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review 2018-10-18 15:38
Review: Chronicles of Steele- Raven by Pauline Creeden

Human life has value.
The poor living in the gutter are as valuable as the rich living in a manor.
The scoundrel is no less valuable than the saint.
Because of this, every life a reaper takes must be redeemed.


Raven has lived by this first tenet since she was trained by her father to become a reaper. But since his death, she’s been spending years redeeming the lives she’s taken. By her count, she’s even and it’s time for that life to end. If she settles down and becomes a wife, she might just feel human again. But on the way to the life she thinks she wants, the baron of New Haven asks her to complete a task which she cannot ignore… Just when Raven decides to give up on her life as an assassin, she’s pulled right back in.

 

***Disclosure: I received a free copy in exchange for a review.***

We're introduced to Raven as she's saving the duke's youngest son from drowning, only to be arrested once her identity is revealed. Seems Reapers have been outlawed for about a half a generation, but the duke's eldest son has need of her services. She's to protect his nine year old younger brother, who may or may not be possessed by a demon, from their father who wants the boy dead. Hot on the trail of Raven and young Darius are the very guards who arrested her after rescuing the boy, led by Captain Jack Grant- who's grudging respect for Raven's skills and his own innate decency clash with his duty to the duke. Along the way they'll both discover more layers to their respective missions than they imagined and things aren't always what they seem.

Reapers aren't magical warriors- just highly trained and disciplined ones usually able to find something within any situation to turn to an advantage. In order to avoid descending into sociopathy they've adopted a mantra that all life is sacred and whenever they take one they must then save another, redeeming themselves by striking a balance- much like the axiom 'the life you save will be your own'. I also liked how the author weaved bits of personality and characterization into things- such as a reaper lamenting the lack of discipline in this new generation of wannabes who abandon the training once it becomes difficult. Art imitating Life.

Raven's past is a bit mysterious, of course, and remained so at the end of the book. Bits and pieces of her history were doled out during the story, revealing her character and her motivations. Jack Grant wasn't as developed as he could've been and the romance seemed forced as suddenly they're in love with each other. Whatever happened to liking someone/being interested and just wanting to see where it goes?

There's plenty of action and angst to feed your head, but the world needs fleshing out in order to get a clearer grasp of what's going on. The main problem I had was the sudden switches of POV. One moment Raven's upstairs about to confront a witch, next sentence Jack's charging up the steps and finding Raven laid out due to the witch's magic. Things like this kept happening so much I had to re-read several passages a couple times to make sure I had things straight before continuing.

The extras included are an excerpt about young Darius- whom will soon receive his own story- some pointers about writing from the author and the author's thoughts on what Steampunk is and why it should appeal to female readers.

This is a fast, fun read with a couple of twists to it. Pauline Creeden's crafted a nifty tale that teases you with future potential but needs fleshing out and more backstory. Enjoy.

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review 2018-10-17 15:45
Book review and interview with the author

Clockwork Dollhouse

The clockwork dolls seem to be moving on their own. What are they trying to show? 
 
When Ainsley moves in with her uncle, the governor, it seems like a beautiful situation. An orphan is finding love in an elite household. However, she carries with her the power to reveal her uncle’s darkest secrets.

Read More

Source: mineofbooks.blogspot.com/2018/10/review-author-interview-clockwork.html
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review 2018-10-07 20:52
Audio/Book Review of The Servants of the Storm (The Pillars of Reality Book 5) by Jack Campbell
The Servants Of The Storm - Jack Campbell

A Storm that will wreck a world threatens Dematr. Only Mari, one of the Mechanics who control all technology through their Guild, has a chance to stop it. She and Mage Alain have survived numerous attempts to kill them and have gained many more followers, but the Storm of chaos, born of centuries of enslavement, grows ever closer.

 

Mari leads an army now. She and Alain must fight together to bind back the Broken Kingdom and build a force strong enough to defeat the might of the Great Guilds. But the Storm has many Servants who seek to preserve or gain personal power or wealth, or fear the New Day that Mari seeks to bring to the world.

 

And Mari knows that victory will mean nothing if the precious knowledge brought long ago to their world is destroyed. In order to save it, Alain and Mari will have to pierce through the heart of their enemies' power and confront once more a place of ancient nightmare.

 

Review 5*

 

This story is the fifth book in a fantastic epic fantasy series called The Pillars of Reality. I absolutely loved it!

 

Mari is a fantastic character. I liked her immediately when I met her in the first book. I love her determination to do the right thing, even at the cost of her own life. A Master Mechanic, Mari has faced many threats to her life from the Guild Masters on the world of Dematr and survived. Foreseen by Mages to be 'The Daughter of Jules' and fated to free the world of Dematr from the tyranny of both the Guilds - Mechanics and Mages - and to unite the Mechanics, Mages and Commons against said Guilds, Mari finds herself fighting for their freedom.

