The Age of Witches: A Novel by Louisa Morgan – a #BookReview #TuesdayBookBlog

Historical Fantasy Fiction

Book Blurb:

The Age of Witches by Louisa MorganIn Gilded Age New York, a centuries-long clash between two magical families ignites when a young witch must choose between love and loyalty, power and ambition, in this magical novel by Louisa Morgan.
In 1692, Bridget Bishop was hanged as a witch. Two hundred years later, her legacy lives on in the scions of two very different lines: one dedicated to using their powers to heal and help women in need; the other, determined to grasp power for themselves by whatever means necessary.
This clash will play out in the fate of Annis, a young woman in Gilded Age New York who finds herself a pawn in the family struggle for supremacy. She’ll need to claim her own power to save herself-and resist succumbing to the darkness that threatens to overcome them all.

My Review:

Having descended from Bridget Byshop who was hanged in 1692 for being a witch, Harriet Bishop is still being very careful about her abilities beyond the herbal concoctions she creates to heal. She is one of two sisters from Bridget’s line. The sisters, however, did not choose the same path to magic–one chose healing and the other dark power to ruthlessly gain her desired outcome. Their grandmother Beryl tried her best to pass on the legacy, but Harriet and Frances grew up in different circumstances and Frances was determined she’d rise above the squalid memories of her childhood.

The Age of Witches by Louisa MorganNew York City during the Gilded Age was a magical community, thriving, discovering modern conveniences. Frances’s goal was to be accepted into the Four Hundred–the entitled old money rich of the city. Frances is an early Eliza Doolittle, willing to do anything to rise to the level of the successful, tasteful aristocracy. She would do that by forcing her seventeen-year-old step-daughter to marry into the nobility of England and arranges a trip with Annis to find a suitable prize. Annis Allington has her own ideas, however. She adores her thoroughbred stallion, Black Satin (Bits), and her goal is to create a fine bloodline of thoroughbreds. But back then, who would purchase on the “expertise” of a woman breeder. Annis has no ideas of marriage and certainly not to a stuffy British nobleman. She is determined that no one will tell her what she can or can’t do.

The narrative conjures visions of magic spells, amulets, cantrips, and herbal concoctions. The herbal blends are devised by mortar and pestle, each recipe’s ingredient carefully chosen for the desired outcome. The incantations are poetic.

While Annis would be considered the main character, there are four POV’s, that of Annis, Harriet, Frances, and later James. You can almost visualize Frances as the evil witch, complete with long and crooked nose and pointy hat. Harriet, always the peace-maker, soft-spoken carries the big stick, and wide-eyed novice Annis uncovering the new world of sorcery. Both the good and bad.

The author has done an admiral job of the verbiage, invoking so much knowledge to herbal ingredients and remedies that it doesn’t seem possible you could write with that much confidence and not be involved in the practice up to the eyeballs. The narrative follows Annis on her steadfast course to be true to herself. Harriet toils toward the empowerment of women–quietly but naturally–as a benevolent mentor and realizes she must intervene in Frances’ plan.  Annis is young and idealistic, but wholly empathetic, and I loved the strong connection to her horse. James is an innocent pawn, naive, in a scheme gone mad and Frances…poor Frances will pay a heavy price for her dark plot.

Witch should be a beautiful word, signifying wisdom and knowledge and discipline, but it isn’t used that way. It’s been made an insult, implying evil, causing fear. The word has been perverted.” –Harriet Bishop, 1890

The storyline wrestles with the effects of a maleficia gone awry, finding the path between the two young persons, and the struggle of good versus evil. When is two wrongs the better choice? And can it possibly be used to make right?

Why didn’t I go whole hog five stars is a quibble I had similar to the one I experienced with A Secret History of Witches (which I avidly followed with the exception of the story of Veronica during WWII). This time, I stumbled over the relationship of Annis to Harriet and Frances.

I received this digital download from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I enjoyed that first book so much I couldn’t wait to tear into this ARC. The author writes with engaging authority, slipping the prose easily between tidbits of ancient technology and entertaining but subtle differences between American and British society. Totally recommended.

Book Details:

Genre: American Historical Romance, Historical Fantasy Fiction
Publisher: Redhook

  • ISBN-10:0316419540
  • ISBN-13:978-0316419543
  • ASIN: B07VZFWVYR

Print Length: 448 pages
Publication Date: Happy Release Day! April 7, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Age of Witches (Amazon)
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5-stars

Louisa Morgan - authorThe Author: Louisa Morgan lives and writes and rambles with her familiar, Oscar the Border Terrier, on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. A musician and a yogini, she finds inspiration in the artistic environment where she makes her home.

Under the name Louise Marley, she has written a number of other historical fiction novels, as well as fantasy and science fiction. Please visit http://www.louisemarley.com for more information, and to learn more about Oscar!

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Deja Moo – a #BookReview

Deja Moo by Kirsten WeissTitle: Déjà Moo (Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum #3) by Kirsten Weiss

Genre: Currently #10266 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Women Sleuths

Publisher: Midnight Ink

Publication Date: To be released March 8, 2018

Source: Midnight Ink and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Deja Moo – Inventive title-compelling cover

San Benedetto, a small town near Sacramento in the wine country, erects a Christmas Cow every Christmas and every Christmas the town square cow goes up in flames. Protagonist Maddie Kosloski, owner of the Paranormal Museum, is not a fan–it draws crowds from her shop, which is a tourist draw, so this year she has added historic Christmas bells to her holiday display.

