Blood Rose Angel (The Bone Angel Series) by @LizaPerrat #HistFic #RBRT

  • Author: Liza Perrat
  • Published: November 2015 by Perrat Publishing
  • Category: Historical Fiction, Book Review, Books, Reading

1348. A bone-sculpted angel and the woman who wears it––heretic, Devil’s servant, saint. 

Midwife Héloïse has always known that her bastard status threatens her standing in the French village of Lucie-sur-Vionne. Yet her midwifery and healing skills have gained the people’s respect, and she has won the heart of the handsome Raoul Stonemason. The future looks hopeful. Until the Black Death sweeps into France. 

The story begins in the year 1334 and focuses on Héloïse, growing up in Lucie-sur-Vionne and cared for by her aunt, the village midwife Isa, her dead mother’s twin. She’s taunted mercilessly about being a ‘non-born’ by some of the superstitious village folk. Continue reading

The Undertaker’s Son

  • The Undertaker's SonAuthor: B A Spicer
  • Kindle Edition: Published by BA Spicer
  • Category: Psychological Thriller
  • three-half-stars

Living the dream. It’s a cliché newly free Martha Burton 
is doing her best to make come true in Charente Maritime, 
where life is good and the sun shines more than in any other part of France. 
But darkness lurks in every paradise. 
Claude Cousteau is an ordinary-looking man of moderate temperament 
and regular habits. Nevertheless, he has set himself a task and nothing 
is going to get in his way.

The story opens with Claude Cousteau reliving a time in his childhood when he was helping his father, who was an undertaker, to dress and prepare bodies for viewing. An unhealthy obsession began to take hold of Claude and he had to satisfy his macabre desire to know how it would feel when a person’s life force was extinguished by his hand.  Continue reading

The Running Boy

  • IMG_2382Author: Joel Toombs
  • Published: December 2014 by Joel Toombs Publishing
  • Category: Young Adult, Historical
  • three-half-stars

 

Against the cruel backdrop of scenes no man should have to face, The Running Boy picks out glimmers of what every young man must face, weaving masterful threads of hope and redemption between the carnage and brokenness of the First World War.

Many thanks to Joel for sending me a copy for review purposes.

Howie Lambert and his friends, Freddy and Polly, live in the coastal town of Whitby, Yorkshire, with the moors, cliffs and the ruins of St Hilda’s Abbey as their playground. Howie is a quiet boy who likes reading and writing poetry. He’s vulnerable and introspective, which is not helped by his father’s stern and disciplinarian attitude.  

‘If granddad used the belt and father turned out this way then maybe belts should be kept for trousers’.

The first real change to Howie’s relatively carefree younger years comes with the threat of war and his brother joining the army. Howie is sixteen in 1914 when Whitby is attacked by German warships and Freddy’s house, along with others in the street, are destroyed. Freddy’s mother is caught in the blast. Freddy fuels his grief with anger against the Germans and determines to enlist in the army, talking Howie into joining with him. Polly, eager to escape her abusive uncle, grabs her chance to leave with the boys. The friends are separated on their way to France and Howie is alone on his journey into the unknown.

The story follows Howie’s journey to France and the unimaginable horrors he finds there. Terrified and longing for home he faces the ordeals of war along with the end of his boyhood. Witnessing the fighting and being ordered to do things no-one should ever have to face, much less a boy, Howie has to grow up quickly. His feelings and thoughts are dealt with sympathetically. The scenes on the battlefields and in the trenches are described in convincing detail, made all the worse because of their truth. 

Pops had sat there in the smelly slurry of the trench floor for half an hour rocking gently with Chipper still in his arms before they could persuade him to let go. Then Howie had suddenly looked over and seemed to recognise where he was.

They were amazed as he crawled over on his hands and knees through the slime and lay next to them; where he rested his head on Chipper’s chest, as if checking for a heartbeat. He cried. For a long time he quietly wept – with Pops crying too.

