Thursday, June 29, 2017

Wishlist Reads: June 2017

Like many readers, my TBR grows faster than it shrinks. I find a subject that interests me and titles start piling up one right after the other. With so many bookmarked, I thought it'd be fun to sort through and feature five titles a month here at Flashlight Commentary. 

Coming up with a wishlist theme can be difficult and this month found me drawing blank after blank. Nothing spoke to me and I feared missing my deadline until I found myself wandering the book signing tables at the 2017 HNS Conference in Portland. The subject matter varies, but the manner in which I discovered each links them in my mind's eye.

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London, 1882: Queen Victoria appoints Harold Spire of the Metropolitan Police to Special Branch Division Omega. Omega is to secretly investigate paranormal and supernatural events and persons. Spire, a skeptic driven to protect the helpless and see justice done, is the perfect man to lead the department, which employs scholars and scientists, assassins and con men, and a traveling circus. Spire's chief researcher is Rose Everhart, who believes fervently that there is more to the world than can be seen by mortal eyes.

Their first mission: find the Eterna Compound, which grants immortality. Catastrophe destroyed the hidden laboratory in New York City where Eterna was developed, but the Queen is convinced someone escaped--and has a sample of Eterna.

Also searching for Eterna is an American, Clara Templeton, who helped start the project after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln nearly destroyed her nation. Haunted by the ghost of her beloved, she is determined that the Eterna Compound--and the immortality it will convey--will be controlled by the United States, not Great Britain.




The first book of this Civil War trilogy begins in the winter of 1862, as the nation is being ripped apart, with both Federals and Rebels seeing no end in sight and hoping for victory.

Lieutenant James Harper, a junior officer in the Union army, aspires to command a company—but faces his dismal future at the hands of an officer who will vindictively do whatever he must to keep Harper at the bottom of the heap.

Katie Malloy, a young girl who has been sold by her father to the wily owner of a whorehouse, has settled into her new life as a saloon-girl—for the time being. She’s got big plans to get herself out of this predicament, and vows one day she’ll be more than the soldiers’ whore.

Corporal Gustav Magnusson, a young Quaker in Harper’s company, butts heads with Harper from the very beginning. But capture by the enemy forces them to work together to protect their men from sadistic Rebel Captain Bell—who wants nothing more than to see his Yankee prisoners dead.

Will General Grant’s campaign against Fort Donelson open the door for an ex-Federal Marshal, a Quaker farmer, and a soiled dove from Iowa to make their mark in the world—if they live through it?

Three lives intertwine against the backdrop of the battle which made Ulysses S. Grant’s reputation—a living hell where everything familiar fades, and the only thing that matters is surviving—however they can.






Imagine Agatha Christie writes a murder mystery, using a cast of characters as vast as any by J.R.R. Tolkien, and places it in the land of Louis L’Amour. This is the scope of And the Wind Whispered, the tale of three teenaged budding reporters who stumble onto a murder, which is only the beginning of the mystery. With visits from a virtual who’s who of the wild west, the boom town of Hot Springs, South Dakota will not soon for get 1894.






In the winter of 1803, one woman stands between Napoleon and the fall of Great Britain

The free-spirited daughter of an English baronet, Lisbeth defies convention by eloping to France. When her husband abandons her, she must find a way to survive and be reunited with her young son, who is in the care of her mother-in-law.

A seasoned spy known as Tidewatcher, Duncan apprenticed under Lisbeth's father and pledged to keep his mentor's pretty daughter safe—a promise complicated by the wily Napoleon Bonaparte. The British believe he is planning an attack, and Duncan is sent to search for signs of invasion on the French coast—where he draws dangerously close to adventurous and unpredictable Lisbeth.

A sensational new invention may shift the tide of a French victory. A brilliant and eccentric American inventor named Robert Fulton has devised a deadly weapon that can decimate an enemy's fleet. To protect English ships, Tidewatcher must gain control of Fulton's invention and cross enemy lines . . . but he cannot do it alone. Left with no other options, he enlists Lisbeth's help in outwitting the American inventor and uncovering Bonaparte's secret plans.

