape of Snowdonia is beautifully described by the author and the awe inspiring sight of the gathering ponies is starkly contrasted by subsequent events.

“A miraculous sight came out of the mist; a long ribbon of ponies on the skyline cantering, leaping and whinnying to each other across the heather…….They were the colours of bracken and stone, rainclouds and earth.”

As the horses are sold or returned to their owners, the healing hope of the mare, Palomino Sky, whom Laura calls Song and the dependable sturdiness of O’Malley, show a light at the end of the tunnel which might bring James and Laura back onto the path to happiness and give solutions to those affected by the closure of the stables.

This is an emotional story which grips the reader from page one. I really cared about the characters and read late into the night to discover their fate.

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Midnight Sky by Jan Ruth

Midnight Sky Cover LARGE EBOOK

If any book can convert me into a horse lover it will be this one. I am still frightened of horses but I now have an idea of the empathy experienced by some people with special horses. Midnight Sky has a magical quality but she is a damaged horse, desperately in need of a sensitive horse whisperer. James Morgan-Jones, with his sad green eyes, is the one person who can restore her confidence, even though he is incapable of recovering any sort of personal life since the tragic death of his wife Carys, two years previously.

Laura Brown is an efficient, organised interior designer living in Chester with partner Simon. They run Dragon Designs, improving run-down houses, but their life together is often upset by Simon’s demanding wife Alice and his children. Disturbed by a particularly distressing row, Laura sets out visit her older sister Maggie in North Wales. Maggie, married to Pete for many years, has a busy life looking after 10-year-old, Ellie and her challenging 17-year-old, Jess. Even Pete is beginning to cause her worries.

All these characters, and more, are stirred together at the riding stables where James gives Ellie lessons. Despite their initial antipathy, James and Laura are thrown together in a snowstorm but this does not help them to solve their sadness about Carys and Simon. Alongside the angst of personal drama there is also humour in this mature, contemporary story and it really is a page turner. A conclusion is reached but now I can’t wait to move onto the following book, Palomino Sky.

You can find Midnight Sky in the UK here or in the US