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review 2017-07-27 21:59
The Girl in The Steel Corset
The Girl in the Steel Corset - Kady Cross

Not a lot to say besides I really liked this book. I thought it mixed together the elements of steampunk and the Victorian Age very well. I loved the characters, and I loved how Cross added in Gothic elements as well by using inspiration from some stories we all know and love (Frankenstein--well I hated that; Jekyll and Hyde--ditto) and threw some twists in.

 

"The Girl in the Steel Corset" included a nice little backstory to the character of Finley Jayne. From there it goes into the longer story that has Finley meeting other characters I assume we are to follow for the rest of this series. 


Finley's backstory gave us enough of a glimpse to know there is something about her. You don't know what. But at times she feels like she is two people trapped in one body. The short story that began before it included the longer story was so good. I loved it and wish we had followed up with characters introduced in that. When we catch up with Finley again, she ends up fighting off a young lord of the manor who thinks he can take her and do what he wills. When she flees after injuring him, she runs into Griffin King and his friends who are doing what they can to defend the country (England) against outside enemies.

 

Besides Finley and Griffin, we also have Emily, Sam, Jasper, and a young man called Jack Dandy. We quickly find out that Griffin and his friends (Emily, Sam, and Jasper) are out to capture a man/woman called The Machinist who is behind several crimes that took place involving automatons. However, suspicions turns towards Finley for maybe being involved with the Machinist when things start happening that shows that the criminal is out to get them. 

 

Even though this is a Young Adult book (and yeah I had no idea when I borrowed it from the library) this book reads much older. I didn't even realize the characters are teenagers until I saw someone's age mentioned. That's not a knock against Cross either, it was delightful to read young adults who actually for the most part had sense and thank goodness two love triangles reared their heads, but one was absolutely resolved and I think the other one is too for what it's worth. 

 

The only complaint I will say that I really did have is that this book was a bit too long. I know that Cross had to set up the other characters and do world building though so it's to be expected in the first book in a series. I just honestly didn't need the story to be swinging back to much to Sam. He got tiresome after a while. I do wish we had spent more time with Griffin's aunt on her adventures though.


The setting of a Victorian age with steampunk (think automatons walking around, things people cannot see that are little machines that can repair, people having eyes replaced, etc.) really hit the sweet spot for me.


The ending leaves things in the air for some people. I am definitely going to continue this series to see where it goes. 

 

 

Kindle edition: 473 pages

$10.00

Total: $ Balance: $189

 

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review 2017-07-27 13:57
Sins and Needles by Karina Halle
Sins & Needles - Karina Halle

As I’ve said in a few posts, I wasn’t well for a while and wanted to read something that was light and completely different to what I would normally read. When I landed on cars land 18 and found out this book was published in 2013, it seemed like the perfect time.

 

Sins and Needles is part of a new-adult trilogy. It concerns Ellie Watt, a twenty-something grifter. However, she’s ready to give the grifting life a rest and returns to her home town Palm Valley to spend time with her Uncle. When she arrives in Palm Valley she isn’t sure what she wants, to stay there for good or just visit with her uncle.

 

One day she bumps into Camden McQueen, a guy who was her best friend for a period in high school. When she knew him he was dorky, but now he’s matured into a very attractive man.

 

As she gets to know Camden and she sees how well he’s doing for himself, she can’t resist formulating a plan to steal his money and return to her grifting ways. But as you would guess, their mutual attraction gets in the way.

 

The reason I enjoyed this new-adult novel so much is that even though it contained some odvious troupes from the genre, it didn’t feel that way. Everything just seemed to fit together really well.

 

As much as it was hard to like Ellie, the author brought in a strain of backstory that meant that even though I didn’t like her much, I understood why she did some of the things she did. Camden on the other hand was someone I could route for the whole way through.

 

There are quite a few sex scenes, by the way and even though they were well done there were too many for me. One or two would have been enough

 

Above all, though, this was a fun read that was easy to get into and stay that way. The sexy storyline was punctuated with enough meat to make this a satisfying read.

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review 2017-07-27 09:43
Fatal Forgeries (Bodies of Art Mystery, #4)
Fatal Forgeries - Ritter Ames

First of all, these books definitely do not work as stand-alones.  It's been awhile since I read the last book in this series and I was really floundering as I struggled to remember characters and previously revealed plot twists that are all part of the series arc plot line.

 

The story is pure adventure from first page to just about the last and the number of characters involved, the different sides playing off each other, and all the bad-guy-or-good-guy stuff, along with writing that can sometimes be a tad confusing, makes this a book you have to be invested in to enjoy.

 

But it is fun.  Sometimes it's over-the-top, and the battle of the sexes angle is tiresome, although thankfully not overdone, but mostly it's just a fun action/adventure mystery revolving around art and forgeries and thieves and international intrigue.  A great type of book when you're looking for a quick light read.

 

 

 

 

 

Total pages:  246

$$: $6.00

 

(Story involved travel between France, UK and Spain, and the character lived out of her luggage, which was frequently stolen.)

