Book Review – Chasing Symmetry (Riley’s Peak #1)  by Tempeste Blake

Book Review – Chasing Symmetry (Riley’s Peak #1) by Tempeste Blake

by Brittany 0 Comments

Book Review – Chasing Symmetry

(Riley’s Peak #1)

by Tempeste Blake

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2 Review

 Brittany, Top Reviewer
BookGobbler & Brittany’s Pages
  Julia Wilson
Christian Bookaholic



Britanny's Pages Book Review by Brittany

A Murder Thriller with a Shocking Twist!

Bianca James thinks she has her life together. She teaches art at the local college, dotes on her car Picasso, and she has a wonderful best friend. But when Bianca discovers a murdered woman in the school’s storage closet, things become a bit more complicated.

Finn Tierny has returned to Riley’s Peak to help take care of his father. He joins the police force and is part of the crew that responds to the murder scene. He is surprised to see Bianca, his former art teacher and his older brother’s ex-girlfriend.

Soon after the murder, Bianca begins to receive threats  and Finn does all he can to keep her safe. The two begin to fall for each other, even with Finn’s brother Dylan trying win Bianca back. Everything comes crashing down and Bianca’s life is put in danger in a clever twist of an ending.

Chasing Symmetry started off really strong, I flew through the first few chapters with the murder investigation and then it started to slow down. I had to put it down and come back to it later.
The novel stands as both a murder mystery and a love story. Police are trying to find the murderer and Finn is in love with Bianca, and wants to keep her safe.

As a love story, it wasn’t believable enough for me. Bianca is caught in two interconnecting love triangles. One with brothers Dylan and Finn, the other with Dylan and his now girlfriend Jewel. On Finn’s side, the narrative is that he comes back to town and immediately becomes protective of Bianca (obviously he’s already in love with her). And to be honest, he’s in love with a person he barely knows. The attraction seems to be all physical and that, for me, is a shallow base for a love story. Not to mention that she was his art teacher AND it’s his brother’s ex-girlfriend.

The murder mystery was a little on the slow end in the middle (hence my original 3 star rating), but the clever twist at the end upped my rating. The author introduces several characters that have the potential to be the murderer. It kept me guessing through the whole book and the ending totally blew me away.

If you are a murder mystery fan, definitely give this book a try and see if you can figure out the ending better than I can!

Chasing Symmetry gets 3.5 stars.

Originally Posted on Britanny’s Pages


Reviewed by Julia Wilson

Lies, Secrets And Shattered Lives

Chasing Symmetry by Tempeste Blake is a marvellous nail-biting contemporary murder mystery that intrigues from the start. Lives are easily shattered. The novel explores how a traumatic event can have far reaching effects. “He couldn’t stop blaming himself.” Unable to face the future except by looking through the bottom of a glass. Trauma changes lives.

Mothers are important. When mothers leave – either through choice or death – families are changed. Children need their mothers. Husbands need their wives. A mother is the glue that holds the family together.
Life can be cruel. Cancer robs us of our loved ones. Sometimes even before death as their personalities change. It is hard to watch as they slowly slip away.
The world sees one face but people are different behind closed doors. “The world was full of people hiding their true identities.” Many people are nursing secrets. There is power in prayer. “If you pray… pray. If you don’t, you might want to start.” Many turn to prayer in a crisis. For others it is a default setting.

Chasing Symmetry’s plotline was well thought out and cleverly constructed. The ending was jaw dropping. I did not see it coming but was totally brilliant. I was engrossed and guessing throughout. The characters were well drawn and realistic with their unique strengths and weaknesses. The main characters were very likable.

Chasing Symmetry is a brilliant read. It would translate perfectly into a movie. I cannot wait for the next book in the series.

Originaly Posted on the Christian Bookaholic


Book Review – Who the F*ck Am I? by Stephen Bentley

Book Review – Who the F*ck Am I? by Stephen Bentley

by gobbler 1 Comment

Book Review – Who the F*ck Am I?

by Stephen Bentley

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1 Blogger Reviews

 Joni Dee
BookGobbler Admin
 Rodney Strong



Book Review by Joni Dee User Sign Up

A Good Novella Which Gives You a Taste for More

“Who the F*ck Am I?” is a novella by Stephen Bentley (more about him later), which can only be described as borderline non-fiction crime-thriller genre. 

