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review 2019-01-20 00:39
The Guns Above by Robyn Bennis - My Thoughts
The Guns Above - Robyn Bennis

So this was #4 of my Christmas books and while I did enjoy my read, I had been hoping for much more.  All the buzz on my social media was lauding the book to the skies as the best thing ever!  And so great to have a female main protagonist in a steampunk airship military fantasy book.  Well... yeah... okay... but it wasn't that great, folks. 

I liked it because the dialogue was witty, the characters fun and quite honestly, I'm a bit of an easy sell for a book about a tight group of soldiers/adventurers/scoundrels/whatevers fighting the odds, so to speak. 

Now, while I liked the characters, I sure would have liked more about them, what brought them to the point where they are in the story, what formed them, the whys of them, all that stuff.  Especially Josette, the female captain and Bernat - Bernie, the foppish spy/aristocrat/ne'er do well.  I loved their banter - I'm told it's rather Pratchett-esque, but having only read one Prachett book (aside from Good Omens), I can't say with any kind of certainty if that's right or not. 

There was a lot, an awful lot of battle narrative and even more description of the details of the airship. I mean... tons of details into all the nooks and crannies.  I would much rather have learned more about the characters and the society and the actual world of the story than all that minute stuff about the ship. 

So yeah, I don't get all the glowing blah-blah I read from people whose opinions I respect.  Just because the MC is a woman?  I mean, even that HUGE plot point is barely discussed or examined - far better we learn about fictitious airship mechanics.  I think we should be far past celebrations just because a woman leads a military/steampunk adventure fantasy.

So the book had great bones, but the meat of it was sadly lacking for me.  I'll check out the second book when it comes out, I'm sure, if only to see if there's more meat, so to speak. 

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review 2018-10-25 23:50
Clockwork Boys by T. Kingfisher - My Thoughts
Clockwork Boys - T. Kingfisher

This was a good, fun, intriguing read, despite how long it took me to finish it.  I was suffering from a bad cold and could not concentrate for long periods of time.

That being said, I totally enjoyed the 3 main characters and their 'misfittedness'.  There is a lot of snark back and forth which made me chuckle.  And while one of the main characters is indeed a paladin, he's not insufferably upright.  Well, not really.  Just enough to make it fun.

The one glaring downfall to this book - for me - is that it ends rather abruptly.  Not exactly a cliffhanger, but honestly?... not many questions have been answered.  The book felt more like Part One of a two or three part novel.  Even in the author's notes, reference was made to the fact that it was originally 130K + in draft form so it was split into two.  Honestly?  I'd have preferred the whole thing.  So I docked a half a point for that, because things like that matter to me and my reading enjoyment.

Anyway, it's a fun, sometimes dark, swords and sorcery adventure with great dialogue and memorable characters and I WILL be picking up the second book.  :)

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review 2018-01-01 18:21
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman - My Thoughts
The Invisible Library - Genevieve Cogman

My first finish of 2018 and what can I say?  I really really enjoyed it! 

I think this book first came to my attention on one of the book blogs I follow when I read the blurb and found it had tons of things I enjoy.  Books, libraries, undercover agents, secret societies, magic and chaos. 

The main character is Irene, a journeyman Librarian, or as she's described in the afore-mentioned blurb - a professional spy for the mysterious Library.  I liked her.  She was competent in her job, yet not infallible.  She was likable and funny.  And while she was clever and able to get out of some bad situations, there were times when she made mistakes and bad assumptions and needed a hand.  There's a lot more of her to discover, I think, in further books, and I'm looking forward to doing that. 

I also loved the character of her assistant, Kai.  He's a tad mysterious and is definitely not coming clean on some stuff, but I never got the sense or feeling that he was one of the baddies.  There's also a lot more of him to discover in the books to come. 

The plot was complicated and interesting once we got into it.  Lots of twisty-turnies and surprises. It kept me turning the pages, that's for sure.  And the last couple of chapters had some intriguing questions set up that weren't answered and some outcomes and explanations that I wasn't quite expecting. 

So in the end, this Christmas gift from my son, Michael, was a winner.  I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the ongoing adventures of Irene and Kai and the others.  A good way to start of the reading year of 2018!

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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 2017-09-09 02:12
Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear - My Thoughts
Karen Memory - Elizabeth Bear

I really enjoyed this book!  I'm a fan of Elizabeth Bear's, even thought sometimes I think her writing is too smart for me to actually get.  *LOL*  I had been looking forward to reading Karen Memory since it was published and finally, it went on sale and I could afford the ebook.  All I knew about it was that Elizabeth wrote it, it was steampunk, the heroine was lesbian, and all the buzz was really good. 

But when I started it.... OMG, my stomach sank because there were two things that are generally a 'no way José' type of thing for me.  The character speaking in dialect, hell, the whole narrative in dialect when it comes to that because it's a 1st person POV and the heroine being young, like YA/NA young.  This did not bode well. 

But you know what?  I soon forgot that the heroine was of tender years, so to speak.  Yeah, she was young, but she wasn't that annoying young that so many of the YA/NA characters I have read are.  And the dialect?  Well, I can see how it might be problematic for some - the should haves and could haves and would haves were all should of, could of and would of, which would normally drive me absolutely apeshit, but oddly enough, it didn't bother me.  Shocking, I know.  (Had she thrown in a verse in place of versus, I may have felt differently.  *LOL*)  But the character of Karen had come alive very quickly and this is how she talked and it was okay.  :)

What we have here, is the tale of Karen Memery (that's the actual spelling of her name), and what happens when a badly injured girl comes begging sanctuary at the door to the bordello where Karen works, setting in motion adventures and mysteries.  The action is exciting and seldom lets up.  The characters are all terrific - the girls and staff of the bordello, the lawmen, the villains.  Even the animals!  *LOL* 

Karen Memory is one of those books where I wish I could write decent reviews to do it justice.  Suffice it to say that it's a rollicking adventure with a diverse and fascinating cast and a real sense of humour and fun

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