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And the Civil War continues

Vindication Book Cover Vindication
#3 Clockwerk Thriller
Thomas Webb
Alternate history, fantasy, American Civil War
Cobble Publishing LLC (4 Mar. 2019)
2019-03

Colonel Julius Montclair, crushed by the weight of his own actions, has abandoned his post and fled into hiding. Can his friends find him in time to answer President Grant’s call for help?Broken and a shell of the man he once was, Union airship Commander Julius Montclair has fled his home and his friends. The pain of old wounds, both physical and mental, wrack his body and mind. A dire new threat looms on the horizon, and his service to his country is once again required, but Montclair is no longer certain he is the soldier he was… can he rediscover the elite warrior within himself in time to answer the President’s call for help? Scarred by the loss of her mentor, fiery-haired Department of Strategic Intelligence assassin Cecelia ‘Scarlet’ Alayne thinks only of bloody revenge. Her emotions have made her reckless, but she’s about to embark on one of the most critical and dangerous missions of her career. Can she set her rage and hatred aside long enough to complete her mission and attain the justice she seeks?Political mastermind and former Confederate President James Smythe has fled south, where he’s recruited new allies and a new army. Emboldened by his growing forces, Smythe schemes to launch a military campaign that could threaten not only the Union, but ultimately the entire continent. With his plans of conquest renewed and the strength of foreign legions behind him, can anyone stop his march to Richmond to reclaim the Presidency of a Confederacy still reeling from his ouster?

American Civil War in an alternate universe with clockwork/clockwerk and unusual aether as energy source – light ok but dark so very much not.

In this novel we now have the Civil War being fought by 3 factions. The north, the South and the Confederate President – Smythe – who was forced out, who has now partnered himself up with Mexico. And some Texas Rangers – but not the good guys. Now in reality Mexico went to war with America over Texas annexation 1846-8 rather than being in partnership with some of the South, but again it was all about Texas. And the related border lands. Who held what and who ruled what. Mexico being somewhat annoyed about Texas being annexed of course.

Smythe is not a real character in our version of the War of Independence, at least on the Confederate side. There was a Percy Smythe fighting but he was a British Lord..

So with this alternate history in mind we have 3 factions. And 2 of these want Smythe gone for good – so Lee and Grant form a pact and peace in order to fight together against Smythe and Mexico. And so the political manoeuvring continues..

Scarlet plays a large part in this novel with a rather special gun and her ability to assassinate easily.

I found this novel not as interesting as the previous two, still a 4 star but I am losing interest in the Civil War and all the fighting. Would appeal to young gamers no doubt.

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Cornish Aristocracy and water

A Cornish Summer Book Cover A Cornish Summer
by Catherine Alliott
Romance, family
Penguin UK - Michael Joseph Penguin
13 Jun 2019

Flora's been in love with her husband for twenty years. The trouble is, he's been married to someone else for the past fifteen . . .

Now she's been invited to spend the summer in the shady lanes and sandy coves of Cornwall. It should be blissful.

There's just one small snag: she'll be staying with her former mother-in-law, Belinda.

And Flora discovers she's not the only one invited when her ex-husband shows up out of the blue, complete with his new wife. So now there are two small snags.

Can Flora spend the summer playing happy families with the woman who stole her husband's heart, and the mother-in-law who might have had a hand in it?

Or will stumbling on the family secret change her mind about them all?

If you like Fern Britton, Katie Fforde and Sophie Kinsella, you'll love this heartwarming read. . .

Not my usual reading fare as very much a story told from an ex-family member’s viewpoint of Cornish aristocracy. But I ended up liking it and wanted to find out just what happened and why.

There were some very insightful elements about the married-snob who never quite got the ‘old money/aristocracy’ habits and behaviours. The reverse snobbishness that goes to the nouveau riche from the old rich.

And then the riding and discussions about horses and their behaviour seemed to me to be written by someone who knew them well. And thus impressed me. Who knew that horses approached obstacles such as walls and ditches and assumed that there were dragons – hiding behind the wall or down the rabbit hole? And that you needed to persuade them otherwise.

