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review 2016-10-31 16:43
Adventures in Audio
Phoenix Rising - Philippa Ballantine,Tee Morris
A Conspiracy of Alchemists - Liesel Schwarz
The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter: The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire, Book 1 - Rod Duncan

Mr Ceridwen and I have been listening to audiobooks on our (somewhat long) drive up to the cabin, which has been generally enjoyable. We got through the entire "Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire" series, which was absolutely a great time. Good narrators, very interesting alt-history, a semi-twist ending I didn't see coming, very astute observations about gender, and on. Well recommended all around. So then we cased around for the next steampunkery to fill the hours. 


I downloaded A Conspiracy of Alchemists first, but holy God was the narrator bad. We just couldn't stop laughing at her hiccoughing reading style. Then we moved on to Phoenix Rising, which opens with a relatively fun rescue sequence, and then settles into ... a whole lot of not so very clever bickering. The main characters, named Books & Braun (gag), are a fussy librarian and a stabby brute, but, get this, the DUDE is the fussy pepperpot and the LADY loves explosives. Oh ho, I bet you thought the lady was the librarian, but you would be wrong! See our fascinating gender reversal! 


I actually fell asleep while listening. 


Which, look, I generally think whether I like this sort of pulp mid-list disposable reading is more dependent on the angle of the sun or the barometric pressure than, say, actual merit. Because this stuff is all more or less the same -- somewhat formulaic, dependent on action, sometimes quippy, little bit of romance for the ladies, etc -- so I wonder sometimes why I bother reading (or writing) reviews. Something called Conspiracy of Alchemists is going to be a three-star outing, shitty narrators notwithstanding, and that I thought Phoenix Rising boring and trite might because I ate something like all the doughnuts when I stopped in Hinckley and hit Toby's bakery. Noms. 

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review 2016-09-23 19:04
Review: A Conspiracy of Alchemists
A Conspiracy of Alchemists - Liesel Schwarz

Howdy Peeps (nod to a friend) and how are you all today? Hopefully, you all are doing excellent! I am doing pretty awesome myself! I have been keeping busy with something fun and exciting. That I can't wait to share with you all , but not just yet (I know "why tease us!") I have a lot to do before I can share so as soon as I get answers I will share with you all! It's nothing major like a book deal or anything, but this is a huge deal for me. And, it took me awhile to finally know what I should be doing! Anywhozzles, I think that's it for now! Now, onto something pressing. That is a book review HAZA! I am excited to be reviewing my very first steampunk novel! YAS! The name of this book is called "A Conspiracy of Alchemists" and it is written my Liesel Schwarz. I am excited to start so let's get cooking!


So, this story is about an airship pilot name Elle Chance. Who is dragged into a job to help out a mysterious man name Mr. Marsh. Along the way Elle discovers a destiny that she is not ready for. Also, she and Marsh need to stop a band of evil Alchemists from basically destroying the world! (How Exciting!!!)


This book drew me in right away and I loved using my imagination to creating this steampunk world. I grew to really like Marsh (real name Hugh) and his charming ways. Elle, even tough I understood the situation and I would most likely react the same way! Well, she was annoying as hell ( forgive me) in the beginning. She complained about everything it seemed. I really wanted to punch her. She is stubborn and true to her words. Marsh like I've mentioned is charming, sweet, and also funny. He knew the right words to say and things to do to set Elle off! he can be a bit to himself, for which I understood why Elle was hesitant about certain situations. Elle isn't so bad, she stood up for what she wanted to do and she went for it and that was to be an airship pilot. Which she's awesome at and she didn't give up on a fight!


This story was excellently written. The details of Elle's world was amazing and impressive. Liesel did an amazing job in researching. And, now I must find more of her books!


Phew! That's it from this awesome reader. I hope you all have enjoyed this post. I highly recommend this for anyone into steampunk or wanting to start (like me!) I will be back on Monday with a new post. And, I hope you all have a great and wonderful day/night where ever you are.







tried finding the gif for the part of Princess Diaries 2 where she is dancing with prince who was like shimmy shimmy. No luck :( sad face

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review 2014-11-11 12:12
Solid Steampunk Offering
A Conspiracy of Alchemists - Liesel Schwarz

‘The corners of his mouth curled up into a little smile and she felt something inside her quicken. It would be so easy to fall in love with a man like him. He was absolutely mesmerizing. But he was a liar and a manipulator too.’


A Conspiracy of Alchemists is a wonderfully engaging Steampunk adventure full of twists and turns, action, and magic.


Author Liesel Schwarz has created an intricate story that had me hooked from page one with its almost poetic writing and thread of humor woven in. Of course there were all imaginable types of gadgets and creations described…what would a Steampunk story be without them?


Read More

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review 2014-09-11 00:00
A Conspiracy of Alchemists
A Conspiracy of Alchemists - Liesel Schwarz Standard steampunk mystery fare. Should be interesting to see how the trilogy progresses. Perfect bedtime reading.
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text 2014-06-17 06:28
Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.



