#BlogTour #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles @DamppebblesBTs / #Excerpt : Justice Gone #JusticeGone – N. Lombardi Jr #NLombardiJr

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

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Today I’m on the ‘Justice Gone’ blogtour, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

N_Lombardi_2N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).
In 1997, while visiting Lao People’s Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.
Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc.
His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.
His latest novel, Justice Gone was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.
Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Social Media:
Facebook
Goodreads
Website

Synopsis :

WINNER OF THREE AWARDS
2019 AMERICAN FICTION AWARD
NATIONAL INDIE EXCELLENCY AWARD – Best Legal Thriller OF 2019
SILVER MEDAL WINNER 2019 READERS’ FAVORITES AWARDS
Chosen by Wiki.ezvid.com among their list of 10 Gripping and Intelligent Legal Thrillers

PLEASE USE IN ALL POSTS

Justice Gone coverWhen a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down.
A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counselor, is caught up in the chase.
Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers gets there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture.
Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge?”

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Barnes and Noble
Book Depository
Waterstones
Kobo

Publishing Information:
Published in paperback and ebook formats by Roundfire Books on 22nd February 2019.

Excerpt :

In a room with butter-yellow walls and brown-trimmed moldings, imitation wood-patterned linoleum covering the concrete floor, they sat around a square walnut table; the U.S. Marshal and the delegate from the New Jersey State Police Investigations Branch were at the two heads. By implicit consensus, the U.S. Marshal was reckoned to hold the chair. He was an African-American with closely cut, slightly graying kinked hair and a square chocolate face. He had a distinguished black man’s type of mustache, a velvety salt-and-pepper velour above his upper lip. His hands were clasped on the table as he hunched forward to speak. “I think it’s safe to say that all three acts were perpetrated by the same group and that the connection is the Felson incident. And being that the video of the incident is popular on the internet, provoking all sorts of wackos out there, the assistance of the FBI is most welcome.”
There were two FBI guys, and the contrast between them was so stark that one could conceive it was intentional. One, Agent Crawford, had bushy brown hair, a beak nose, and thick lips, and wore tortoiseshell eyeglasses, while his partner was shaven- headed with thin, nondescript features. Agent Crawford spoke up. “As a matter of routine, we contacted the Marine Corps personnel section to see who his wartime buddies were and whether they fit. We are also investigating several anti-police groups, Second Amendment people, and other related activist groups, focusing on the SPB, the Stop Police Brutality network, as it was they who were responsible for releasing the names and addresses of the officers involved over the net. We are refining our query to those members of any dubious organizations who live within a fifty-mile radius.”
His spooky bald partner spoke up. “If need be, we can easily expand that, but it’s our opinion that this was a local guy, and not some conspiracy group from outside. We feel it’s more likely that this could have been perpetrated by a single individual: easier to plan, less chance of being seen.”
Len Peterson spoke up, his usually dispassionate Nordic face showing some anxiety. “After canvassing the immediate vicinities of all three murders, there was only one woman near the Fox shooting who thought she heard a single shout. Otherwise, nobody saw or heard anything. We assume that the weapon is a sniper rifle with a range of a thousand yards; and because no one heard gunshots at any of the scenes, we assume he used a suppressor. At this point we’re not sure of the line of fire, so we’re concentrating within a ninety-degree quadrant in each case, looking for sheltered, isolated places which are concealed yet provide good vantage. So far, we’ve found only some shoe prints in two of these sites, but they don’t look recent. Whether these fellows are local or not, it’s likely they didn’t stick around. And so as not to overlook anything, we’ve also contacted the New York Police Department and got in touch with the Fifth Precinct, who will extend their cooperation in questioning people at the Manhattan clinic that Felson was attending.”
Lt. Colonel Calvin Gerhard of the New Jersey State Police Investigations Branch leaned forward in his chair so that everyone could see him. His elongated angular face, capped with a crew cut, and dominated by wide, stone-cold eyes and full corpulent lips, exuded a no-nonsense attitude. Other than Chief Peterson, he was the only one wearing his uniform. “These murders all occurred within hours of each other. That takes planning, knowing where these men live, timing their movements, etcetera. The shooter has shown himself to be a cold, calculating killer. He even shot that poor dog for Chrissakes!”
“What have we got in respect to the CSI?” the U.S. Marshal threw out to the group.
“We believe we have all the bullets,” Peterson responded wearily. “There were exit wounds, one only in each of the bodies. We collected one bullet from each scene; caliber .308 Winchester.
Despite exhaustive searches of the grounds, we didn’t find the cartridges or anything else. But the bullets seemed modified. The ballistics report should be ready sometime tomorrow, as well as the report from the coroner’s office; then we’ll know more.”
“Weapon?” asked the U.S. Marshal.
Trooper Gerhard answered. “Could be any number of guns that use that ammo. Not only the generic Winchester, but the Remington 700 series can use the same bullets, and hell, there must be hundreds of models…”
The cue-ball head of the second FBI agent jerked up. “The military has many sniper rifles based on the Remington 700 series. The M24 is the Army rifle, and the M40 series is what the Marines use. Consistent so far with a local Marine. Isn’t Jay Felson’s father a veteran of the Marine Corps?”
The U.S. Marshal then directed his attention to Bruntfield’s chief of police. “Chief Peterson?”
Len Peterson lived his whole life in Bruntfield. He knew almost everyone, and almost everyone knew him. His normally sparkling blue eyes were dull and downcast, his gray hair graying more by the minute, making him seem more aged than his usual appearance. “We intend to dispatch Detectives Cavaluzzi and Ryan to the home of Marshal Felson, the boy’s father, as soon as this meeting has concluded. He is being considered a person of interest at the present time.”
Gerhard shifted restlessly in his chair. “Chief Peterson, given the manner in which these crimes have been carried out, I would consider approaching any suspect with extreme caution. I would suggest a state SWAT team to accompany your detectives.”
Peterson was flabbergasted. “I’m not going to send a SWAT team to Marshal Felson’s house! At this point he’s still a well- respected citizen, and we just need to question him…”
“But if he feels cornered, trapped…” “That’s ridiculous.”
“Ridiculous? Didn’t he release a burst of automatic gunfire at the press people?”
Peterson felt defeated. “But that was different. He was upset.” “And how upset do you think he is now? How upset would he have to be to gun down those men?” “I know this man…”
Gerhard entreated the rest of the group, intending to bring this meeting to a practical conclusion. “We need to determine jurisdiction before this meeting closes.”
The U.S. Marshal intervened. “We feel the best arrangement would be that the New Jersey State Troopers should lead the law enforcement aspect, with investigative support from the FBI. The Bruntfield Police Department will be seconded and provide assistance. The U.S. Marshal’s office will also supplement personnel on the ground.”
And that was that.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

