Review of Steampunk Fairy Tales by various authors

Steampunk Fairy Tales
By Daniel Lind, Leslie & David T. Allen, Angela Castillo,
Ashley Capes, Chris Campe, Allison Latzco, Heather White

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk, Steampunk, Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 128

Date Started: April 14, 2017
Date Finished: April 16, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
A toyshop owner builds a set of magic clockwork dolls that delight a factory town. A three-inch tall samurai faces a giant iron ogre with only a sewing needle and a coin. A scientist seeks an antidote to his formula gone wrong, with the help of his partner’s beautiful daughter. All of these stories and more are included in Steampunk Fairy Tales. Written by authors from three different continents, every enchanting tale combines the futuristic Victorian concept of steam and fashion with memorable stories, from the recognizable “Jack and the Beanstalk”, to other popular and unfamiliar works from Germany, France, Italy and Japan. With steam driven gadgets such as mechanical goggles, hoverboards, and an orchestra of automatons. Steampunk Fairy Tales is a charming and unique collection of works for current lovers of the genre, and those just diving in.

Review:
Although these fairy tales were retellings, most were not necessarily obvious in what story they originated from. They were nice, light, but most were not particularly thrilling. It’s something good to read before bed.

In my opinion, the two most gripping stories that I quite enjoyed were The Clockwork People and Perfection. As they were all quite short, I cannot give you much description of either without giving perhaps too much away.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
If you’d like to learn more about any of the authors in this anthology, click here to go to the book’s amazon listing, and select the author in particular from there.

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Review of Claws of Brass by Meredith Rose

Claws of Brass: a YA Theater Steampunk No
Alchemy Empire Book 2
By Meredith Rose

Star Rating: 
Genre: YA, YA Fantasy, YA Steampunk, Steampunk
Number of Pages: 397

Date Started: April 11, 2017
Date Finished: April 12, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)

He saved her life…but at what cost to his own?

When Minx Mellor’s enigmatic theater director, Dietrich Wolff, rescued her from a serial killer, he never dreamed his own life would now be threatened. Dark magic is turning him into someone he doesn’t recognize, with memories that aren’t his own. From dank alleys to the Throne Room of Wynstanham Palace, Minx searches for a way to stop the magical disease. But no gadgets or dramatic performances will help this time. And the cure will bring her face to face once again with the monster that haunts her soul—
—if she can keep Dietrich alive long enough to succeed.

Review:
So much happened in this novel, and there were sure signs of a set up for a third novel, but this novel also contained its own compelling story. We know Minx’s past, but now she has to face it in the most horrible way possible. A lot of things that happened relationship wise I had somewhat expected, and didn’t find it too surprising, but there were some new relationships that I didn’t see coming.

Once I started this novel I could hardly set it down, needing to know what happened next, and if Minx would be in time to save Dietrich. Minx standing up for herself, stating she will always make her own decisions was well done, and her transformation from believing herself to be a victim to understanding she was not to blame for her past was great to see.

The introduction of conniving characters who will try to force Minx to do their bidding is a great setup for the next novel, and it makes one wonder if a potential political uprising might be seen in the future.

Quite well done, with the steampunk and magical aspects still completely seamless.


Author Biography: (From Amazon)
MEREDITH ROSE has been a literary rebel since the age of nine when she began rewriting novel endings she didn’t like. Childhood peers mocked her for using words longer than two syllables, and adults told her that she would never be able to make it as a writer–because it’s, like, not a real career.

Thoroughly undaunted, (well, maybe a little daunted at times, to be honest) over the next two decades she secretly pursued writing novels and finally sold her first book at age twenty-nine (under a different name). She went on to publish another three novels, in which the experience of rewriting stuff actually came in useful.

CHAINS OF SILVER is her first young adult novel, and she wrote it for her two teenage daughters who are also talented rebels in their own ways. The sequel, CLAWS OF BRASS, is available October 1, 2016.

When she’s not writing, Meredith goes on bookstore dates with her husband, studies Welsh, dabbles in graphic design and altered art, and reads Tumblr way too much. Bucket list items include becoming a yarn bomber, Argentine tango dancer, and an opera singer.