Steve Regan is an undercover cop, who is trying to infiltrate a US-driven drug ring in late 70s Britain. He comes across Bill Morris, a Canadian international who is trying to establish this drug ring, and they immediately set off on a collision course. While Regan is the ultimate conflicted good boy, Bill is the absolute devil: murder, rape, and outright violence is his bread and butter, while he is in bed with the dangerous Bolivian cartel. Will Steve stop him or will he succumb to the thrill and glamorous life of an international drug dealer and go rogue?

As a novella, which sets the scene to a trilogy, “Who the F*ck Am I?” is a very good read. Stephen Bentley’s writing is precise, well edited and weaved with high English as well as punchy Cockney slang. Stephen Bentley has been an undercover cop himself, active in “operation July” which is one of the biggest international drug busts in modern history. Bentley had managed a variety of jobs, including a barrister, and his intimate knowledge of the crime world oozes from the pages. There’s no doubt in my mind that this book is inspired by real events, even though the author is trying to undermine this in his foreword.

The critical aspect of this review has to do with the Characters – Regan was a bit underdeveloped for my taste, and I would have loved to understand what he was doing undercover for two years, He is too “perfect” and I didn’t buy for a second his “going rogue” thoughts. My second critical point has to do with the ending. Without giving out any details, I think the entire episodes after the climax of the Regan-Bill confrontation were unnecessary. instead I would have preferred a more elaborated account of Bill’s affairs in the US and Regan’s past. The book ends in a very American-movie manner and too many things fit into their right place…

“Who the F*ck Am I?”‘s plot is plausible and believable, however I would have loved to see it develop more: A bit more about the cartel, Bill and Regan’s life would have made me much more content. Compelled to write this, I must concede that this novel is well succinct and is a page turner on its own merit. The book will give you a glimpse of the undercover life and if you like crime thrillers you would love to enter this 70s world of no mobile phones, no advance tech and old school British-gangster-violence.


Book Review by Rodney Strong User Sign Up

A Solid Start for Bentley

Who the F*ck am I? centers on British undercover cop Steve Regan as he navigates the murky world of drugs in the 1970s.  He’s been under for so long he begins to question who he is and whether he should succumb to the temptations of easy money to help save his mother.

First off I need to say I love the title.  Not only is it abrupt and in your face, it matches the speech and thought patterns of the main character Steve Regan.  This promised to be a gritty, no holds barred, view of undercover work in the 70s.  And for the most part it delivers.  The language is believable, and although some of the characters are a little cliched, for the most part they are well drawn.

This is a novella, and the story is quite short, which means it is a little frustrating that the story bounces between characters.  There are long periods where it’s told from Bill or Caroline, and Regan isn’t even in the picture.  This means you never really get into his mind and follow the struggle he has about whether to turn rogue.

The author has a tendency to interrupt tense scenes with long expositions.  At one point Regan is meeting the drug cartel for the first time, which should be fraught with danger, but instead we get two pages of back story on Regan and how he got there.

Even though it’s a novella and intended to be short, it actually could have been shorter.  There was a natural conclusion point, but things dragged on a little while the author set up the next book.  The last ten or so pages could easily have shown up as the beginning of the next book and not impacted on this book at all.

This was a solid start for Bentley, and I’ll be interested to see where he goes from here. 3/5 stars.

The Reviewer is the Author of Troy’s Possibilities

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Book Review – The Key of All Unknown by K. A. Hitchens

Book Review – The Key of All Unknown by K. A. Hitchens

by Dale E. Lehman 1 Comment

Book Review – The Key of All Unknown 

by K. A. Hitchens

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3 Blogger Review


Dale E. Lehman 
BookGobbler Author
  Julia Wilson
Christian Bookaholic 
 Rose Elliot
Findling Land, Book Blogger



Reviewed by Dale E. Lehman User Sign Up

This Novel is Among the Best I’ve Read in Recent Times

Dr. Matilda Moss is moving toward a bright future. A top British stem cell researcher, she’s on the verge of a breakthrough that promises cures for a variety of ailments. But then a fall from a balcony leaves her brilliant mind trapped in a useless body slipping inexorably toward death. Unable to move or speak or even blink her eyes, she is powerless to explain what happened to her. Was it a failed suicide? Attempted murder? She can only listen to the speculations swirling about her, collect hints from those who visit her hospital room, and sift through her own memories in an effort to find the meaning behind her life and impending death.

