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Archive for July 17th, 2018

Cusp of Night

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Suspense/Mystery Paranormal
Date Published: June 12, 2018
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
 
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Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.  
Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house–a woman whose ghost may still linger.
Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to unearthing the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .
About the Author

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Mae Clair opened a Pandora’s Box of characters when she was a child and never looked back.  A member of the Mystery Writers of America and Thriller Writer’s International, she loves creating character-driven fiction in settings that vary from contemporary to mythical.
Wherever her pen takes her, she flavors her stories with mystery, suspense, and a hint of the supernatural. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about folklore, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail, and cats.
Discover more about Mae on her website and blog at MaeClair.net
You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts:
My Review
5 stars

Maya Sinclair has just moved to Hode’s Hill, PA and has discovered the town is rich in history. The first being a creature called the Fiend that has a history of brutally killing people. The town folk dress up in what they think the Fiend would look like and have a festival to celebrate it. On Maya’s first Fiend Festival she witnesses the attack of Leland Hode. Maya decides to look into this attack and find out who the attacker really is.

At the same time Maya has strange, paranormal like occurrences happening in her house at 2:22 am. When she looks into this she learns that The Blue Lady, Lucinda Glass. Lucy was afflicted with an illness that made her an outcast and freak. But it was her dabbling in the paranormal that made her special. When Maya and Leland’s son Collin discover Lucy’s journal, they learn that much more is happening in Hode’s Hill than they thought.

I really enjoyed this story. It is the first book I have read from Mae Clair but it won’t be my last. I easy got into the story and was very curious about both the Fiend and Lucy. My heart did break for her and all that she goes through. Maya and Collin are a great couple and amateur sleuths.

This story has a great paranormal twist to keep it interesting along with great mystery that had me guessing until the end. I can’t wait to read more about Hode’s Hill and other stories from Mae Clair.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

Excerpt from

CUSP OF NIGHT

By Mae Clair

May 1, 1897

“Hello. Have I come at a bad time?” A tall, thin man strode into Lucy Strick’s tent as if he were an invited guest.

“Who the hell are you?” She lurched from the stool in front of her small dressing table, knocking a pot of face paint to the floor. Damn. Where was Burt? The roughy was supposed to keep cretins away. May Day always brought a good take for the circus, but seedy folk showed up right along with the local farmers. Sodbusters, she could handle. Rubes in colors as drab as the earth they plowed, slow and simple as mules.

This man didn’t look anything like them—or the lechers who thought the entrance fee to her aerial act bought a free grope on the side. Put her visitor in an audience and he’d stand out like a sleek crow in a flock of cowbirds. Fancy frock coat, weathered face, hair and eyes as black as the coal her brothers dug from the Blind Boy Mine. Odd sort. He might have been as old as her pap or as young as Anton, the Strongman.

“You ain’t answered me.” She hadn’t liked people staring at her when she was a kid and wouldn’t tolerate it now. She wasn’t a freak, no matter what her kinfolk said. “Who are you?”

He didn’t hesitate. “A man who finds you extraordinary.”

“That so?” She snorted. Indelicately. “Well, that uppity accent don’t impress me none, so you best skedaddle ’fore I holler for Burt and have him bend you fifty ways backward. I ain’t unarmed, you know.” She groped through the silks, feathers, and tinted creams on her dressing table. “I got a knife.”

“I don’t. I’m not armed, dear lady.”

“Lady?” She’d never heard the word attached to the likes of her. Charmed, she shoved a curtain of black hair from her shoulder and eyed him openly. “You got a strange way of talking. I bet you’re a snoop, huh? This ain’t no fleece or racket joint, mister. Oliver’s Emporium and Traveling Show is on the up-and-up. Just ’cause we pull up stakes after a spell don’t mean—”

“You’re wasted here.”

She clamped her mouth shut. Even soaring through the air, the ground a death trap below, she remained in control. But this man threw her off balance with his bold comments. Dumb slug. Didn’t he realize what she was? Didn’t he have eyes?

“There ain’t nowheres else for me.” She’d known the truth every time her ma held her down and scrubbed her skin till it bled. Every time her pap cuffed her and called her Hades-spawned. When she was twelve, a preacher slathered her in whitewash while her pap watched stonily and her ma prayed for her deliverance. Lucy had run off that same night, stumbling over Ollie’s traveling circus two days later. She’d never regretted her decision in the eight years she’d called the carnival home.

Raising her chin, she stood her ground. “Ollie takes good care of me.”

“Yes. It must be gratifying to go from backwater town to backwater town, eking out a meager existence.” The man’s voice lowered, his cultured accent crisp with reproach. “Do you enjoy the way men leer at you? The barbs women toss behind your back, labeling you devil-witch and daughter of demons?”

Lucy stiffened. Pious folk were the worst. Hiding behind crosses and Bibles, as if the Good Lord loved her any less because of her appearance. Maybe Ollie traded on her unusual looks, but he treated her like family. Far more than her own blood kin.

“You need to leave.” She hated being reminded of what she was.