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review 2017-07-27 03:08
Breach of Crust (Charmed Pie Shop, #5)
Breach of Crust - Ellery Adams

Boy has this series gotten 'out there'.  It's almost more fantasy than cozy mystery.

 

I liked the characters and setting as much as ever, but the plot of this one was just too much for me.  The murder mystery was well plotted, but the whole climax at the end was just too melodramatic and over-the-top; if it had been written to be an urban fantasy, it would have worked much better; as a cozy, it just comes across too cute to take seriously.

 

I loved the very end though; it was believably sweet.

 

 

 

 

 

Pages read:  278

$$: $6.00

 

(Book's characters have a direct connection to Camelot)

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review 2017-07-26 02:35
Thoughts: Midnight Crystal
Midnight Crystal - Jayne Castle

Midnight Crystal
by Jayne Castle
Book 7 of Harmony
-- Book 3 (final) of Dreamlight Trilogy

 

 

For many earthly centuries, a legendary curse has plagued the Winters family, stemming from the tumultuous founding of the Arcane Society.  But now, on the futuristic world of Harmony, the curse’s final mystery will be unraveled…

Adam Winters has enough responsibility as the new head of the local Ghost Hunter Guild without being saddled with the family curse.  He’s convinced his recent nightmares and hallucinations will lead to him becoming a psychic rogue—unless he can find a stolen relic and a woman who can read dreamlight.

Marlowe Jones rides into his life on a motorcycle and with a dust bunny at her side.  Though a descendant of the rival Arcane family, she’s just what Adam needs: a psychic private investigator and dreamlight reader extraordinaire.

Together, amid the glowing catacombs and steamy underground jungles of Harmony, Adam and Marlowe must break the curse, save the entire underworld—and fight a passion that could destroy them both…



As I had hoped, Midnight Crystal wrapped up the Dreamlight trilogy quite nicely without overdoing it with the repetitive 'Burning Lamp' and 'Winters Curse' legends.  There were a few repeats of similar dialogue and actions from the previous two Dreamlight books, but overall, Midnight Crystal proved to be a standalone, and a conclusive sequel to the Dreamlight trilogy.

As is usual for Jayne Castle (a.k.a. Jayne Ann Krentz), we still employ a lot of the same devices for the romantic relationship and the standard main hero and heroine.  But as is also usual, I enjoyed myself enough not to get nit-picky about it.  Once again, new psychic skills and alien discoveries were employed as part of the book's background; and once again, we get to see the interesting world of Harmony, as well as how well JAK manages to connect it to her contemporary and historical series, Arcane Society.

But rather than hints here and there about a paranormal society from the 'Old World' on Earth, we make a big, distinctive connection by bringing in Marlowe Jones, the new boss of Jones & Jones, the paranormal private investigation company that works for the Arcane Society.  Even Adam Winters' appearance was more Arcane Society than Harmony, which really DID make the book feel more like part of the former series than the latter.

Castle's ability to somehow interweave the paranormal talents from Arcane Society with the newly developed alien psi talents on Harmony was actually handled quite well.  I would love to see more of these interconnections, but as the Arcane Society series draws to a close, I'm not sure how much more of Harmony series will include Arcane.

Nonetheless, back to Midnight Crystal...

The book is enjoyable, well-written, and fun.  I loved the characters, and even though this book mainly focused on Adam and Marlowe, I loved the potential that other side characters had.  The main conflict of the book wasn't all that interesting, as it progressed along the same lines as the previous two books in this trilogy.  The rest of the story felt like there might have been more than one main conflict, which also progressed along the same lines as the rest of the Harmony books that came previously.

What saves these books from being overly repetitive are the new developments in the world and the story line.  But otherwise, the romances are always the same, the general book outline is typically standard, and everything is a little predictable.

But nonetheless, I always enjoy myself.

One thing that stood out, though, was Marlowe's assertion that Jones & Jones was no longer a unique, stand alone paranormal private investigating agency.  With the development of paranormal and psi abilities in Harmony, the idea of psychic ability became a normal part of everyday life.  And so any old paranormal private investigator would promptly become just any old regular private investigator.  And even while Jones & Jones still gets most of its work from the Arcane Society, they are now in a greater competitive scope with many other private investigators who can do the same kind of work that Jones & Jones can do.

I thought that that was a nice touch, considering how secretive the agency had to be throughout the historical and contemporary time lines.

Meanwhile, I never tire of Castle's tendency to also insert some dust bunny moments that just make me feel all smiley and fuzzy.  Gibson wasn't really all that unique when it comes to dust bunnies, but he was still a wonderful addition--I can still picture the scene at the beginning of the book where Marlowe finds him a nice piece of deadwood to use as a surfboard in one of the alien underground jungle pools.


***

 

Free Friday #6:

Page Count:  371
Cash Award:  +$6.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $233

 

 

 

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/07/thoughts-midnight-crystal.html
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