Let’s go Adventuring – you can be King!

An Atlas of Extinct Countries: The Remarkable (and Occasionally Ridiculous) Stories of 48 Nations that Fell off the Map Book Cover An Atlas of Extinct Countries: The Remarkable (and Occasionally Ridiculous) Stories of 48 Nations that Fell off the Map
Gideon Defoe
Humor, History, Anthropology
HarperCollins UK
September 3, 2020

Prisoners of Geography meets Bill Bryson: a funny, fascinating, beautifully illustrated – and timely – history of countries that, for myriad and often ludicrous reasons, no longer exist.

 Great fun to read and to learn the characteristics of most monarchs of these countries:

  • Mad;
  • Good at borrowing money and not paying it back;
  • Charismatic;
  • Bum at choosing locations for their country;
  • Useless at managing a country;
  • Unable to either defend against the various colonial empires or to sell their own country to these empires;
  • Great at designing flags and uniforms.

So basically stupid, and worryingly, able to persuade people to get involved in their schemes, many of whom lost their lives due to famine, disease or other avoidable disasters.

Learnt something very interesting about the Vanuatu island and their hairless pigs, who are pseudo hermaphrodites – whereby the males have internal testes.

There is an article in 2006, by Lum et al in the PNAS journal, that days – pig is food in itself but is also a food storage unit, thus we obtain societal wealth and ecological balance by a form of competitive giving – of the pig.

Some pigs become ritual animals and are considered to have the equivalent status to a ‘man of title’ as they are very difficult to rear and being hairless suffer from sunburn. They are therefore extremely valuable in the pig hierarchy.

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Purgatory is not what is was:

Quasi Redux
(Angelbound Origins) #8
Christine Bauer
Fantasy, YA, Myth and Legend, Fairytale
Monster House Books
(29 Sept. 2020)

Myla Lewis has her life back. Wife. Mother. Queen of the Thrax. Great Scala and mega boss of supernatural igni. Yay! Then one day, Myla runs across a strange fountain and her igni screech like crazy. Our heroine speaks the fateful words, “Some days, I wish I weren’t the Great Scala.”

Turns out, a demon-titan named Bedlam lurks behind the fountain… and he grants her wish.

Moments later, Myla returns to her teenage days of Purgatory High. No husband. No child. And zero power over igni. Without Myla around as the Great Scala, all quasis now live under Armageddon’s rule. That sucks. Hard. So Myla sneaks into Antrum in search of her husband, Lincoln. Together, they’ll take down the evil Bedlam and return life to normal, easy peasy. But once Myla arrives, two problems arise.

First, her husband doesn’t know her. At all.

Second, Lincoln is married to someone else.


Christina is back in form with this novel -very enjoyable and innovative story as we discover that a small change in lifelines by a demon can change everyone’s history. And what we get is a version of Beauty and the Beast. Lincoln being the Beat of course, but is Myla a Beauty – well that really depends on your point of view and whether or not you like her tail (!)– and Lincoln is already married to a Beauty – whoops!

So a demon – Bedlam –  appeared who can remove the Igni from our heroine and send her back into a time when she was a fighter in the Arena and removes some of her memories as well.. Only it wasn’t really Myla – the body she was dropped into looked like her but apparently was a lab made person created from the DNA of all the best Arena fighters for the amusement of Bedlam and the demons who now fill the stands – that’s right, no Quasis. Purgatory has changed dramatically, and not for the better – and neither has Myla’s dragonscale fighting suit which is falling apart and apparently, her bottom is falling out of it too.

But the Beast isn’t having a much better time. Arx Hall isn’t in a good state, his Thrax are not well trained – or have died fighting and he keeps having premonitions about demons that he going to have to fight alone.

Of course, there are many adventures between this new incarnation of the various planes and Lincoln and Myla’s reunification. And look out for the Rainbows – the promise of better or a remembrance?

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A Christmas with a lost lover as a present

Christmas With Her Lost-And-Found Lover Book Cover Christmas With Her Lost-And-Found Lover
(Mills & Boon Medical)
Ann McIntosh
Fiction, romance, Women's fiction
HarperCollins UK
September 17, 2020

He’s walked back into her life – After half a lifetime...

It’s years since Rohan Khan promised Dr. Elise van Hagen that he would be back for Christmas. He never returned and Elise raised their son alone. So, when the veterinarian reappears during a rescue in snowy Banff, Elise can’t believe her eyes! But Rohan has no memory of their past. Can these long-ago lovers make up for all the Christmases they have missed?

Second Chance Romance set in Banff with lots of snow, dogs and mountain rescue.

Elise was on the Search and Rescue team with her dog Baxter

 But had given it up – she claimed perhaps it was because she was getting older, even though she was extremely fit, but there had been incident with her last search and rescue that had left her psychologically scarred.