Just when it’s all getting much too overwhelming and Howie is almost at breaking point, his life takes an unexpected turn as he is given an order regarding the cavalry horses which are treated as just more casualties of the war. As he struggles to obey his orders Howie is allowed a glimpse into another world which gives him hope for his future.

Very well written and researched and I like very much how Howie is portrayed. My only niggle was the tone of some of the  dialogue which left me unconvinced. I felt it could have had more authenticity and this did pull me out of the story a little. That aside, it’s a really good book for the Young Adult genre, showcasing as it does, a boy’s struggles from adolescence into premature manhood under the direst of circumstances.

About the author

JoelToombsJoel Toombs, born in Kenya of missionary parents has degree in Architecture from Sheffield University. In 2014 he also graduated from Cliff College (University of Manchester) with an MA in Mission (Emerging Church & Christian Mentoring). In between these studies he spent 10 years in full time Christian youth work and helped set up and run several charities. He is now an Artist Development Manager for Resound Media in Sheffield, a record label for whom he mentors and promotes upcoming musicians and bands.

Joel has been a regular freelance contributor to ‘Youthwork’ Magazine since 2008 writing articles, resources, reviews and a Mentoring column. Other articles have been published in Outdoor Fitness, Christianity, Plexus and a number of blogs including 24- 7prayer.com. He has also had a booklet published by Grove Books Ltd. (to be released January 2015) ‘Mentoring and Young People.’

Find out more about Joel on Facebook and Twitter

French Toast

  • 21526533Author: Glynis Astie
  • Published: February 2014 by Tikinou Publishing
  • Category: Contemporary Fiction/Romance
  • four-half-stars

I received a copy from the author in return for an honest review

Sydney Bennett is back! And her pursuit of perfection is alive and well. Naïve to the core, Sydney believed that when she finally married the man of her dreams, the hard part was over. Following a civil ceremony as a means to keep Louis from being deported, Sydney continues to plan the fairytale wedding that she had dreamed of since the age of five. Much to her chagrin, she discovers that her mother-in-law is planning what seems to be a rival wedding in France that SHE has been dreaming about for her only child since before he was born. How will poor Sydney be able to ensure two perfect weddings in the midst of Louis’ fruitless job search? Especially when her mother-in-law’s idea of perfection appears to be having Sydney embarrass herself in front of hundreds of French people that she has never met?

Sydney Bennet oops sorry, Sidney Durand is back with a bang! We left Sydney and Louis, after a very speedy romance and a civil ceremony, settling down to married life. Of course, being Sydney nothing is straightforward, and she now has two more weddings to navigate. One in America for her family and another, much scarier one, in France for Louis’ family.

So between coping with wedding preparations, financial pressures, a very pregnant sister and a formidable mother-in-law she can’t actually talk to (think language barrier) Sidney is unraveling at the seams.

One way or the other, I was going to have to go to France to meet the Durand family. I could pull the usual Crazy Sidney fare and freak out all over the place or I could make a serious attempt to change my perspective.

If Sidney thought it would all be happy ever after now she and Louis were married she was about to be proved seriously wrong, one point of contention being Louis’ ‘crotch rocket!’ I’m saying nothing more! Except..I laughed out loud.

There’s fun and frolics and lots of Sydney type meltdowns in this continuing story of romance tempered with the realism of marriage and the dawning awareness that it takes hard work and full time commitment.

Actually I can completely sympathise with the crazy, neurotic side of Sydney. She’s totally out of her comfort zone, taking into consideration a trip to foreign country, feeling a little intimidated, unable to speak or understand the language and thrust into the middle of a large, unknown family. And on top of all that there were Louis’ ex girlfriends to deal with. There was one plus though. The French pastries!

To say that I was a deer caught in headlights would have been severe understatement. I was a deer caught in headlights with my hind legs dangling off a precipice. Over a pit of lava. With poisonous gas rising towards me.

This is an excellent addition to the Sydney and Louis saga and I’m looking forward to French Fry and more Sydney mania!

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