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Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

August 26, 2017

Review & Interview: Pop-Out Girl by Irene Woodbury

Review by Susan Roberts

Pop-Out Girl
June 2017; SynergEbooks; 978-0744323344
ebook, print (230 pages); women's fiction

When I first saw the cover of Pop-Out Girl, I wasn't sure that I would enjoy it but this is a book that you can't judge by seeing the cover.  The book was well written and a lot of fun to read.  I want to thank the author for a copy of this book to read and review.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

I really enjoyed the characters in this book. From Jen and her quest to find love to her mom Brandi who has tried her best to raise Jen in the glitter of Las Vegas.

I liked the way that the author told the story with five main chapters that each covered the story of two of the characters both past and present. That made it possible to get the entire story on each character and their interaction with each other. For example, one chapter was Brandi and Matt and it told the story of their ill fated love for each other.

Pop-Out Girl was fun to read and well written and even though I couldn't identify with any of the characters, I enjoyed reading about them and understanding why they each turned out the way that they did.

The story is dramatic and fast paced and starts right from page one when Zane kidnaps Jen and forces her to marry him. Trust me, there was never a dull moment in this book. I highly recommend it if you enjoy reading fast paced and dramatic stories.

Buy Pop-Out Girl at Amazon

The Interview

I sent some questions to the author and she graciously returned her answers so that could learn more about her and her writing process.

Was this your first book?

This is my third novel. The first one was a humor book, the second, dramatic. All three have been primarily set in Las Vegas. I love the constant interplay of reality, fantasy, and illusion. It’s a very compelling energy that stimulates creativity.

Where did you get the idea for the book?  

I was in Las Vegas working on my second novel and one night as I was standing on a corner about to cross, I got an idea for a novel about a man who comes here on business, meets a showgirl, and forms a friendly relationship with her--without knowing she’s his biological child from his first love that he was engaged to. The showgirl becomes involved with a colleague of his. Complications ensue after she discovers who her real father is. That was the basis for Pop-Out Girl.

Do you live in Las Vegas? or have you visited it?

I have never lived in Las Vegas, but every winter, for the past 10 years, my husband and I have spent a couple of months there working on books as we escape the cold weather in Denver.

I was a travel writer for five years. That’s how I fell in love with Las Vegas. Not as a tourist, but as a writer working stories that excited me. That evolved into writing novels set there.

When you go to Vegas, do you play the slot machines (I always lose!) or just go to shows? 

I go to shows occasionally, but I always play the slots. After a long, hard day in front of a computer, a slot can take your mind off everything. I always say:  It’s cheaper than therapy. Let’s hope so. I have never left Vegas a winner. Never. I have days when I win and days when I lose, but by the end of the trip, I’m always in the red. It’s ridiculous.

How long have you wanted to be an author?  

I spent my twenties reading the novels of Henry James and Edith Wharton. They were literary gods to me. It was a fantasy, but I never dreamt I would be able to write novels of my own. I think it was always a hope, a dream—since childhood. I was an observer.

About the Book

When Zane Hollister returns home to Las Vegas after two years in prison and discovers his showgirl-lover is with another guy, he goes ballistic. After stalking and taunting the couple for months, his toxic jealousy takes a darker turn. To wipe out new boyfriend Colton, Zane masterminds a devilish zip line accident and a terrifying car crash. When those fail, he resorts to kidnapping Jen and forcing her to marry him. And it gets even worse when Zane shoots Colton’s boss, Matt, by mistake as he aims for Colton in a horrific drive-by shooting.

With Matt lingering in a coma, Jen’s cocktail-waitress mother, Brandi, absorbs a seismic shock of her own. After hearing Matt’s name on the local news, she realizes he’s her first love of decades past—and Jen’s real father.

Will Matt emerge from his coma to reunite with Brandi and Jen? Do the cops nab Zane, who’s hiding out in Hawaii? And can Jen and Colton’s love survive Zane’s lethal jealousy?

There’s a happy ending for some, but not for all, in Pop-Out Girl.

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling.  She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends.  She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with her on Facebook.