“The Key of All Unknown” floored me. Told in first person through Matilda’s eyes and mind, it is full of heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching twists and turns. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, the tale rounds a new bend and everything changes, not just once, not just twice, but time after time. Beneath it all runs a current of philosophical and moral questing touching on the deepest questions of life and death, and critiquing society’s mad rush to devalue its own humanity.

Emotional, topical, and beautifully told, this novel is among the best I’ve read in recent times. I can’t find a thing to complain about, except a very occasional quibble over an excessively ornate description, and that may just be a matter of taste. The ending so unequivocal that you’ll either be deeply moved by it or you’ll hate it, but either way it’s worth the reading. Five stars for story, five stars for the writing, five stars hands down. Brava, Ms. Hitchens!

The Reviewer is the Author of “The Fibonacci Murders” and “True Death” 

This review will feature in his blog


Reviewed by Julia Wilson User Sign Up

Unbelievably Beautiful

The Key Of All Unknown by K.A. Hitchins is a beautiful contemporary novel that I read in just one sitting. I was unable to put it down.

Trapped in her body, Tilda hears everything that is going on. Bit by bit as her memories play out she longs for her body to respond. The words “If you look at me again, you’ll see I’m here” just break the reader’s heart. How many of us are locked inside our bodies, just longing for the world to see the real us?

The book is written in the first person so the reader ‘experiences’ all that Tilda does. We ‘feel’ her frustrations and her pain as she is manhandled by those supposed to care. “I’m a medical condition to be analysed, not a person to be comforted.” Conflicting opinions reign as Tilda fights for her life. Whose side are you on?

The reader senses the raw emotion of her father. “My love isn’t enough. It can’t reach her.” Sometimes our love is not enough to nurse our loved ones back to health. The hopelessness and helplessness are painful to witness.

There are crimes to be solved. The reader tries to piece together what has happened. Even in the darkness, there can be hope for new life if we just hold on and do not give up.

The Key Of All Unknown was beautiful. I hung on to every word that K.A. Hitchins wrote. There were moments when my jaw literally dropped and radiance and love filled my soul.
Why don’t you read The Key Of All Unknown and experience the peace that passes all understanding, as you read this work of great beauty.

Originaly Posted on the Christian Bookaholic


Reviewed by Rose Elliot User Sign Up

An Incredibly Well-written, Highly Unexpected Story

Like I mentioned in the introductory post for this month’s book club pick, The Key of All Unknown by Kathryn Hitchens, I was excited to pick up a thriller for the first time in a while. And thrilling this book was! The entire book takes place from the perspective of Tilda Moss, a brilliant scientific researcher who appears to be in a vegetative state, but is actually suffering from locked-in syndrome, as she fights to remember why she landed in the hospital in the first place and figure out how to signal someone that she is, in fact, sentient.

The book takes place almost entirely in Tilda’s head, save the moments when she is able to listen in on the conversations that take place in her hospital. Between those conversations and her fleeting memories, Tilda realizes there is much, much more at stake than just her own life. With incredible and surprising twists and turns, Hitchens manages to weave a story that is suspenseful, enticing, and moving. The reader gets a front row seat to Tilda’s struggles as she fights to survive, fights to be recognized as awake and aware, and fights to remember. As she lays in her hospital bed, piecing together memories and listening to doctors, nurses, and family members discuss her fate, Tilda is left to contend with her life up to that point, faith, and what happens next.

Hitchens does an excellent job of drawing her readers in and keeping them reading. Just when you think the story is slowing down or dragging, another twist or shocking piece of information appears and you have to keep reading. I was deeply moved by this book as a whole, but especially the last third or so. I will often feel emotional at the end of a book, but rarely do I cry real tears, much less sob as I read an ending. The Key of All Unknown brought me tears. I was sobbing by the end, and had to take a second before I could finish reading.

The Key of All Unknown is an incredibly well-written, highly unexpected story. As I read the story, I imagined all sorts of possible outcomes. But the outcome that happened was both completely unexpected and absolutely perfect. I look forward to reading more books by Hitchins in the future.

The Key of All Unknown by Kathryn Hitchins gets 5/5 stars.