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#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @annecater / #Excerpt : Too Early For Death #TooEarlyForDeath – Simon Farrant @asfarrant

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

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Today I’m on the ‘Too Early For Death’ blogtour, organised by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Simon Farrant Author PictureI am an emerging author, a submission to a short story anthology kicked it all off.
Black Cat is my first short story, and the hero isn’t maybe who you would assume.
Originally from Doncaster, South Yorkshire and now Corby in Northants. I’m in my forties, married with three children. We share our home with a Bengal cat and a Pink Tongued Skink.
I’ve been lucky enough to have had an interesting (well to me!) life. I have been a truck driver, university graduate and motorbike salesman amongst other things.
My two novellas, Newdon Killers series, The Crucifix and Famously Ordinary are out now!
The third book, Death Dolls is coming soon estimated launch date 22 August.
Later this year a new series in a different genre Mystery / contemporary fantasy will be published.

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Synopsis :

• Paperback: 322 pages
• Publisher: Farrant Fiction (6 May 2019)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 1916116205
• ISBN-13: 978-1916116207

Outlook-eqsmszmuDeath can take you to the most unexpected places.
Damien Lennon finds himself on a mysterious island… and dead.
He has more questions than answers. Why? Where? How? What next?
In a place where forests hide secrets and a leader rules with an iron fist, can Damien change his destiny?
‘Too Early for Death’ starts a journey through the Limbo Island trilogy, a series that unravels a story of life after death, hierarchy, tragedy, jealousy and eternal love. A heartbreaking yet heartwarming adventure awaits.

Amazon UK

Extract :

Chapter One

‘Ready when you are!’ Nancy Lennon encouraged her twelve-year-old son, Marcus, to open the envelope that had dropped through the letter-box. It had his latest school report and grades within.
They stood close together in their kitchen, the heart of their modest family home. Taking a deep breath, he ripped it open, slid the paperwork out of the envelope and cast an anxious eye over the grades. Then he broke out into a huge grin—top grades for every subject.
His dad, Damien, beamed with pride. ‘This is amazing, son! We promised that you could have a treat for good grades, Marcus. Where would you like to go?’
Without hesitation, Marcus said, ‘I want to go to Newdon Museum please.’ Happiness radiated from him.
‘Are you sure you want to visit the museum, Marcus? We could see Liverpool play a match.’
‘Hilarious, Dad. I’m positive I’d like to go to Newdon Museum. They are doing an exhibit about Japan for the next three weeks.’
‘That sounds superb.’ Damien wasn’t being sarcastic, for a change. He and Nancy were very proud of their only son and would do anything to make him happy. Life, in general, was and had been good to them.
Damien’s outward appearance showed that he enjoyed food; he was obese but certainly not unhappy. At a touch under five foot ten, he was average height, but he liked to joke that he should be six foot five to match his weight. He and Nancy liked to dress in fashionable clothes and, unlike most men, he looked forward to going clothes shopping with his wife. He was a regular at the local barber shop, and proud of his ginger hair.
Nancy also loved a trip to the hairdressers, at least once a fortnight, and kept up with the latest styles. Her current cut was short and blonde. Unlike Damien, Nancy was slim and enjoyed a daily jog around the housing estate and park. She often tried to get Damien to take up exercise, but her efforts were to no avail. He sometimes thought it might be a good thing for his health to get fit, but try as he might, he could never quite summon the energy or motivation to do something about it.
They had lived in the same home for many years—at least ten. It was a lovely, well looked after semi-detached house with a decent sized garden, which wasn’t so common in the estate. They weren’t exactly loaded with money, but they had accumulated some pretty good furniture and paintings over the years.
Damien was king of the barbeque, which he fired up as often as he could during the short British summer. It was also a good excuse for indulging in cider. Their elderly frumpy neighbour, Deidre Parsons, sometimes moaned about the stereo being too loud in the garden, but Damien always disarmed her with an easy smile, a burger and a glass of alcohol, which was guaranteed to lighten her mood. Another feature of the garden was a bug hotel that Marcus bought from eBay when Damien declared that it would be too hard to make one. He relished seeing the bugs and critters exploring their boutique residence.

