Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Rescuing Rose by Isabel Wolff: a disappointing romance

Agony aunt Rose has more than a few thorns digging in her side at present. Her seven-month marriage is in tatters, the bills are mounting up at an alarming rate and to top it off, she's being plagued by a stalker who seems to know rather a lot about the mysterious circumstances of her birth. It's usually Rose who dishes out the advice, but now she must rely on her wacky friends to come up with some solutions.They suggest she advertise for a lodger and at first, geeky accountant Theo seems the perfect choice for the now resolutely single Rose. However, she becomes intrigued by her new housemate's fascination with astronomy and he soon has her starry-eyed. But the path of true love never did run smooth, and the starcross'd lovers face stiff opposition in many forms, including the increasingly deranged stalker who is intent on getting Rose's attention by fair means or foul…

This started out so well. I’ve enjoyed one or two Wolff romantic novels before and so I was looking forward to this one. At first, I found myself warming to agony aunt Rose and her eclectic set of relationships and was eager to know how she would resolve matters with her soon-to-be ex husband Ed and her new lodger Theo. Not to mention her disabled neighbour Bev, and her long friendship with the twins (though I found it really hard to tell the difference between the twins at all).

After a while however, I found myself more and more willing to put the book down and go and do something else. Anything else. Because the trouble with this novel is that it has all the ingredients it needs, but doesn’t know how to blend them together. Plus it outstays its welcome by quite a long marker, which is another negative. New romantic interest Theo starts out very well – a warm picture of a blunt but caring Yorkshireman – but somehow manages to transmute himself to something very close to an emotional bully. Rose has gone through quite a difficult childhood and doesn’t know who her real family is, but Theo regularly berates her for not facing up to the truth in very harsh terms and seems very quick to criticise her at any opportunity, even immediately after their first romantic night together. Heavens, no wonder Rose is cross! I’m all for the strong hero, but not when he has absolutely no emotional common sense whatsoever.

I also lost interest in Rose herself about three-quarters of the way through the book, when she stops being a normal, kind-hearted woman and strangely becomes a mouthpiece for every kind of counselling cliché in the known universe. Honestly, all her ‘coming to terms with her past’ and ‘moving on’ type talk made my teeth itch. I wanted the old dippy Rose back – she was far more human. Plus I really hated the way she ended up treating her ex-husband, and accusing him of turning his back on his family when actually she’s been ignoring and hating her own for years. I had every sympathy for Ed here, no matter his evident lack of generosity, as I’m not too fond of my own siblings either and would have to be heavily persuaded to do anything remotely nice for them at any point. So the way Rose trampled on Ed’s family difficulties made me feel quite ill – how very judgemental our agony aunt actually turned out to be …

Aspects of the book I enjoyed were the talking bird (more, please!), plus neighbour Bev’s story and her carer dog (and usually I hate dogs), and how Bev turns her life around – in a human and charming way – and wins through. In some ways, it was more Bev’s story than Rose’s so perhaps Wolff focused her efforts on the wrong heroine? I also thought there was a whole other book in the information given about Rose’s mother, though in context here it was unfortunately rather Mills & Boon and overwrought.

So, all in all, a good start but a poor finish.

3 stars. Disappointing and too long





Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Gangster's Wife: Husbands - can they ever be trusted?...

Quirky crime novel, The Gangster's Wife, is now available in your country's Amazon.

When 53-year-old Elise Walker returns home after a day at the office to find her husband Gerald dead of a heart attack, she doesn’t expect a visit from the police with revelations about Gerald’s secret life. 

Soon, however, her own life takes a distinctive turn for the surreal, with missing loot, online crime and curious neighbours the least of her problems. Not to mention trying to deal with never-ending funeral arrangements and stay on top of her job. 

Thank goodness then for the support of her ever-reliable boss, Hugh. But will even he turn against her when she decides to contact Gerald’s former gang members to find out more? And what is the real significance of the note Gerald left her? Most important of all, if Elise ever finds the money, will she be able to keep it? 

I hope you enjoy the read!

Anne Brooke Books
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Gay Reads UK

Saturday, September 13, 2014

FREE book: gay fantasy The Executioner's Cane

Gay-themed fantasy novel The Executioner's Cane is FREE at Amazon UK and Amazon US this weekend only.

Simon Hartstongue, accompanied by the mind-cane and the snow-raven, must travel back to the land he came from to offer support to the people he once tried to kill. From Gathandria, Annyeke Hallsfoot endeavours to help him but her attentions are focused on rebuilding the city after the wars. 

Alone and faced with the anger of his people and hindered by the fragility of Ralph Tregannon's leadership, Simon has to find a way to bring healing to a dying country and to renew his relationship with Ralph. But the odds and time itself are stacked against him.

