Genre: Steampunk

Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway! The Deepest Poison (Clockwork Dagger Duology 0.5) by Beth Cato

April 24, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Early Review, Read in 2015 2 Comments

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway!  The Deepest Poison (Clockwork Dagger Duology 0.5) by Beth CatoThe Deepest Poison by Beth Cato
Published by Harper Voyager on April 28th 2015
Pages: 48
Genres: Steampunk
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon
Goodreads


three-half-stars

Octavia Leander, a young healer with incredible powers, has found her place among Miss Percival's medicians-in-training. Called to the frontlines of a never-ending war between Caskentia and the immoral Wasters, the two women must uncover the source of a devastating illness that is killing thousands of soldiers. But when Octavia's natural talents far outshine her teacher's, jealousy threatens to destroy their relationship—as time runs out to save the encampment.

 

Fans of Beth Cato's debut, The Clockwork Dagger, will love this journey into Octavia's past—as well as an exclusive excerpt from the sequel, The Clockwork Crown!

About Beth Cato

Beth Cato hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair outside of Phoenix, Arizona. She shares the household with a hockey-loving husband, a number-obsessed son, and a cat the size of a canned ham.

‘Before I found Miss Leander, I had been the most powerful medician in Caskentia. My aptitude at a young age even enabled me to have an audience before the late King Kethan. Now it was as though I wore the customary headmistress title of Miss Percival simply because I had borne the name for so long, the way one wears shabby clothes because of sentimentality and good fit.’

The Deepest Poison is a short prequel story that introduces Octavia Leander, a young, powerful healer. Told from the point of view of her teacher, Miss Percival, it’s clear from the start that there is severe animosity between the two due to Miss Leander’s abundant powers. This story takes place at the front line of battle between Caskentia and the Wasters, the two healers must work together to uncover why soldiers are coming down with a deadly sickness.

To me, a good prequel story is a brief snippet that encourages your interest in a new series. While I’m sure that this prequel will reveal some future plotlines, it can be read before or after the full-length novels. I haven’t yet read The Clockwork Dagger so I went into this new world blind, however, my interest is definitely piqued. I loved the introduction to both main characters albeit short and sweet and the magical aspects of the story were most interesting and I look forward to them being delved into further.

‘The world of The Clockwork Dagger isn’t Earth, but it’s based on World War I and its aftermath. I made an effort to ground non-magical details in medical and military reality.’

What I loved most was discovering that this world and the ongoing war is built around the model of World War I. It’s always so fascinating to be in the know of what influenced an author to write such a story. The brief glimpse of this world is certainly intriguing and while your answers aren’t all answered, this was still a most satisfying prequel.

Winner will receive one copy of A Clockwork Dagger. US Only!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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This post was a part of ‘The Deepest Poison‘ blog tour.
Be sure to check out the other tour stops below!

Week One:
April 20 A Dream Within A Dream (Review)
April 21 Curling Up With A Good Book (Interview)
April 22 LuLo Fan Girl (Review)
April 23 iFandomsCollide (Guest Post)
April 24 For The Love of Words (Review)

Week Two:
April 27 Taking It One Book At A Time (Review)
April 28 Brooke Blogs (Guest Post)
April 29 Insane About Books (Spotlight)
April 30 Bibliophilia, Please (Review)
May 1 Goldilox and the Three Weres (Review)

Me, My Shelf & I

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Book Review – Prudence (The Custard Protocol #1) by Gail Carriger

March 20, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2015 4 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – Prudence (The Custard Protocol #1) by Gail CarrigerPrudence by Gail Carriger
Series: The Custard Protocol #1
Published by Orbit on March 17th 2015
Pages: 368
Genres: Steampunk, Vampires, Werewolves
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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Also by this author: Timeless

two-stars
Introducing the Custard Protocol series, in which Alexia Maccon's daughter Prudence travels to India on behalf of Queen, country...and the perfect pot of tea.

When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama ("Rue" to her friends) is bequeathed an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female under similar circumstances would do -- she christens it the Spotted Custard and floats off to India.

Soon, she stumbles upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier's wife, and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves. Faced with a dire crisis (and an embarrassing lack of bloomers), Rue must rely on her good breeding -- and her metanatural abilities -- to get to the bottom of it all...

