Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Steampunk YA Review: Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School #3 ) by Gail Carriger

Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School #3)
by Gail Carriger


Description:
Sophronia continues her second year at finishing school in style—with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Such a fashionable choice of weapon comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and the charming Lord Felix Mersey stowaway on a train to return their classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland.

No one suspected what—or who—they would find aboard that suspiciously empty train. Sophronia uncovers a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos and she must decide where her loyalties lie, once and for all.


My Review:
A strong third in the series. 

I enjoyed the characters and the humor, particularly the eclectic blend of etiquette and adventure. The author does a fine job with Sophronia’s personal dilemma, keeping her concerns period correct (although the period does also feature some rather non-period correct science, werewolves, and vampires).

Highly recommended for folks who want a fun read set in a steampunk alternate history with plenty of paranormal entanglements.

I borrowed this audiobook from the library.


About the Author:


Photo by Vanessa Applegate
Gail Carriger writes comedies of manners mixed with paranormal romance (and the sexy San Andreas Shifter series as G L Carriger). Her books include the Parasol Protectorate, Custard Protocol, and Supernatural Society series for adults, and the Finishing School series for young adults. She is published in many languages and has over a dozen NYT bestsellers. She was once an archaeologist and is fond of shoes, octopuses, and tea.

Join the Chirrup for sneak peeks & giveaways! http://gailcarriger.com/chirrup

More links:
Amazon Author Page
Goodreads
Twitter @gailcarriger
Facebook

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Paranormal Thriller Review: Twelve Spirits of Christmas (Tessa Lamar Novels, #2) by Kathryn M. Hearst

Twelve Spirits of Christmas (Tessa Lamar Novels, #2)
by Kathryn M. Hearst


Description:
Two amazing men. A serial killer. A Christmas to remember.

Tessa Lamar is dreading her first Christmas without her beloved grandfather. They say the holiday season brings out the best and the worst in people. This year, it’s brought out a serial killer, who chooses his victims based on the carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

As Tessa comes to terms with her life as a Nunnehi, the Cherokee equivalent to a fairy, she finds herself in cahoots with a ghost to stop the Christmas Killer before he strikes again. She must wrangle her magic, manage family responsibilities, juggle the men in her life, and discover the person she was meant to be, in order to save…

Seven Swans a Swimming - Eight Maids a Milking - Nine Ladies Dancing - Ten Lords a Leaping - Eleven Pipers Piping - Twelve Drummers Drumming.

Twelve Spirits of Christmas is the second of the Tessa Lamar Novels, Paranormal Romances with a Southern twist. If you like Southern humor, supernatural creatures, and a healthy dose of romance, then you'll love this series. Be sure to check out Kindle Scout winner, The Spirit Tree, to read the beginning of Tessa’s journey.


My Review:
This is a solid sequel to The Spirit Tree. Not exactly a Christmas story, though it’s definitely caught up in that holiday by nature of the killer’s theme.

I think what I liked best was the romance. It’s one of those where you can’t figure out who should end with whom, and it plays out in a way I didn’t expect.

Besides that, the thrilleresque vibe tickled my fancy. I enjoyed the paranormal edge and the race against the killer’s progress through the song. Very well done.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to folks who like a good thriller, a bit of romance, and a healthy dose of the paranormal. Fans of romance with non-traditional twists will likely enjoy this as well.

I purchased my copy of this book.


About the Author:


Kathryn M. Hearst is a southern girl with a love of the dark and strange. She has been a storyteller her entire life, as a child, she took people watching to new heights by creating back stories of complete strangers. Besides writing, she has a passion for shoes, vintage clothing, antique British cars, music, musicians and all things musical (including theater). Kate lives in central Florida with her chocolate lab, Jolene; and two rescue pups, Jagger and Roxanne. She is a self-proclaimed nerd, raising a nerdling.

The Order of the Sinistra Dei is her first series and includes titles, Feast of the Epiphany and Feast of Mercy. Kate's novel, The Spirit Tree, won a publishing contract with Kindle Press through the Kindle Scout contest. Her short stories have been published in various anthologies.

Visit Kathryn's website for more information.

Author Links:
http://www.kathrynmhearst.com/
Goodreads
Twitter @kathrynmhearst
Amazon

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Sci Fi Review: Earth Afire (The First Formic War #2) by Orson Scott Card, Aaron Johnston

Earth Afire (The First Formic War #2)
by Orson Scott Card, Aaron Johnston


Description:
One hundred years before Ender's Game the aliens arrived on Earth with fire and death. This is the story of the First Formic War. Victor beat the alien ship to Earth, but just barely. But it wasn't enough to convince skeptical governments that there was a threat.


My Review:
Good golly, this is quite a read! I was so emotionally invested in these characters.

I felt Victor’s frustration and hopelessness. Bing Wen (please excuse the spelling, that’s what I got from the audiobook) and Mazer Rackham are fantastic. I very much enjoyed the flashes between Earth, the Moon and the Belt. The characters are easy to get drawn into, even Lem, who’s a piece of work.

I highly recommend this to fans of sci fi, particularly fans of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Saga.

I borrowed the audiobook from the library. Excellent continuity in narration from the first book, same actors. Each perspective has its voice, which definitely helps in a book that follows several stories on a greater stage.


About Orson Scott Card:

Orson Scott Card
Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools.
Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy (Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys), biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah), the American frontier fantasy series The Tales of Alvin Maker (beginning with Seventh Son), poetry (An Open Book), and many plays and scripts.

