Books/book review/Fantasy/Romance/London/crime fiction
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Clockwerk and Mapwerk?

The Watchmaker's Daughter Book Cover The Watchmaker's Daughter
Glass and Steele #1/#2
C.J. Archer
Historical Crime, Thrillers & Mystery,  Romance, Fantasy
C.J. Archer
June 28, 2016
380

DESCRIPTION India Steele is desperate. Her father is dead, her fiancé took her inheritance, and no one will employ her, despite years working for her watchmaker father. Indeed, the other London watchmakers seem frightened of her. Alone, poor, and at the end of her tether, India takes employment with the only person who'll accept her - an enigmatic and mysterious man from America. A man who possesses a strange watch that rejuvenates him when he's ill. Matthew Glass must find a particular watchmaker, but he won't tell India why any old one won't do. Nor will he tell her what he does back home, and how he can afford to stay in a house in one of London's best streets. So when she reads about an American outlaw known as the Dark Rider arriving in England, she suspects Mr. Glass is the fugitive. When danger comes to their door, she's certain of it. But if she notifies the authorities, she'll find herself unemployed and homeless again - and she will have betrayed the man who saved her life. With a cast of quirky characters, an intriguing mystery, and a dash of romance, THE WATCHMAKER'S DAUGHTER is the start of a thrilling new historical fantasy series from the author of the bestselling Ministry of Curiosities, Freak House, and Emily Chambers Spirit Medium books. KEYWORDS: historical mystery, historical fantasy, victorian era, victorian fantasy, steampunk, historical romance, paranormal romance, romantic fantasy, paranormal fantasy, magic, fantasy mystery, wild west, oulaws, victorian romance, alternate reality, magical realism

The Watchmaker’s Daughter/The Map Maker’s Apprentice

Part of the Glass and Steele series #1 and #2

I initially thought that these were Clockwerk Urban/Steampunk novels but realised soon that we were actually talking about the alternate Victorian London where there was magic. So I was slightly disappointed at beginning.

But …. then I liked the stories in these 2 books but agree with some reviewers that the language used was not typical English Victorian, but this didn’t bother me as this was not ‘our’ Victorian world after all.

We did see the typical prejudice of the time against women played out well and hidden beneath it, we finally discover, is the prejudice against craftsmen who have a different and rather special skill – magic.

Book #1 was rather slow at times but I did buy the follow on book – however,  found myself not bothered enough to read any more of this series.  Book 1 was better than book 2 in my opinion. Book 2 was repetitive of book 1 and the theme not as strong.

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Taken for an unusual reason

The Taken Girls Book Cover The Taken Girls
GD Sanders
Thrillers, Crime, British Detective, Police Procedural
Avon; Digital original edition
(21 Feb. 2019)

Someone is watching them…

When a missing teenage girl reappears unharmed but pregnant, the case falls to DI Edina Ogborne, the newest recruit of Canterbury Police. But Ed’s already got her hands full with a team who don’t want her, an ex who won’t quit, and terrible guilt over a secret from her past.

As Ed investigates the case, she discovers Canterbury has seen this crime not once, but several times before. And when Ed and her detectives encounter missing historic police files, falsified school records, and Ed’s new lover as a prime suspect, it becomes clear that the system has been corrupted.

Can Ed find the kidnapper behind these depraved crimes before he strikes again? Or has time already run out?

This is a solid police procedural with the frustrations of modern policing and the requirements for solid evidence well portrayed. Not to mention the fact that the senior officers want good press coverage even when what you have is more speculative than fact and contradicts the above …
I found this new DI (a debut novel) to be a believable character – and fallible too, and was intrigued by the perpetrator and motives.
This is a series I think that will develop well and I look forward to reading more.

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How Many Years to Write?

Two Thousand Years Book Cover Two Thousand Years
The Empire Saga #1)
M. Dalto
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult
Independently published
Publication date: December 11th 2018

Two thousand years ago, the Prophecy of Fire and Light foretold the coming of the Queen Empress who would lead the Empire into a time of peace and tranquility. But instead of the coming of a prosperous world, a forbidden love for the Empress waged a war that ravaged the land, creating a chasm between the factions, raising the death toll of innocent lives until the final, bloody battle.