Ah, the first not fabulous review of this book. Well. Isn’t this awkward?

 Having read (and loved) Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series I’ve been dying for this new spin-off series. Prudence! Their metanatural daughter all grown up, wreaking all sorts of havoc on London! How freaking fun is this going to be?!?! For me? Not so much. Not so much at all. This was such a chore for me to read and took me a whopping 25 days to get through. 25 days!!! I can’t even begin to explain how sad this makes me.

The first installment in The Custard Protocol series has Prudence acquiring a dirigible that she proceeds to paint to look like a ladybug and she takes off in it on an adventure to India to acquire some rare tea blend for her adopted father Dama. Here lies my first issue with this story: where the hell is the plot? Wait, that’s it? Based on the writing style you’ll know first-off that this is not one to be taken seriously, but it all felt a bit too willy nilly. But hold up, let’s back up a touch to the writing style. Now I read the Parasol Protectorate series so I have already been introduced to Carriger’s floral writing style but holy hell, she cranked it up in Prudence to the point where it was all just so absurd. Like here:

‘One could not blame people for disliking vampires. Vampires were like Brussels sprouts – not for everyone and impossible to improve upon with sauce. There were even those in London who disapproved of Dama, and he was very saucy indeed.’

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this one:

“Rue was further delighted. She twirled. She’d even left her hair down. It felt very wicked. “Is it possible I have a bad case of the spotted crumpet?”

And there were several times when she would refer to facial hair as facial “topiary” and she officially lost me. Add to that was the constant focus on dressing properly and reputations. Prim’s involvement in the story consisted solely of her constant complaining. “Oh! I wore a walking dress, not a carriage dress!” Then there was the time when she wore a traveling dress instead of a visiting dress and they had to leave for India earlier than intended because what a travesty. Stop the presses. I know you don’t have to tell me this is meant to be set in Victorian times and these were very serious issues but it felt so overly focused on that dresses and styles and changing and matching hats all became the entirety of the story. A plot did actually end up appearing, a very serious one actually that not only came out of nowhere but just felt out of place. Also out of place was the odd attempt at a romance that fell completely flat due to absolutely no chemistry.

I’ve wrestled with the inability to describe how and why this story went wrong for me. I found it all a bit pretentious, trifling and frivolous. But there was one particular line uttered by Prudence that completely summed this book up for me:

“When all else failed – overwhelm with inanities.”

Because that’s exactly what this book felt like it did; it completely overwhelmed me with inanities.

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Waiting on Wednesday – The Aeronaut’s Windlass (The Cinder Spires #1) by Jim Butcher

March 11, 2015 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 3 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Aeronaut’s Windlass (The Cinder Spires #1) by Jim ButcherThe Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher
Series: The Cinder Spires #1
Published by Roc Trade on September 29th 2015
Pages: 640
Genres: Sci-fi, Steampunk
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Storm Front

Jim Butcher, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Dresden Files and the Codex Alera novels, conjures up a new series set in a fantastic world of noble families, steam-powered technology, and magic-wielding warriors…

Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls, aristocratic houses have ruled for generations, developing scientific marvels, fostering trade alliances, and building fleets of airships to keep the peace.

Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship, Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy’s shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels. But when the Predator is severely damaged in combat, leaving captain and crew grounded, Grimm is offered a proposition from the Spirearch of Albion—to join a team of agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory.

And even as Grimm undertakes this dangerous task, he will learn that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come. Humanity’s ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir once more. And death will follow in its wake…

About Jim Butcher

Jim Butcher is the author of the Dresden Files, the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, the Cinder Spires. His resume includes a laundry list of skills which were useful a couple of centuries ago, and he plays guitar quite badly. An avid gamer, he plays tabletop games in varying systems, a variety of video games on PC and console, and LARPs whenever he can make time for it. Jim currently resides mostly inside his own head, but his head can generally be found in his home town of Independence, Missouri.

Jim goes by the moniker Longshot in a number of online locales. He came by this name in the early 1990′s when he decided he would become a published author. Usually only 3 in 1000 who make such an attempt actually manage to become published; of those, only 1 in 10 make enough money to call it a living. The sale of a second series was the breakthrough that let him beat the long odds against attaining a career as a novelist.