Card was born in Washington and grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He served a mission for the LDS Church in Brazil in the early 1970s. Besides his writing, he teaches occasional classes and workshops and directs plays. He recently began a longterm position as a professor of writing and literature at Southern Virginia University.

Card currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card, and their youngest child, Zina Margaret.

Orson Scott Card Author Links:
www.hatrack.com
Twitter@orsonscottcard
Goodreads


About Aaron Johnston:

Aaron Johnston
Aaron Johnston is a New York Times bestselling author, comics writer, and film producer. He cowrote the novels Invasive Procedures, Earth Unaware, Earth Afire, Earth Awakens, and the other forthcoming Formic Wars novels with science-fiction legend Orson Scott Card.
He was also an associate producer on the movie Ender’s Game, wherein he makes a cameo appearance as an officer of the International Fleet. Blink and you’ll miss him.
Aaron’s comic credits include Ender in Exile, Speaker for the Dead, Formic Wars, League War, and Mazer in Prison, all for Marvel. His screenplay adaptations include Alvin Maker, Sarah: Woman of Genesis, The Multiple Man, Feed the Baby of Love, and others. His play Lifeloop, an adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s short story, was featured at Western Illinois University. A longtime stage improviser, Aaron is a former member of LA’s Improv Factory, Santa Clarita Improv, and the Garrens Comedy Troupe. He and his wife are the parents of four children.

Aaron Johnston Author Links:
http://www.aaronwjohnston.com/
http://www.twitter.com/AaronWJohnston
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/55830.Aaron_Johnston

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Sci Fi/Fantasy Review: Discount Prices (Heroes for Hire #1) by C.S. Feldman

Discount Prices (Heroes for Hire #1)
by C.S. Feldman


Description:
Sure, everybody knows about the great heroes of legend. The ones people write songs about, the ones who lead the charge against the monsters that lay waste to cities or against an army of invaders that outnumber the good guys twenty to one—you know, the best heroes that money can buy. Trouble is, not everyone can afford their services.

Fortunately, the best heroes are not the only ones on the market.

Which is just what harried waitress Peg Brickner accidentally discovers after receiving an unusual—and, as it turns out, otherworldly—tip from a peculiar customer in the middle of one rotten dinner shift. Life on Earth is hard enough, but life in the magical world of Cantrial? Forget about it. Five minutes after being unsuspectingly yanked into it by an unscrupulous B-List talent scout for heroes, all Peg wants to do is get back home again before something in this crazy new world kills her or eats her with ketchup. Or both.

Trouble is, getting home may be a lot harder than leaving it was. Thanks to a bunch of greedy bureaucrats, Peg’s way home is about to be destroyed—unless she reluctantly joins a trio of magical misfits on a high-stakes heroes-for-hire mission in an attempt to recover stolen property before their rivals—or a roguishly charming thief—beat them to it.

She knew she should have called in sick today…


My Review:
They are literally heroes for hire, and when you meet the team, you understand why discount prices are necessary.

First off, I love the heroes. Every single one of the heroes has something seriously wrong with them. For example, the very best hero is a dog. That in itself is funny, but the author doesn't just leave it at the surface. This used to be a person, a real hero, and he's dealing with this every day, trying to be what he once was and trying to make something of the ridiculous team he's been given. That's one of the things I enjoyed, that these characters have depth, even when they are funny.

I'm not going into all of the characters, though, because meeting them in the book is preferred. I will say that the adventure they go on is rather exciting, especially through the eyes of the heroine, who is new to the whole adventuring thing and would rather be anywhere else doing anything else.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story. I'd recommend it to folks who enjoy fantasy and sci-fi. This one sort of blends the two, though it is heavier on the fantasy.

I purchased my copy of this book.


About the Author:



C. S. Feldman loves all things fantasy related and writes both novels and screenplays. Stop by and say hi on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCSFeldman or visit her at www.csfeldman.com.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Steampunk YA Review: Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School #2) by Gail Carriger

Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School #2)
by Gail Carriger


Description:
Does one need four fully grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully grown guests?

Sophronia's first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy--won't Mumsy be surprised? Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers' quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship's boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a field trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot--one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

In this sequel to New York Times bestselling Etiquette & Espionage, class is back in session with more petticoats and poison, tea trays and treason. Gail's distinctive voice, signature humor, and lush steampunk setting are sure to be the height of fashion this season.


My Review:
And…devoured.

I simply adore this series and the world Gail Carrigan has created for us. Supernatural, steampunk romance with all the thrills of an action flick.

Sophronia is a delightful heroine, and her budding romance/friendship with Soap was a highlight for me. Then again, I also dug the competition. As for the theme and humor, delightful.

I highly recommend this series to folks who enjoy a bit of whimsy with their thrills.

I borrowed the audiobook from the library.


About the Author:


Photo by Vanessa Applegate
Gail Carriger writes comedies of manners mixed with paranormal romance (and the sexy San Andreas Shifter series as G L Carriger). Her books include the Parasol Protectorate, Custard Protocol, and Supernatural Society series for adults, and the Finishing School series for young adults. She is published in many languages and has over a dozen NYT bestsellers. She was once an archaeologist and is fond of shoes, octopuses, and tea.

Join the Chirrup for sneak peeks & giveaways! http://gailcarriger.com/chirrup

More links:
Amazon Author Page
Goodreads
Twitter @gailcarriger
Facebook