Originally posted on “Finding Land” Blog


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Book Review – Children of The Wise Oak  by Oliver J. Tooley

Book Review – Children of The Wise Oak by Oliver J. Tooley

by gobbler 0 Comments

Book Review – Children of The Wise Oak

by Oliver J. Tooley

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1 Blogger Reviews

 Joni Dee
BookGobbler Admin



Book Review by Joni Dee

An Epic Magical Journey with refined Historical accuracy

“Children of the Wise Oak” is an epic journey written in a magical world where the Celtic-Roman era meets magic and mythology.
Blyth and his younger brothers live in a remote Celtic village, in a lifestyle and surrounding of harsh survival where the tribe is put above all. When his father returns from distant lands, with apocalyptic prophecies that involves the newly formed Roman Republic – they are forced to flee from home. Guided by Gwenn, a powerful mage who knew their father, their journey leads them across the continent straight to the heart of the Roman Republic. They learn magic and shapeshifting, they come across new people and cultures and they learn to admire the amazing Roman architecture which is a million light years advance from anything they ever knew.This book is the first in the “Wise Oak” series, the second just published under the name “Women of the Wise Oak”.
Those of you who know me, know that I don’t tend to read fantasy, left alone YA oriented. However,this book excited me a lot. The historical accuracy is so refined that I almost forgot about the magical elements in the novel. In a sense – it can get teenagers to relate to historical event and would be appealing to mature readers with Tooley’s great figurative language and carrying imagery.
I’ve already bought the sequel and looking foward to seeing what Tooley has in mind for his alternative universe, Julius Caesar and the Wise Oak “family”.
Book Review – Ice on The Bay by Dale and Kathleen Lehman

Book Review – Ice on The Bay by Dale and Kathleen Lehman

by Julia Wilson 0 Comments

book review – Ice on The Bay

by Dale and Kathleen Lehman

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3 Bloggers Review

Dianne James Book Blogger
Julia Wilson
Christian Bookaholic
Dianne James 
Blogger & Reader
     Joni Dee
Thrillers Author


Reviewed by Julia Wilson


Ice On The Bay by Dale and Kathleen Lehman is a marvellous contemporary murder suspense. It is the third book in the Howard County Mystery series but can be read as a stand-alone.

Once again the reader is in for a gripping ride in this compulsive read. The police officers work together to get the job done. They remind me of the three musketeers with their dedication and their loyalty to each other.

A cold case collides with present day crimes of murder, blackmail, arson and burglary. The cases run side by side as the reader tries to guess the connection, if any. Literally a jaw dropping ending that had me hooked and reading with heart racing.

Not only is there great action but the reader really gets to know the characters – their back stories and their families. They are not just flat characters in a book but well developed 3D characters that leap out and engage the reader.

Meeting up with familiar characters gave an air of consistency and a feeling of catching up with old friends. The police officers are very personable, the reader cares about what happens to them. The ‘baddies’ are well drawn too, eliciting feelings of dislike from the reader. For some, we recognise they are caught in a spiral of crime due to circumstances of their upbringing. For others we see the result of poor choices.

These Howard County Mysteries are cracking detective novels. I think they would make a marvellous television mini-series. I am hoping there are many more books to come.

Absolutely compulsive and nail biting reading.

I received this book for free from The Book Gobbler. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.

Originaly Posted on the Christian Bookaholic


Dianne James Book Blogger Reviewed by Dianne James

A Cracking Crime Novel with Enough Twists and Turns to Make a Belly Dancer Faint

Howard County PD; three separate police investigations – a murder, an arson and a two year old missing persons case. All unrelated – or are they?
Detectives Montufar, Dumas And Peller try to make sense of their respective cases and as they follow the leads they have – slim as some may be – a darker, more complicated story starts to emerge. It is a complex tale of drugs, deception, blackmail and murder and contains all the elements one might expect from a good crime suspense novel.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish. The characters are well developed and realistic and it moves at a good pace to build the suspense. The more I read, the less I wanted to put it down – to do mundane everyday things. In the end, mundane things lost and I read this in one sitting.

It is a cracking crime suspense novel with enough twists and turns to make a belly dancer faint.
Definitely recommended.

I got this book free from Bookgobbler and was not paid to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Dianne is running the book review blog Novel Experiences


Reviewed by Joni Dee

A Good Howard County Sequel

I liked Dale E Lehman’s debut novel “The Fibonacci Murders”. For some reason though, I did not read the second book of the series “True Death” but went straight the task of reading and reviewing the newly written sequel, in collaboration with his wife Kathleen.