Going undercover for the handsome and duty-bound spy, Lisbeth risks her freedom and her life as she navigates double agents and submarine warfare to outwit the greatest military tactician in history. The only question is . . . who can she trust?




When fifteen-year-old nerd and gamer Max Anderson thinks he's sneaking a preview of an unpublished video game, he doesn't realize that 1) He's been chosen as a beta, an experimental test player. 2) He s playing the ultimate history game, transporting him into the actual past: anywhere and anytime. And 3) Survival is optional: to return home he must decipher the game's rules and complete its missions if he lives long enough. To fail means to stay in the past forever. Now Max is trapped in medieval Germany, unprepared and clueless. It is 1471 and he quickly learns that being an outcast may cost him his head. Especially after rescuing a beautiful peasant girl from a deadly infection and thus provoking sinister wannabe Duke Ott. Overnight he is dragged into a hornets' nest of feuding lords who will stop at nothing to bring down the conjuring stranger in their midst."


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INTERESTED IN MORE WISHLISTS?
CHECK OUT WHAT MY FRIENDS HAVE BOOKMARKED:

Stephanie at Layered Pages
Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired
Colleen at A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Cover Cliché: Seaside Sentinel

Sometimes, while browsing the virtual shelves on Amazon and Goodreads, I see jacket art that gives me a disconcerting sense of deja vu. I know I've not read the book, but I am equally certain I've seen its image somewhere before.

This phenomenon is what inspired Cover Clichés. Image recycling is fairly common as cover artists are often forced to work from a limited pool of stock images and copyright free material. The details vary cover to cover, but each boasts a certain similarity and I find comparing the finished designs quite interesting.

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His greatest battle will be for her love. The Highland Mist series continues...

Once sworn enemies, the fearsome knight Sir Galen de Ogilvy and the beautiful, headstrong Scotswoman, Laoghaire MacKinnon, have been ordered by Robert the Bruce to wed one another in order to end the blood feud between their two families. And though their marriage is born of ancient hatreds, beneath the newlyweds’ fiery exchanges an explosive passion simmers. But Laoghaire soon discovers a far more dangerous enemy lurking in the shadows, one who will stop at nothing to sever the burgeoning bond between her and Galen. When the treachery is finally revealed, it will put their love and their lives in deadly peril.




After helping kill her husband to protect her child from his father's Satanic Order, Margerite embarks on a dangerous deception to cover up the murder. She pretends to be an Order priestess to keep the others from taking Wolfram away, but finds she cannot shed this falsehood so easily. Given in marriage to her husband's opponent to seal the end of the feud, she finds her youngest stepson has been instructed to continue her training in the black arts. She struggles to balance the safety of her child with the disposition of her soul, all the while trying to be faithful to her new husband when her heart actually belongs to her dead husband's captain of the guard. Even there she must choose as her love, Bertram, rushes off to save his own people from the Order and her stepson invites a demon to inhabit his older brother. Who should she aid first, and just how is she to do either while keeping herself and her baby safe?

* English Title: Falcon's Flight.




Set against the wild and perilous background of Scotland in the late 13th century, the adventurous lives of Robert the Bruce's five sisters come to life through their own words in a series of letters. Courage and tenacity are often associated with Scotland's great hero, but few appreciate the enormous challenges experienced by these remarkable sisters. Their intimate account of family life resonates still with love, loss and hope.

Isa leaves home to sail to the land of the Vikings to become Queen of Norway whilst her sister, Kirsty, finds herself Countess of Mar and chatelaine of the great Kildrummy Castle in Scotland's far northeast. Danger looms and the younger sisters, Mathilda and Margaret, escape to Orkney with Kirsty's children. As Scotland spirals into war, Robert's sisters face the wrath of King Edward of England, whose vengeance wrought the brutal death of William Wallace. Kirsty is incarcerated alone in an English nunnery, whilst Mary endures years of misery within a cage hanging from the walls of Roxburgh Castle. Under Robert's kingship, old wounds heal and Scotland's fighting force achieves a resounding victory at the Battle of Bannockburn. Only then are the fragile, traumatised women released, through the ransoming of English nobles, to return home to rebuild their shattered lives...




