Tag Archive | #bookreviews

2017 Book 23 ‘Sealskin’

2017 Goodreads Challenge 23

To check out my reading progress visit my Goodreads page click HERE

Book 23


by Su Bristow

Book 23 first line

AmazonTo buy on Amazon.com click HERE

Rose Reviews ‘Sealskin’

I absolutely love all the old folktales and my favourites of all are the Selkie folk the seals who can come upon the land at certain times of the year, shed their skin and become human.

This story was no exception with beautiful words woven throughout the pages. However, it does touch on some rather upsetting subjects and will most certainly pull on the heartstrings of those sensitive souls.

Well worth checking out.

I give it a 3 Rose Rating

3 Rose Rating

Happy Reading


2017 Book 22 ‘Synthesis Pioneer’

Oh my goodness I cannot believe how long I have left posting my Goodreads Challenge books for 2017. So now I have another BIG Challenge to post all the ones I have read so far this year. It is October, almost November and I am currently reading Book 77. So you can see how far behind I am. Wish me luck.

2017 Goodreads Challenge 22

To check out my reading progress visit my Goodreads page click HERE

Book 22

‘Synthesis : Pioneer’

(A short-story prequel to Synthesis:Weave)

 by Deane Saunders – Stowe (Rexx Deane)

AmazonTo buy on Amazon.com click HERE

Rose Reviews ‘Synthesis : Pioneer’

This is a very short SciFi story about 30 minutes of reading in which we get an introduction to ‘The Synthesis Series’, and a brief insight into the very varied crew on board the ‘Fluorescent Lightingale’.

This tale centres around the linguist aboard who goes by the name of Calendula a talented young woman who uses all her senses. I particularly like how the author describes what she smells and hears upon boarding the ship.

I really do not wish to say more otherwise the story may be spoiled, but I do know that I will be moving the main story up my reading list.

I give it a 3 Rose Rating

(This is my top review rating it means I loved it or it was a real page-turner)

3 Rose Rating

Happy Reading


Rose Reviews ~ ‘1066 What Fates Impose’ by GK Holloway

1066 What Fates Impose


1066, Battle of Hastings


‘1066 What Fates Impose’ by GK Holloway

Not for the faint hearted, this book gives some very descriptive scenes of graphic violence. Only to be expected of such a violent war torn era.

I am generally not a fan of history as far back as 1066, so was unsure about volunteering to read & review this book, on behalf of the UK Indie Literary Festival Group. Having dropped History back in school, (what feels like a hundred years ago), I even had to check the very basic information on the Battle of Hastings.

Then after reading the opening teaser on Amazon I clicked, downloaded and read on.

The story begins at the end, which is with William the Conqueror on his death bed, haunted by his past. What a great opening line:-

“On his bed the King, who can never be killed, lies dying. The old hag was right after all. He would not die on the battlefield.”

GK Holloway has thoroughly researched his history and very successfully interwoven his fiction, in such a way as to be indistinguishable from the facts. The book is very cleverly written.

There are an abundance of characters and if not for the list of main characters at the front of the book it would have been hard to keep up. This was my main bone of contention, especially when reading the kindle version, it was difficult to keep stopping and turning back. It didn’t help that the first part of the book felt a little boring, cramming so much information in, concerning all the different families and characters. Then again families were large in those days and the nobles got into political battles over who owned what etc. Of course all this was absolutely necessary to link in the story further along into the book.

The kindle version was driving me crazy so I decided to purchase a printed copy; boy was I glad that I did. It is so much easier having the printed version in your hand and so much easier to flick back and forth to check out the characters. With this in my hands and delving deeper into the book, I could not get enough and it became a real page turner.

There are some wonderful scenic descriptions, which draw you in and truly bring the story to life.

“The gusting wind at the tail end of the storm carried their craft swiftly towards it destination across the Channel. The sun was doused in the ocean behind them and left a star-strewn sky to guide them on their way.”


1066, Battle of HastingsThe Godwin family are the main characters in the book and I particularly loved following Harold Godwinson as he grew from a spoilt nobleman out hunting with very little care, to the majestic warrior King, defender of his people a very fair and loyal man, a man who really did not have fate on his side.

Duke William of Normandy (Sworn enemy of Harold) almost comes across as a spoilt jealous brat, who simply must have his own way. If he does not get what he wants then he flies into a rage described as becoming red in the face and banging his fists loudly upon the tables. His petite wife Matilda on the other hand seems an angelic, calming influence and when she cannot talk him out of waging war with Harold then, she suggests getting support from the Pope. William has several influential religious men on his side.

During the Battle it was amusing reading how GK Holloway portrays him almost comically, falling off his horse and managing to avoid death. Then again some old hag, from the beginning of the story did say he could not die on a battlefield, William is seen to flaunt this in front of his friends and enemies. Fate did as we know favour him.