Review of Chains of Silver by Meredith Rose

Chains of Silver: a YA Theater Steampunk No
Alchemy Empire Book 1
By Meredith Rose

Star Rating: 
Genre: YA, YA Fantasy, YA Steampunk, Steampunk
Number of Pages: 410

Date Started: April 9, 2017
Date Finished: April 11, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)

If all the world’s a stage, then I am utterly screwn…

In the high-stakes world of the theater, stage fright can seriously crank your career, so apprentice Minx Mellor hides her phobia, studying as a technomancer to create fantastic, steam-powered devices.

But when the mysterious serial killer known as The Peacock targets one of their own, Minx can hide no longer. To save the life of the woman she loves like a mother, she teams up with her sworn enemy and a dashing young director whose powerful magic wakes the nightmares she’s kept secret for years.

When disaster strikes, Minx must face the horrors of her past and find the courage to do what she vowed she’d never do again.

Even if it means risking her life as bait to trap a murderer.

Review:
I wasn’t certain I would like this book. I’ve found most steampunk to be a bit lackluster, and I’ve been certain nothing could compare to one book I read, and what I imagine in my head, yet, this book surprised me. I worried that the past Minx experienced would keep me from resonating with her, from liking her, but that was all for naught. Minx is an amazing character that grows exponentially through the book.

The steampunk elements are perfectly done, the mixture between magic and engineering well explained. There are many times that imagination is brought to life in ways that would be completely impossible in the real world, yet perfectly fitting in the world Minx is in.

The relationships are what make this book stand out, because mixed with the amazing steampunk atmosphere and traces of magic, nothing could be steamier. While originally uncertain how I’d feel about Minx and about the world, by the time I was at the end I KNEW I was going to be buying the next book as soon as I was done because I had to know more.

While this book isn’t for everyone, especially with the abuse mentioned within, I certainly found it to be a great example of what a good steampunk novel should be.


Author Biography: (From Amazon)
MEREDITH ROSE has been a literary rebel since the age of nine when she began rewriting novel endings she didn’t like. Childhood peers mocked her for using words longer than two syllables, and adults told her that she would never be able to make it as a writer–because it’s, like, not a real career.

Thoroughly undaunted, (well, maybe a little daunted at times, to be honest) over the next two decades she secretly pursued writing novels and finally sold her first book at age twenty-nine (under a different name). She went on to publish another three novels, in which the experience of rewriting stuff actually came in useful.

CHAINS OF SILVER is her first young adult novel, and she wrote it for her two teenage daughters who are also talented rebels in their own ways. The sequel, CLAWS OF BRASS, is available October 1, 2016.

When she’s not writing, Meredith goes on bookstore dates with her husband, studies Welsh, dabbles in graphic design and altered art, and reads Tumblr way too much. Bucket list items include becoming a yarn bomber, Argentine tango dancer, and an opera singer.

Review of Kiss of Ash by C. J. Archer

Kiss of Ash
The Witchblade Chronicles Book 2
By C. J. Archer

Star Rating: 
Genre: Historical Fantasy, Historical Romance
Number of Pages: 331

Date Started: April 8, 2017
Date Finished: April 9, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Pippa Ingleside will do anything to escape her ruthless uncle, but even she is surprised when her previously dormant powers aid her. Surprised and afraid. Her newly discovered abilities may have saved her but they condemn her at the same time.

Disguised as a boy, she travels to the home of Lord Ashbourne to find her one and only friend. To maintain her disguise and put a roof over her head, Pippa accepts a job as page of the wardrobe to Ash, a man as mysterious as he is dangerous. If he discovers her lie, he’ll send her back to her uncle and her witchcraft will be exposed to the authorities.

As the lies build it gets harder for Pippa to maintain her disguise, especially when she falls in love with the man she must serve.

Her only hope is to find her friend. But when the friend is murdered, Ash investigates and where he goes, his page goes too. Together they uncover a web of secrets that could destroy Ash and condemn Pippa. But that’s nothing compared to what happens when he discovers she’s a woman…

Review:
From the beginning one cannot help but feel for Pippa, who has been imprisoned unfairly for five years. As Pippa attempts to flee and find a way to keep safe from her uncle and whatever he might try to throw at her, she finds herself with Ash. Seeing Ash again was quite nice after how distraught he seemed to be in Honor Bound.

Soon the couple find that there is more mystery than simply that of why a friend has died. Between the lies and deception, Pippa and Ash have to fight to find what is real, and what can save them both.