As the storyline developed there were some interesting dilemmas for the main characters – at what point could they be ignored? Sexual preferences and the environment become important factors to the story’s characters and the storyline.

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Hold what? The author tells all

Seize Book Cover Seize
(A Magnus Blackwell Novel, #3)
Alexandrea Weis, Lucas Astor
Genres: Adult, Supernatural
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: March 26th 2019

Lexie Arden has a loving husband, a thriving business, and consults with the New Orleans Police Dept on murder cases. Kalfu has given her everything she desires, but challengers to her authority are closing in. Her dark secret remains hidden from everyone except Magnus. He sees the evil growing stronger, changing her, and hurting her marriage. If Lexie doesn’t rid herself of Kalfu’s influence soon, the consequences will be irreversible. When she unexpectedly inherits a cottage in the swamp, she uncovers a library of rare books on voodoo. Their spells can reverse the dark lord’s hold and set right the balance between darkness and light. But such magic requires a great sacrifice; one Lexie isn’t willing to make. With the shadow spirits and raging voodoo gods vying for her attention, Lexie is on the verge of losing everything—her husband, her power, Magnus, and possibly, her life. The battle for control of the mambo’s soul is about to begin.

Questions for Authors: choose from list

  1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique? The Magnus Blackwell Series began as a short story by Lucas Astor. Alexandrea Weis took the topic and expanded it adding her details of New Orleans and her knowledge of voodoo. What appealed to me was the element of ghosts and the potential to take the characters to a variety of settings. What makes this series unique is the way New Orleans is seen, from the perspective of someone who grew up and lives there, and the topic of voodoo. I believe it is the most unique voodoo/ghost story out there. 
  2. How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time? I never take long. I may make a few notes, but in general, I just start writing.
  3. How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book? Since I grew up in New Orleans and lived next door to a voodoo priestess, there wasn’t a lot of research involved. Most things in the story were well-known to me.
  4. What resources do you use? In general, and for the last book that you wrote? I use a variety of resources on the Internet and in old books whose content isn’t available online. Some of the best research any writer can do takes place inside the pages of a physical book. The older volumes that have not found their way to the internet are the most useful for any research.
  5. How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience? I know several local police officers and approach them when needed.
  6.  How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted? I have received several rejections from publishers and agents, but this novel was accepted right away from the publisher because of its unique storyline.
  7. Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up? I am a hybrid author and published several books, e-book and paperback on my own. I also had another publisher before I came to Vesuvian. 
  8. Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist? With the way the publishing world is today, self-publishing is an education every author should go through. Publishers are more willing to work with self-published authors because they know what it takes to get a book out, and they have the readers behind them.
  9.   Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened? Never depend on writing for an income. Many writers do not make enough to live on. Just plan on not making anything and indulge your passion and you will never be disappointed in your royalty checks. This is not a business you do for the money.
  10. What is your favourite genre? Paranormal and Thrillers
  11. Have you ever tried to imitate another author’s style? And if so, why? No. I think every author should develop their own voice, not recreate another.
  12. What have you done with the things you wrote when in school? I have turned many of those short stories into novels and series.
  13. Which of your books are you most proud of? My upcoming release in May 2019, Realm. It is the story of the wife of Alexander the Great and was meticulously researched. It is a story I wanted to write since the age of sixteen when I first learned about her life. She is one of the forgotten women in history who lived an extraordinary life in an exceptional time in history.
  14. Do you have an unusual hobby? I am a wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries. I do not get paid, but take care of orphaned and injured wildlife because of my love for animals. When I am not writing, this is my other passion.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, PhD, is a multi-award-winning author of over twenty-seven novels, a screenwriter, ICU Nurse, and historian who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having grown up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable. A member of the Horror Writers Association and International Thriller Writers Association, Weis writes mystery, suspense, thrillers, horror, crime fiction, and romance. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans where she is a permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries and rescues orphaned and injured animals. Lucas Astor is from New York, has resided in Central America and the Middle East, and traveled through Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight.