The man’s expression softened. “Child, I don’t see you as any of the ignoble names you have been called. I see you as special. Do not be ashamed of your exotic beauty.” Looming over her, he turned her fingers toward the light. The kindness in his voice almost made her believe she was attractive.

Until she looked at her hand and saw the same damning color that covered every inch of her body—blue.

Tears threatened her eyes. Crying was a weakness she hadn’t embraced in years.

“I see the pain on your face.” The man tightened his long fingers around her hand. “Memories of cruel taunts and unjust words. Leave here with me, and you will never be ashamed of your lovely blue skin again.”

Oh, to believe!

She stared into his eyes. There was something hypnotic about his gaze, the rich timbre of his voice. Even his touch spoke to her, his palm not smooth as she’d expected, but lined with callouses earned by a life on the road. “Who are you? What do you want?”

He smiled, his eyes flashing with lightning and promise.

“My name is Simon Glass. I want to make you famous.”

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I would like to thank Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and share this book.
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In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree

By Michael McLellan

Genre: Historical Fiction

Henry was born into slavery; his young life spent working in tobacco drying sheds on Missouri plantations. Freed at the onset of the Civil War, he’s alone, starving, and on the run from Confederate militiamen.

Five years later, Clara Hanfield, the daughter of a powerful New York shipping magnate, escapes her tyrannical father and travels west in pursuit of John Elliot, the man she loves. John, a U.S. Army lieutenant, was sent to the Dakota Territory where he discovers a government conspiracy to incite an all-out war with the Indians; a war meant to finally eliminate them as an obstacle to the westward expansion.

Henry finds himself caught in the middle.

Aided by Clara, John, and his native ally, Standing Elk, Henry must battle hatred, greed, and the ghosts of his past during this turbulent and troubling time in American history.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

Praise for In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree

“The book uniquely conveys a story about the time in history; and at the same time, it feels like it is of the time in history. Imbued with plain, straightforward language, the writing cuts to the bones of the plot. It is a pleasure to read clean prose such as McLellan’s.”  – Sarah Margolis Pearce, author of The Promise of Fate

The author sends out a strong reminder of our past.” – Chitra Iyer

About the Author

Michael’s love of books began with Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle when he was seven-years-old. Later influenced by the works of John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Stephen King, and Cormac McCarthy, Michael developed his style of storytelling. A self-proclaimed blue-collar writer, he draws on his experiences and observations to bring relevant and compelling topics to life.

Michael lives in Northern California, and when he’s not writing, he can usually be found wandering around the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges.

His body of work includes the 2014 novel After and Again, the 2015 novel American Flowers, and the shorts Joe Price and Anywhere But Here.

Website     Goodreads

Publisher: Sweet Candy Press

 

My Review

5 Stars

Henry is a slave that grew up working in the tobacco sheds in plantations and is freed at the start of the Civil War just to find himself prosecuted by prejudice and hatred. He quickly finds himself in trouble yet finds help in an unlikely place. This leads him down a new path in life as a guide then an advocate for the Indians.

At the same time we follow the story of disgraced soldier John Elliot and Clara Hanfield. Clara’s father forbids their love and tries to send John west hoping Clara will find someone new. This backfires when Clara decides to go looking for John herself. There we meet as John and Henry find a government conspiracy to get rid of the Indian’s for good.

This is a wonderful look at a very dark period in our history. Henry is thrown into this hard world and quickly finds himself at the hangman’s noose. Although he is looked down on, he changes his world and becomes a guide and an advocate for the Indians that helped him.

John is a disgrace and can focus on nothing but how to improve his status. But when he learns of the government’s plan to eradicate the Indians he knows it’s more to help those in need than his social standing. Thank goodness Clara was there to help him.

I admit that I don’t usually read historical stories but I was drawn to this book by the description. I think it is because it’s an area of history that is not usually written about. I was drawn in and found myself unable to put this book down. It is very realistic and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. I think this is a great story and one that should be checked out.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank Sage’s Blog Tours for the opportunity to read and share this book.

Excerpt

Of course it’s murder, you pampered little pup,” Picton hissed, his face only inches from John’s. “You’re even more naive than I first thought you to be. Did you really believe the seventy of us were going to roam the countryside engaging Indian war parties? Frank Picton’s seventy defeats five thousand bloodthirsty braves! How poetic. You are right about one thing: we’re not fighting a war, we are inciting one. Tell me something; do you have the slightest notion of how many Washington fortunes are invested in the western expansion?
In railroads and gold mines, and telegraphs, and cattle, and other ventures beyond counting?…No? Of course you don’t. We are going to finish what Colonel Chivington so ungracefully began. After we resupply we’re riding north into Sioux country to inflame the filthy savages even further. Then, soon, perhaps by this fall, when the heathens have lashed out sufficiently against more innocents, the public outrage will be such that they will be unable to decry the army for finally crushing the red vermin once and for all.”

He sighed and released John’s arm.

“The Indian and the white man will never be able to coexist. It’s been proven, time and again. Treaties fail and only delay the inevitable outcome. This land is ours now. It was ordained by God. Mark my words, John, ten years from now the Indian warrior will be nothing more than a fireside story told to frighten disobedient children.”

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