2-to-Read

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This is not me. Just FYI.

I just read two fun books in a row, both YA, both ones I would recommend.

The first is The Plastic Magician by Charlie M Holmberg. I’ve blogged about her before, even did a giveaway of one of her books. (Speaking of which, I should do another giveaway soon!) So it’s no secret that I enjoy her writing. This book is an add-on to her Paper Magician series, but introduces an entirely new main character. Here’s the synopsis.

Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg returns to the enchanting world of The Paper Magician.

Alvie Brechenmacher has arrived in London to begin her training in Polymaking—the magical discipline of bespelling plastic. Polymaking is the newest form of magic, and in a field where there is so much left to learn, every Polymaker dreams of making the next big discovery.

Even though she is only an apprentice, Alvie is an inventor at heart, and she is determined to make as many discoveries—in as short a time frame—as she can. Luckily for her, she’s studying under the world-renowned magician Marion Praff, who is just as dedicated as Alvie is.

Alvie’s enthusiasm reinvigorates her mentor’s work, and together they create a device that could forever change Polymaking—and the world. But when a rival learns of their plans, he conspires to steal their invention and take the credit for it himself.

To thwart him, Alvie will need to think one step ahead. For in the high-stakes world of magical discovery, not everyone plays fair…

My take:

Alvie is a young German American woman who can’t wait to learn magic. She’s even chosen her field – The newly emerging study of plastics. She gets chosen for a very prestigious apprenticeship in England and sets off. Not a lot of plot going on here, but Alvie was so much fun as a character and the world was so engrossing that it didn’t bother me that the villain was really obvious. There was a light romance – very light – but it was a sweet one. I would recommend it to lovers of light fantasy.

Which brings me to my second book, The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. I saw this recommended by a Good Reads friend, so when I saw a copy at the library, I had to grab it. It’s based on this extra-dimensional library that maintains the language and literature of the worlds. Cool, right? Here’s a synopsis.

Collecting books can be a dangerous prospect in this fun, time-traveling, fantasy adventure from a spectacular debut author. One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction…

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it’s already been stolen.

London’s underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested–the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something–secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself. Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option–because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself.

My verdict:

A fun romp that goes completely over the top. Vampires and airships and far and alternate worlds all combine in this crazy little book. I’m sure it’s not for everyone, but I was in the mood for slightly goofy fun and this book was just what I needed. Irene and Kai are great characters and there’s still plenty of mystery left for the next book. It’s the first in a series, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest.

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TBR Thursday

Hey bookies! I was trying to come up with something fun for today, and I decided to share some of my TBR list with you. Here’s 3 of the latest books I’ve added to my list and why.

Loot by Jude Watson. Here’s the description:

On a foggy night in Amsterdam, a man falls from a rooftop to the wet pavement below. It’s Alfie McQuinn, the notorious cat burglar, and he’s dying. As sirens wail in the distance, Alfie manages to get out two last words to his young son, March: “Find jewels.”

But March learns that his father is not talking about a stash of loot. He’s talking about Jules, the twin sister March never knew he had. No sooner than the two find each other, they’re picked up by the police and sent to the world’s worst orphanage. It’s not prison, but it feels like it.

March and Jules have no intention of staying put. They know their father’s business inside and out, and they’re tired of being pushed around. Just one good heist, and they’ll live the life of riches and freedom most kids only dream about.

Watch out! There are wild kids on the loose and a crime spree coming .

I thought it sounded like fun. I don’t read a lot of MY or young YA, but it’s a great premise. It reminds me of the TV show Leverage and the character of Parker. The reviews are pretty good and it sounds like a fun series.

Next is The Devil’s Revolver by VS McGrath. This one I found because of a Good Reads friend.

Synopsis is:

She is Hettie Alabama — unlikely, scarred, single-minded, and blood bound to a revolver forged by a demon.

The first book in an epic, magic-clad series featuring the Wild West reimagined as a crosscultural stereoscope of interdimensional magic and hardship, The Devil’s Revolver opens with a shooting competition and takes off across the landscape after a brutal double murder and kidnapping — to which revenge is the only answer. Hettie Alabama, only seventeen years old, leads her crew of underdogs with her father’s cursed revolver, magicked to take a year off her life each time she fires it. It’s no way for a ranch girl to grow up, but grow up she does, her scars and determination to rescue her vulnerable younger sister deepening with every year of life she loses.