He is an author and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face.

Photography, making wine, and helping endangered species are just some of his interests. Lucas is an expert archer and enjoys jazz, blues, and classical music.

One of his favorite quotes is:  “It’s better to be silent than be a fool.”  ~Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)

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And the Lore is? Ask the Author

Breaking the Lore Book Cover Breaking the Lore
(Inspector Paris Mystery Book 1)
Andy Redsmith
supernatural, magic, detective
Canelo
15th April 2019
kindle

A magical, mischievous mystery perfect for fans of Douglas Adams and Ben Aaronovitch

How do you stop a demon invasion... when you don’t believe in magic?

Inspector Nick Paris is a man of logic and whisky. So staring down at the crucified form of a murder victim who is fifteen centimetres tall leaves the seasoned detective at a loss… and the dead fairy is only the beginning. Suddenly the inspector is offering political asylum to dwarves, consulting with witches, getting tactical advice from elves and taking orders from a chain-smoking talking crow who, technically, outranks him. With the fate of both the human and magic worlds in his hands Nick will have to leave logic behind and embrace his inner mystic to solve the crime and stop an army of demons from invading Manchester!

And the novel looks like:

Discovering fairies at the bottom of the garden is supposed to be good luck. Except when the fairy has been crucified. Two pieces of wood shoved into the ground, one tiny form fastened on to them. Sometimes, thought Inspector Nick Paris, being a cop could be the worst job in the world. And sometimes it was bloody amazing.

‘Well?’ he asked. ‘What do you reckon?’

Williams the pathologist lay on the grass, examining the scene. He shuffled round and peered up at the detective.

‘I’m not sure what to make of it,’ he replied. ‘I’ve never seen anything like this.’

‘You think I have?’

‘Maybe, Boss,’ said a voice over Paris’s shoulder. ‘We do get to see some mighty weird stuff. Remember I told you about those talking fish?’

‘Bonetti,’ said Paris. ‘That was Finding Nemo.’

For the umpteenth time, Paris cursed the process of allocating sergeants, and wondered how the hell he’d been assigned this one. Life could be a right pain. Still, considering the grisly sight in front of him, it had to be better than the alternative.

‘Anyway,’ he continued, ‘we’re not in Hollywood. This is Manchester, for God’s sake! The leafy suburbs, granted, but your archetypal northern industrial city. Things like this just don’t happen here. Mind you, things like this probably don’t happen anywhere. Help me out, Jack. Is it even real?’

Williams pushed his glasses back on his nose, then pointed at the grass.

‘We’ve got what appears to be blood,’ he said. ‘There’s also bruising around the wounds. Hence the answer is: yes and no.’ He clambered to his feet, brushing the soil from his trousers. ‘“Real” – yes. “It” – no. Most definitely a “she”.’

Paris crouched down to survey the scene once more. The two sticks were in the ground in an X shape, with one wrist and the opposite ankle attached to each. The petite head drooped forward, golden hair obscuring the face. Over the shoulders rose silver wings, glistening in the early morning sun. Below the head he could see a body covered by a pale blue dress. A body that was clearly female, with a sensational, albeit minute, figure.

‘Can’t argue with you,’ he said. ‘Living doll. Well, a dead one. But she can’t be a fairy, because they don’t exist. So what are we dealing with? Freak of nature? Genetic mutation?’

‘Maybe,’ said Bonetti, ‘she really is a fairy. Or a woman who got stuck in a washing machine.’

Paris looked up into his assistant’s permanently vacant face, sitting on top of the solid, rugby player’s torso. He had to admit, a good person to have around if they ever got into a fight. Plus a reasonable enough chauffeur. Apart from that, though, about as much use as the Gobi Desert white-water rafting team.

‘A washing machine?’

‘Happened to me, Boss. One of my shirts shrunk when we put it in extra hot.’

‘I see,’ said Paris, as patiently as he could manage. ‘And did it grow wings at the same time?’

