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review 2020-05-25 19:44
Book Review - Gearheart by Maia Strong
GearheartGearheart by Maia Strong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Steampunk meets romance meets lgbtq romance!

I have been a huge fan of Steampunk forever so when I saw there was an lgbtq book I jumped at the chance to read it. I wasn't disappointed.

The story was a good one, the world building was phenomenal. I loved the re-imagining of the world and North American maps. And being a Canadian I loved seeing Canada represented ;-)

The main characters were believable and I felt for them. The tertiary characters were delightful, the villain was a perfectly horrible person. The book itself was a slow build, something that sometimes made it seem to slow the whole book down, but all in all it was a good, solid read.

The plot was engaging, the ending was a happily ever after on multiple fronts. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable read.

View all my reviews

 

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text 2020-05-18 17:46
Reading progress update: I've read 8%. - a strong. confident start
The Gaslight Dogs - Karin Lowachee

The story is going to be told from the point of view of different individuals. So far, I've met two of them and each has its own distinct voice.

 

The writing is lean and powerful, with the imagery changing with the point of view. I think this is going to be a good read.

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text 2020-05-16 09:56
Reading progress update: I've read 2%.
The Gaslight Dogs - Karin Lowachee

That was a dark start. Only a few pages in. We're in the frozen north. Soldiers with guns have arrived. The tribal people are under threat. We've already had the first killing, up close and bloody.

 


This is going to be tense.

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review 2020-04-26 17:00
The Steampunk Trilogy
The Steampunk Trilogy - Paul Di Filippo

by Paul Di Filippo

 

 

This book is comprised of three stories reportedly in the popular Steampunk genre, all written by Paul Di Filippo.

They are decidedly mock-Victorian alternative history, lack any of the attendant steam technology which is the defining factor of Steampunk.

 

I found the first story, Victoria, immediately atmospheric, though some descriptions seemed overly complicated and a few sentences near the beginning were overly long. I soon got involved in the story and established that it is about Queen Victoria and an entity called a 'Hellbender' that might explain some of the conspiracy theorists' speculations that the Royal Family are actually lizard people.

The book displayed a more extensive vocabulary than many modern books exhibit and a rather fantastical plot wherein the Alchemically transformed newt-creature (ala Dr Moreau) impersonates the queen.

There are cameo appearances by such entities as Dickens, Tennyson, Lord Byron and John Ruskin as well as a Parody American character called Nails McGroaty, though the story is mostly from the point of view of Mr. Cosmo Cowperthwait, a tongue-in-cheek version of a Victorian English gentleman who experiments with a method of Uranium based transportation, with predictably disastrous results.

 

The story is rather whimsical, yet most of the research rings true, keeping in mind that liberties have to be taken in Alternative Histories. There is only a time or two when an American term sneaks in to give away the author's nationality. The prolific use of guns also reflects a particularly American attitude.

 

There was a surprising twist near the end of this story and it did hold interest, if not believability. It was actually rather fun.

I didn't quite know what to make of the second story, Hottentots. It is about a rather extremely racist scientist who compares mixed-race breeding with cross-species taxidermy and finds himself dealing with a back woman who has been a side show for nothing more than looking different from the average Caucasian. He refers to "Negroes" and I wasn't sure if the author might be racist or whether he was incredibly brave in creating such an offensive character.

 

He is accompanied by this woman and her husband, an associate of his that has a dodgy mock-Germanic accent as they go on a voyage to find a Fetiche which is supposed to relate to some form of black magic. As Rosicrucians and Satanists were mentioned in the same sentence, followed by a reference to 'Hand of Glory' (from Santeria) and then "Hermetic herbs", bringing Alchemy into the equation, I have to conclude that research about magic for the story was non-existant.

There were cameo appearances by Herman Melville and Darwin, but none of the characters were likable, except perhaps the black woman who seemed to have an amused attitude about it all.

 

The third story, Emily and Walt, involved a relationship between the two poets, Emily Dickenson and Walt Whitman. I'm not overly knowledgeable about the lives of poets, so I don't know if such a liaison could or might have ever taken place. This one also involved not one but two abortions from the hapless Emily Dickenson and a spiritualist quest to seek communication with her unborn children. It was all a bit surreal.

The writing itself is very good, but I found the second and third stories a little disjointed, too obsessed with genitalia, and generally less interesting than the first story, which I quite enjoyed despite the fact that there was not an airship in sight or any form of alternative steam technology that would have justified labeling the book as Steampunk.

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review 2020-02-27 14:48
ARC REVIEW Moonlocket & Skycircus by Peter Bunzl

Moonlocket (The Cogheart Adventures, #2)Moonlocket is the sequel to the adventurous Cogheart. A story where a young girl, Lily, discovers the accident that killed her mother should have killed her too but her father replaced her heart with that of a cogheart; a perpetual motion machine. This one focuses on her stalwart friend Robert. After the death of his father he was taken in by Lily, her father, and their peculiar family of mechanicals. Lily's father a brilliant and famous mechanist was friends with Robert's dad and promised Robert he would teach him everything. Still recovering from the death of his father Robert still occasionally visits his old home. His most recent late night visit he finds something of his mother's and he gets put on the path of family he never knew and just maybe a mother who isn't dead. Robert, Lily, and the mechanical fox Malkin set off on another adventure to find Robert's mom and out smart the criminal Jack of Diamonds.


Overall, this was a brilliant follow up to the first book. Lily and Robert make a new friend, Tolly, and we see old friends too like Anna and Inspector Fisk. I loved the story I love how it expanded on Robert's character and it brought him closer to Lily and her Father. This can be read as a stand alone.




Skycircus (The Cogheart Adventures, #3)Book Three of the Cogheart Adventure. Once again Lily is the focus of this story but in this one she discovers more about her mother that she ever knew before. Like how her mother studied flyology and learning how to fly. It's Lily's 14th birthday and while is bound to be better than last years birthday debacle it seems that her father has forgotten it's her birthday in all the excitement of getting some award. Lily was soon distracted by the anonymous gift that was left for her, her mother's old diary with a flyer for Skycircus and VIP tickets. On the flyer was a drawing of a young girl with wings and from what she read in her mother's journal she thought this winged girl might have information on her mother. So grabbing Robert, Malkin and the visiting Tolly they ditch her father's stuffy dinner party and run off to see the circus. It wasn't what they expected. The ringmasters exploited the hybrids and treated them like freaks and in the end kidnapped Lily, Robert and Malkin leaving Tolly to run to safety and tell her father what happened. Someone from Lily's past is back and is out to make a quick buck exposing Lily for what she is a hybrid. It's up to Lily, Robert, and Malkin to escape and free the circus folk from the prison that has become of their circus.

Overall, another outstanding book for the series and it can be read as a stand alone but I would recommend at least reading Cogheart first, which is where Lily's story starts. These are wonderfully written books with grand adventures and characters that have you rooting for them the whole time.   
 

 

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