I believe that good sequels are measured if they manage to stand-alone as a book on their own. It’s a big issue in my view, if reading the first book is mandatory in order to understand the next. Albeit a hard task for an author no doubt, would you imagine needing to read nine of Agatha Christies’ superb Poirot novels before reaching the famous “Murder on the Orient Express” ? Not likely. I am pleased to report that in that aspect, the Lehman’s did not fall into a trap that many “sequeling” authors do. The book can be read as a stand-alone, and details from book II were easily filled. I did however thought that if someone read the book as a stand-alone he would have found Lieutenant Det. Rick Peller a bit timid, and over-fatherly. However, I’ll attribute it to him (Peller) simply playing a smaller role in this novel, and maybe just getting older, like most of us.

As always with Howard Country, there are few cases which seems at first not-connected, but interlink as the story draws near its end. Peller is working on an old two-year old case of a missing person; Detective Sgt. Montufar, now engaged in a hot & heavy relationship with Detective Sgt. Dumas, is trying to figure out a copycat arson event; and Dumas – who’s undeniably the main protagonist, is investigating a stone-cold murder of a hustler.
There are also subplots of Montufar’s father dying in the hospital and Peller getting involved with a socialite, both which I found completely redundant and not contributing to the plot (Dale Lehman would have to excuse me on this, as the hospital scenes are probably taken from some personal experience which he wanted to set-free).

The writing is precise as always, but sometimes too precise. It’s humouristic when the boys make wise-cracks for using high vocabulary words, but when the villains use them or an immigrant family, it somewhat hurts the overall flow.
I especially liked The Lehmans’ flirtation with the cold weather, reminding me a lot of my descriptive writing style which, on numerous occasions, was blamed to be throwing the reader off the main subject. I liked it, it gave the story a body.

My main criticism involves the story:
It is a similar problem to that which Mr Lehman had when he wrote solo “The Fibonacci Murders”. Basically, a lot of the details are revealed but the story kind of solves itself before they can serve as clues. The reader doesn’t really have a chance to reach any conclusion on his own, and one witness who could have easily given the story to begin with, if enough pressure had been applied, sings at the end, after we have already speculated what had accord. For me, it was a good story, portraying mundane police work, with likeable characters, but it lacked sophistication. The Howard County detectives came across as too naïve, and too trustworthy, but I liked them.

Another point is that I wasn’t quite sold on how the stories interlink, nor do I think that Peller and Montufar had contributed much to the cracking of the case.

The story redeems itself with a nice twist right at the end, although the way it was discovered and the entire charade seemed a bit messy. I’m not going to reveal anything here, but just as you think the novel reaches its end, The Lehmans’ give us a much-needed climax with a bursting action scene.

“Ice on the Bay” is a precise written novel, which shows the hard task of police detective work. The characters are likeable, the imagery is a pleasant surprise – but the story which is crucial, is somewhat lacking, for this die-hard crime thriller fan


Book Review – Desert Jade by C. J. Shane

Book Review – Desert Jade by C. J. Shane

by Rodney Strong 1 Comment

Book Review – Desert Jade

by C. J. Shane

Average rating (all reviews) :


Book Review by Rodney Strong

I’d be happy to read anything from the author in future!

Desert Jade starts in the desert with the desperate struggle of an illegal immigrant, and over the course of the book takes in murders, Chinese triads, and rather surprisingly, love.

C.J Shane has written a solid thriller, with some particularly descriptive passages of the desert, and of Tucson. The characters are well drawn, and although there are a lot of them, the author mostly manages to juggle them successfully. A minor quibble here is that Shane spends quite a bit of time on characters that aren’t seen for most of the book, which distracts from the main story.  For example the entire first section is about a Mexican woman being rescued from the desert, and then we don’t see her again until the very end of the book.

Letty is a likeable character, and it was nice to have a private investigator that wasn’t hard-boiled, or burnt out.  She has her demons, like everyone, but they help round out her character rather than dominating her actions.

There is a little too much exposition in places, which slows the action down. In several spots the characters relate story aspects to other characters, that the reader already knows, so there’s a sense of repetition.  Also some of the dialogue is a bit stilted.

Tightening up these areas could have turned a good book into a great book.  Having said that I’d be happy to read anything from the author in future.