Character descriptions are wonderful I for the most part, like the section on page 200 when Duke William (of Normandy) went to visit Abbot Lanfranc.

1066, Battle of Hastings


“Duke William, in a mood of restrained excitement, was ushered by a young monk into Abbot Lanfranc’s gloomy private chambers and offered a seat. Flickering candlelight danced demonically in the Abbot’s eyes, which were as deep and as dark as a well…

…William continued to study his mentor while making small talk. The Abbot sat impassively with his fingers interlocked; they were fat and white like raw sausages. His head was square; his dark hair was peppered with small flakes of skin, which he shed from every part of his body. When he smiled it was to reveal a row of white teeth, perfect except for the gap between the top two at the front”
Several smaller characters stood out prominently for me, they are the ones that were the most evil. These were so well written you cannot help but despise them; Robert de Jumieges Archbishop of Canterbury is just one of many. He is the scheming friend & confident to King Edward of England, a king who had no heir and very little chance of producing one. Hence all the various claimants eager to take the crown.

Also Sweyn Godwinson – deranged brother of Harold, he features in some particularly disturbing scenes. Sweyn is a violent and malicious man often killing in cold blood.

The Norman invasion leading up to the battle was very well described and showed just how evil and malicious they were. The violence here is rather graphic and turned my stomach in several parts. There seems to have been so much death and destruction before they even reached the battlefield. Of course because of the wonderful interweaving of the story one cannot tell which part is fact and which fiction?

Ralph Pomeroy – A follower of Duke William is the most evil monster in the book this is a little section that describes him:-

“He lived to kill; he loved to kill. In death he found life. The dread in her eyes thrilled him. All the signs he knew so well were there. He knew she realised he would be merciless. The thrill of her fear excited him to the very centre of his being.”

I was hoping and praying this man would get his comeuppance however fate decrees otherwise, his heroism on the battlefield was rewarded handsomely.

All in all a great read, I was very pleasantly surprised and if you want to know more about the Battle of Hastings and the events leading up to it then this is the book for you.

Don’t just take my word for it there are lots of great in-depth reviews on Goodreads by history buffs and scholars almost all giving very positive feedback.

This book is a real page-turner, very highly recommended it achieves my highest rating of 3 roses.

3 Rose Rating

Rose Reviews ~ ‘The Legend of Dust Bunnies’ Michelle R Eastman

The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale by Michelle R. Eastman

Naughty Dust Fairies, visiting the house whilst we sleep, sprinkling dust and holding ‘Crumb Spitting Contests’, no less. Mischievous little things are they not? Here is a little sample of what else they get up to:-

“The daintiest ones
softly land on the drapes,
leaving behind
fancy spider web capes”

and you blamed the spiders. LOL

This starts off as a fun little read however, one little fairy boy, named Artie, is very different and often very lonely. All he really wants is to fit in, and he desperately needs a pal. He feels he is unable to find a friend on his own, so he has an idea, to make one for himself. When he does things really start to change for him.

This is a beautifully illustrated story, bright and colourful with an abundance of wonderful rhythmically flowing words, almost like fairies fluttering across the page. This book is a real pleasure to share with the whole family.

3 Rose Rating


Rose Reviews ~ ‘The Insect Hotel’ by David Stringer

#IndieBooksBeSeenClick here to buy from Amazon UK

‘The Insect Hotel’ by David Stringer (A Prize from #IndieBooksBeSeen for #IndieRoar)

This is a wonderful & truly unique little book, and like the Quality Street sweets, ‘Made for Sharing’. The cover is designed by Donna Harriman Murillo; it is very bright & beautiful, it is not this however, that makes this book distinctive. I say it is unique, purely because I have never come across a book like this before. The internal pages are all edged with little illustrations, but it is the actual paper that these words & images are printed upon, that makes it so different.

The paper is a strange dry, dusty, garden soil grey colour. Holding the book I could well imagine being out in the garden, in the dry summer heat. Upon turning each page, I felt like I might smudge the words across the sheet and end with little bits of gritty grey dust, upon the tips of my fingers. Of course this didn’t happen thankfully, it was just my over the top imagination, running away with itself.

This book gives you every opportunity for the imagination to run wild. It’s exciting, funny and also educational.

So to the story, it’s all about a little boy called Harry and his Dad. The idea for building an ‘Insect Hotel’ came about one day when Dad wanted to get himself and Harry out into the fresh air. Dad has a great love of nature and he wants to share it with his young son. Together the pair spends their days in the garden, with Harry learning about the insects, plants & wildlife, along with doing little chores, like watering the plants.

Then in the evenings, at bedtime, Dad makes up stories, these are created around the adventures and activities of the day. The little tales are delightful and often funny and Dad hopes they will send Harry off into Dreamland.

Characters & Hotel Guests.