Centuries later, Alexandra, a twenty-two-year-old barista living in Boston, is taken to an unfamiliar realm of mystery and magic where her life is threatened by Reylor, its banished Lord Steward. She crosses paths with Treyan, the arrogant and seductive Crown Prince of the Empire, and together they discover how their lives, and their love, are so intricately intertwined by a Prophecy set in motion so many years ago.

Alex, now the predestined Queen Empress Alexstrayna, whose arrival was foretold by the Annals of the Empire, controls the fate of her new home as war rages between the Crown Prince and Lord Steward. Either choice could tear her world apart as she attempts to keep the Empire’s torrid history from repeating itself. In a realm where betrayal and revenge will be as crucial to her survival as love and honor, Alex must discover whether it is her choice – or her fate – that determines how she survives the Empire’s rising conflicts.

  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? TWO THOUSAND YEARS was actually inspired by Billy Joel’s song of the same name. When I first heard the song many years ago, the lyrics themselves told a story that needed to be told. It referenced battles and true love, and my romantic, fantasy-loving mind started concocting a story all my own. In fact, the initial draft used song lyrics as its chapter titles.
  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? TWO THOUSAND YEARS actually took me over 20 years to start writing. I had first heard the song when it was released in 1993 and didn’t sit down to draft the story until 2014. Otherwise I rarely plan out my stories- I start writing when the ideas come to me, which also means I have a lot of unfinished projects to juggle.
  3. What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote? I confess that Google is my main source when it comes to research. I do consider what the internet provides me with a sound mind and a grain of salt, and if there’s more I need to know I’ll visit my local library.
  4. How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted? In the months that I had queried it, TWO THOUSAND YEARS was sent out to 12 agents, and all agents rejected it. No requests for partials or the full manuscript- just flat out rejections, if I received a response at all. I gave it a break for a while until I had seen a friend have her book release with The Parliament House, so I reached out to her for her insight on the publisher and her process as a while. I think I submitted a week or so later, received a request for my full manuscript a month later, and a week after that received my contract.
  5. Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up? Not an eBook as we know them on Amazon, no. I did have my work out there on Wattpad though. I felt having that exposure, building that following, and receiving that feedback was the most beneficial aspect to my publishing journey. You want to know, someway, somehow, if your work can be received by an audience. I chose to use Wattpad for that, and I know there are others who go the route of beta readers and critique partners. Whatever you choose, make sure a decent pool of readers have given you feedback on your work, and it will help make things more relatable when looking for a publisher.
  6. 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? If you can get yourself out there and build a following for yourself, do it. It doesn’t necessarily need to be self-publishing either. I, personally, had an audience on Wattpad before I began my publishing journey, and sometimes making your brand is as simple as joining the writing community on Twitter. But I definitely think it’s something that an aspiring novelist needs to do- it’s not easy, maintaining your presence before, during, or after you’ve been published. It takes effort, but it also pays off when you realize you have those fans and followers who want to know more about your work and continue to support you through the processes.
  7. What do you read when you are ill in bed? I actually read all the time, and though taking a sick day for myself is rare, I do read when in bed whenever I can. With my schedule, it’s really the only time I can find for myself to read.
  8. What is your favourite genre? Fantasy, for both writing and reading. I’ve always been a fan of using my imagination, and the Fantasy genre is the best outlet for that, at least for me.
  9. Which author had the most influence on your writing? Your writing style? Your writing genre? Recently I think it’s been Sarah J. Maas. Ever since I fell in love with her A Court of Thorns and Roses series, she has been an inspiration not only as an author, but for a fanbase. To affect so many people as she has through her writing alone is definitely something I hope to on day strive for.
  10. Do you have any pets? I do!

If so, what are they?  He’s an 11-year-old corgi

And what are they called?  His name is Loki

Do they help you write? If lying under my desk while I’m at my laptop constitutes as help, then sure!

What is the funniest thing they have done while you are writing? He’ll jump up on the edge of my chair and nudge my arm if he thinks I’ve been writing for too long, and/or believes he requires more attention than I’ve been giving him.