Chapter Two

Damien and Nancy had married eighteen years earlier, a dream wedding in warm sunshine and a gentle breeze. She had looked gorgeous in her wedding dress and felt amazing. She knew it was the one when she saw it in the shop window; it stopped her mid stride as she walked through Newdon town centre. The dress was a new style, without a train, and a gorgeous ivory colour.
After the hairdresser had worked her magic on Nancy and her bridesmaids, they all felt like a million dollars and looked like magazine models. Damien, who was much slimmer back then, also looked extremely handsome in his formal suit with a burgundy handkerchief in his top pocket; his best man wore a matching suit but didn’t carry it off as well as Damien.
The wedding took place in a traditional parish church, with well over a thousand pounds’ worth of fragrant flowers. Only the best was good enough, the thick photo album testament to the best day of their lives.
Marcus was born six years later, after four years of receiving IVF treatment to conceive. Thankfully, the pregnancy came along at the right time, because Nancy didn’t want to endure the rollercoaster journey of IVF treatment anymore; she simply couldn’t bear the thought of seeing yet another ‘Not Pregnant’ result displayed on a testing kit. Just trying to conceive had become stressful enough in itself, and making love only happened on the days that Nancy had worked out she might conceive. The heartbreak never seemed to end.
Like with many other families, once they stopped worrying about conceiving, Nancy became pregnant. She and Damien were overjoyed; furthermore, they were blessed with a trouble-free pregnancy. She didn’t even suffer too much from morning sickness, which she had dreaded. Her older sister, Lynda, had suffered more than most with it. Their mum had also had bad sickness with both Nancy and Lynda, so Nancy had been fully prepared for the worst.
The perfect pregnancy was so much like a miracle that on the actual due date, Marcus was born. The labour and birth itself had been a positive experience, with no pain relief apart from gas and air. Nancy fulfilled her dream of giving birth in a pool at home, with her mum and Damien on hand.
The perfection of the whole thing would’ve been hard for anyone to believe, but Nancy and Damien counted their blessings.
As the midwife handed Marcus to Nancy and said, ‘Your beautiful son. Congratulations!’ Nancy became overwhelmed with emotion. Tears of joy streamed down her makeup-free face as she nursed the son that she thought she and Damien would never have. Their little family was finally complete; it was amazing, and their new arrival was instantly enveloped in a love like no other.
Nancy’s sister was never around much and Damien was an only child, so they were both used to being part of a small family. Still, they would have loved nothing more than to have had a little brother or sister for Marcus—maybe even two or three more. Sadly, it wasn’t to be, but they never let their unfulfilled wish turn into a regret. In Damien’s eyes, Marcus was pretty much perfect and all he ever needed—except for Everton Football Club, of course.
Damien tried many times to persuade Marcus to support another team, any team but Everton. He wondered if this was the price he’d have to pay for having his dream of a son in his life. If that was the case, it was a price worth paying a million times over. However, he did wonder if he should’ve taken Marcus to see Liverpool play before his uncle took him to Goodison Park.
Marcus excelled at school, much to his parents’ pride. He loved the academic subjects, history in particular. His school reports were always fantastic, with never a negative comment from the teachers, apart from the odd one about when he daydreamed too often or needed to pay more attention to his handwriting. He was popular too, but never big headed. Even if he was destined to be a handful, Nancy would have placed his feet back on the ground.
The family unit was at the centre of Damien and Nancy’s world. They had both turned forty earlier in the year but still felt much younger. Of course, the family had their arguments and fights behind closed doors, but they never let those linger into prolonged disagreements. Their personalities helped. Damien was most often positive and treated life as a fun challenge. Setbacks did hurt him, but he turned them around as quickly as he could. Nancy was more pragmatic; she had always been quiet as a child, and that stood her in good stead as an adult. Her parents had separated when she was in primary school, so she’d always had to be more mature than her years.
Nancy was the practical one of the pair whenever there was a problem to be solved. For example, if there was DIY to be done, Nancy would often take over from Damien—it was the only way of making sure the job was ever completed, and to the best standard. He would always protest to begin with, but it became like a well-rehearsed dance over the years. Despite their differences, neither Damien nor Nancy could ever imagine what life would be like without the other. They truly believed in love for life, and their friends all agreed that the Lennons were the most solid family around.