Play Dead (A Dog and His Girl Mysteries, #1) by Jane B. Mason and Sarah Hines Stephens

A dog and his girl show how six legs are better than two in this brand new mystery series!

When Dodge, a German shepherd police dog, finds himself retired after an accident leaves him deaf in one ear, he's lucky to be adopted by the perfect family. Twelve-year-old Cassie Sullivan, his girl, smells almost as good as a dog, and gets her nose for sleuthing from her police chief mom and coroner dad. Cassie is smart and quick on her feet, and doesn't mind breaking a couple rules to get to the bottom of a mystery. Dodge has forty-two dog years of experience solving crime, as well as a great network of other four-legged colleagues when he needs more intel.

When Verdel Ward, the richest man in town, goes missing, it seems like everyone from the mayor to the housekeeper wants his fortune, which he's left behind with no will. But Cassie and Dodge can smell a mystery from a mile away, and can't help wondering why a miser would go swimming in a dangerous cove, what's up with the suspicious fiancee, who's been sneaking around the mansion, and where a twin brother has come from.

The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius

From Victor Frankenstein to Lex Luthor, from Dr. Moreau to Dr. Doom, readers have long been fascinated by insane plans for world domination and the madmen who devise them. Typically, we see these villains through the eyes of good guys. This anthology, however, explores the world of mad scientists and evil geniuses—from their own wonderfully twisted point of view.

An all-star roster of bestselling authors—including Diana Gabaldon, Daniel Wilson, Austin Grossman, Naomi Novik, and Seanan McGuire…twenty-two great storytellers all told—have produced a fabulous assortment of stories guaranteed to provide readers with hour after hour of high-octane entertainment born of the most megalomaniacal mayhem imaginable.

Everybody loves villains. They’re bad; they always stir the pot; they’re much more fun than the good guys, even if we want to see the good guys win. Their fiendish schemes, maniacal laughter, and limitless ambition are legendary, but what lies behind those crazy eyes and wicked grins? How—and why—do they commit these nefarious deeds? And why are they so set on taking over the world?

If you've ever asked yourself any of these questions, you’re in luck: It’s finally time for the madmen’s side of the story.

A Conspiracy of Alchemists (The Chronicle of Light and Shadow, #1) by Liesel Schwarz

Eleanor “Elle” Chance, that is—a high-flying dirigible pilot with a taste for adventure and the heroine of this edgy new series that transforms elements of urban fantasy, steampunk, and paranormal romance into pure storytelling gold.

It is 1903, and the world is divided between light and shadow. On the side of light is a wondrous science that has transformed everyday life by harnessing magical energies to ingenious new technologies. But each advance of science has come at the expense of shadow—the traditional realm of the supernatural.

Now two ancient powers are preparing to strike back. Blood-sucking immortal Nightwalkers and their spellcasting Alchemist allies have a plan to cover the whole world in shadow. All they require is the sacrifice of a certain young woman whose past conceals a dangerous secret.

But when they come after Elle, they get more than they bargained for. This enterprising young woman, the daughter of a scientific genius, has reserves of bravery and determination that even she scarcely suspects. Now she is about to meet her match in more ways than one: a handsome yet infuriating Warlock named Hugh Marsh, whose agenda is as suspect as his charms are annoyingly irresistible.

Illness Is a Weapon: Indigenous Identity and Enduring Afflictions by Eirik Saethre

Illness Is a Weapon presents an engaging portrayal of the everyday experience of disease in a remote Australian Aboriginal community. While chronic Aboriginal ill health has become an important national issue in Australia, Saethre breaks new ground by locating sickness within the daily lives of Indigenous people. Drawing on more than a decade of ethnographic research in the Northern Territory, Saethre explores the factors structuring ill health, the tactics individuals use to negotiate these realities, and the ways in which disease and medical narratives are employed to construct, manage, and challenge social relations. Reframing current debates, this book argues that disease and suffering have become powerful expressions of Indigenous identity. Through dialogues and interactions, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people engage in a reciprocal discussion about the past, present, and future of indigeneity.

Rarely is disease and suffering understood as a form of protest, and in Illness Is a Weapon, Saethre confronts the stark reality of the current contest between all parties in this struggle. As Saethre explains, "Cursing at nurses, refusing to take medication, and accepting acute illness as unremarkable is simultaneously an act of defiance and a rejection of vulnerability."

The Templeton Twins Make a Scene (Templeton Twins, #2) by Ellis Weiner

With its kid-perfect humor and dynamic illustrations, Book 1 of the hilarious Templeton Twins series left young readers clamoring for more. This time, Abigail and John Templeton find themselves at TAPAS (the Thespian Academy of the Performing Arts and Sciences) where their father, the illustrious Professor Templeton, has been hired to invent a groundbreaking theatrical device. Once again, there is drama (of course!), silliness, and suspense, as the twins (and their ridiculous dog) must thwart the dastardly Dean brothers in order to save the invention as well as their father (and the dog). Oh yes, there is sure to be another recipe. This time for guacamole. Or is it coleslaw?