All the same, he refuses to change his nickname.

I’m a total Jim Butcher newbie and only recently started reading The Dresden Files but this new series sounds exciting. I’m always leery about steampunk but I’m on board for this one!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me a link to your post and I’ll be sure to stop by!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Book Review – Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

December 12, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2014, YA 4 Comments

Book Review – Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa MeyerScarlet by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2
Published by Feiwel & Friends on February 5th 2013
Pages: 452
Genres: Fairy-Tales/Retellings, Romance, Steampunk
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Cinder, Cress, Fairest

four-stars

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of Marissa Meyer's bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

The Lunar Chronicles series

Glitches (The Lunar Chronicles, #0.5) by Marissa Meyer {Online Free Read}
The Little Android (The Lunar Chronicles, #0.6) by Marissa Meyer {Online Free Read}
Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer {PurchaseMy Review}

From Cinder as cyborg Cinderella to Scarlet as Little Red Riding Hood (or hoodie, rather). Cinder has joined up with fellow inmate Thorne to bust out of prison in order to escape the wrath of Queen Levana. Scarlet is in search of her grandmother who has been missing for two weeks and the only one that seems to know anything is a guy who only goes by the name of “Wolf”.

I’ve always been a huge fan of fairytale retellings but the idea of steampunk/sci-fi/fairy tales blended together never inspired me to pick up these books and as more and more installments released the surer I was that these weren’t books I would ever enjoy. Not only do those same elements continue but the incorporation of multiple fairy tales all in one universe sounded like a big hot mess. I finally caved and read Cinder just to try to see what all the fuss was about… so. much. fun. I loved Cinder’s Cinderella story and all of the steampunk and sci-fi elements were done so, so well. But then came the end of Cinder’s tale and I was under the impression that the next story focused on an entirely different character which bummed me out so I didn’t end up picking it up immediately. Don’t make the same mistake I did because I was pleasantly surprised to find that Cinder gets plenty of page time. But also don’t be surprised if you manage to like Scarlet just as much if not more (serious, the girl even packs a gun for protection). That is hands down the best thing about these books and the main characters are that each of these female leads is imbued with some serious badass-ness that you can’t help but love.

The time spent on both Scarlet and Cinder’s stories was well-balanced and inevitably blended together rather seamlessly. The thing with fairy-tales and their re-tellings is you can’t help but not be surprised at the typical turn of events because we already know what’s going to happen. Meyer has managed to inject The Lunar Chronicles with an entertaining level of originality that continues to keep those pages turning. I have sky high expectations at this point and I won’t be wasting any time before picking up Cress.

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Book Review – Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times by Emma Trevayne

September 20, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Middle Grade, Read in 2014 1 Comment

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times by Emma TrevayneFlights and Chimes and Mysterious Times by Emma Trevayne
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on May 13th 2014
Pages: 320
Genres: Steampunk
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


three-stars

Ten-year-old Jack Foster has stepped through a doorway and into quite a different London.

Londinium is a smoky, dark, and dangerous place, home to mischievous metal fairies and fearsome clockwork dragons that breathe scalding steam. The people wear goggles to protect their eyes, brass grill insets in their nostrils to filter air, or mechanical limbs to replace missing ones.

Over it all rules the Lady, and the Lady has demanded a new son—a perfect flesh-and-blood child. She has chosen Jack.

Jack’s wonder at the magic and steam-powered marvels in Londinium lasts until he learns he is the pawn in a very dangerous game. The consequences are deadly, and his only hope of escape, of returning home, lies with a legendary clockwork bird.

The Gearwing grants wishes. Or it did, before it was broken. Before it was killed.

But some things don’t stay dead forever.

Jack Foster is your typical ‘dissatisfied with life ‘ ten-year-old boy who is constantly left to fend for himself, in terms of entertainment, by his mostly absent parents. When he follows a man by the name of Lorcan Havelock through a magical doorway set in a clock tower in London, he finds himself in a strange and mysterious ‘other’ version of London. This land is known as Londinium .