While both are quick to speak and perhaps too brash for most, Pippa and Ash quickly have an understanding, and neither wants to be the first to admit there is more than duty and lust between them. Their stubbornness and quick wits make them a pleasure to read about in all aspects.

C. J. Archer is such a great, wonderful person on top of being a great author.  She has a fan group on Facebook, CJ Archer’s Ministry of Fans, where people who like her books can talk about them, and Ms. Archer interacts with her fans frequently (which makes her even more endearing).  If you are like me and adore her books, join the group and chat with like minded individuals.

cj
Author Biography: (From Amazon)
C.J. Archer has loved history and books for as long as she can remember and feels fortunate that she found a way to combine the two. She has at various times worked as a librarian, IT support person and technical writer but in her heart has always been a fiction writer. While she has written historical romance in the past, she now writes exclusively in the historical fantasy genre (with a large dose of romance). She has several series which occur in the same Victorian-era “world”, one after the other. Each series can be read alone, but it’s more fun to start at the beginning with THE EMILY CHAMBERS SPIRIT MEDIUM TRILOGY. Follow that up with all 9 FREAK HOUSE books, then the MINISTRY OF CURIOSITIES series. GLASS AND STEELE, her newest series, is set in an entirely different alternate Victorian London.

Subscribe to C.J.’s newsletter to be notified when she releases a new book, as well as get access to exclusive content and subscriber-only giveaways. Join via her website: http://www.cjarcher.com

She loves to hear from readers. You can contact her through email cj@cjarcher.com or follow her on social media to get the latest updates on her books:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CJArcherAuthorPage
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cj_archer
Tumblr: http://freakhouseresidents.tumblr.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorcjarcher/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cjarcher/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4615377.C_J_Archer

Review of Honor Bound by C. J. Archer

Honor Bound
The Witchblade Chronicles Book 1
By C. J. Archer

Star Rating: 
Genre: Historical Fantasy, Historical Romance
Number of Pages: 267

Date Started: April 7, 2017
Date Finished: April 7, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
7 years ago a woman with too many secrets and a man with too many lies fell in love. Then she left him.

Isabel’s quiet life as an assistant to one of London’s famous apothecaries hides a deadly secret. A secret that could see her put on trial for witchcraft if the authorities uncover the truth. But when the authority figure who turns up at her shop is Sir Nicholas Merritt, she’s at risk of losing more than her life. She could lose her heart and soul, and the man she loves.

Royal spy Sir Nicholas Merritt can’t believe his luck when he stumbles upon Isabel during an investigation. He’s been searching for her for seven long years and now he has her again, in his bed and his life. Except she’s resisting all the way. Worse still, she’s somehow tangled up with a plot to assassinate the queen. To hold onto her this time, he must find out why she left him while hiding a secret of his own that could tear them apart forever.

Review:
The connections in this story were absolutely fantastic, as was the mystery. I went back and forth between a few different people that I thought had tried to assassinate the queen, and while I believe I had figured out who it likely was before it was revealed, I had only been grasping at straws and wasn’t secure in my belief that the character had done so.

The relationships were so realistic, convoluted and yet utterly perfect. Nick and Isabel were absolutely amazing together. While they both changed, they both accept how the other had developed in their time apart, and they come out stronger for it. Isabel isn’t the typical damsel in distress, but then, she’s also already married, so it’s great to see how she and Nick work together to try to overcome everything that plots to keep them apart.

The romance scenes were steamy, and oh so good. I much prefer Honor Bound to The Charmer.

C. J. Archer is such a great, wonderful person on top of being a great author.  She has a fan group on Facebook, CJ Archer’s Ministry of Fans, where people who like her books can talk about them, and Ms. Archer interacts with her fans frequently (which makes her even more endearing).  If you are like me and adore her books, join the group and chat with like minded individuals.

cj
Author Biography: (From Amazon)
C.J. Archer has loved history and books for as long as she can remember and feels fortunate that she found a way to combine the two. She has at various times worked as a librarian, IT support person and technical writer but in her heart has always been a fiction writer. While she has written historical romance in the past, she now writes exclusively in the historical fantasy genre (with a large dose of romance). She has several series which occur in the same Victorian-era “world”, one after the other. Each series can be read alone, but it’s more fun to start at the beginning with THE EMILY CHAMBERS SPIRIT MEDIUM TRILOGY. Follow that up with all 9 FREAK HOUSE books, then the MINISTRY OF CURIOSITIES series. GLASS AND STEELE, her newest series, is set in an entirely different alternate Victorian London.