Chapter Three

The next day, while they drove the seven miles to the museum, the sun burst through the panoramic sunroof of their new family car—a Ford Focus in a sober, dark blue colour. Traffic was light, as it always seemed to be when they went to the museum for some reason. It was almost as if they were destined to go there every time.
‘Come on, Mum, you can drive faster than this!’
Nancy chortled at the perpetual family joke. ‘Yeah, if you pay for the petrol. Until then, be quiet.’
Marcus was as excited as ever when they arrived. He got out of the car the second that Nancy pulled up the handbrake in her Ford without waiting for his parents.
‘Wait for us, Speedy Gonzales!’
‘Lose some weight, Dad, then you’ll be able to keep up!’
Nancy cackled, allowing Marcus to escape being told off for his cheekiness. That didn’t happen often; Nancy was usually a stickler for good manners. She remembered well how often her manners had been corrected as a child, so it was imprinted on her personality.
Damien wasn’t as strict as his wife, but he tried his best to encourage the same principles. It wasn’t too often that Marcus pushed the boundaries; he was a laid-back kid. Nancy always said that he must have got that from her; she would usually look for the best in people and let life wend its way through hers as it came.
A cool wind blew the last of the autumnal leaves into piles at the edges of the car park, causing the family to shield their eyes from grit carried on the wind. Nancy pulled her coat tighter around herself and buried her face into her new scarf. Not a moment too soon, they hurried up the few wide steps to the museum doors.
With an exuberance many would consider unnecessary for the task, Damien extinguished his cigarette into a metal plate on top of the bin designed to keep cigarette stubs and chewing gum off the street. He was pleased to note the sign showing that the museum’s cafe had a five-star hygiene certificate.I hope they have some nice cakes in there!A stern ‘No Smoking’ sign stood over the door, making him thankful he had been compliant.
Just inside the traditional museum entrance was a pop-up sushi stall, much to everyone’s delight. The vendor wore a beautiful red kimono with intricate flower designs printed on it, and a large red flower in her hair. Nancy noticed a scar running across the woman’s temple; it looked like it had a tale to tell. Her black skin radiated charm and elegance, while her super long dreadlocks looked fabulous arranged into an assortment of hair accessories on top of her head. A delightful, probably expensive perfume hung in the air around her. An equally expensive looking necklace with a diamond centrepiece hung proudly around her neck.
‘Nice taster for the exhibition,’ Damien said between scoffing sushi pieces. Best sushi ever. I’m glad they aren’t covered in Wasabi. I still have space for cake and coffee… ‘Fantastic, Damien. Leave some for others,’ chuckled Nancy, her affection flowing freely towards her husband.
‘Funny. Not.’ Marcus rolled his eyes.Parents. So embarrassing.He loved spending time with his parents, more so than most of his classmates did with their own folks. He’d always wished for a brother or sister, but he knew that the likelihood of having a sibling was almost zilch. That fact did hurt, but he knew it hurt his mum even more so he didn’t talk about it to her; he didn’t want to cause her any pain. He did enjoy banter with his father, though, proclaiming that it was a good job he was an only child; after all, he was so amazing that the other child would get no attention anyway.
Nancy and Damien didn’t mind the fact that they had a small family, extended family included. It meant they could focus their efforts on those who really mattered. The only drawback was that it would’ve been nice to have more support when it was needed.
Dragging Damien away from the sushi stand, they moved on into the vast space of the main exhibition hall, entering through a huge arch made of stone from a long-since-closed local quarry. Even though the stone had blackened in places from years of exposure to the atmosphere, the brilliance of the original cream colour still shone through.
Samurai outfits glistened under the artificial lighting, and swords glinted by the sides of their bodiless counterparts. Pride of place in the exhibition went to a suit of armour in the Haramaki style from 1850. Newdon Museum had borrowed dozens of exhibits from the V&A museum in London, such was the reputation of the museum for putting on excellent exhibitions. The family took over an hour to view and admire each of over two hundred exhibits. They liked taking their time; to them, that was the best way to experience life. But they weren’t done yet. Having been extended several times, the museum had much more to offer than just the grand hall. The next display room contained more exhibits, mainly photographs from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Despite the many sombre scenes showing nothing but death and destruction, Marcus was fascinated by the famous images, in particular the picturesque image of the Nagarekawa Methodist Church, which was blown apart by the nuclear catastrophe.
‘I hope that President Trump has seen these and doesn’t bomb North Korea.’
‘Wise words, son. I doubt that any world leader would dare to launch a nuclear bomb these days.’ Damien got a lot out of days like this; he often thought that he’d learned more from his family and their excursions than he ever had at school. He sometimes wished he’d paid more attention back in his school years and got a more glamorous job than working at a car dealership. But reflecting on it, he was glad how his life had turned out and wouldn’t really change anything.

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @annecater / #Excerpt : The Winter of the Witch #TheWinterOfTheWitch #TheWinternightTrilogy – Katherine Arden @arden_katherine @EburyPublishing

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

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Today I’m on the ‘The Winter of the Witch’ blogtour, organised by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Katherine Arden Author PicBorn in Austin, Texas, Katherine Arden spent her junior year of high school in Rennes, France. Following her acceptance to Middlebury College in Vermont, she deferred enrolment for a year in order to live and study in Moscow. At Middlebury, she specialized in French and Russian literature.
After receiving her BA, she moved to Maui, Hawaii, working every kind of odd job imaginable, from grant writing and making crêpes to serving as a personal tour guide. After a year on the island, she moved to Briançon, France, and spent nine months teaching. She then returned to Maui, stayed for nearly a year, then left again to wander. Currently she lives in Vermont, but really, you never know.
She is the author of The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower.
These novels make up the fi rst two parts of The Winternight Trilogy.