This year will be different. For one thing, her mother is on the Ladies Aid committee coordinating with the local Dairy Association, and they are determined to guard the 30′ flammable cow through the season, the schedule having been laid out. So it is that her mother is playing guard duty when the straw cow is set ablaze. Unfortunately, the other guard is also hit by an arrow and killed. Continue reading “Deja Moo – a #BookReview”

The Compass Island Incident – a Book Review

The Compass Island IncidentTitle: The Compass Island Incident: November 1963 by Wade Fowler

Genre: Currently #1551 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank for Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Thrillers, Assassinations

Publisher: Sunbury Press – Milford House Press

Publication Date: November 22, 2017

Source: Sunbury Press – Milford House Press and NetGalley

Title and Cover: The Compass Island Incident – Compelling cover

I was excited to read this book for several reasons; one being yet another theory about the assassination of JFK, (2) it’s about one of our Navy ships, and (3) we certainly have history back then and can well remember the day. (Who can’t)

I’m sure we’ve never been satisfied with the findings of the Warren Commission that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. It was too monstrous, too heinous, too difficult to imagine that one disgruntled ex-Marine could have pulled off that act alone. No one believed it and wasn’t particularly surprised when the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) concluded in 1979 that Kennedy was “probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.” It’s not like the barn door has ever closed on that discussion.

Therefore, another conspiracy theory may be laid out as a compelling fictional story and I enjoy those ship details and vernacular, the stories at sea of the roiling mountains of salt water and survival. “The Compass Island was no scat back. Evasion wasn’t her running style.” Continue reading “The Compass Island Incident – a Book Review”

Silver Cascade Secrets – a Book Review

Silver Cascade SecretsTitle: Silver Cascade Secrets by Rachelle J Christensen

Genre: Currently #1810 in Kindle Store, Kindle Short Reads, Two hours or more, Romance

Publisher: Peachwood Press

Publication Date: September 2015

Silver Cascade SecretsColorful cover

Yah gotta give it for short, given the (romantic suspense) novella itself was only about 60 pages of an 85-page offering.

There wasn’t a lot of suspense here, only a young woman on the rebound chasing a possible next up romance; kind of a girl gets boy, girl loses boy, girl gets him back again story.

Jillian Warren is the landscape technician of the Silver Cascade Park set in Boise, Idaho (and you have to admit that’s different for a protagonist). I did enjoy the description of the gardens, themes, and seasonal colors.

It doesn’t take long for Jillian to develop the hots for Travis when she meets him in her park and notices how nice he fills out a pair of jeans. He is looking for his keys after his sister picks up his niece and she’s glad to help.

Travis soon shares that his brother-in-law was murdered months ago and Jillian is off and running on the mystery that doesn’t take as long to solve as getting Travis to shoot doe eyes back at her.

The novella is really too short for plot development, and the protagonist, swift as she is, doesn’t garner a whole lot of interest, as she seems a bit vacuous. (I mean, come on, she is just getting over her last love and supposed to be heartbroken.) The ex does make a short appearance creating turmoil for Jillian (remember I said girl loses [current] boy?).

We are barely introduced to the antagonist or the peripheral characters, and you don’t have to worry about adult language or situations as these characters and dialogue are too juvenile for either.

Following the short story portion of the book are recipes(!), introductory chapter of a succeeding book and prologue of an additional full novel, which I found to be a bit over-the-top promotion. This story is apparently included in an older anthology, but falls a bit short to be a stand-alone novella and perhaps was the reason for the marketing offers.

Four StarI was offered a free download for an honest review, and while I thought the premise was unique, the plot and characters fall just a little short of cozy. Recommended for those looking for a light-hearted, fast, and easy read.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars

Rachelle J ChristensenThe Author: Rachelle is an award-winning author of twelve books, including a Kindle Scout Selection and a mystery series. She is the mother of five who writes a variety of fiction as well as nonfiction. She and her family reside on a little farm in rural Idaho. Rachelle is a graduate of Utah State University. ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Promotion Through Social Media

The Day 28 prompt is: How are you using social media to promote your book? What aspect of social media would you like to learn more about? What are your next steps? Social Media

Since I’m currently using nine of the ten pictured in Laura’s example, I guess I’m not doing too badly. Probably won’t be doing Instagram and use several of the others to a more or lesser extent.

Really, I’m not sure whether the reach through these social media outlets is successful, though I do believe the name of Stanley McShane is getting out there.

Familiar with the term, “Jack of all trades, Master of none?” Guess that’d be me or more appropriately put, “Mistress of None.” I’ve taught myself Word (and a very old version at that), and opened accounts in Facebook as well as the other media platforms, but have only a basic knowledge; none of manipulation in any of those programs. I know the associated access of personal info by Facebook and try not to “give away the store”, though it’s obvious now that ANY information whatsoever can lead to further denigration of personal information.

Spoon-Feeding PublicI have a major problem with Google+ and given it’s greater participation on the “Richter” scale of social media standings should be doing more there, though it’s feared the same relinquishment of personal information as Facebook. I’m being blackmailed on a larger, more grander scale than ever before, and it’s all legal!!

Given all that–I’d love to be able to use both Facebook and Google+ to gain better name recognition and sales advantage. For that matter, I’ve barely tapped LinkedIn and Twitter. I’ve enrolled in an SEO class, but where are the classes in reversing the information highway through FB and Google+? I’m not interested in paying for ads (Social Security doesn’t allow for more than a few meds). I need common practices and tips that most under the age of 40 freely peruse.

I’ll continue to read, read, read–but the time to write is being consumed by the time required to read, interpret, and digest and I’m no longer blond. OH! The next step then would be the “how to” CD’s. Yes?

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