 

Mage Alain is also a fantastic character. I liked him a lot from the start. He was one of the youngest Acolytes to achieve Mage status at the age of seventeen. He has been taught from a young age not to show or feel any emotions and that the world he lives in is an illusion, where nothing is real. I love how this character has grown as the series has progressed. He tries to show more emotion, even though his Guild had virtually beaten it out of him. He hides a dry wit under that emotionless mask.

 

I listened to this story in audio format, rather than read it. MacLeod Andrews once again narrates the story. He does a fantastic job of bringing the story to life. Even Alain, who's voice is meant to be flat and emotionless comes across with subtle hints. You would think that Alain's voice would be monotonous, but it's not so. I love the way he brings all the characters to life with different accents, inflexions and tones. He even makes the women's voices sound perfect for each character. As for his narration, he read the story clearly and concisely, and his pacing was perfect. I would listen to more books read by this narrator.

 

The story continues six months from the end of The Pirates of Pacta Servanda and sees Mari and Alain heading a mixed army of Mages, Mechanics and Commons as the action heats up. Mechanic Caylou (not sure of spelling as I listened to the story so have no reference and have spelt it phonetically - it could be Kayloo or another variation) makes another appearance. He is one of Mari's friends from the Mechanics Guild, along with his girlfriend, Ally, who also makes an appearance. I love her constant use of 'Your Daughterness' when speaking to Mari just because it annoys her. Mage Asha also makes another appearance, as does Mage Dov, who is Asha's uncle, and Mechanic Dov (no relation) whose relative had once lived in Marandur. Cien, a princess of Tae, plays a significant role in this story, too. There are a few more characters added, but it would take me too long to mention them all.

 

I love the world building in this series. It is familiar though strange at the same time. It has a mix of steampunk and modern day technology, but this is due to the way the Guilds restricted people from creating new things. The story is full of action, adventure, and danger and I found myself an emotional wreck at times. In this story, the characters are gathering together for a showdown with the Great Guilds. They also make a dangerous journey back into the Imperial territory of Marandur to retrieve the mechanical texts left at the University. The action is ramping up further as the storyline reaches towards the climax, and I found myself holding my breath more than once as they faced several tricky challenges. Have you ever read or listened to a story and felt utterly emersed in it? It happened to me as I listened to this book. These characters have come to life for me and have become my friends. This book ends with a slight cliffhanger, which had me eager to listen to the next story in the series, The Wrath of the Great Guilds, as soon as possible.

 

Jack Campbell has written a fantastic science fiction series. I have added him to my favourite author's list, as he's found a fan in me. I love his writing style, which is fast-paced and descriptive, and the flow of the story is good too.

 

Although there is now some mention of scenes of a sexual nature, it’s not shown. I do not, however, recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 15 due to some violence. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love dark or epic fantasy, steampunk or action/adventure and supernatural/paranormal romance genres. - Lynn Worton

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review 2018-10-05 13:49
Mechanique by Genevieve Valentine
Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti - Genevieve Valentine

It's finally over.

 

I wasn't really sure what I was getting in for, but I thought this story of a circus company in a kind of dystopian post-apocalyptic world might be interesting. It wasn't so much the story itself that bothered as the way it was told. There was a lot of jumping around between characters (mostly told in the third person), which was fine, and there was a lot of jumping around in time, which could have been fine, except that that the same events got referred to and covered over and over again. Sure, we got a few extra details now and then, or more context, but it got to be quite repetitive. By mid-way through, I was finding it to be a slog, and nearing the end I got very impatient. There was also one character that had both first-person and third-person chapters and I didn't really see the sense in that.

 

Finishing this book did let me complete my Creepy Carnivals square for 2018 Halloween Bingo, which finally gets me a bingo. :D

 

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review 2018-09-14 17:29
Steampunk LEGO - Guy Himber
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

I picked this book up from the library because one of the kids I work with is obsessed with Lego. He had already looked through all of the Build books the library had so I thought I'd given this one a try. While it is not a Build book and does not show you how to build any of the fascinating devices shown within its pages, we both still found it very interesting.

The book is broken down into sections which includes things like air travel, automatons, space travel, sea vessels, and more. Within each section is a variety of interesting devices, all made out of Lego. 

There are also some nice nods to various media phenomenons such as Up and Star Wars, which was cool to see.

While this is not a children's book per se, those who love Lego and/or steampunk may enjoy the pictures. Good book for adults who enjoy Lego and/or steampunk. It is easy to get lost in the world while looking through this gorgeous book.
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