‘A land of brass and steel and clockwork, of steam and airships, cogs that turned and wheels that spin. He half wondered if he was dreaming, so perfect was this place, and would wake in his bed to the sound of Mrs. Pond clattering the breakfast things in the kitchen below.’

Jack is mesmerized by this new world he’s found himself in and has no desire to try to find his way back to where he came from, figuring that his parents won’t likely miss him anyways. The air quality is poor and causes his lungs to ache but all the wonderful things made out of metal far outweigh any bad aspects in his mind. After stumbling upon a cage containing a clockwork girl named Beth, she takes him to Dr. Snailwater who tells him the truth behind the man named Lorcan.

​’​Portraits lined the walls […] All were of boys who could pass for Jack’s brothers, had he any, the oils faded and cracked, some more than others. Dozens of them.’​

Lorcan Havelock was sent to London by the ruler of Londinium, a woman only known by the name of ‘Lady’, to procure for her a perfect human boy that she can play with and love. Lorcan was her previous (and not only) son but he has grown old, while the Lady has not, and she requires a new child. Lorcan was a surprisingly terrible and unforgivable type of villain that did truly awful things. I felt the acts of violence were extreme for a Middle-Grade book (including daily hangings that go on for far too long) but Lorcan was still a small child at heart that only wished to be loved again by the Lady. Nonetheless, his actions were shocking.

​​’Most of all, the open door beside the stairs, the maddeningly incomplete glimpses of the engine in the room beyond. He ran to it, through it, engulfed by the sound. It was like nothing Jack had ever seen. The enormity of it, the clouds of steam thick enough to blanket the whole sky, sucked from the room by a shaft that led upward. Every metal part, tiny and huge, playing its well-oiled part. Spinning, hissing, churning.’

The single most lovely thing about this book was the imaginative descriptions of this parallel world. Her descriptions of clockwork dragons and magic made it easy to understand what made Jack so spellbound. The descriptions alone will keep the reader invested but upon closer examination, one would have questions abound regarding what exactly makes this world tick. It lacks a clarity and feels akin to a hazy dream, but then again this is a magical world so maybe that’s to be expected. The characters were also written in a hazy, imprecise manner and added detail into who they were (most especially the Lady) would have been well-received. While I loved the world Travayne created, I didn’t feel it fulfilled it’s potential especially with the lackluster ending.

Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times will appeal to fans of steampunk (or readers looking to try out the genre) and middle-grade readers will likely be mesmerized just as Jack was.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland #1) by Catherynne M. Valente {PurchaseMy Review}
Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver {Purchase}
Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles #1) by Colin Meloy {Purchase}

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Audiobook Review – Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare

March 26, 2013 Bonnie Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2013, YA 0 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Audiobook Review – Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra ClareClockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Narrator: Daniel Sharman
Series: The Infernal Devices #3
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on March 19th 2013
Length: 16 hrs and 24 mins
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance, Steampunk
Format: Audiobook
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: City of Fallen Angels

four-half-stars

A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.

Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever.

As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

The Infernal Devices series

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)
Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) {Purchase}
Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2) {Purchase}
‘Life was an uncertain thing, and there were some moments one wished to remember, to imprint upon one’s mind that the memory might be taken out later, like a flower pressed between the pages of a book, and admired and recollected anew.’

This was one of the most fantastic audiobooks I’ve listened to. Audiobooks are naturally so reliant on the perfect narrator that it could make a fantastic book a complete disaster. English actor Daniel Sharman was perfection with his various voice inflections for different characters. It certainly made the almost 16.5 hours of listening zoom by in a flash. Unfortunately. 🙂

It’s always difficult reading a series ender, there are always such high expectations. I can only imagine the strain on the author to come up with a satisfying ending, especially when there are ‘teams’ involved. For me, it could have gone either way because I was a fan of both boys. 🙂 On top of that you have to wrap up all the questions that were introduced throughout the previous books and give them their needed endings. Out of all the series I have finished though this is quite possibly one of the best wrap-ups I’ve read to date.

‘It was a near incomprehensible tangle, the three of them, but there was one certainty, and that there was no lack of love between them.’

