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Judy Croome: Author on the Prowl

Judy Croome lives, writes and reads in Johannesburg, South Africa.  A novelist & poet, Judy loves cats, exploring the meaning of life, chocolate, rainy days and cats (who already appear to have discovered the meaning of life.) Visit Judy on www.judycroome.com or join her on Twitter @judy_croome

A Matter of Circumstance and Celludrones - Claire Robyns From mechanical puppies to paddling in the aether, from mad scientists to amazing inventions, A MATTER OF CIRCUMSTANCES AND CELLUDRONES is set in a remarkably Victorian England where spunky women are constrained by circumstances and robotic celludrones and the world is changing as fast as the newly invented dirigibles can carry their passengers.

The story zips along at a fast pace, twisting and turning as the lively characters struggle with demons, both internal and external.

Lady Lily d'Bulier and Greyston Adair, both products of a scientific experiment by the rich, brilliant and powerful McAllister clan, are brought together in a fight for survival against the demonic Lady Ostrich. Lily's best friend Evelyn, wildly independent and fiesty with it, joins them on their journey of discovery as an act of outright defiance against her autocratic husband, Devon, Duke of Harchings.

Not only do Lily and Greyston discover dark secrets that threaten their lives and the very world they live in, they also need to discover the hidden aspects of themselves. When her search for a husband turns into a search for demons, prim and proper Lily must learn to overcome her social training and her fears, while the dashing Lord Greyston Adair must learn that loving people doesn't always mean their death and that he's not responsible for every bad thing that happens.

There's sufficient world-building to create a vivid and vibrant setting, and the action is fast and furious, but it's the relationship between the complex characters which drives this well-written story. While Evelyn and Devon's heated romance adds an interesting layer, the mysterious connection between Grey and Lily builds into something more.

In addition to high-quality formatting and presentation, the writing is superb – a well-balanced mix of light-hearted banter, emotional intensity and imaginative adventure. However, I prefer less ambivalence in the romantic intentions of a hero. I also prefer stories that end within one book, as I find it frustrating having to wait to find out what happens next.

Although this novel is a stand-alone story, there's scope for a whole series of exciting adventures to come for Lily and Greyston. Is the Duke of Harchings all that he seems? Just who is Kelan McAllister? How will the war between demons and humans end? And where will Lily and Greyston's relationship go in the future? I, for one, can't wait to find out.