Do you want to add a photo of them to this Q&A? Sure!


Goodreads: 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37534507-two-thousand-years?ac=1&from_search=true
Purchase: https://amzn.to/2RxDUIbhttps://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/two-thousand-years-m-dalto/1129581675?ean=2940156091058https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/two-thousand-years

AUTHOR BIO:

M. Dalto is a fiction author of adventurous romantic fantasy and her debut novel, Two Thousand Years, won one of Wattpad’s Watty Awards in 2016. She continues to volunteer her time as an Ambassador, where she hopes to engage and inspire new writers. She spends her days as a full-time residential real estate paralegal, using her evenings to pursue her literary agenda. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading fantasy novels, playing video games, and drinking coffee. She currently lives in Massachusetts with her husband, their daughter, and their corgi named Loki.
Author links:

 https://authormdalto.wordpress.com/https://www.facebook.com/MDalto/https://twitter.com/MDalto421https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17495218.M_Dalto





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What happens under the tree?

Mistletoe And Mystery Book Cover Mistletoe And Mystery
The Paradise Cookery School
Daisy James
contemporary fiction, romance, humour
Canelo Escape
(10 Sept. 2018)

Welcome to the Cotswolds Festive Feast cookery course...

Fresh off the successful opening of the Paradise Cookery School in St Lucia, Millie Harper is headed to the Cotswolds for Christmas!

Co-presenting Claudia Croft’s famous Festive Feast cookery course at Stonelea Manor is a dream come true for Millie…as is reuniting with gorgeous estate manager Zach Barker.

But arriving in a winter wonderland Millie learns the manor is under a mysterious threat. It’ll take a holiday miracle, but Millie is determined to save the school and get Zach under the mistletoe to finally finish what they started in the Caribbean!

Cosy up with this fun, festive visit to the Cotswolds premier cookery school! Perfect for fans of Jenny Oliver and Sarah Morgan


This was sweet in all meanings of the word! Unfortunately there were no illustrations or recipes. But then who could compete with a pastry chef with a Michelin star…

I was hungry all the way through the descriptions of the cookery course – the only thing missing was the description of what they ate at the Xmas day meal – apart from Yorkshire puddings – which is a bit strange and very Northern. And they seemed to make different items form those described as being on the menu that day, but perhaps the chef rustled them up for them as extras?

Generally a nice book and very suitable for all cozy readers and everyone who likes to read about cookery.

I’m giving it 4 stars for making me hungry – the descriptions were delightful, and I agree Parkin is heavy – but so gingery…

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Not so godly as it would seem

Orphanage of the Gods Book Cover Orphanage of the Gods
Helena Coggan
sci-fi, horror
Hodder & Stoughton
September 19, 2019
416

 In the glass city of Amareth, on a hill above a river, is an orphanage patrolled by soldiers with guns. Inside are the children left behind by the long-ago war in which humans all but wiped out their gods. Until they grow up, no one will know which are human, and which are not. Children who reveal hidden powers vanish from their beds. The Guardsmen discover every god, in the end. No one has ever escaped - until now. One day Hero, a seventeen-year-old half-god, breaks out of the orphanage and flees north with her brother Joshua. But the murderous Guard are on their tail, and they have something Hero wants desperately: her sister Kestrel, held captive in a towering stone prison in the northern sea. To survive and rescue Kestrel, Hero must outwit more than just the Guard. Lying in wait for them are a ragged band of gods-in-hiding, who promise help in exchange for eternal loyalty. Hero does not want to trust them - but as winter draws in and even Joshua begins to turn against her, her world starts to feel impossibly dangerous . . . ************ Praise for Helena Coggan's 'The Catalyst' 'This year's Divergent' - Sun 'A phenomenal achievement . . . assured, frightening, action-packed' - Observer 'A pulsing, labyrinthine, emotionally visceral plot' - Metro

I tried very hard to read this book as it seemed like a great concept and storyline. However, in my opinion, the actual writing style and complicated plot lines that confused me, made it a difficult read. I abandoned it about 50% of the way through as I felt it was not worth trying to complete.

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