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August 25, 2017

Political Thriller: President's Day by Seth Margolis

Review by Susan Roberts

President's Day is a new twist on the belief that every US Presidential election is fixed. in this case, it's not by another party or country but by someone who wants revenge on the people responsible for the death of his son.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

President's Day
February 2017; Diversion Publishing
978-1682306970; ebook, print (360 pages)
political, thriller
It's a hard look at politics in this country and gives a gritty and harsh look at how and why people are elected. One of the richest men in the world finds someone that he can support and mold into the person he wants as President so that he can control foreign affairs and take action against the country where his son was killed. Will his money be able to buy him the revenge that he so desperately seeks or will he be brought down by someone who is following the story and trying to put the pieces in place much to the disbelief of others
This is a book that kept me turning pages quickly to see how it ended. If you enjoy a good political thriller, this is a must read!

Buy President's Day at Amazon

About the Book

In this twisting, ferocious novel of suspense, the presidential race has a number of men all clawing to get to the top. Each man has a locked closet of secrets. And one man holds every key.

Julian Mellow has spent his life amassing a fortune out of low-risk / high-reward investments. But the one time in his life he got in over his head, he left another man holding the bag, and made an enemy for life, one who has nothing to lose. Now, Mellow has an even greater ambition―to select the next President of the United States―and to make that man do his bidding, in business and beyond.

It all ties to an African nation where his son died years before, where a brutal dictator still rules supreme, and where a resistance movement lurks in the alleys, waiting for the right time to strike. Margolis spans the globe to weave together a brilliant story of politics at its most venal, where murder is a part of the political process, where anyone’s life is up for sale, and where one man―that bad penny of an enemy―could bring the whole kingdom toppling.

As the new President is inaugurated, Seth Margolis has penned a perfect thriller for the voting public, one that asks who really puts the next person in the White House―and at what cost?

Also available from Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Seth Margolis
Seth is a writer whose most recent novel, THE SEMPER SONNET, will be published on April 19. He is the author of six earlier novels, including LOSING ISAIAH, which was made into a film starring Halle Berry and Jessica Lange.

Seth lives with his wife, Carole, in New York City. They have two grown children, Maggie and Jack. Seth received a BA in English from the University of Rochester and an MBA in marketing from New York University’s Stern School of Business Administration. When not writing fiction, he is a branding consultant for a wide range of companies, primarily in the financial services, technology, and pharmaceutical industries. He has written articles for the New York Times and other publications on travel and entertainment.

Connect with Seth
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends.  She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with her on Facebook.

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August 24, 2017

4 Books to Enjoy with Your Children

by MK French

Are you in need of new bedtime books to read with your child? Below are several books that you can enjoy with your preschool and elementary age child.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

Ellie the Wienerdog series

It's Hard to be Good and It's Hard to Swim are the first two books in this series by K.J. Hales

Ellie is a wiener dog learning the life lessons that preschoolers generally need to know. The artwork is colorful and attention grabbing for youngsters, and the words are easy for them to grasp. In the first book, Ellie has to resist temptation to hear that she's a good dog. In the second, she has to overcome her fear of getting wet to learn to swim. In both books, she struggles to do what is expected of her and to get over her fears and finds that it isn't as difficult as she thought it would be. This is great for preschoolers, who can absorb the message of the books and hopefully learn from them, too.

Buy It's Hard to be Good and It's Hard to Swim at Amazon

Jilly's Terrible Temper Tantrums and How She Outgrew Them by Martha Heineman Pieper

Jillu's Terrible Temper Tantrums and How She Outgrew Them
May 2017; Smart Love Press; 978-0983866411
ebook, print (32 pages); Ages 4 - 8 years
Jilly is a happy kangaroo until frustrated or unable to get what she wants. At that time, she has a terrible temper tantrum, screaming and stomping her feet. Throughout it all, her parents provide love and support.

This is a children's book aimed at the preschool to about kindergarten age. The pictures are colorful and easy for children of that age to follow, and it's easy for them to relate to the frustrations that Jilly goes through. It might be a good way to talk about the reasons why kids have tantrums and start to teach them how to calm down. Martha Heineman Pieper is a psychotherapist, and developed the Smart Love principles; it's outlined at the end of the book for adults to read and learn more about. Rather than punish the kids that have tantrums, in this model parents will lovingly understand the child and help them through it without making them feel badly about their own emotions. Toddlers and very young kids don't know how to handle emotions, after all, and adults have to teach them how. This book may help frustrated parents and kids understand how to move past tantrums and get on with the fun parts of family life.