Website

Synopsis :

Winter of the Witch CoverA thrilling conclusion to The Winternight Trilogy
A magical series perfect for fans of The Night Circus

One girl can make a difference…
Moscow is in flames, leaving its people searching for answers – and someone to blame. Vasilisa, a girl with extraordinary gifts, must flee for her life, pursued by those who blame their misfortune on her magic.
Then a vengeful demon returns, stronger than ever. Determined to engulf the world in chaos, he finds allies among men and spirits. Mankind and magical creatures alike find their fates resting on Vasya’s shoulders.
But she may not be able to save them all.

Excerpt :

A little way down the hill of the kremlin, the dusk came earlier, and the shadows fell cold and thick over another palace, smaller and quieter. The fire had not touched it, except for singeing from falling sparks.
All Moscow roiled with rumors, with sobs, curses, arguments, questions, and yet here a fragile order reigned. The lamps were lit; servants gathered what could be spared for the comfort of the impoverished. The horses drowsed in their stable; tidy columns of smoke rose from the chimneys of bakehouse and cookhouse, brewhouse, and the palace itself.
The author of this order was a single woman. She sat in her workroom, upright, impeccable, starkly pale. Sweeping lines of strain framed her mouth, though she was not yet thirty. The dark streaks beneath her eyes rivaled Dmitrii’s. She had gone into the bathhouse the night before and delivered her third child, dead. In that same hour, her firstborn had been stolen, and nearly lost in the horrors of the night.
But despite all that, Olga Vladimirova would not rest. There was too much to be done. A steady stream of people came to her, where she sat by the workroom oven: steward and cook, carpenter, baker, and washerwoman. Each one was dispatched with an assignment and some words of thanks.
A pause came between petitioners, and Olga slumped back in her chair, arms wrapped around her belly, where her unborn child had been. She had dismissed her other women hours ago; they were higher in the terem, sleeping off the shocks of the night. But one person would not go.
“You ought to go to bed, Olya. The household can manage without you until morning.” The speaker was a girl, sitting stiff and watchful on a bench beside the oven. She and the proud Princess of Serpukhov both had long black hair, the plaits wrist-thick, and an elusive similarity of feature. But the princess was delicate, where the girl was tall and long- fingered, her wide eyes arresting in the rough-hewn angles of her face.
“You should indeed,” said another woman, backing into the room bearing bread and cabbage stew. It was Lent; they could not eat fat meat. This woman looked as weary as the other two. Her plait was yellow, just touched with silver, and her eyes were wide and light and clever. “The house is safe for the night. Eat this, both of you.” She began briskly ladling out soup. “And then go to bed.”
Olga said, slow with exhaustion, “This house is safe. But what of the city? Do you think Dmitrii Ivanovich or his poor fool of a wife are sending servants out with bread to feed the children that this night has orphaned?”
The girl sitting on the oven-bench paled, and her teeth sank into her lower lip. She said, “I am sure Dmitrii Ivanovich is making clever plans to take vengeance on the Tatars, and the impoverished will just have to wait. But that does not mean— ”
A shriek from above cut her off, and then the sound of hurrying footsteps. All three women glared at the door with identical expressions. What now?
The nurse burst into the room, quivering. Two waiting-women panted in her wake. “Masha,” the nurse gasped. “Masha—she is missing.”
Olga was instantly on her feet. Masha—Marya— was her only daughter, the one who had been stolen from her bed just the night before. “Call in the men,” Olga snapped.
But the younger girl tilted her head, as though she were listening.
“No,” said the girl. Every head in the room whipped round. The waiting- women and the nurse exchanged dark glances. “She’s gone outside.”
“Then that—” Olga began, but the other interrupted, “I know where she is. Let me go and get her.”
Olga gave the younger girl a long look, which she returned steadily. The day before, Olga would have said that she’d never trust her mad sister with one of her children.
“Where?” Olga asked.
“The stable.”
“Very well,” said Olga.
“But, Vasya, bring Masha back before the lamps are lit. And if she is not there, tell me at once.”
The girl nodded, looking rueful, and got to her feet.
Only when she moved could one see that she was favoring one side.
She had a broken rib.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandRBookTours @RRBookTours1 @Shanannigans81 / #Excerpt : The Heights of Perdition (The Divine Space Pirates #1) – C.S. Johnson @C_S_Johnson13

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

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Today I’m on the ‘The Heights of Perdition (The Divine Space Pirates #1)’ blogtour, organised by R&R Book Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Author PicC. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family.

Author Links:
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Synopsis :

Book CoverTitle: The Heights of Perdition
Publication Date: December 20, 2019
Genre: Sci-Fi / Romance (Christian Themes)

There is nothing Aeris St. Cloud wants more than to win her father’s love and the acceptance of her family unit by joining the Military Academy at New Hope. But after she is captured by the fearsome space pirate, Captain Chainsword, Aerie is certain falling in love with her nation’s arch enemy is the last possible way to earn their coveted esteem.
Driven by vengeance, Exton Shepherd never set out to save anyone. As he circles the war-torn world in his pirated starship, the Perdition, he only sees his father’s ghost lurking around every corner and the looming darkness on the horizon. When Aerie unexpectedly tumbles into his life, he finds he cannot trust her, anymore than he can ignore her. But just like the raging war down on Earth, it’s tempting to think he can …
When the war ascends to the heights of the Perdition, Aerie’s loyalty, and Exton’s heart, are put to the test. But will love be enough to save them – and others – from certain destruction?