But she was called out on an emergency as no one else was available and an old flame, Rohan, turned up.  But Rohan had been dead for 27 years so who was this stranger? And she had a sone to concern herself about now so she needed to be very cautious.

Rohan Khan worked with animals, dogs, but wasn’t native or even living in Banff. He was just there to retrieve some dogs – huskies in fact – that had been rescued from a bad place where they had been mis-treated and finding himself called out to the rescue was not what he had been expecting. But the rescue was at the place he was collecting the huskies from so he helped Elise.

This is a story about love lost and found, but includes elements of inter-racial marriage, accidents, and to some extent, dealing with prejudice about life choices.

A nice ‘older characters’ romance with credible story-line. But seriously going out for mountain search and rescue in your 40s is seriously fit Elise!

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Foxed or what?

Outfoxed Book Cover Outfoxed
R.J. Blain
(The Fox Witch, #1)
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Publication date: November 3rd 2020

Death is a way of life outside of the safety of Inner Tulsa, and Jade means to keep flipping Mother Nature off until old age claims her. With one eye always on the sky, the last thing she needs is a pack of bounty hunters out for her living head. With no idea of why anyone would want her, her wits might keep her free, assuming she can resist the charming lures of Sandro, one of the men out to claim her as his own. Left with the choice of being the evening snack of a tornado or taking shelter with the bounty hunter, she does what she does best: she lives on the edge. Striking a bargain with the handsome bounty hunter buys her another day of life, but it also dumps her into the heart of a sinister plot, one meant to enslave the residents of the storm-tossed city—and the others brave and foolish enough to call the Alley home.  

Little Fox. Cute animal clipart watercolor woodland forest | Etsy in 2020 |  Watercolor fox, Fox illustration, Baby clip art

Guest Post

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?

Hi! Thanks so much for having me today.

I can’t even lie about this. This is one of my favorite parts of writing. I love planning a book or doing research on it based on a topic or socio-political question. Often, I come up with an entire series based on a single question. For example, for Outfoxed, I wanted to know what would happen if slavery hadn’t been abolished but instead generally embraced and who was targeted was based on a variety of different factors.

I also wanted to fiddle with that society if magic heavily segmented the continent. So, I split the United States into four magic zones, called them quadrants, assigned each type of magic to its quadrant, did my best to make certain the magic system I used was balanced, and determined how the boundaries (or the zones where quadrants collide) worked.

The stories ultimately become about the lives of characters doing the best they can in a world that isn’t precisely easy to survive in.

Building the magic system took about ten pages in a notebook before I could begin addressing the socio-political issues surrounding a society that had embraced slavery in various forms.

Rather than the worker-central system of Colonial enslavement, I opted to flip the script, maintaining some elements of historic slavery and serfdom systems but adding some significant changes. (hint: the slaves are not slaves for cheap or free labor, and labor laws are alive and well in most quadrants.) For example of a change I made, acquiring freedom is legally feasible for anyone enslaved in the system. Around half of the population of owned individuals signed into the system willingly, and those who weren’t signed into the system willingly were either sold into the system by a parent or were coerced into joining the system. Those who were sold into the system by a parent are the ones who are truly screwed over, because the system is rigged against them, as once a status is changed, it can only be reversed in specific fashions.

Let’s just say things will become rather complicated for the heroine of the story.

This is a heavily simplified breakdown of the problem and how it works in the book, but the whole system is ultimately brought under fire throughout the ‘world’ series. (The Fox Witch World is an interconnected series of trilogies and quartets, which will eventually lead to a main 10 or so book series.)

But, yes. I have notebook upon notebook of ideas I haven’t yet pursued, and I wrote down just enough I could revisit them as time allows. I cherry pick which ideas I actually turn into novels, as there’s only one of me but hundreds of pages of ideas and concepts I could write if only I had a little more time.

But I do try to jot as many of them down as possible, as they sometimes grow to become one of my favorite books. At the end of the day, however, I cherry pick the ideas that excite me the most, as that helps me get through the entire process of writing the book.

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RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.

In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until satisfied.

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Italian Marriages?

Confessions Of An Italian Marriage (Mills & Boon Modern) Book Cover Confessions Of An Italian Marriage (Mills & Boon Modern)
Dani Collins
Fiction, women's fiction
HarperCollins UK
August 20, 2020

He’s back to reclaim her... But where has he been?

What do you do when your husband goes missing? Flush him out by pretending to marry again! Billionaire Giovanni’s dramatic return forces Freja to confront the deep hurt she felt at his desertion…and the sparks that continue to fly between them…

Giovanni had to go into hiding to protect his new bride, but he’s shocked by the consequences his mysterious past had on Freja. Now he’ll have to let her closer than he’s allowed anyone before, if he’s to save the whirlwind marriage he’s suddenly so compelled to fight for!

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