Buy Jilly's Terrible Temper Tantrums and How She Outgrew Them at Amazon

Prym and the Senrise by P. S. Scherck

Prym and the Senrise
June 2017; 978-1773028248;
print (48 pages); fantasy
Prym is princess of the Steigens, a rare form of water fairy. Senlight is lethal to them, yet Prym heard that the senrise is beautiful and full of colors. Determined to see the senrise, Prym sets out on an adventure to find a way to see the senrise for herself.

This is a fantasy story geared for school age children. She is exuberant and determined in the way that young children can be, sure that she can find a way to do what is considered impossible. This leads her on adventures with an agoraphobic kraken and a crab that shares a tie to the Steigen, as well as Mother Gull, the Big Bad of the story. Prym never really loses hope to find what she's looking for, a valuable trait for children to learn. We get something of a happily ever after at the end, and it seems as though characters all get what they need at the end. They are drawn a little thin in the way that all fairy tale characters are, relying heavily on common tropes to move you through the story. Children interested in fairy tales won't mind it, but adults reading this book to them might feel that it's a bit lacking for their taste. There are a few illustrations in the book to complement the text, helping you visualize the characters. It's a cute read.

Buy Prym and the Senrise at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

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August 23, 2017

Time will Tell – Thoughts on the New Who

by Ross Kitson

For those who visit my alternate-month blog here on Girl Who Reads it can come as no surprise that today’s topic is one of the bigger news events for the sci-fi fandom of the last year. No, it’s nothing about Star Wars part… eight is it next? Or another re-vamp of the Star Trek universe not quite being as faithful as the last re-vamp. No… this is not only universe-shaking, it is actually reverberating through the entire time-vortex as I write.

The new Dr Who is a woman.

For casual viewers may be mildly surprised that the previously male Doctor, having being played by at least fifteen different actors of the XY persuasion, ranging in ages from 26 to 55, and one incarnation having being played by three actors (four if you include the films), is becoming female in the next regeneration. They might be even more surprised to discover an Armageddon scale reaction comparable to a Dalek-run Time-war amongst normally passive sci-fi fans.

In the most recent two seasons of Peter Capaldi’s incarnation we’ve had plenty of little teasers that it was possibly on the cards: the Doctor’s arch-nemesis, the Master, returned as a female—Missy; a Time-Lord (genderless terminology as it turns out) became a ‘Time-lady’ on regeneration after the Doctor rather uncharacteristically zapped him with a blaster. Although superficially human in appearance the Time-Lord race are quite biologically dissimilar—with two hearts, the ability to regenerate from mortal injuries, robust physiology (tolerant of extreme cold, space vaccum for short periods), low body temperatures, some telepathy etc etc. So, really, given that it is science-fiction, what is the big deal for fans?

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 (At this stage it’s probably relevant to mention that as a lifelong fan that I’m really excited by this, and by the choice of actress… anyhow, read on, read on).

With a show that has run (on and off) for over 50 years with a male lead the idea of the Doctor being a male, and an iconic one in sci-fi to rival Captain Kirk, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, and Darth Vader, was pretty cast-iron. No hint in that unrivalled narrative was made of the gender change potential of regeneration, with other Time-Lords displaying same-gender regeneration throughout (the Master and Romana being the main examples, up until two years ago). So the plot development of Missy being a female regeneration of the Master, whilst fun and wonderfully acted, felt rather shoe-horned and contrived. After all, even a fifty year sci-fi needs some ground rules, otherwise your plot solution will always err towards deus-ex-machina, like Superman comics in the Sixties. What has then seemingly irked fans is the concept this has been done for some covert political-correctness agenda. I’m uncertain where this idea has come from, as I’m not certain Dr Who had veered towards political correctness more than any other show—although the recent inclusion of homosexual and bisexual characters,  and those of non-white companions, in a show where the most radical companion choice was Scottish/ Australian/ American played by British actors could be construed as such.

