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review 2017-10-06 02:18
Gunpowder Alchemy by Jeannie Lin - My Thoughts
Gunpowder Alchemy (The Gunpowder Chronicles) - Jeannie Lin

This book had been unavailable for a good while (rights reverting to author etc...) but at last it's been republished by the author.  And it's good!  Worth the wait.  :)  I'm pretty sure I was guided to this by something one of my fave authors, KJ Charles said on Twitter, so thank you KJ!

What we have is ... I guess it's best termed as a steampunk adventure, set in the mid-1800's in the midst of The Opium War, with a lovely undercurrent of romance. 

Soling is the heroine and while she's young - 18 years old - she's not annoyingly young.  The daughter of a brilliant engineer executed by the emperor when she was but a child, she's had a hard and hardscrabble life over the past eight years.  She takes care of her opium-addicted mother and her younger brother and is a very smart cookie in her own right.  She heads from her small village into the city to sell the last keepsake she has of her beloved father to feed her family and the adventure begins. 

She meets a bunch of different people from her and her father's past. Men that worked with her father.  The man she was once betrothed to.  The Crown Prince too.  And not only are there the devil English foreigners, there's an army of rebels to contend with.  And through it all, she refuses to panic, refuses to give in to her fears, refuses to give up on getting back to her family and getting them to safety.  The girl has gumption, dammit! *LOL*   And she has flaws as well which makes her likable and not obnoxious.

And there is some romance.  There's a spark between Soling and one of her father's protegés as well as tons of chemistry between her and he one-time betrothed.  In fact, there's a scene between the two of them where he's measuring her foot for a mechanical boot type thing that is SO damned sexy while being so simple.  AMAZING!

I had one small problem while reading and that was that in my epub copy, Chapter 29 ended up as being Chapter 31.  So things that were referenced in the following two chapters I hadn't read yet!  Most annoying, but shit happens. 

Anyway... great book!  VERY enjoyable and I will be looking forward to the next part of Soling's adventure!

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review 2017-01-05 17:40
Wicklow's Odyssey by R. Cooper - My Thoughts
Wicklow's Odyssey - R. Cooper

Well thank God that's done with!  It wasn't Wicklow's Odyssey, it felt more like mine!  How long did the Odyssey take in classical literature?  10 years?  Felt like it took me 10 years to read instead of almost 10 days.

There was so much internal shit going on with Wicklow Doyle and it was the same stuff repeated over and over again.  And to be honest, there was some stuff that even by the end of the book I wasn't clear on whatever Wicklow was going on about.  Most of the time was spent with him whining about the same things to himself over and over again - why Rhoades did this, the same this again and again, the pain in his stomach that sounded more like an ulcer than anything romantic, and why did Rhoades say this or that - again and again.  Repetitive, you get my drift.

Part of the reason I picked up this book was because it was billed as a steampunk American Civil War romance.  That sounded really intriguing.  But for the great majority of the book, aside from all the repetitive blah-blah about radios and a few mentions of air raids from dirigibles, there was no steampunk.  Only in the second to last chapter when the BFM (Big Fucking Machine) was unveiled - it was a tank type thing - did I feel we got to see some actual steampunk elements.

And the chapters!  OMG, they were long, long, LONG!  I honestly think that it makes books a chore to read when authors make their chapters overly long or even of wildly differing lengths.  Something about the unconscious part of my reading mind.

Now the story itself was good.  I love a story about a team who have grown to care about each other, led by an enigmatic type of man who inspires great loyalty etc...  But it was so lost beneath the load of all those repetitive words, over and over and over again.  And the love scenes.... well... I found that they were often flowery and over-blown and each time way too emotionally intense.  In this case, less would have been more, I think.

Oh... I really wanted a final confirmation of Mariama's (and Louis') fate.  Didn't get it.

Unfortunately, my first read of 2017 was a dud and I will be very wary of anything by this author again..  But... onward and upward, right?  :)

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review 2016-05-08 01:08
Timeless by Gail Carriger - My Thoughts
Timeless - Gail Carriger

It's over???  The series is over?!?  *weeps*  


But oh, it went out with a huge bang!  The Parasol Protectorate series just kept getting better and better with each book and in this final installment, everyone was back, which made me so happy.  :)


Alexia and Conall are delightful, whether they are arguing or loving or parenting or just doing whatever they're doing.  I will admit, this book, they actually made me tear up a time or two.  How they deal with their little daughter is so much fun.  The scene near the beginning of the book where Prudence 'escapes' the house, her father in pursuit was absolutely perfect in my opinion.  The word delightful comes to mind once again.  :)  


The main secondary characters (if that makes some kind of sense) of Lyall, Biffy, Lord Akeldama, Genevieve, the Tunstalls and Foote have all returned, doing what they do best and I'll tell you, without giving anything away, the way their stories played out worked A-OK as far as I'm concerned.  Especially my two faves, Lyall and Biffy.  I suspected some of what was to happen after the previous book, but still, there were a couple of surprises to be had.  


We moved out of London and its environs for much of the book, the main part of the action taking place in Egypt, and I kind of missed that, but only because I'd come to be so comfortable in that location, I think.  It was by no means a drawback, and in fact, many might find it a plus.  :)   


The 'mystery' of Alexia's father is wrapped up... I think.  *LOL*  One can never be sure, you know.  


I have really enjoyed this series.  I'm glad the adventures will continue with Alexia and Conall's... and Akeldama's daughter, Prudence because I'm not quite ready to let them all go.  :)


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review 2016-04-20 18:26
Finette's Folly by Lily Benjamin
Finette's Folly - Lily Benjamin

Quite a fun version of a Steampunk Cinderella tale. Finette is an inventor and tinkerer whose only dream is to fly in the big airship race. But in true Cinderalla fashion, her step-family stand in her way at every turn. I really enjoyed Finette - she had just the right amount of attitude and needed just the right amount of help for me to keep cheering for her.

Her prince charming was a little different - I loved the way they met, and you know right away that they will end up together. You just aren't sure how it's going to happen. The two played nicely off each other and I really liked how they interacted.

My biggest complaint was Finette's father - he just didn't sit right with me at all. I never understood how he acted at all. Her friend and fellow pilot was amazing though. She'd make a great character for her own little romance.

*This book was received in exchange for an honest review*

Source: www.bittenbyromance.com/2016/04/finettes-folly-by-lily-benjamin-review.html
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review 2016-04-09 17:30
Heartless by Gail Carriger - My Thoughts
Heartless (Parasol Protectorate #4) - Gail Carriger

#4 in the Parasol Protectorate series, I think this one is my favourite so far.  So much upheaval!


I have fallen quite hard for a couple of secondary characters, to be honest.  Professor Lyall is one - and we find out big chunk of his backstory, which I was so very pleased about.  And Biffy - oh, I do love that young fellow!  


The dialogue, is, as always, witty and clever and fun and set me to laughing aloud on more than one occasion.  A heavily pregnant Alexia is a wonder to read.  Her internal dialogue is even more fun than usual.  


I have one more volume to go and I'm saving it.  :)  

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