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on 8 July 2012
There are certain ingredients a story needs to make it better than just good. If any author can gather these ingredients and blend them seamlessly together, then they are always on to a winner.

For me, this is my first step into the world created by author Julia Hughes, a world that revolves around two teenage boys - Wren, the geeky brainbox and his cousin Rhyllann, a pilot wannabe and Wren's best friend. Add to this, Crombie, the copper and oft self-appointed social worker, the lost treasure (a treasure that includes the fabled sword of Arthurian legend - Excalibur) of King John, and a gang of villains who will stop at nothing - including murder - to retrieve said treasure and you have a story that takes all of those ingredients, lovingly mixes them together and creates a wonderful story.

Most authors would have been very happy with the fact they had created a `wonderful' story. But no. Not this author. If ever writing a novel can be compared to creating a meal, then Ms. Hughes grabbed all those correct ingredients and then, when no-one was looking, slipped in an extra, secret one that a lot of other stories lack, and created something very special. That special ingredient is - for want of a better word - love. Love of the story, love of her characters. Love of her ART. Because that's what storytelling is. It's an art and Julia Hughes is one hell of an artist!

This is a story that defies genre. It cannot be labelled as simply an adventure story, or a teen angst story, a thriller or a comedy. It is all of these and more. It made me laugh out loud; it made me turn pages (well push buttons - on kindle) at speed to see what came next. There is a section of the book that in a summer (July 2012) that has had torrential rainfall here in the UK; you will feel a particular kinship with the boys. I know I did.

The author has created believable characters that you will love from the off. Her storytelling is tight and flows seamlessly from start to finish. Her descriptive style pulls your imagination along and paints the places and people so vividly, they will stay in your mind long after you have closed the book or switched off your kindle.

The good news is that there two other stories featuring the characters you meet in `Raucous Time'. `A Ripple in Time' & `An Explosive Time'. I have just started `Ripple' and can already announce that I love it.

Make a note of the name Julia Hughes because in literary terms, it's a name I'm sure we're going to hear a lot of in the future and I genuinely cannot wait!!!
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A Raucous Time is an easy way to pass a few hours. 2 teenage cousins have loads of adventures looking for buried treasure. Any resemblance to reality is happenstance but it's all good fun - it reminds me of the adventure stories I read as a kid.
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on 29 July 2012
I started reading this at nine o'clock this morning and didn't stop to eat, drink or reprimand my children until I had finished it at 2:30. I hadn't read any of the author's other stories, and can confirm that this offering is definitely well readable as a stand alone book. Although I am eager to read the next in the series, I didn't feel I had been cheated out of an ending. I did however feel slightly miffed that I have bitten my nails (that I have been growing for weeks!) right down to the quick and had been so absorbed in the action that I hadn't noticed.
The characters were well fleshed out and utterly believeable, the author paints their personalities in such a way that the reader can build up an enriched picture of the main character's lives without getting too bogged down in backstory, using small details that add authenticity.
The action and suspense builds rapidly, and as soon as you are empathising with the characters they are thrown into peril.
I drank this book down like a cold glass of water on a hot Sunday and enjoyed every moment of it, feeling slightly sad when I reached the end (before realising that other Celtic Cousins books were available to me now). I would definitely recommend A Raucous Time, and have in fact already lost my kindle to my son, who is devouring it now (and he would like to add that the "youthspeak" is up to date and sounds "real").
It is not often I would say that a book appeals to everybody but I would make an exception in his case.
I look forward to reading more of Rhyllan and Wren's adventures, and hope Detective Inspector Crombie makes an appearance too.
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on 3 June 2012
This author is rapidly becoming a firm favourite of mine. If like me, you like to get your hands on a book that you can't put down, then 'A Raucous Time' is a good place to start. That said, you might find yourself 'rationing' the reading so as not to finish the book too soon - always a great sign!

This is only the second book I have read from this author, but I can say with absolute certainty that it won't be the last. Julia has this knack of 'pulling' her readers into the story right from the start and in no time at all, you'll find yourself sneaking quick coffee breaks just so you can read a little bit more. The author is a natural storyteller and you can't help but find yourself totally immersed in her stories.