The Lindsey Mountain Massacre was the stuff of legend-the spine chilling, wicked-cruel kind of story that evil-humored folk like to share on a dark and moonless night. It held all the makings of a fine and frightful tale, a blustering blizzard of a winter storm, a candlelit, backwoods mansion in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a Christmas Eve celebration in the year of nineteen and one, good folk killed by a vengeful haint... or a rabid bear-depending on who was doing the telling. Truth be told, no one ever really found out exactly what did happen or why, nor even realized just how far from the truth all their old stories fell...'til more than a century later, when folks 'round Lindsey started mysteriously disappearing and dying...and the ancient ones returned. From the nevermore mists, lost among dark realms of nothingness and myriad points of twinkling light, in a place that had never really been before or since, the Fates appeared, and with caprice and whimsy created all that followed as unscripted players on a stage designed for no more mind or purpose than to lessen the burdens that neverending eons of time lay upon the creators themselves. Vampiri, Sorceri, Faielri, Demorni...four distinct races, each imbued with a different bit of life and gnosis drawn from their creator's very souls-each with a Magick all their own. Each, in turn, allowed to play their own unique roles upon this wondrous stage and reign over all its beasts before fading away into an eternal life within the Paths of Mist. Each leaving the world, with their passing, a little less perfect, a little less Magick, a little dirtier, a little plainer...a little less desirable than before. This is the tale of three who dared defy the Fates...and the humans who paid the price.




Child of the Prophecy is the thrilling conclusion to Juliet Marillier's award-winning Sevenwaters Trilogy.

Magic is fading... and the ways of Man are driving the Old Ones to the West, beyond the ken of humankind. The ancient groves are being destroyed, and if nothing is done, Ireland will lose its essential mystic core.

The prophecies of long ago have foretold a way to prevent this horror, and it is the Sevenwaters clan that the Spirits of Eire look to for salvation. They are a family bound into the lifeblood of the land, and their promise to preserve the magic has been the cause of great joy to them... as well as great sorrow.

It is up to Fianne, daughter of Niamh, the lost sister of Sevenwaters, to solve the riddles of power. She is the shy child of a reclusive sorcerer, and her way is hard, for her father is the son of the wicked sorceress Oonagh, who has emerged from the shadows and seeks to destroy all that Sevenwaters has striven for. Oonagh will use her granddaughter Fianne most cruelly to accomplish her ends, and stops at nothing to see her will done.

Will Fianne be strong enough to battle this evil and save those she has come to love?


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Which cover strikes your fancy and why? What colors draw your eye? Do you think the image appropriate next to the jacket description? Leave your comments below!

Have you seen this image elsewhere? Shoot me an email or leave a comment and let me know. 


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Cover Cliché: Worried Waif

Sometimes, while browsing the virtual shelves on Amazon and Goodreads, I see jacket art that gives me a disconcerting sense of deja vu. I know I've not read the book, but I am equally certain I've seen its image somewhere before.

This phenomenon is what inspired Cover Clichés. Image recycling is fairly common as cover artists are often forced to work from a limited pool of stock images and copyright free material. The details vary cover to cover, but each boasts a certain similarity and I find comparing the finished designs quite interesting.

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Katherine, Lady of Clarendon, has been promised in marriage to Percy, Duke of Loneshire by her parents. She does not know the deadly secret that he holds. When the Duke's brother, Oliver, escorts Katherine to Loneshire, feelings between the two develop, but she marries the Duke, and her nightmare begins. When Oliver finds out the Duke's secret, things turn deadly.

Sophia Wilson writes a clean and wholesome tale of unrequited love, romantic twists and deadly secrets.