4 stars out of 5

The Reviewer is the Author of Troy’s Possibilities

Book Review – The Master by Dora Ilieva

Book Review – The Master by Dora Ilieva

Book Review – The Master

by Dora Ilieva

Average rating (all reviews) :


Book Review by Rodney Strong

Bored with working at Starbucks – The Master is a solid book but not spectacular

The Master, by Dora Ilieva sees Kossara Kirilova being offered a job.  A chance to track down a long missing book.  Bored with working at Starbucks, and keen to utilise her brain once more she accepts the challenge, and soon finds her way from Canada to Europe, where she must keep her wits about her at all times if she’s going to survive.

There are some nice descriptive passages throughout the book, especially where it comes to locations in Europe, and the Bogomils.  Some of the dialogue is stilted, but it mostly flows well, and there is a clear sense of relationship between Kossara, Ben, and Sam.

The Master is billed as a thriller but for me there was a distinct lack of tension in the book.  There’s no sense that they are actually getting close to finding the book, and although the villian’s make several threats, Kossara and her friends are never aware of them.  Most of the deaths that occure could have been natural causes, so there’s no sense of fear from the protagonists.

Aside from an intriguing prologue there is no understanding of what’s so important about the book that people would kill for it, so the reader doesn’t know what the stakes are, and neither do the protagonists.  As far as they know they are just looking for a historical book.  The other thing that stood out was the number of coincidences that happened to push the story along.  It was almost as if the author hit a wall in the story so put in a family on a metro to provide an important clue, for example.

While Kossara is mostly well written, she is an inconsistent character.  She’s suspicious of the job offer, but completely oblivious to the coincidences of Pedro following her around.  In one scene she’s a strong, independent woman, in the next she’s indecisive and relying on her friends.

The book ends rather abruptly, which makes me wonder if there is a sequel planned, but there is no real resolution for any of the characters which is a little frustrating.

Dora Ilieva has some good plot ideas and executes some of them well.  Unfortunately there is too much repetition.  There is a descriptive passage used as a clue to the book’s hiding place, which is repeated three or four times in full.

For me, this was a solid book without being spectacular.

3 stars out of 5

Book Review – The Rosegiver  by Sandy Hiss

Book Review – The Rosegiver by Sandy Hiss

by gobbler 0 Comments

Book Review – The Rosegiver

by Sandy Hiss

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1 Blogger Review

Charlotte Foster
BookGobbler Top Reviewer
Larry Darter
BookGobbler Author
 Julia Wilson
Christian Bookaholic


Reviewed by Charlotte Foster

Overall, An Enjoyable Quick Read

I received this e-book from BookGobbler
I thought this book was a pretty quick read. I think that this book has both negative and positive things as most books do.
The basis of this novel is about Rachel Harper, a seventeen year old girl, who is a RoseGiver, you’ll have to read the book to find out what that is. I thought it was a unique concept though. I also thought the pacing of the story was awesome. I just flew through the chapters. I also found the worldbuilding to be visually stimulating and loved that it was set in the 1800s. The descriptions of Thistle Grove and Rosethorne Inn were straight out of a dream.
I liked the minor characters too. They were likeable and the incidents that occurred throughout the story with regards to the supporting characters was quite unusual but, I think added to the story. The story does have a little romance, a love triangle, but it’s the slow burning type. The relationship grows from a friendship instead of a love at first site type of thing. Most of the plot was based on the mystery of the disappearing girls.
These were some of the things I liked, so in my opinion, the positive. Now for some of the things I didn’t like, the negative. The story has way too many things that the plot could revolve around, or elements. When I first started the book, I thought it was going to be about Rachel’s gift which would have been extremely interesting and unique. Instead, the book is a mixture of Rachel’s gift, demons and vampyres all encased in a beautiful Victorian world. This meant that sometimes, the plot was all over the place. I think the author would have a better story if she stuck one element and carried it till the end.
The main character, Rachel was an idiot. The girl has no sense of propriety for a woman in that era and if it was the intention of the author to make her different, it was an unsuccessful attempt. She is more of a damsel in distress that gets herself into stupid situations and looks for a man to rescue her at all times. She makes rash decisions too. Victorian girls were always chaperoned and not allowed to roam the woods alone like she did.. If she was meant to have a rebellious streak, maybe find a way more true to the period.
Overall, I truly did enjoy the story. I would recommend reading this book if you like YA historical fiction.