I straight up despise love triangles, however, the reason behind that usually lies in the fact that the ‘love’ doesn’t make sense, seems unnecessarily dramatic and isn’t realistic in the least bit. This is one love triangle that is nothing like what I hate about them. Not unnecessarily dramatic, incredibly realistic, made me completely commiserate with Tessa instead of questioning how its possible that she love BOTH boys, and was a complete and utter heartbreak for everyone involved (including the reader). This managed to be so incredibly well-done throughout the story and was even given, as impossible as it may seem, a satisfying and understandable ending.

When I finally got to this epilogue that everyone kept talking about I was more anxious than anything. I can say that it was well done, that I almost cried and it was an ending I didn’t exactly see coming. I’m not sure if it was really vital to the story as a whole and if it would have been best to leave it out entirely but I can definitely see why it was included. This is likely where I’d go on a crazed spoilery rant, so anyone interested in hearing what I have to say, I’m up for a chat. 🙂

Various other things I loved about this story and series… I loved the beautiful literary quotes strewn throughout and even the characters obvious love for literature was wonderful to see. I also loved the lack of perfection and ‘happily ever afters’. Each character went through their own hard times and it made the characters really come to life. I believe the previous installments had equally beautiful writing with various quotes that left me breathless but it was so very evident to me in Clockwork Princess. I could have done Goodreads updates with beautiful lines every few pages. This was a truly beautifully written novel and a fantastic conclusion to an exceptional series.

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Early Review – God Save the Queen (The Immortal Empire #1) by Kate Locke

June 22, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012 0 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley, the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – God Save the Queen (The Immortal Empire #1) by Kate LockeGod Save the Queen by Kate Locke
Series: The Immortal Empire #1
Published by Orbit on July 3rd 2012
Pages: 360
Genres: Romance, Steampunk, Urban Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

The start of a thrillingly original new urban fantasy series—set in a dark alternate world where the Victorian age never ended...

The Year is 2012—and Queen Victoria still rules with an immortal fist.

She's the undead matriarch of a Britain, where the Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires, where goblins live underground, and mothers know better than to let their children out after dark. A world where technology lives side by side with magic, where being nobility means being infected with the Plague (side-effects include undeath) and Hysteria is the popular affliction of the day.

Xandra Vardan is a member of the elite Royal Guard, and it's her duty to protect the Aristocracy. But things get complicated when her sister goes missing. Xandra will not only realise she's the prize in a dangerous power struggle—but she'll also uncover a conspiracy that threatens to topple the empire itself.

This is one of those hodgepodge of genres that is usually a catastrophic mess in my opinion. This wasn’t exactly catastrophic but it wasn’t anything excellent. In ‘God Save the Queen’ we’ve got vampires, werewolves, goblins, ‘halvies’, with steampunk and Victorian elements (think Gail Carriger’s ‘Parasol Protectorate series’…also worth note is a group of individuals contracted as guards for the aristocrats entitled the Peerage Protectorate. Hmm.)

I’ve grown to dread starting a brand new series because of the probability of huge info-dumps that occur when explaining a brand new world. When not done well it can really hurt the overall story. The massive info-dumps occurred in the beginning but were clumsily mixed with the actual storyline of main character Xandra so while you’re trying to figure out who she is, where she’s going, and why… you’re also trying to sort through the strange world and the society and the Prometheus protein aka ‘the plague’ and… it could have been done better in my opinion.

The writing in general left something to be desired; with the story set in Britain it was inconsistently ‘British’ with only the occasional British word thrown in for good measure, it wasn’t a true Steampunk in my opinion as there were just simply references to some gadgets and nothing more, and it had the feel of a YA novel except for a few dirty scenes. I wasn’t surprised to find out that the author ‘Kate Locke’ is also YA author ‘Kady Cross’.

The class system was a bit distasteful how the aristocrats were the supreme beings, then next were the halvies which basically were born to be protectors, and then the humans. It reminded me a bit of Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series how the dhampirs were born to protect the Moroi’s but I don’t remember straight disliking the class system; I don’t think that it was made as blatant that they were beneath the Moroi’s. The halvies treated the aristos with a sense of awe that was a bit awkward.