Reviews:

Here's someone who actually liked it:

This series was nothing as I expected. I was drawn deeper with each chapter til I couldn't wait to pick up the book at every spare moment. It was beautifully written and I hope there will be more. Thank you Ms Brooke. (5 star review at Amazon)

Alternatively, you might absolutely hate it like this person:

Could not finish the book…and I hate that. It made me create a "Boring Books" collection on my Kindle. The whole trilogy went in! (2 star review at Amazon)

The choice is yours, eh! And really I feel quite proud to be in someone's collection at all …

At the same time, it's Day Four of the special half-price sale of ALL my Amber Quill Press books so hurry along for your weekend treat! You can choose from a range of my gay fiction, including thrillers, romance, paranormal and comedy, so there's something for everyone there.

Happy reading. Try not to get too bored, tee hee ...

Anne Brooke Books
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Gay Reads UK

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Half-price book sale!

From today until 16 September, all my Amber Quill Press books are in the half-price book sale so don't miss out! 

You have a choice of gay thrillers:


Or you could try erotic comic menage (now, there's a genre to get your teeth into!):


Alternatively, you can go for the quirky romance option:


Or maybe you prefer a touch of the paranormal?


All that and more! What are you waiting for? Happy shopping and even happier reading.

Anne Brooke Books
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy

Monday, September 08, 2014

Sprinkle a little magic into your life with The Origami Nun!

Magical children's book, The Origami Nun, is published today! You can find it for only 77p or starting at 99c at Amazon US, Amazon UK and at Omnilit Books and at a variety of other ebook retailers too.

Seven-year old Ruth can't speak, but that doesn't mean she can't think. She knows her birthday is going to be good as her beloved great-aunt has exciting plans for her. What she doesn't expect is a magical paper nun, an encounter with a bully who may not be what she seems or a school day to remember. Because, before her special day is over, Ruth is in for some very big surprises.




Reviews:

"What a delightfully written book! This is one I plan to share with my daughter at some point because I think she would like it, too! I love the fact that the author featured a mute heroine, and magic is infused in such a wonderful way. In addition to that, it deals with a subject with which our youth are very familiar - bullying! … I connected with the character, the story, and I enjoyed the magical nature of the story … I hope the author writes several sequels!" [From a 5-star review at My Devotional Thoughts]

"I really enjoyed reading this shorter story. The author portrayed the characters well and had a great story line … This is a terrifically inspirational and uplifting story for children and adults alike." [From a review at The Cover Books]

"Magic is in the air. Come see how Ruth and others learn the importance of respect for each other even though they are different and that each person has a different story or reason for being different. I recommend this book for ages 6 and up." [From a 4.5 star review at Fire and Ice Reviews]

Happy reading!

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Book giveaway competition: The Origami Nun

From now until 27 September, you can win a copy of children's book The Origami Nun at the Booklikes giveaway

Seven-year-old Ruth can't speak, but that doesn't mean she can't think. She knows her birthday is going to be good as her beloved great-aunt has exciting plans for her. What she doesn't expect is a magical paper nun, an encounter with a bully who may not be what she seems, or a school day to remember. Because, before her special day is over, Ruth is in for some very big surprises.

Reviews:

"What a delightfully written book! This is one I plan to share with my daughter at some point because I think she would like it, too! I love the fact that the author featured a mute heroine, and magic is infused in such a wonderful way. In addition to that, it deals with a subject with which our youth are very familiar - bullying! … I connected with the character, the story, and I enjoyed the magical nature of the story … I hope the author writes several sequels!" [From a 5-star review at My Devotional Thoughts]

"I really enjoyed reading this shorter story. The author portrayed the characters well and had a great story line … This is a terrifically inspirational and uplifting story for children and adults alike." [From a review at The Cover Books]

"This is the most touching children's book I have read. I absolutely LOVED it … I highly recommend this book to children in the age range of 8+. However, I think adults would like this book too." [From a 5-star review at Goodreads]

"There is a wonderful life lesson in the story and I have read it to my own grandchildren with great enthusiasm. They adored it!" [From a 5-star review at Goodreads]

"Magic is in the air. Come see how Ruth and others learn the importance of respect for each other even though they are different and that each person has a different story or reason for being different. I recommend this book for ages 6 and up." [From a 4.5 star review at Fire and Ice Reviews]

Good luck!

Lori Olding Children's Author

Saturday, September 06, 2014

FREE book: Hallsfoot's Battle (Gathandria *2)

For this weekend ONLY, Hallsfoot's Battle is FREE at Amazon. You can find it at Amazon US and Amazon UK.

This book is the second in the Gathandrian Fantasy series and is the sequel to The Gifting

The battle for survival has merely begun and the Mind Executioner's defeat is only temporary. Annyeke Hallsfoot, Acting Elder of Gathandria, must join forces with Simon the Scribe in a tenuous alliance to fight for their survival. However, Simon is distracted by his own personal demons, giving Annyeke no choice but to plot a desperate strategy to defeat the enemy. 

When the Mind Executioner kidnaps Simon and raises an army from the dead, all hope appears to be lost. Both Annyeke and Simon, with the help of the mysterious mind-cane and the magical snow-raven, are determined to stay alive and, if possible, to win.

Happy reading!

Anne Brooke Books
The Gathandrian Trilogy
Gay Reads UK