It is 1763. James Blakiston, overseer of Lord Ravenshead's estate and a newcomer to the Durham parish of Ryton, is determined to solve the mystery of old Reuben Cooper's murder - but he has no idea how to go about it. As enclosure threatens to make the poor even poorer, Blakiston follows one misguided hunch after another. The only thing that he can really be certain of is his love for the beautiful and spirited Kate Greener - a love he is determined to resist, for Kate is the daughter of a penniless labourer and Blakiston has in any case not recovered from being thrown over by the woman he believed loved him. The mysterious Joseph Kelly, an Irishman who is not an Irishman, falls under suspicion. But Kelly cannot be found. Then Matthew Higson flees to America, leaving his boyhood love Catherine Robinson behind in his headlong rush to be gone, and the mystery is solved. Higson was the murderer. But when Higson is found, not fled but murdered in his turn, Blakiston's search resumes. As he builds a picture of the history of the murderous Cooper family over three generations, a missing coat also begins to occupy his mind. How did it get from where it was to where it is? And why? A chance remark by Lady Isabella Claverley opens the door to the murderer at last. And Blakiston rejects love. But will love let him go?




Journey into Whitechapel, London, during Jack the Ripper’s brutal reign of terror.

When innocent Catherine Bell stumbles into the seedy world of Madame Davenport’s brothel lodging-house, she meets lothario Edward Cross, who feels his ambitious diary of the Whitechapel area’s prostitutes will benefit favourably with her entry.

Catherine soon begins to experience animosity from the other women there, as well as mounting fears over Cross’s brutal and strange sexual manner. With nowhere to turn things worsen when prostitutes in the area begin to disappear one by one, only to be found murdered by a ruthless and bloody man.

Soon every woman in Whitechapel is terrified and asking, who is Jack the Ripper?




It's been two years since Lady Marion Tunstall lost her husband at sea. Two years of sorrow and grief. Only now has the young, comely widow finally re-entered society. It isn't until she and her family attend the merriment of a country dance that Lady Marion sees her dead husband, alive and well... and faints dead away.

Lord Tristan Tunstall has no choice but to confess—he is alive, yes, but not a whole man who can be a husband and father. When he offers her a divorce, however, Marion stubbornly refuses. Now she has forced herself back into his life, and into his home and (oh, God forgive his weakness) his bed. He cannot stop himself from wanting her. Loving her. But can he live with the secret she is keeping from him?




The year is 1888. Justine Holloway finds herself an orphan after her parents die in a horrific fire. She is sent to live with her godparents, Harold Mendenhall and his sister Frances. On the boat ride home, she meets Amun Farouk, a handsome Egyptian Ambassador who is also sailing to England to meet her godfather. What Justine does not realize as she dons the veil of mourning is that Harold runs a secret organization under the nose of polite society, much to the dismay of his genteel sister.

The Council was created for the protection of humanity from the Varius, refugees from a parallel universe who shift their form while others channel the forces of magic. They seek refuge in Victorian London, hidden in the slums, easily forgotten until a human ends up incinerated or sucked dry.

Drawn into the plot against her will, Justine finds herself the object of a vampire’s lurid obsession. According to ancient texts, vampires kill humans for fodder, their blood and the air they breathe inferior, but this killer has other intentions for her. Does Justine’s survival depend on Amun or will he kill her to save humanity?




Since childhood Sara has lived with the reality of being ugly. Something her awful family never ceased to remind her. After her sisters run off to Gretna Green, she's left with one choice--go to London and take their place for a Season. It's up to her to marry well and save her family from financial ruin.

A distant aunt decides it's in her best interest to sponsor Sara for the season and help her snag a husband by any means possible.

Nicholas Devons, Earl of Renwick, is a retired rake and consequently bored with life. He's given up beautiful women and carnal pleasures. Desperation makes him decide to give his massive fortune away and marry the first country girl he sees.

Lucky for Sara she's that girl. Unlucky for Nicholas, he's to be her new tutor in the ways of the ton. Two waltzes, one masquerade, a violent carriage ride, and two duckless ponds later.... and all that's left is a fun twist on one of the oldest stories ever told.