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 And such vitriol! My goodness, I was embarrassed to be a Dr Who fan (a Whovian as we’ve somehow been labelled) when I read some of the incredibly sexist statements posted on forums. The meme below satirises it perfectly. My personal ‘favourite’ was the ‘surely should be Nurse Who’ because, like obviously, doctors are men and nurses are girls (moronically ignoring that greater than 50% of entrants to medical school in the UK are female). But seemingly rational fans of a series whose underlying themes are ones of rebellion, non-conformity, tolerance of alien cultures, peace, and friendship, took to the anonymity of social media to post statements best placed in a TARDIS and sent back to the 1930s!

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 And all of this without even having seen Jodie Whittaker playing the Time-Lord. As a choice of actress she is excellent: she is relatively young (35, so the fourth youngest to play the Doctor); has a diverse career already in film, TV, radio, and stage; has landed a few Independent film nominations; and is from Yorkshire (near where I live!!!). And her own accent will irk the doomsayers even more, as it’s very Northern—lol.

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Ironically, in sci-fi and fantasy, the increasing prominence of female leads is no new phenomenon. Games of Thrones is dominated by strong female characters (Daenerys, Cersei, Arya, Sansa) who actually survive. Star Trek took the plunge with Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) in Voyager, and will continue the female lead in the new Discovery, with Lt Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green). The latest Star Wars trilogy has Rey (Daisy Ridley) as the lead, and of course, Carrie Fisher was no shrinking violet in the original films (although perhaps not always garbed in costumes ideally suited for battling the Dark side). In Wonder Woman we finally have a contemporary female-led superhero film of good quality (note, I really liked Scarlett Johansen as Black Widow, especially in Captain America 2, but she wasn’t the lead).

Perhaps the most controversial decision in sci-fi casting before Jodie Whittaker as Dr Who was the re-imagining of Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica as a woman. And not just a shallow pretty depiction either, as Katee Sackhoff’s Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace was a hard drinking, gambling, promiscuous, thrill-junkie. Creating astonishing degrees of resentment when first revealed I think that, by the end of the new series four season run, she was a firm favourite even with the oldest die-hard fans (like me!). In a curious parallel with the casting of Whittaker the show runner, Ronald Moore, stated ‘We just decided that we didn't care.’ And I hope that’ll be the attitude of Chris Chibnall when he begins his run with Whittaker next year on Dr Who.

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It’s a bold move, toying with something that’s essentially a modern cultural icon in the UK, and the longest running science-fiction series in the world. There’s a significant cohort of haters desperate for it to fail, yet conversely there’s an equally significant group of fans and previously non-Dr Who watchers who are excited at the prospect of a new direction. What’s for sure is that without some excellent storylines to allow Whittaker a decent chance of proving herself then this might prove to be a regeneration too far. I worry that Chibnall’s previous Dr Who work has been variable (Torchwood had some great moments; I liked ‘power of three’ and ‘Hungry Earth’, ‘42’ was fairly good, yet ‘Dinasaurs on a spaceship’ was a bit too daft for me). I worry that there’ll be a desire to introduce radical ideas of plot arcs (which I found dominated Matt Smith’s seasons not always in a good way). In my brain I want them to take the best quality scripts from Tennant, Smith, and Capaldi as a benchmark and only give us a fresh season of utter brilliance.

Time will tell.

Ross Kitson is a doctor, occasional blogger, full-time geek, and sporadic author of fantasy and YA sci-fi. Connect with Ross on Twitter.

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August 22, 2017

Review: Everything We Lost by Valerie Gear

Review by Susan Roberts

This is a very interesting novel that I could class as a coming-of- age story more than a psychological thriller but no matter what classification you put it into, it's a great readable story.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

Everything We Lost
August 2017; William Morrow; 978-0062566423
ebook, audio, print (480 pages); thriller
Everything We Lost is told in alternating chapters by Lucy in present day (10 years after her brother disappeared) and Nolan's voice is from 10 years earlier.

Lucy and Nolan had been close when they were younger but as they became teenagers, their closeness disappeared as Lucy became involved with her friends and Nolan became involved in the study of UFOs and his belief that they really existed.  Once Lucy decides that she needs to try to find out what really happened to her brother, her life suddenly gains purpose after years of confusion.

I thought that this was a very interesting book to read. I think that someone with great interest in UFO's would really enjoy it as there is a lot of information on the subject.  I know I learned a lot while reading this book.