A sweeping and high-stakes saga that gilds familiar Western adventure with powerful magic and panoramic fantasy, The Devil’s Revolver is the last word and the blackest hat in the Weird West.

My thoughts:

I love the Western steampunk genre or as this calls  it, the Weird West. The reviews are really positive. One thing I liked – no romance! Kind of a nice change. And saving your sister is always a good motive.

Finally I picked one from a WordPress reviewer, The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton. Here’s what Good Reads says.

A kingdom at risk, a crown divided, a family drenched in blood.

The erratic decisions of a prophecy-obsessed king have drained Innis Lear of its wild magic, leaving behind a trail of barren crops and despondent subjects. Enemy nations circle the once-bountiful isle, sensing its growing vulnerability, hungry to control the ideal port for all trade routes.

The king’s three daughters—battle-hungry Gaela, master manipulator Reagan, and restrained, starblessed Elia—know the realm’s only chance of resurrection is to crown a new sovereign, proving a strong hand can resurrect magic and defend itself. But their father will not choose an heir until the longest night of the year, when prophecies align and a poison ritual can be enacted.

Refusing to leave their future in the hands of blind faith, the daughters of Innis Lear prepare for war—but regardless of who wins the crown, the shores of Innis will weep the blood of a house divided.

This one I’m not as sure about. The book isn’t out yet, and the reviews are mixed. But it’s a retelling of the Shakespeare play  King Lear, and I loved that play. I’m really curious to see it redone. I think I will at least give it a chance.

What about you? Do any of these sound tempting? What new books are you excited about? Tell me in the comments.

What Are You Reading?

Happy Monday! Hope your weekend was good. Mine involved a lot of driving.

I’m currently reading 2 books, kind of a low number for me, but I’ve been reading fewer books at a time this year.

8049273 The Elegant Universe is my current audiobook. I *finally* finished the Plantagenet book by Dan Jones, which was a whopper at something like 26 hours. This one is much shorter, but involves a lot of big concepts. It’s about string theory, quantum mechanics, and the search for the ultimate theory of the universe. I don’t really get all the ideas in here, but part of why I love books about physics is that they make you think in ways you aren’t used to. Brian Greene uses a lot of examples that help explain things in a way that you can understand them better. It’s been a fun book.

24357485I’m also reading Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson. This is on my Kindle. I love the steampunk fantasy world that the author has created here, and I love that even though I read the previous book in the series, I still can’t really predict where he’s going in this book. The relationships as well as the plot are still keeping me guessing. It feels like an easy read too, compared to the horrible Ada Palmer book I just finished.

That’s it for me. Hope you are finding something awesome to read. Let me know what books you are into right now and whether you like them!

Rapunzel’s Revenge: A Review

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Rapunzel is a terrible tomboy growing up in a very restricted castle with no one but the guards and her mother around. One day she decides to climb to the wall that surrounds the castle.

What she sees comes as a complete shock. The entire horizon, as far as she can see, is a complete wasteland. Her mother has used her magic to drain the energy and power from the land and used it to create the gardens and food she grows for the castle. Even worse, Rapunzel’s own real mother is working in the mines. Rapunzel was taken from her by the witch.

Well, anyone familiar with the story knows what comes next, with the whole locked in a tower thing. But the Hales have given this story a fun Western twist and made Rapunzel a feisty heroine who can save herself, thank you very much. She eventually does meet Jack and teams up with him to save her real mother and stop the witch.

Lots of fun.

Yukon Steampunk

Looking for a nice cold read full of excitement? Lindsay Buroker’s Flash Gold has got everything you’re looking for. The main character Kali McAlister is ready to enter her dogless sled in a competition for a nice financial prize that will help her move away from Moose Hollow, into someplace where no one has ever heard of her or her father, where she can get a fresh start as an inventor. Too bad everyone else in the race is out to get her. What she could use is a partner.

Enter Cedar, a quiet stranger who wants to team up. Kali doesn’t want to trust him, but she needs the help, and he seems to know what he’s doing. Plus he’s handy with a rifle, so she takes him on. Good thing, too, since this race is going to be anything but fair.