Dad of course is the main character; he is everybody’s dream parent, spending quality time with his son Harry, teaching and nurturing. This little boy, as most children are, is inquisitive with his ‘Why’s’ and ‘What’s this’? How does that work, etc? Then more often than not, his attention span has been lost. His mind has moved on to other things and he is away, off on another adventure or playing on his wonderful yellow (mountain) slide. You’ll get this when you read the book.

The story is actually split into five little chapters, each one for a different insect character and bed-time story.

Chapter 1 is about Woodster – a woodlouse that happens to be the insect equivalent of a ‘Handyman’, his story is mixed in with that of the ants, rushing around with their red shiny safety hats, fixing the roof of the hotel.

Stinker is the star of chapter 2 – a shiny green shield bug, who works as a bowtie salesman. Again to find out the story of Stinker you will have to read the book, unless of course you are an insect specialist and already know about the green shield bug?


Chapter 3’s character is a thrill seeking, young and very energetic snail called Curly Whirly and boy is he fast.

Next chapter 4, which happens to be my favourite of the book, features two spiders – Conundrum & Nutmeg weird names for these arachnids, but hey ho. Spiders have come a long way, since Incy Wincy climbed up the waterspout, for these two are no less than style guru’s who want to re-decorate the ‘Insect Hotel’.

I don’t have an ‘Insect Hotel, in my garden perhaps if I did the design duo might pay it more attention than my house. It’s like the hotel lobby on my landing, with fine silk filigree curtains strewn wall to wall and ceiling to floor. Spider Utopia. However, I would rather put up with their decorating, than lose the protection of these eight legged bodyguards who are great at getting rid of any filthy, germ breeding, low life flies.

Our final character is a little ladybird, who is always being mocked by the other insects, particularly the spiders. Gamble is his name, this he inherited after a rough game of roulette with some big frogs, who happened to be using him as a dice, on account of his spots.


At the end of the book, we get to learn how the ‘Insect Hotel’ was constructed, and why Dad & Harry took up with the project in the first place, with no costs involved.

Or being lazy, you could buy one already made from the likes of Amazon?

Amazon Insect Hotel

Myself I found this a fun and engaging read. A book so exciting that it really must be shared with the whole family. Best of all, it encourages learning, and the chance to enjoy the great outdoors, an activity which will always be FREE!

I sure hope there is a follow up book, the final pages hint at new projects surrounding the extension of the hotel. Now thinking along the lines of Bill Oddie the Comedian (before becoming nature man), this book is ‘Goody Goody, Yum Yum’ (Sorry I had to get this little reference in being as the Great Bill Oddie of the Goodies fame wrote the foreword for this little treasure. Words changed to prevent copyright infringement.)

3 Rose Rating

Top Rating a 3 Rose ~ Very Highly Recommended.

Rose Reviews ~ ‘Roverandom’ by J.R.R. Tolkien

Roverandom cover

This is one of my all-time favourite books. Much loved and much read. I feel blessed to have found this beautifully illustrated book, featuring images penned by Tolkien himself.

Tolkien created this wonderful tale of a real dog named Rover who is turned into a toy dog, in the year 1925. He made up the story to console his young son Michael, after he lost his little toy dog on a beach.

The tale starts with Rover a very small and very young dog, playing happily in his garden with a little ball. He was so caught up in his game he took no notice of the old man, in a ragged coat wearing a green hat with a blue feather stuck in the back of it, coming up the path. If he had, he may have suspected the man was a wizard and he might not have been so very rude to him.

It is this rudeness that gets Rover turned into a little toy dog, who all day long has to sit up and beg. Only after midnight is he able to actually move about.

His first very unhappy experience, is finding himself in a toy box, then being priced up and put into a hot shop window to be sold. Once again if he had taken any notice of the little boy whom he was given to, he might not have found himself lost upon a beach.

On the beach Rover meets a sand-sorcerer. This magician listens to his story, feeds him up and asks if he would like to go home. However, he cannot turn Rover back into his normal size. Rover remembers his manners this time, and thanks the magician but says it is probably best if he doesn’t go home just yet.

With a full belly Rover falls asleep; he awakens to find a seagull awaiting him. This is Mew, and this is where the real adventures start.

Mew flies him across the night sky and they end up going to stay with ‘The- Man-in-the-Moon’ for a little while.

Eventually they return to earth and the sand-sorcerer sends Rover off on a new trip and adventure. This time with Uin a great whale who takes Rover under the sea to meet up with the wizard who turned him into a toy. Hopefully he can get the chance to apologise and ask to be returned to his normal form.

Roverandom moonscape

Such a magical story and Tolkien’s illustrations ‘The Lunar Landscape’ and ‘The Gardens of the Merking’s Palace’ simply serve to compliment it.

3 Rose Rating Very highly recommended read, for children from 8 to 80 and beyond.

3 Rose Rating