Buy Everything We Lost at Amazon

About the Book:

Lucy Durant was only fourteen-years-old when she lost her older brother. First to his paranoid delusions as he became increasingly obsessed with UFOs and government conspiracies. Then, permanently, when he walked into the desert outside Bishop, California, and never returned.

Now on the tenth anniversary of Nolan's mysterious disappearance, Lucy is still struggling with guilt and confusion--her memories from that period are blurry and obscured by time, distance, and alcohol. Now an adult, she's stuck in a holding pattern, hiding out at her father's house, avoiding people, and doing whatever she can to keep herself from thinking about Nolan. But when a series of unsettling events leads Lucy back to Bishop, she is forced to reconcile with her estranged mother and come to terms with the tangled memories of her past to discover what really happened to her brother all those years ago.

Told in Lucy and Nolan's alternating voices, Everything We Lost is a psychological mystery exploring family, beliefs, obsessions, the nature of memory, and fear of the unknown--a haunting, compelling story that will resonate with readers long after the last page is turned.

About the Author:  

Valerie Geary is the author of Crooked River, an Oregon Book Award Finalist and Indie Next Great Read. Now out in paperback! Her short stories have appeared in The Rumpus, Day One, Menda City Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Foundling Review, the UK publication Litro, and others. Her second novel, Everything We Lost will be released in August 2017.

She currently lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband. In addition to writing, reading, and all things chocolate, Valerie enjoys gardening, hiking, sailing, cycling, and playing disc golf.

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling.  She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends.  She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with her on Facebook.

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August 21, 2017

Discover a Colorful Cast of Characters in THE BIG DREAMS BEACH HOTEL by Lilly Bartlett

by Donna Huber

Play video for seaside ambiance

Are you looking for a light, quick read with a colorful cast of characters? Then look no further than The Big Dreams Beach Hotel by Lily Bartlett.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free ebook was provided for an honest review.

The Big Dreams Beach Hotel
August 2018; HarperImpulse; ebook (345 pages)
romantic comedy
Lilly Bartlett, the author of the Carleton Square series, is back with an end of summer tale of a woman whose dreams were crushed and now has the dreams of a motley crew of characters resting on her shoulders.

Bartlett is talented at creating fun, memorable characters. From the prickly chef to the 1970s lounge singer to the narcoleptic performer and his dog, the residents of a Victorian seaside hotel in northern England will endear themselves to the reader. Throw in a couple of crazy hotelier twins for laughs and conflict. And then there are the main stars of the story - Rosie, the manager of the hotel who returned home after her career and heart were crushed by a lying, two-timing jerk in New York City, and Rory, the transition manager who was hired by the crazy twins to transform the failing seaside hotel into a "5 star resort at 3 star prices".

Unlike the rest of Bartlett's book (and Michele Gorman who writes as Lilly Bartlett), this wasn't one of my favorites. It was still an enjoyable read. I felt the characters were unique and fun, but maybe a bit too two-dimensional. There just wasn't much to them underneath their quirky behavior.

I liked Rosie and really wanted to know what happened in New York - which is slowly revealed throughout the story. Rory was a great character to pair with Rosie.

I would have liked the hotel itself to have been a bigger player in the story and more tension resulting from the conflict.

Even though the area seems economically depressed, the descriptions did make me want to hop on a plane and visit the sleepy seaside town.

Like most of Lilly Bartlett's books, The Big Dreams Beach Hotel is a quick, easy read so if you have a late summer get-away planned this would be a great companion.

Buy The Big Dreams Beach Hotels at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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August 20, 2017

Excerpt from Lawless and the House of Electricity by William Sutton

Get a sneak peek at William Sutton's Victorian crime novel Lawless and the House of Electricity. The third book in the Lawless series hits shelves on August 22.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site.

Lawless and the House of Electricity
August 2017; Titan Books; 978-1785650130
ebook, print (464 pages); historical mystery
Dear Miss Villiers,

Sometimes a girl wants to forget. And we all know the best way to forget. I am the kind of person who seeks love in all the wrong places. Blame my upbringing if you will, or lack of it, among the Euston Square urchins; though I rather think I benefited from such a particular education.

“Miss Molly, is it?” hollered the lad, a bronzed Adonis.

I’ve never been met by a private carriage at a railway station before. The statuesque farm hand stood tall at the end of the platform. He gestured to our sturdy carriage. “You’ll be the new drawing mistress, if I han’t bin much mistook.”

Quite a trip. Speedily packed off, after my East End contretemps. Final confab with your good self, Miss Villiers. Changed into suitable attire. The luxurious train. The branch line. Out I stepped to find the air chilled, despite the sunshine. It may have been the second-best phaeton, and driven by the stable boy, but I took no snub from that; besides, Jem was not hard on the eye. Belgravia drawing mistresses may expect better; but this wilderness is not Belgravia, and I am no drawing mistress, if truth be told.

I should be more disciplined: I shall not write such incriminating things. I stood on the platform, gawping at the thickets and copses as far as the eye could see. As if Hampstead Heath had grown monstrously overnight, obscuring all civilisation, but for stone walls and flocks across the hillsides, the horizon altogether unfamiliar, what with no St Paul’s dome, no fog, no stink, nothing to make one feel at home.

“Kindly step up, ma’am.”

I recalled your stern injunctions that a lady drawing mistress must not heft her own luggage. Up I stepped into his chariot of the sun.

Jem Stables loaded on my bags and my new drawing case, with its stencil declaring it fragile. He stroked the mare’s mane, leapt up, checked I was ready, with a guttural utterance, and set out into the wilds. Of his bare arms directing the reins, I took little note: the loose shirt, the waistcoat a nod to propriety, flaxen locks strewn beneath his cap, smile on his lips. I am no stranger to stares, yet something in the glance of this rustic unnerved me. It was these fine clothes you coaxed me into: his glance bore through my crinoline to these lacy unmentionables. I blushed. Could he see through me?

Could he see me for the street Arab I am? I was angry with myself, though you always say blushes flatter my Boadicean skin. Yet it was the first time I’ve felt a man was looking at me not lest I swindle him, but because I was beautiful.

Damnable nonsense.

Roxbury’s towers loomed over the valley. Cobbled streets gave way to dirt tracks. An avenue of trees.

Fervid stream, placid lake. Surmounting the bend we saw it. Jem chuckled to hear me gasp. Nothing like the forbidding manors engraved in those gothic phantasies you lend me. This was a mansion of the gods, where I was unworthy to set foot. As safe as the Tower of London, as buttressed as Westminster Abbey. Bumpy, lumpy and broad-shouldered, stretching its elbows up the hillside, and gazing down at the glasshouses shimmering by the Burnfoot Stream, where a melancholic orange monkey sat nibbling the nettles in company with its friend, a strange-looking hare.

Roxbury House.

Buy Lawless and the House of Electricity at Amazon

About the Book:

Plots. Secrets. Power.

The new drawing mistress feels inquisitive eyes upon her as she arrives to take up her post at a country house. Ex-street urchin Molly’s quickwitted candour earns her favour with the Earl’s family and guests, but the butler sees through her pose of gentility.

In London’s East End dockyards, a body is found in a lifeboat. But Sergeant Campbell Lawless is summoned to the government offices to weigh up a greater threat.

A gunpowder blast, a train derailed, an explosive ship. The shadow of European machinations looms over the capital, threatening royals and politicians. Lawless must investigate these explosions from the East End to Guernsey and Clerkenwell House of Detention to the English shires.

As Molly teaches the children, she suspects that darker secrets lurk in the gardens. The House of Roxbury, powered by the latest hydraulic contraptions, used to welcome a cavalcade of poets and magicians, explorers and cyclists, scientists and surgeons. Why does it now receive so few visitors? What made this industrial giant a recluse?

Experiments are conducted in the glasshouse laboratories. Molly uses her artistic licence to investigate the unseen forces running Roxbury House. The butler suspects her motives, as he guards the secret of the East Wing; until the diary of the late Lady Roxbury enlightens Molly of the house’s woes. What is the Earl’s sad secret – and the troubling plan for which these sacrifices have been made?

Who is orchestrating these blasts? As the mysterious corpse yields its secrets, Lawless must unravel the threads before dangerous powers fall into unruly hands.

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