This is a novella and a quick fast-paced read, but I couldn’t wait to read the next one in the series! It was free for the Kindle and I’m dying to know what happens next. I gotta say, I’m a sucker for steampunk and add in the setting, and I’m sold!

Working on a Biography Giveaway!

Who likes free books? Dumb question, right? Who doesn’t? My plan is to usher in the new year with a book giveaway. Right now, I have a stack of books waiting for a new home. Here’s the list so far, but it may change.

Free Swag: 

Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker by David J. Skal

Some Desperate Glory: The First World War the Poets Knew by Max Egremont

Marie Curie and Her Daughters: The Private Lives of Science’s First Family by Shelley Emling

All these were ARCs that I would like to share with someone else, and they’re all biographies.  Plus some grammar-themed children’s books.

Grammaropolis Presents Nelson the Noun

Grammaropolis Presents Vinny the Action Verb & Lucy the Linking Verb

Also a few bookmarks, stickers, maybe a trading card or two, and one steampunk coloring book

It’s a small stack of books so far, but if you’d like to donate some goodies for the giveaway, I’d love to feature budding authors, small publishers, illustrators and so on.

EDITED

How to enter:

  1. Follow my blog.
  2. Follow me on Twitter @cindy_bohn
  3. Comment below with your favorite book from 2016

Make sure you tell me your user name. You can enter all three ways, but there will only be one winner. The contest runs until January 2 at noon, MST. Good luck to all of you!

 

More Steampunk-y Goodness

Title: A Gentlewoman’s Chronicles (Galvanic Century 5-7)

Author: Michael Coorlim

Genre: Steampunk

Heard about it from: Liked the author’s previous work (Bartleby and James)

Plot: A little like a steampunk Indiana Jones plus some James Bond

Lady Aldora Fiske comes from one of the first families in England, but she has no intention of settling down to a meaningless social whirl. She’s out to prevent a war, defend the Empire, and save the day. She faces off sky pirates, enemy agents, a booby-trapped tomb, and lots more. For some reason, this took me a while to get into. I felt a little lost at the beginning, since it’s been a really long time since I read the first book. It might not have even mattered, as Aldora is a minor character in that one anyway. (I kind of like the switch up, telling similar stories from a different POV.) Once I got through the initial confusion, it really  became fun. Don’t start here, because you’ll be more confused than I was, but if you like light steampunk with plenty of adventure, try this series out.

 

Last book of 10 -Airships of Camelot

Reading Decathlon – book 10!

Airships of Camelot: The Rise of Arthur

by Robison Wells

genre: teen steampunk

setting: alternate world Rocky Mountains

source: This one I picked up for lots of reasons. First, Arthur. Second, steampunk. Third, Arthur + steampunk. Fourth, the author. Fifth, the cover.

Plot: In an alternate earth, the 1918 flu pandemic killed even more people and hung around. Society broke down and the country fragmented into little fiefdoms, sorta, each controlled by an admiral and his airships. Texas is its own state (of course!) and that’s where all the helium comes from.

Arthur is the son of Admiral Uther, being groomed to take over and fly the premier airships in the fleet, but during a raid one day, he gets separated and left behind with the slavers and the infected. He rescues one of the slaves, a girl his age named Jennifer (get it?) and the two try to make it through the wasteland to – ta-da! – Camelot!

Verdict: So satisfying. All the Arthur figures are there, and you’ll recognize them all. Galahad, the pure and annoying, Lancelot, the powerful and conceited, Merlin, the wise and cryptic, Morgan, beautiful and manipulative. It’s just what you expect, but it feels fresh at the same time. Jennifer and Arthur have several conversations about their way of life, about the raids and technology and the long term purpose of Camelot. There’s really so much more than I can cover in this review, but honestly, it’s so good. This one is the first in a planned series. 4.3 stars.

 

And with that, I finished by Reading Decathlon! 10 books in 10 days, although I didn’t post them in 10 days. Now I’m listening to The Heir of Novron by Michael J. Sullivan, which I’m loving, and idly reading The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather. I love Cather, but this is not my favorite of her books. Also I have been very depressed lately and when I’m down, I just can’t concentrate on anything too long or serious. maybe now that I’m feeling a little better, I can finish this up. Happy reading!