The Reviewer is a BookGobbler and Goodreads Top Reviewer  

You can read this review on Goodreads


Reviewed by Larry Darter

An exquisitely written enchanting tale well told

Written By Sandy Hiss—This fantasy novel takes place in the late 1800s, and seventeen-year-old Rachel Harper is sent by her mother to the mythical English village of Thistle Grove to assist her aunt who operates an inn by performing. While Rachael is still grieving the recent death of her father, she starts to look forward to the adventure of the trip and the visit with her aunt.

It isn’t until Rachael is on the train from London, bound for Thistle Grove that she learns that something sinister has been taking place in the village. Some young women have gone missing, and no one knows what has become of them.
Aboard the train, Rachael becomes acquainted with an older gentleman that she discovers is a writer also bound for Thistle Grove, and they strike up a friendship. Once Rachael arrives in Thistle Grove the reader learns that like her mother Catherine and her aunt Judith, Rachael is a Rosegiver.

A Rosegiver is a person with the special gift of being able to read another person and divine such things about the person as their state of emotional or physical health. Under the supervision of her aunt, Rachael begins to practice her gift by performing readings for members of the community. At the inn where she lives and works, Rachael makes the acquaintance of a young man employed by her aunt named Ronan who has information about the missing girls of the village…

The Rosegiver is an interesting and entertaining mixture of the paranormal, suspense, and romance with an agreeable Victorian flavor.

Hiss is a talented writer who uses fully developed, three-dimensional characters, an intriguing plot, and just the right pace to keep the reader engaged in her delightfully told tale. While YA fantasy isn’t a genre I read often, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to those who enjoy the genre.

The Reviewer is the Author of “Cold Comfort”


Reviewed by Julia Wilson

A Good Old Fashioned Tale

The Rosegiver by Sandy Hiss is a historical gothic fantasy. A new release, Sandy Hiss employs all the traditional elements of nineteenth century gothic fiction – a dark brooding atmosphere, figures that draw the reader in as we question – what is real? What is imagined? Who can be trusted?

The Rosegiver also has a fairytale feel to it, very reminiscent of Little Red Riding Hood, Alice In Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White all rolled into one.

The leading lady is well drawn, likable in her innocence whilst learning to perfect her gift. Loss permeates the novel. A loss that is deeply felt – “drowning in tears won’t bring him back.”

The Rosegiver was not my usual genre but I really enjoyed it. It was entertaining and had me hooked, trying to predict the outcome. A tale to be read with the lights on – and not before bedtime!

I received this book for free from The Book Gobbler. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.

Originaly Posted on the Christian Bookaholic


book review – An Enlightening Quiche  by Eva Pasco

book review – An Enlightening Quiche by Eva Pasco

by Joni Dee 0 Comments

Book Review – An Enlightening Quiche

by Eva Pasco

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1 Blogger Reviews

 Joni Dee
BookGobbler Admin



Book Review by Joni Dee

Hooked from the First Forkful to the Last Crumb

Sholem Aleichem is a Jewish author who lived in the 19th century. While he wrote mainly in Yiddish, the dying Central-Eastern-European Jewish language (nowadays spoken only by orthodox communities), you can still find some of his work translated to English and Hebrew. His novels, as well as short stories, were a mirror of the Jewish society of the Shtetls – the old towns that were mostly inhabited by Orthodox Jews. In the Shtetls, each and every one knew their neighbours’ most intimate secrets and affairs, as a substitutional material for our modern-age TV if you’d like. They were fertile grounds for emotional packed stories and tales, and Sholem Aleichem played them in his novels like a gifted fiddler.

Unknowingly, or maybe intentionally, Eva Pasco takes this form of mundane socio-politics, of petty rivalries and small love affairs, and transcribed them to the North American culture and society.

Beauchemins is a placid small town on the north end of Rhode Island. Following massive French-Canadian job seeking immigration during the 19th and early 20th centuries, it is also a French-Canadian enclave, in the old American north. Half the population speaks French, and the other half uses French-Canadian urban phrases, which paints the town with unique fairy-talish colours, amidst its New England entourage.

The story is one of love and friendship; hate and rivalry; camaraderie and competition; all in the simplest aspect of la vie quotidian – our everyday lives.