Subscribe to C.J.’s newsletter to be notified when she releases a new book, as well as get access to exclusive content and subscriber-only giveaways. Join via her website: http://www.cjarcher.com

She loves to hear from readers. You can contact her through email cj@cjarcher.com or follow her on social media to get the latest updates on her books:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CJArcherAuthorPage
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cj_archer
Tumblr: http://freakhouseresidents.tumblr.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorcjarcher/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cjarcher/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4615377.C_J_Archer

Review of The Apothecary’s Poison by C. J. Archer

The Apothecary’s Poison
Glass and Steele Book 3
By C. J. Archer

Star Rating: 
Genre: Historical Fantasy, Gaslamp Fantasy
Number of Pages: 306

Date Started: April 4, 2017
Date Finished: April 6, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
When a newspaper report of a medical miracle catches Matt’s eye, he and India go in search of Dr. Hale in the hope he is more magical doctor than miracle worker and can lead them to Chronos. But Hale turns out to be an apothecary magician keen to educate the public about magic.

Their disappointment at not finding Chronos is soon forgotten when Hale is murdered, and Matt becomes a suspect. With Matt’s nemesis Sheriff Payne influencing the investigating detective, India and Matt know they must find the real killer, or risk his freedom, and ultimately his life. Time is running out as they hunt for a killer capable of turning medicine into poison with a magic spell, as well as continue the search for Chronos. A search that must end in success before Matt’s malfunctioning watch stops altogether.

Review:
This book seamlessly showcases the two opposing sides of Matt and India’s lives as they try to live in polite society but also have to skirt around magic without revealing India’s abilities. As they further their connection to each other, India is caught between what she wants and what she feels would likely be best for Matt’s future– something that many will relate to within their lifetime.

Seeing India become a stronger and more self assured woman has become quite a pleasure, and while she isn’t the same level of outgoing as Willie, she’s clearly willing to stand up for herself and the people she cares about. Because she is well mannered and intelligent she is able to get answers from people that Matt’s brashness wouldn’t work with.

Embedded in this series is a great lesson about people who are sick or have some sort of illness/disability, that despite whatever setbacks the person might have from it, they can’t consider it something that should hold them back. Another message in this particular book is that medicines don’t always do what they claim to, and it’s not right for pharmacists to claim they will.

Cyclops has an interesting past that was great to learn about, and I look forward to seeing if any relationships develop (though preferably NOT with Charity). Through learning of his fears of returning to America, one must wonder if all of Matt’s friends have similar issues, and if the posse will be able to overcome their individual problems to be able to develop lasting relationships and futures with others.

C. J. Archer is such a great, wonderful person on top of being a great author.  She has a fan group on Facebook, CJ Archer’s Ministry of Fans, where people who like her books can talk about them, and Ms. Archer interacts with her fans frequently (which makes her even more endearing).  If you are like me and adore her books, join the group and chat with like minded individuals.

cj
Author Biography: (From Amazon)
C.J. Archer has loved history and books for as long as she can remember and feels fortunate that she found a way to combine the two. She has at various times worked as a librarian, IT support person and technical writer but in her heart has always been a fiction writer. While she has written historical romance in the past, she now writes exclusively in the historical fantasy genre (with a large dose of romance). She has several series which occur in the same Victorian-era “world”, one after the other. Each series can be read alone, but it’s more fun to start at the beginning with THE EMILY CHAMBERS SPIRIT MEDIUM TRILOGY. Follow that up with all 9 FREAK HOUSE books, then the MINISTRY OF CURIOSITIES series. GLASS AND STEELE, her newest series, is set in an entirely different alternate Victorian London.

Subscribe to C.J.’s newsletter to be notified when she releases a new book, as well as get access to exclusive content and subscriber-only giveaways. Join via her website: http://www.cjarcher.com

She loves to hear from readers. You can contact her through email cj@cjarcher.com or follow her on social media to get the latest updates on her books:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CJArcherAuthorPage
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cj_archer
Tumblr: http://freakhouseresidents.tumblr.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorcjarcher/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cjarcher/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4615377.C_J_Archer