Magic Marks the Spot (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates, #1) by Caroline Carlson

Pirates! Magic! Treasure! A gargoyle? Caroline Carlson's hilarious tween novel The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #1: Magic Marks the Spot is perfect for fans of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events and Trenton Lee Stewart's Mysterious Benedict Society.

Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of being a pirate. She can tread water for thirty-seven minutes. She can tie a knot faster than a fleet of sailors, and she already owns a rather pointy sword.

There's only one problem: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates refuses to let any girl join their ranks of scourges and scallywags.

But Hilary is not the kind of girl to take no for answer. To escape a life of petticoats and politeness at her stuffy finishing school, Hilary sets out in search of her own seaworthy adventure, where she gets swept up in a madcap quest involving a map without an X, a magical treasure that likely doesn't exist, a talking gargoyle, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous—and unexpected—villain on the High Seas.

Written with uproarious wit and an inviting storyteller tone, the first book in Caroline Carlson's quirky seafaring series is a piratical tale like no other.

Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child by Maria T. Lennon

It's Mean Girls for tweens in the tradition of Paula Danziger's Cat That Ate My Gymsuit and Judy Blume! Watch out, world: here comes Charlie C. Cooper-computer whiz, reformed bully, and so-called middle child-in this seriously funny debut tween novel from screenwriter Maria T. Lennon.

Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child stars the hilariously cheeky reformed bully and tween hacker Charlie Cooper as she tries to ditch her middle-child reputation and make cool friends at her new school in Los Angeles. But being cool isn't as easy as it looks. Charlie has to face down the mean girls and decide between right and wrong once and for all when she learns the terrible truth behind Marta the Farta's bad attitude and loner status. And Charlie has to do it all in outfits meant for the runways!

Viral Nation (Viral Nation #1) by Shaunta Grimes

After a virus claimed nearly the entire global population, the world changed. The United States splintered into fifty walled cities where the surviving citizens clustered to start over. The Company, which ended the plague by bringing a life-saving vaccine back from the future, controls everything. They ration the scant food and supplies through a lottery system, mandate daily doses of virus suppressant, and even monitor future timelines to stop crimes before they can be committed.

Brilliant but autistic, sixteen-year-old Clover Donovan has always dreamed of studying at the Waverly-Stead Academy. Her brother and caretaker, West, has done everything in his power to make her dream a reality. But Clover’s refusal to part with her beloved service dog denies her entry into the school. Instead, she is drafted into the Time Mariners, a team of Company operatives who travel through time to gather news about the future.

When one of Clover’s missions reveals that West’s life is in danger, the Donovans are shattered. To change West’s fate, they’ll have to take on the mysterious Company. But as its secrets are revealed, they realize that the Company’s rule may not be as benevolent as it seems. In saving her brother, Clover will face a more powerful force than she ever imaginedÂ… and will team up with a band of fellow misfits and outsiders to incite a revolution that will change their destinies forever.

Under the Empyrean Sky (The Heartland Trilogy, #1) by Chuck Wendig

Corn is king in the Heartland, and Cael McAvoy has had enough of it. It's the only crop the Empyrean government allows the people of the Heartland to grow? And the genetically modified strain is so aggressive that it takes everything the Heartlanders have just to control it. As captain of the Big Sky Scavengers, Cael and his crew sail their rickety ship over the corn day after day, scavenging for valuables, trying to earn much-needed ace notes for their families. But Cael's tired of surviving life on the ground while the Empyrean elite drift by above in their extravagant sky flotillas. He's sick of the mayor's son besting Cael's crew in the scavenging game. And he's worried about losing Gwennie? his first mate and the love of his life? forever when their government-chosen spouses are revealed. But most of all, Cael is angry? angry that their lot in life will never get better and that his father doesn't seem upset about any of it. Cael's ready to make his own luck . . . even if it means bringing down the wrath of the Empyrean elite and changing life in the Heartland forever.

Sky Jumpers (Sky Jumpers, #1) by Peggy Eddleman

12-year-old Hope lives in White Rock, a town struggling to recover from the green bombs of World War III. The bombs destroyed almost everything that came before, so the skill that matters most in White Rock—sometimes it feels like the only thing that matters—is the ability to invent so that the world can regain some of what it’s lost.

But Hope is terrible at inventing and would much rather sneak off to cliff dive into the Bomb’s Breath—the deadly band of air that covers the crater the town lives in—than fail at yet another invention.

When bandits discover that White Rock has invented priceless antibiotics, they invade. The town must choose whether to hand over the medicine and die from disease in the coming months or to die fighting the bandits now. Hope and her friends, Aaren and Brock, might be the only ones who can escape through the Bomb’s Breath and make the dangerous trek over the snow-covered mountain to get help.

For once, inventing isn’t the answer, but the daring and risk-taking that usually gets Hope into trouble might just save them all.

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