The inevitable relationship with the two main characters was done all sorts of wrong. Sure, you ended up loving the two together but the whole introductory period was completely missing. If you’re going to have a character in a book have a one-night stand then treat it as such. It’s completely unrealistic and downright ridiculous that after sleeping together that you end up a couple without even having a discussion about it and he’s making you breakfast and meeting your family and… I had whiplash. And a headache from all the eye-rolling.

The one saving grace for me was that I felt a semblance of originality finally bloom before the book ended. I was left intrigued and I will say that it was an overall enjoyable story, but didn’t bring enough of anything ‘new’ to garner a higher rating. I will be interested to see how this series continues to develop in the second installment The Queen Is Dead.

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Early Review – Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly #1) by Susan Dennard

May 16, 2012 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012, YA 1 Comment

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly #1) by Susan DennardSomething Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Series: Something Strange and Deadly #1
Published by HarperTeen on July 24th 2012
Pages: 416
Genres: Romance, Steampunk, Zombies
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

I’m a huge fan of world building. To me, it’s vital that you set the scene with a proper introduction in order to hook the reader from the very first page. Unfortunately, you don’t get a lot of that with ‘Something Strange and Deadly’ initially so it took me a while to get into it. The opening scene dives right into the action where Eleanor is picking up her brother from the train station not realizing that the walking dead is everywhere. The zombies are explained a bit further later in the book but using this as the opening scene didn’t work in my opinion, especially since it continued to be fast paced and ceased to slow down any time soon.

The ‘zombies’ really played a small part in the story, much less of a part than I had expected. Plus they weren’t truly zombies, they were dead bodies which were being controlled by a necromancer which is completely different. The magic and the steampunk and the explanation was explained fairly well; however, I found it to be too over the top.

This book was chalk full of characters that appeared to be quite shallow and essentially difficult to like. I had difficulty liking Eleanor at first (I kind of came around to liking her by the end though) and I immediately disliked Clarence because, really… Clarence? Besides his name, he was quite pompous and clearly thought he was better than anyone and everyone. Hard type of person to like, even if you want to feel bad for him because his name is Clarence. And then there was the immediate familiarity between Eleanor and Clarence. At the seance that her mother was hosting at the very beginning of the story, Clarence and Eleanor had never met yet after a single conversation not only is Clarence bossing her around but Eleanor is as well, expecting him to explain himself.

“I would greatly appreciate it if you would keep our conversation in the hall to yourself.”
“Of course,” I said primly. “Thought I want some explanation of your behavior.”
“How about a bouquet or roses instead? Or a new hat?”

The book lacked a whole lot in the explanation area too. It did more of the ‘simple state’ rather than talk about something and show with supporting evidence. Considering this is a steampunk story and explanation can be difficult I’d give it a pass; however, I’ve read some well written steampunk stories so I do know that it’s possible to pull off. Here are just a few circumstances that I had issues with:

“Can you stop a spirit like that?”
“Yes, in the same way I stop the walking Dead. I magnify an electric spark and break apart the soul.”
Is that supposed to be a sufficient explanation?

“Your letter was covered in spiritual energy.”

How exactly is that possible? It’s KIND OF explained later that these particular goggles that can see said spiritual energy operate on magnetic energy, fluid with magnetic powder, and are calibrated with grave dirt… I don’t know. You lost me completely. Steampunk and I do not get along. Bottom line I can see the appeal but I don’t think this was the book for me.

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Review and Giveaway! Timeless (Parasol Protectorate #5) by Gail Carriger

April 16, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Giveaways, Read in 2012 0 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley, the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review and Giveaway! Timeless (Parasol Protectorate #5) by Gail CarrigerTimeless by Gail Carriger
Series: Parasol Protectorate #5
Published by Orbit on March 1st 2012
Pages: 416
Genres: Romance, Steampunk
Format: Paperback
Source: Netgalley, the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Prudence

four-half-stars

Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire's second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell's acting troupe's latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a damper on Alexia's enjoyment of her new London lifestyle.

Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?

Parasol Protectorate Series

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1)
Changeless (Parasol Protectorate, #2)
Blameless (Parasol Protectorate, #3)
Heartless (Parasol Protectorate, #4)

Timeless, the fifth and last installment in the Parasol Protectorate. And the final adieu to Alexia, Conall, Ivy, and all the other colorful characters we’ve grown to know and love. This was actually my favorite installment out of the entire series surprisingly enough. Usually I don’t care for when a series that I’m quite fond of ends; however, it was done so well and was so much fun that I was sold. If you haven’t picked up this series yet and are looking for something incredibly original this is it.