The story is told by two adversary heroines: Augusta – the town’s ultimate seducer, and Lindsay, who comes to town to establish the local Mill’s museum. The story uses the 1st body, giving each of the frenemies a chance to express their own narrative without an ‘outside’ storyteller. In a sense, Lindsay plays the role of the outsider, digging into the town’s history for her own research and in order to forget about her failed marriage, while at the same time unveiling the town’s closeted skeletons. Augusta very much represents these skeletons: the untamed, never settled-down, town’s beauty, but also the delicate broken-home refugee, who is always on guard, with ice running in her veins, covering secrets of her own which run deeper than her well covered “Port coloured birthmark”

It all drains to a quiche competition, annually held by the town’s luncheonette, in which Augusta and Estelle, best friends, compete.

Let me start by saying: don’t read this novel on an empty stomach. Pasco’s talent for imagery will have you craving for a piece of quiche (I actually asked my wife to make one!). The author’s language is impeccable, she uses the full-scope of the English dictionary with playful phrasing to convey the storyline. Many times, the reader is expected to think and deduct for himself, not being served “the quiche” on a silver platter. Pasco treats her readers as intelligent, and spares us nothing in terms of figurative mind puzzles:
“cocooned inside the insecurity blanket of matrimonial bliss…” “…family would reap the benefits of having a cleaning lady come in once a weak. Still the dirty laundry accumulated…” and “…only I could pack a peck of pickled pluck whenever tears ventured to surface!” are just a small nosh as an example.

A word of warning! With idioms from the full spectrum of American culture, such as “jalopies” and “Miller time” the English playfulness can get rather rich to one’s taste. There was more than one occasion, when I wished Ms. Pasco would get to the point, and more than a few junctures where I had to re-read a paragraph to find the right beau-chemins (pretty roads in French).

If you love romance, if you enjoy having to think as reader and if you are an English-language enthusiast – grab your copy today. I can only reprimand Ms. Pasco for the book’s blurb and cover, both which doesn’t live up to the majestic content. I was hooked from the first forkful to the last crumb.

The Reviewer is the Author of And the Wolf Shall Dwell


Book Review – The Janus Enigma by William R Dudley

Book Review – The Janus Enigma by William R Dudley

by Dale E. Lehman 0 Comments

Book Review – The Janus Enigma

by William R Dudley

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1 Blogger Review

Dale E. Lehman 
BookGobbler Author


Reviewed by Dale E. Lehman

Action Packed and Suspenseful

Through nuclear war and environmental degradation, Earth has been all but destroyed. Seeking new homes, humanity has taken to the stars using a marvel of engineering: the Janus Gate. Orbiting the sun where the asteroid belt used to be, the Janus Gate’s space-warping black hole and surrounding containment field catapults pilgrims to worlds far beyond our solar system. But Janus is also a colony in its own right, its concentric levels home to a full cross-section of humanity. Here, powerful ultra-conglomerates double as businesses and government, ruthless criminal syndicates run amok, and ordinary people eke out an existence.

In the lawless outer levels of Janus, former security agent turned freelance bounty hunter Calder is offered a fortune to find the missing son of one of the richest and most powerful women alive. Of course he takes the job. But soon he finds himself neck deep in deception, treachery, gangland war, and unspeakable crimes. Death threatens at every turn, but Calder must see the job through, cost notwithstanding.

“The Janus Enigma” packs suspense and intense action into a gripping tale of survival and intrigue. It’s well written, too. Author William R. Dudley is a former English teacher, journalist, and editor, so he knows his way around words. I did find some of the dialogue near the end a bit wordy, and on occasion I thought a sentence could have been phrased better, but these are minor quibbles. A bit more significantly, I didn’t entirely buy the young computer whiz Umbra’s emotional episode near the end, and I was a bit disturbed that Calder didn’t notice the parallels between certain of his own actions, which he justifies as necessary collateral damage, and the monstrous crimes he uncovers. Some elements of the ending might have been a bit too pat, as well, but to avoid spoilers I won’t go into detail here. Regardless, the story works, and works well.

Fair warning for those who might take issue: this is a violent story liberally sprinkled with hot vengeance and crude language. Personally I would prefer less of all that, but I won’t factor that preference into my rating, since I seem to be in the minority. In terms of both story and writing, “The Janus Enigma” falls on the high side of 4 stars. If I don’t give it 5, it’s only because of those few small issues I mentioned above. Well done, sir!

The Reviewer is the Author of “The Fibonacci Murders” and “True Death” 

This review will feature in his blog along with Q&A with this author