Soth, the Marquess of Southerton, is on quest to retrieve some love letters from a Duke's past lover. Bored to go through another season, he goes to the Lady’s house and finds a way to be invited to stay.

The Lady is married to a man who looks like a scholar and very genteel but she seems to be
intensely unhappy.

After a while, South finds out some strange happenings in the house. What is the mystery of the bleeding mirror?





The last thing Dawne Wyatt ever excepted or thought would happen was that she’d fall in love. To make matters worse, it’s Lady Sophia Stephens’s older brother. Torn between her heart’s desires and the dictates of society she tries to make sense of it all. When logic doesn’t work, she turns to Lady Stephens for help.

Guilty until proven innocent Lord Edward James Walker turns to Dawne to help prove another man in the one Bow Street should be hunting. Now he has two problems, the authorities and winning over the love of his life while keeping his. For the first he has assistance from his sister while the second it ends up two ladies against one gentleman.

Who will win? The authorities, Edward or Dawne.




A tragic accident.

A battle for succession and power.

And an opportunity for young Isabella Cavendish to marry the man of her dreams and augment her royal title in the process.

That man is Lord Jeffrey Rowley, who is about to become the Duke of Leicester. His father's health is failing, and when Lord Jeffrey assumes his royal title he will become one of the most powerful men in England.

But Jeffrey is about to be betrothed to Lady Beatrice Oxfordshire, a timid, frail creature who is ill-matched for the dashing, handsome young lord.

Fate intervenes, however, when the carriage carrying Beatrice to the betrothal ceremony has a tragic accident, creating an opportunity for Isabella to win Jeffrey's heart. Can she seize the opportunity fate has given her and find true love with Lord Jeffrey?

To find out, download The Dashing Duke Makes His Selection and enjoy this sweet, stirring romance, which is written by one of the most exciting new voices in clean Regency romance!




"He was her first and only love. "

Miranda Thornwood is desperate. Her brother, accused of murder, has lost the inheritance that would buy him a proper defense. There is only one man in London rich and powerful enough to help. Jason Blakewell, owner of the St. James gambling empire the man she once betrayed.

Jason is stunned to find Miranda on his doorstep. Once he was a stable boy, wildly in love with her believing she loved him in return. Until, on the brink of eloping to America, she betrayed him to her father. And Jason was sent to the hulks.

For ten years he has dreamed of revenge, and now she is handing him his chance on a silver platter. His price for giving her aid? She must become his mistress.

But when their lips meet, he tastes something other than revenge. He tastes the passion that never died. And now he is tempted to lay aside his thirst for revenge and risk his heart a second time in the greatest gamble of all.





Would you save a man's life if you believed that it meant keeping him safe for the rest of yours? This is the dilemma that Sarah finds herself in. After the murder of her parents, she is raised by an eccentric Chinese man who teaches her that if you 'snatch' someone from heaven you interfere with their destiny and must then protect them...forever. This would not be near the trouble if the man she ended up saving were not a British spy. His actions may very well drag England into America's 'War Between the States', which only further complicates her life.





Annie Carter has been a nurse since she was 19. Her calling in life. But whilst she was focused on healing people, life has passed her by and at the age of 26, she is now firmly a spinster. One unwilling to give up the dream of a child of her own. Headed West as a mail order bride to a man who has two girls, she knows she is in for a more fulfilling and fruitful life.

But sometimes life gives us what we need and not what we want. Annie is about to discover just that, as a series of unfortunate events takes her in a different path. Buy it now, to find out how it all ends.

The Spinster Bride and the Finicky Cowboy is a Clean Western Historical Romance about the mail order brides headed West. Each story can be read as a standalone but if you wish to read about the other stories these are available for just a similar price or FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

Hope Sinclair writes clean, inspirational, western romance stories that always have a good old fashioned happy ending.


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Which cover strikes your fancy and why? What colors draw your eye? Do you think the image appropriate next to the jacket description? Leave your comments below!

Have you seen this image elsewhere? Shoot me an email or leave a comment and let me know.