Timeless opens several years after Heartless with Alexia and Conall’s daughter Prudence having been adopted by Lord Akeldama in order to guarantee the safety of the entire family. Prudence had me laughing out loud on several occasions as she was such a handful but such a wonderful addition to the story. The entire family travels to Egypt when the God breaker Plague becomes an issue once again as it has started expanding at an alarming rate.

With Alexia and the family in Egypt, Lyall and Biffy are left behind in London so there are POV shifts between the two locations. I can understand the need for this in retrospect but at the time I couldn’t help feeling it took something away from the story, especially with the focus on the budding relationship between Lyall and Biffy. All in all though? Extremely well done and truly enjoyable. Hands down my favorite steampunk book/series I’ve ever read.

Luckily, we may not have heard the last of The Parasol Protectorate as there is a planned series called The Parasol Protectorate Abroad with the first story entitled ‘Prudence’. Sounds like Lady Alexia will be passing her Parasol along to her daughter – I can’t wait!

Sound interesting? Here’s your opportunity to win a paperback copy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Review – Dearly, Departed (Gone With the Respiration #1) by Lia Habel

October 18, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 3 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – Dearly, Departed (Gone With the Respiration #1) by Lia HabelDearly, Departed by Lia Habel
Series: Gone With the Respiration #1
Published by Del Rey on October 18th 2011
Pages: 482
Genres: Romance, Steampunk
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads


two-stars

A classic romance, suspense thriller, rip-roaring adventure, and macabre comedy all at once, Dearly, Departed redefines the concept of undying love.

CAN A PROPER YOUNG VICTORIAN LADY FIND TRUE LOVE IN THE ARMS OF A DASHING ZOMBIE?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the mores of an antique era. Sixteen-year-old Nora Dearly is far more interested in her country’s political unrest than in silly debutante balls. But the death of her beloved parents leaves Nora at the mercy of a social-climbing aunt who plans to marry off her niece for money. To Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses. Now she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting a fatal virus that raises the dead. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and thoroughly deceased. But like the rest of his special undead unit, Bram has been enabled by luck and modern science to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

Dearly, Departed was quite enjoyable for me … at first. I found myself overwhelmed by the storyline because it had entirely way too much going on. I picked this up solely because it was a zombie novel (gotta love zombies) but then I was thrown into this odd dystopian society and THEN it transformed into this weird steampunk society where everything is set in ‘Victorian’ times. That was all just a bit too much for me and made it quite unbelievable and entirely too hard to follow. Suffice it to say I’m going to skip my typical summarizing of the story because it’s simply entirely way too much to summarize.

I found each and every one of them to be an enjoyable addition to the story, but the multiple change in point of view added to the ‘entirely-too-hard-to-follow-ness’ that was going on for me. I thought it was an interesting touch when one of the POV’s was even the ‘villain’, but it didn’t work for me overall.
Bram was my favorite… he was charming, interesting, and quite funny. You could almost forget that he was a zombie.

’I gave her as long as she needed, all the while mentally designing my tombstone. R.I.P., Captain Abraham R. Griswold. He was completely useless and made girls cry.’

I think that was a part of the problem though… I didn’t want to forget he was a zombie! Zombies aren’t supposed to be mistaken for humans! I think I was missing the overall zombie-ness about him.

The zombie’s in ‘Dearly, Departed’ were an odd bunch. They were all infected with what is known as the Lazarus syndrome which caused people to come alive a few short hours after being pronounced dead… but they didn’t all come back the same. We had the Gray’s who are your typically moaning, limb dragging zombie-types. Then there’s a zombie army that fights the Gray’s. The members of the zombie army are zombies but they stayed fairly human, as far as personalities go… they still looked just as gruesome as normal zombies.

’I desperately wanted to roll my eyes, but we were discouraged from doing so. The muscles around the eyes are always some of the first to go.’

Well shucks. I was so hoping to like this more but unfortunately this really didn’t work for me.

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