Goodreads

Amazon

Excerpt :

“No thanks,” Aerie replied breezily. If he could tease her, she would more than return the favor. “I’d like to catch you when you have a clear disadvantage.”
“That’s hardly fair.”
“Well, we’re not equal anyway,” Aerie told him. “So if we’re going to be on unfair footing anyway, I might as well try to make it as good for me as possible.”
“When you use the words ‘fair’ and ‘equal,’ they are not actually talking about the same things. You realize this, right?”
“Yes,” Aerie admitted with a sigh. “But I was hoping you wouldn’t notice.”
“It’s part of my job to notice things like that. Once you realize how much the URS uses language to confuse people, it’s impossible not to notice.”
Aerie frowned. “I don’t intentionally do it,” she objected.
“You just did it.”
“Okay, not a lot.”
“You still did it.” When she looked down at the ground, feeling angry and guilty, he reached for her.
She flinched.
He faltered. “You’re allowed to argue with me, Aerie, but that doesn’t mean you’ll win.”
The tension in her shoulders relaxed slightly. Her arms crossed her chest in defiance. “So good to know I have your permission, Captain.”
“That’s another thing they do. They allow their emotions to get in the way of discussion.”
“No they don’t.”
“If disagreements come up, they always bring up the issue of survival,” Exton reminded her. “What does it mean ‘to survive,’ according to them? It changes, constantly; not that change is bad in itself. But there are a lot of things you can make a person do to survive. You can easily make a person lose his humanity in the name of survival.”
“What do you mean?”
Exton arched an eyebrow. “It’s a shame when people lose their humanity, even for survival. Morality’s usually among the first to go. Truth is redefined over and over again, until there’s nothing left—or just enough left to allow someone to control the chaos. Love is as a liability before eventually becoming unlike itself. Acceptance means agreement. Dissent means hatred and defiance.”
“Death means death,” Aerie countered. “You can’t do anything if you’re dead.”
“There are much worse things than death.”
“I find that hard to believe.”
“Then I’ll bet anything you’ve never wished you were dead.”
Aerie thought about how terrible she’d felt, unable to gain her acceptance into the military. She had thought about dying. But Exton was right. She had never wished to be dead. “Have you?” she asked.
“Have I what?”
“Have you ever wished you were dead?” Aerie wasn’t sure he would even answer, but she couldn’t regret asking the question. She wanted to get to know him better. He’d been kind to her—much kinder than she deserved as a prisoner of war, and much kinder than she knew the URS would have treated him. If truth was such a big deal to him, she would force him to give her his.
Exton moved, shifting his weight in discomfort. “When the URS killed my father, for one,” he finally replied.
Whatever else Aerie had been expecting, that was not it. She felt her lips part in shock, with silence as her only reply.
“Yes, death is death,” Exton said, repeating her earlier arguments and making her recoil. “That’s why what we do with life matters infinitely more.”
There was such conviction in his words. The two ideologies—the URS and Exton’s—clashed inside of her mind. While she did not disbelieve Exton, it was hard to dismiss the question of whether or not the State acted rightfully.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

Blog Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours

#BlogTour #LoveBooksTours @LoveBooksGroup / #Excerpt : The Man in the Dark – Jonathan Whitelaw @JDWhitelaw13 @UrbaneBooks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

man in the dark 1man in the dark 2

Today I’m on the ‘The Man in the Dark’ blogtour, organised by Love Books Group Tour.
To promote this book I have an excerpt written by its authors, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Jonathan Whitelaw Author ImageJonathan Whitelaw is an author, journalist and broadcaster. After working on the frontline of Scottish politics, he moved into journalism. Subjects he has covered have varied from breaking news, the arts, culture and sport to fashion, music and even radioactive waste – with everything in between. He’s also a regular reviewer and talking head on shows for the BBC and STV. ‘HellCorp’ is his second novel following his debut, ‘Morbid Relations’.

Social Media links:
Website
Twitter
FB Author Page

Synopsis :

9781912666461The Devil’s back – and he’s STILL not had a holiday.
There’s another mystery to solve – a woman kidnapped by terrorists and the world trying to find her. While he hates doing God’s bidding, The Devil can’t resist trying to put one over on Him. But nothing is EVER that simple.
While the Devil helps the London cops crack the case, there’s trouble in the Underworld. And two of humanity’s greatest backstabbers – Brutus and Cassius – are sharpening their knives with an eye on stealing his crown.
It’s a race against time to find the girl, be the bad guy and maybe stop the apocalypse.

