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review 2018-01-21 14:11
Audio Book Review: Steamborn
Steamborn - Eric R. Asher

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

This is my first listen to Saskia. She has a lovely voice that's easy to listen to. I didn't found there was some difference in tone or sound to help differentiate the characters, but nothing major. However, the book was still rather easy to follow who was talking. Saskia does sound older for Charles and a scratchy sound for men. She did well with slight differences. I did find the story felt to be moving slow, so I did speed up to 1.25x the speed as opposed to my normal 1.00x speed. I wanted to move along with all that's to happen, I was a little anxious to get going. I was back and forth on the speed.

This is very much a young reader style story. Not just because our main character is 15 going on 16 but in the reading of the story. It's easy to follow as Jacob grows from a teen into a young man, as the city sees kids this age but also in his own thinking and doing.

The world is different. It's a feel of post apocalyptic with steam and clockworks powering things. We also see large insects. Some are friendly and like pets or horses to ride. Other bugs are strong and attack the city, where the walls have grown weak. This shows the division in people in the village/city areas. There are lowborn and highborn sections of the city, a very fantasy feel to the city.

The people in this book are kind to each other, with a few slurs or feelings for the lowborn shown. But all are suffering when the village is attacked by the huge insects and they have to work together. This is something our world needs to see more of. The kind hearts of adults and children willing to eagerly help each other, not expecting payment in return. This warmed my heart to hear! That's not to say there aren't people that look down on others, but there is a focus on kindness.

The story is told from Jacob's POV. We see the city and people as he sees them. There is some bad out there, but the author has chosen to focus on the good. Thank you. There is to much bad out there that many see, so to have a story highlighting the good in people is a pleasure to read. And, even though the world is rough with the giant bugs attacking, it seems like a world I'd like to visit.

The only downfall in the story for me was I didn't feel Jacob, our main character, had a drive or want for something. Not even a major conflict in his character and world. He's a boy living to get by. Sure, he's poor and life is hard, but it doesn't feel as he has a real want, something to drive to get or fight against. He does come across events that give him points to work toward - his father being sick which is a desire for his father to get well, the bugs attacking his part of town and wanting his family and friends safe, then what he learns in the catacombs. But nothing overall for him other than curiosity of a brilliant kid getting him into trouble.

The world is attention attracting. And at the end of this book, I'm curious to where the story goes with what we are learning. I'll be carrying on with the books to see where our characters end up.

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review 2018-01-14 22:50
Angel 1089 (Heaven Corp. #1) by C.C. Bridges
Angel 1089 - C.C. Bridges

For the life of me I could not connect with any of the characters. Some of them, I don't even know why they are there. Actually, I don't know why half the book is there.

I don't understand the world, there are bits of this and that and a glimpse of something else.

But why is the sun not shining outside the city? Why do soldiers (that's what angels are) live at the very top guarding warehouses, why not the richest and most privileged strolling through their high rise palaces?

Where is Rocco? I hoped Gabriel would recognize him in one of the other angels, or other modded. If Rocco loved Gabriel, he would have followed him and met the same (or almost) fate.

Jeff... nothing solid on him either.

I mean, you take every single character and they are just floundering around, barely afloat, flicking in and out of their cartoon-ish existence.

Someone told me not to bother with this book. It was on "my friends said no" shelf for a long time. But then I needed it for a challenge *ugh* I will NOT be buying book 2. 

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review 2018-01-06 03:42
Mark of the Dragonfly
The Mark of the Dragonfly - Jaleigh Johnson

Piper, a young girl with a talent for fixing mechanical things, finds Anna (a young girl with amnesia who needs her help) and together they take the 401 train trying to escape the man pursuing them. There they meet Gee, a boy who can transform into a dragon and who might be able to help them.

 

Piper is smart, brave and mechanically inclined, who could ask for a better heroine. She is alone and barely scraping by until she finds Anna in the meteor field (each meteor shower brings items from other worlds that the scrappers find and fix or sell). Anna doesn't know who she is but she has the mark of the dragonfly which means she is someone important to the king. Piper sees her chance to help Anna and maybe get a reward that could change her life at the same time.

 

This story is filled with magic, adventure, steampunk, humor, and a smidge of romance. I highly recommend it to readers in grades 4 through 8 (and adults who enjoy strong female characters and a bit of western/sci-fi; sort of like Firefly for the younger set). A promising series which I plan to continue.

 

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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 2018-01-01 13:33
Lady Mechanika, Vol. 3: The Lost Boys of West Abbey
Lady Mechanika TP Vol 03: The Lost Boys of West Abbey - Marcia Chen

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

Beautiful artwork like in the first two collected volumes. I didn’t notice the same ‘eye-candy’ level during action scenes as in the first volumes, which is good since it makes those scenes more believable. Exception made for the illustrations at the end, these are all fine since they’re meant to depict the character posing anyway. Also, they’re beautiful. The art and colours remain as enjoyable as ever.

While there’s no resolution as to Mechanika’s past here either, we do get a few glimpses into what she has been through, thanks to her nightmares and memories. I can only hope that at some point she’ll get to find out the information she’s seeking.

This volume dealt with body transfer into what appear like a mix of golems and automata, which means that of course I got sold on that idea pretty quick. There’s a mix of dark experiments with magic and technology, action, and conundrums about what defines life, that I tend to enjoy. There’s a tall, dark and somewhat mysterious detective (Singh) that for once I felt more connection with than I usually do with that character archetype. Oh, and creepy toys, in a sense, considering the golems are doll-like and can easily be mistaken for toys.

This third instalment felt darker to me than the second one, and more interesting even though there was no trip to mysterious temples or adventures in the jungle; I guess that’s my natural preference for urban settings speaking, along with the themes explored in this ‘Lost Boys of West Abbey’ story.

The one thing I really regret is how short this volume was compared to the others. The plot deserved more.

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