I think I can more or less guarantee that you won't be disappointed if you download this book! ENJOY :)
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on 18 September 2014
I enjoyed reading A Raucous Time. It's an adventure - mystery - thriller - historical novel with a fast paced plot, some unexpected twists and turns and several engaging characters.
I particularly enjoyed the characterisation of Rhyllann and Wren, the two Celtic Cousins of the title. They are very different individuals but their relationship is very close and this is explored throughout the book. They share an overwhelming sense of loyalty to each other and this carries them through the challenges they have to overcome as the story unfolds.
However, the star of the novel must be Detective Inspector Crombie. This character's development and the intricacies of his relationship with Rhyllann and Wren is the backbone of the book. Taciturn, down-to-earth, idiosyncratic and courageous he joins the ranks of all the good fiction detectives as he aids and obstructs the Celtic Cousins in pursuit of their goals.
A Raucous Time is an enjoyable, light, escapist novel which would be absolutely ideal for chilly, winter evenings when you just want to get lost in a book.
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on 14 March 2013
What a brilliant tale set around King John's lost treasure and including links with King Arthur and Tintagel. Two boys are on the trail of the treasure, but there are plenty of others after both the boys and the treasure too. Who can they trust? Julia weaves a tale which hooks you and gets you urging the boys on in their search.
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on 11 December 2011
The adventurous duo are back again as we see Wren and Rhyllann from 'A Ripple in Time' together again, only this time they're younger!

This novel is a prequel in that we see the two characters as teenagers, although you won't need to read this in order to read 'A Ripple in Time, for the story to make sense, they stand alone well.

Rhyllann and Wren are cousins and their family situation isn't good, Wren's mother is an animal activist and is in prison and Rhyllann's has run off with a man friend somewhere in Eastern Europe and they are left home alone. Wren finds a diary with information leading to the whereabouts of the lost King John's treasure and so a chase ensues that involves a policeman and a sinister gang.

This is an engaging adventure story with an exciting chase across Bodmin Moor that keeps you turning the pages to find out more. Everything counts here and so you have to stay tuned in to make sure you don't miss anything. This is Hughes's second published novel and her theme of the past crossing paths with the present is a theme that is both fascinating and pacey. Definitely worth a download onto your Kindle.
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on 1 October 2012
A Raucous Time

A Raucous Time is the breathless tale of two dare-devil cousins, Rhyllann and Wren, who are pursued by ruthless criminals in a series of incredible adventures, aided (and abetted) by Detective Inspector Crombie and the police force.

King John's treasure is the original source of all the trouble (lost in 1216 in a terrible disaster). Rhyllann and Wren should be in school but instead they are involved in all manner of hair-raising exploits. There is double-dealing, police corruption, a mysterious note in code, a terrifying near collision, a stolen aeroplane, pistols, electric shocks, even the Sword in the Stone... We suffer with the heroic Rhyllann as he tries to look after his younger cousin Wren, a cherubic blue eyed blond haired boy with distinctly Machiavellian tendencies. Despite an injured leg and a shocking lack of food, Wren manages some pretty amazing feats by sheer genius and willpower while Rhyllann develops into a flying action hero.

Your heart will race during the nail-biting finale in the secret chamber where a final discovery is made. Mysterious twists at the end of the story leave you in no doubt that the Celtic Cousins will be back for further thrilling adventures. Make sure you join them!
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on 27 May 2013
Julia Hughes is one of my favourite authors and having read the other books in this series A Ripple in Time and An Explosive Time I was very much looking forward to reading this.
Each book can be read as a stand-alone novel and I have a feeling I may have read them in the wrong order but that didn't spoil my enjoyment of this book and as a fan of the Celtic Cousins this was a chance to join Rhyllann and Wren in their escapades as they tried to find the missing treasure and avoid being discovered by the Brotherhood.
This book literally had me holding my breath as the story unfolded and it was fast-paced action and adventure all the way. I particularly enjoyed seeing one of my other favourite characters from this series, police officer Crombie, at his very finest. This is a fabulous book and I would highly recommend it.
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on 23 September 2012
I love fast roller-coaster rides that zip me constantly up, then down and around until, by the end of the ride, I am delightfully exhausted. This is the kind of emotional experience that I had during my read of A RAUCOUS TIME. The rich dialogues and descriptive rhetoric is not only dynamic and witty; it is masterful for I often became less a reader, feeling invited by the author to become a participant in the story itself.
At stake in this adventure thriller is the fabled treasure trove of King John, worth an unimaginable amount and lost for almost 1,000 years. When I read the initial synopsis I did wonder, `How can the author weave a believable tale around a historically-based mystery when the 2 protagonists are merely kids?' I got my answer: brilliantly! Rhyllan is the older cousin and appears to be the fearless one who is in charge during many death-defying schemes. Ms. Hughes, though, ingeniously tweaks her script so that the younger Wren merely appears to be geeky and in need of protection. In truth, he is the puppeteer, a multi-gifted mastermind with a touch of mystical powers. Adding a marvelous bit of flavor to the tale is a clever, though slovenly-looking, DI named Crombie. He endeared himself to me during an extraordinary rescue scene that takes place on railroad tracks.
A RAUCOUS TIME is a brilliant tale that evokes a blend of those heart-stopping adventure scenes performed by Indiana Jones; the delightful, mystical antics of Merlin-The-Magician; and, the bumbling yet fearless investigative prowess of a TV character named Columbo. Though the tale is rife with danger, I often found myself dabbing tears of laughter from my eyes. It is difficult to continue reading with wet glasses.
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