Amazon

Excerpt :

ONE

The Pope’s private quarters deep within Vatican City were quiet. Only an old, ticking clock on the mantelpiece disturbed the stillness of the place. It was peaceful, serene even, just what you’d expect from the office of an elderly man of great power.
All the hallmarks were there. The mahogany desk, the lack of computer, a set of reading glasses perched neatly on top of a writing ledger. There was even room for an old- fashioned inkwell, two fountain pens with the Pope’s sigil branded up their shaft.
Light was easily flowing into the room from an open window. The sky outside was warm and blue, the first hints of a Roman summer making everything very comfortable. The clock ticked on and on, stopping for no one, even if there was nobody around to hear it. Nobody but the large, ornate crucifix that hung from the opposite wall. It wasn’t going to mind the noise.
It was just as well. The second hand ticked over, then over again, then over for a third time. But, where the fourth consecutive tick should have sounded, there was nothing. Ordinarily this would have been cause for concern. However, this was the heart of the Catholic church. Out of the ordinary wasn’t always out of the ordinary. For an institution founded on fable, legend and tradition, the non-ticking of a clock was hardly a reason to think the world was ending.
And besides. The battery had probably just run out. Not that there was anybody around to hear or notice the silence. The crucifix on the wall wasn’t going to change the double As.
Only there was cause for concern. A pretty big cause for concern. The last time the clocks had stopped in Vatican City, there had been a visitor. In the short time since that incident, the story had become the stuff of myth. This was the Catholic Church, it liked to keep its secrets secret. But this one had, pardon the expression, spread like wildfire.
The Pope had never been the same since that night. His hair had turned whiter, his eyes a little wilder. Gone was the good sense and diplomacy expected of a modern world leader. In its place the rantings and ravings of a Dark Ages fanatic.
He’d spoken of meeting The Devil, coming face to face with the incarnate of evil. He’d even been saved by the creature, his heart stopped from stopping. The foul beast from below had sought his guidance, come to him for advice on matters he’d never been able to divulge.
And as a result of this now fabled meeting there had been a few changes to the way things were done around the old place. Centuries old rules were brought back in from the cold, the whole institution taking on a more careful, commanding persona to the wider world. The good Catholics, and everyone else, needed protecting from The Devil, who was very much real. Especially now that people were throwing themselves at the feet of a new, amoral business in Scotland that promised to give them the world.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @annecater / #Excerpt : The Story Of John Nightly #TheStoryOfJohnNightly – Tot Taylor @tottaylor1 @unbounders

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Story of John Nightly BT Poster

Today I’m on the ‘The Story Of John Nightly’ blogtour, organised by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Tot Taylor Author PictureTot Taylor is a writer, composer, art curator and music producer. He has worked in music, film, theatre and the visual arts since being signed by Island Records while still at school. For the past thirteen years, he has been cocurator of the Riflemaker gallery in Beak Street, Soho, which he co-founded with Virginia Damtsa. Their artists have been featured at Tate Modern, MoMA, the Pompidou Center and Frieze Masters, among others. The Story of John Nightly is his first novel.

Synopsis :

Story of John Nightly CoverPRICE: £18.99
ISBN: 978-1-78352-851-6
FORMAT: Paperback
EXTENT: 896 pages

The Story of John Nightly is a novel about the nature of creativity – at the level of genius. It mixes real and imagined lives in the tale of a young singer-songwriter.
John Nightly (b. 1948) finds his dimension in pop music, the art form of his time. His solo album becomes the third best-selling record of 1970. But success turns out to have side effects.
After a dazzling career, John renounces his gift, denying music and his very being, until he is rediscovered thirty years later by a teenage saviour dude who persuades him to restore his quasi-proto-multi-media eco-mass, the Mink Bungalow Requiem .
Can John Nightly be brought back to life again?

Excerpt :

The offices of JC Enterprises, Carnaby Street, London W1. Monday, 12 January 1966. 10.30am.

Situated above You Are Here! – London’s happeningest boutique – JC Enterprises is one of many young outfits on the capital’s bright new music scene. Their biggest claim to fame being Stanmore act the Gloom, high in the charts with their debut 45, ‘Bethnal Green’, on EMI’s new Mosaic imprint. The single, described by the group as ‘a song about the area we grew up in, the East End of London’, crashed into the Hit Parade at Number 39 this week after being played almost non-stop on the offshore pirate Radio Caroline.
In the narrow hallway, a young man with straw-blond hair, blue-and-white-striped scarf and brown leather sandals sits tight. He is about to be zoomed into space. Bolt upright, arms folded, foot tapping like a jackhammer, he appears anxious; like a school-leaver awaiting examination results. In the corner opposite, a young temp in a mad-patterned, sea-green mini dress taps away at one of the new Memo typewriters. Cornelia is employed to make tea, pretend she can type, and be decorative. In the other corner Sandra, or Sand as she is known at JCE, is nonchalantly re-pinking her nails.
‘Bit like the dentist’s, isn’t it?’ The boy looked up.
‘Had a cup of tea?’
‘… oh… yes… yeh… thanks.’
‘Well… would you like another?’ Both girls had been briefed to take good care of the potential new client.
‘… I’m alright… at the minute, thanks’. The boy uncrossed his legs and refolded his scarf.
This is London. And London is Swinging or Swingeing, depending on which way you look at it. If you’re content to just look, that is. Because the only way you can get it really – really get it, London right now, right at this very moment – is to experience it for real. To be here. For to be here is to be happy. Happiness is all around. In the cobbled streets and courtyards, the with-it boutiques and out-there shopfronts. In the sunken velvet lounges of the new Chelsea nightclubs and the lime-washed white walls of Mayfair’s smartest galleries. Even in old, antique places like the ancient Thames docks, the Port of London, Westminster, the City and the print centre itself, Fleet Street. The place that prints the newspapers that tell us every day what a fabulous town we live in. The people that wind the clocks and count the banknotes, the dockers, porters and drivers, the typesetters and hot-metal lappers in the Print – they’re all part of the swinging city too.
But not only is London the commercial centre of the world; it’s now also the most cultural. The happeningest, the grooviest. London is where it’s at. It being ‘the thing’, the zeitgeist, the train of thought, the groove. The thing you have to have, or be ‘with’ or get ‘in’ or ‘on’. To really get it. To really get it. To really get on.
All you have to do is tune in. And people are. Because at the moment it seems that everyone, the whole wide world, the universe, maybe even the cosmos itself, is on its way to Swinging London.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #Excerpt : Bridge to Eternity – Romola Farr @RomolaFarr