‘No, Boss. Our machine’s too old for any of them fancy settings.’

Paris contemplated life with Bonetti as his sergeant. The alternative didn’t seem so bad after all.

‘Right,’ he said, turning back towards Williams. ‘Any suggestions which actually come from Planet Earth? Or anything else you want to tell me?’

‘I can’t give you a definitive cause of death until we get back to the lab,’ replied the pathologist. ‘I can tell you I don’t appreciate working in a circus.’

Paris raised his head. Shouting voices rumbled down from the house, hidden from view by a thick privet hedge.

‘There you go,’ he said. ‘I’ve always wondered why these people with great big gardens split them into different sections. Now I know. It’s to stop the media from seeing the bodies.’

He looked back at Williams, who frowned at him.

‘Bound to happen,’ said Paris. ‘You know how fast the papers pick up on the slightest hint of a story. Then someone reports finding a murdered fairy? Just be glad my guys are holding them back. Besides, we’ve kept it down to three camera crews and half a dozen reporters; I think we’ve done pretty well.’

Williams tutted. ‘You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?’ he asked.

‘I never enjoy finding the victims. Even when they’re fifteen centimetres tall. But I do like interesting cases.’

‘Indeed. You’ve certainly got one here.’

‘Boss,’ said Bonetti. ‘Do we tell the press anything?’

‘Do we hell!’ replied Paris. ‘Say it’s a hoax. I’m sure Jack can whip up whatever you need.’

‘Of course,’ said Williams. ‘Give you time to whip up the killer, I suppose.’

‘Yeah. Only that won’t even be the hard part. That’ll be dealing with the lawyers.’

‘What do you mean?’

Paris stared up at him. ‘How do you kill somebody who doesn’t exist?’

Author Bio

Andy Redsmith was born in Liverpool and grew up in Runcorn. For university he moved the enormous distance to Salford and has lived in Manchester ever since. He says the people there are great, but we don’t talk about football.

He worked for many years as a project manager in the computing industry, a job which really is every bit as exciting as it sounds. Eventually the call of writing became too hard to ignore and he went off to do that instead. Over the years in IT he worked with some very clever people and some complete weirdos, none of whom bear any resemblance to the characters in his books. Honest.

He has a wonderful wife, a great son, and a loft full of old Marvel comics. One day he’ll get round to selling them. That’s the comics, not the family.

Twitter: @AndyRedsmith

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Not the tourist view

The Body in the Mist Book Cover The Body in the Mist
DCI Craig Gillard #3
Nick Louth
crime, murder, mystery
Canelo
20 May 2019
kindle

A brutal murder hints at a terrifying mystery, and this time it’s personal.

A body is found on a quiet lane in Exmoor, victim of a hit and run. He has no ID, no wallet, no phone, and – after being dragged along the road – no recognisable face.

Meanwhile, fresh from his last case, DCI Craig Gillard is unexpectedly called away to Devon on family business.

Gillard is soon embroiled when the car in question is traced to his aunt. As he delves deeper, a dark mystery reveals itself, haunted by family secrets, with repercussions Gillard could never have imagined.

The past has never been deadlier.

From master storyteller Nick Louth comes the third installment in the DCI Craig Gillard series. Compelling, fast-paced and endlessly enjoyable, The Body in the Mist is a triumph, perfect for fans of Robert Bryndza, Angela Marsons and Faith Martin

Nick Louth is really getting better – this is best book yet.

The story starts slowly, sedately, lulling you into thinking that you know the storyline, but you don’t.

As the story progresses shocking and unexpected revelations take it to a different and very dark level.  This is dark coasts and moors and hills where nasty things happen in the farm woodsheds… And then there is the final page!

The novel is well crafted with logical, if shocking, outcomes that take the story into just what happens in these lonely places, where families have lived a hard scrapple life for many generations, and the neighbours are far away and likely to be feuding. The weather is stormy and dank and cold, and the sun is fleeting and miserly. Not the nice tourist image at all.

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