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

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Today I’m on the ‘Bridge to Eternity’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

“I started my working life in the theatre and was very lucky to find myself on the West End stage in a hit play at the age of 16. My career and life nearly ended there as I was knocked down by a car on the way home one Saturday night. I recovered and went on to be quite a successful photographic model. Later, when that part of my career did die, I turned to writing and made quite a good living writing screenplays, making films, and writing advertising copy for a marketing company. A few years ago I entered a short-story competition and fell in love with prose and knew I had to tell my own story within a fictional framework. At the moment I am hiding behind a nom de plume.”

Social Media Links:
Twitter

Synopsis :

m48jeG6AAudrey, recently widowed, is not saying why she left her comfortable home in the south of England to move into an old school boarding house on the edge of a moor. Tina, a young estate agent, is concerned for Audrey’s safety as she believes the folklore about a schoolboy who never went home. Property developers, annoyed at losing a site ripe for demolition, make plans to encourage Audrey to sell. Malcolm, a charming widower, brings a welcome light into Audrey’s life until it shines into a very dark corner…

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Excerpt :

Writing cover blurbs is hard for publishers but writing the first page of a novel is terrifyingly tough for an author. So much is riding on the first para, even the first sentence. I’ve selected the opening few hundred words from Bridge to Eternity – they hooked me in when I first read the novel. (Merlin Ward, Wildmoor Press)

PROLOGUE
September

The legal speed limit for vehicles travelling along the Old Military Road was sixty miles an hour and he was breaking it. If a car rounded a corner in the opposite direction it would end up in the ditch because this driver was not in the mood to slow down for anyone.
The sound of cannon fire blasted from his top pocket and he reached for his phone. He took his eyes off the road to read the text, grunted, and handed the phone to the person seated beside him.
The passenger glanced at the short message, looked up and saw they were approaching a humpback bridge.
‘You’re going too fast.’
There was another round of cannon fire and both took their eyes off the road to look at the phone’s screen. The message was clear and unequivocal. It was time to return home.
‘Watch out!’ yelled the passenger.
The driver lifted his eyes from the phone. Ahead, two people, holding hands, were blocking the mouth of the bridge.
He jammed on his brakes and skidded.
To regain control he took his foot off the pedal and steered the only course acceptable to him, hoping the inevitable impact would not cause too much damage to his van.

CHAPTER ONE
October – the previous year

Audrey Willatt crossed her legs and smoothed the skirt of her dress. The view out of the carriage window was exquisite but with every passing mile, the knot she felt in her gut grew tighter. She was leaving her home in the south of England and heading north to a Victorian pile she had bought a few months after her husband died, situated on the fringes of a bleak moor.
‘The next station is Hawksmead,’ stated the recorded voice from train’s speakers. Audrey stood and pulled down her folded coat from the rack above her seat and slipped it on. She picked up her handbag and followed a few passengers down the carriage to her two large and way too heavy suitcases. She felt the train slow as she lifted the heavier of the two from the rack and placed it down by the doors. She went to collect the second case and was momentarily taken aback to see it within the firm grip of a tall, well-dressed, elderly gentleman. She had spotted him when she had changed trains in Derby, and wondered whether there would be an opportunity to make his acquaintance. There was something about his posture, the way he carried himself, that appealed to her.
‘May I help you get your bags off the train?’ he asked.
‘That’s very kind of you. My mother drilled it into me never to pack more than I can easily carry. She would not have been impressed.’
The train slowed and came to a gentle stop. The door adjacent to the platform was opened by a fellow passenger pressing the illuminated button, and Audrey took her first breath of fresh moorland air.
‘You get off and I’ll carry the cases to the platform,’ the Good Samaritan said.
Audrey didn’t argue and stepped from the carriage. The stranger followed her and placed the first suitcase at her feet.
Towards the rear of the train, the guard blew his whistle. Audrey felt tense as she watched her helper climb back into the carriage to retrieve the second case. She knew this was the really heavy one.
The guard blew his whistle again.
The man held onto the door frame as he eased his way off the train and with some relief on his face placed the suitcase at her feet.
There was another long blast of the whistle and warning beeps as the door began to close. The stranger turned and almost leapt through the narrowing gap. The door slid shut and Audrey waited, expecting to see the man’s face at the window, but the train moved, gathered speed and soon she was standing alone with her suitcases on the empty platform.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds