Quest of Thunder

Recently I reviewed Heir of Thunder by Karissa Laurel, the first book in the Stormbourne Chronicles. You can read that review here. The second novel in the series, Quest of Thunder, has just been released and I am excited to share the next part of Evelyn Stormbourne’s journey with you. Blurb Evie must restore her divine…

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Heir of Thunder by Karissa Laurel

Author: Karissa Laurel Release: 2016 Genre: Steampunk | Fantasy Series: Stormbourne Chronicles Edition: Kindle Publisher: Evolved Publishing, LLC The Lord of Thunder has passed, leaving daughter Evelyn Stormbourne to overcome her kingdom’s greatest enemies, but first she must embrace her dominion over the sky. The Lord of Thunder’s sudden death leaves his daughter, Evelyn Stormbourne,…

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Viriconium

Author: M. John Harrison Release: December 18, 2007 Genre: Steampunk | Cyberpunk | Fantasy | Dark Fantasy | Sci-Fi Edition: Kindle Publisher: Random House LLC  Blurb A magnificent city existing on the ringes of the past, and on the brink of destruction, Viriconium • With a foreword by Neil Gaiman Available to American readers for…

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A Steampunk Writer’s Resource: The Victorian City

The Victorian City delves into the history of the era and provides a good base for any writer interested in creating a steampunk novel with Victorian undertones. I recommend it as a great place to start your research.

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Monstress: Awakening

  Authors: Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda Release: July 16, 2016 Series: Monstress Genre: Steampunk | Horror | Dark Fantasy Edition: Kindle Pages: 192 Publisher: Amazon Digital Services I picked up a copy of Monstress because I liked the look of the artwork—a mixture of art-deco-influenced steampunk and manga—and I was intrigued by the storyline.…

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The City of Blind Delight

“The City of Blind Delight” is a short story in Other Worlds Than These, an anthology that explores the theme of other worlds and the road not taken. Valente’s story is a wonderful example of the genre. It is one of those stories where there are touches of steampunk, of fantasy, and of sci-fi. Some readers may not feel that it is “strictly” steampunk because it lacks certain elements, such as a setting inspired by Victorian England or the American West. However, I would argue that Valente creates a blended genre that simply has a little more “punk” than “steam.” And really, aren’t both of those words important to the genre?

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The Tinkerer’s Daughter

I purchased this novel through a free offer in Bookbub and I have subsequently purchased the other two novels in the series. I am looking forward to reading them over the holidays—preferably curled up on the couch with a cup of eggnog-flavored latte by my side. This series is a mixture of the fantasy and steampunk genres. It is appropriate for YA readers.

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Clockwork Fairies by Cat Rambo

Author: Cat Rambo Release: February 1, 2011 Genre: Steampunk | Fantasy Edition: Kindle Pages: 24 Publisher: Tor Books Buy it here: AMAZON Blurb Desiree feels the most at home with her clockwork creations, but Claude worries about all this science and Darwinist nonsense—after all, where do clockwork fairies fall in the Great Chain of Being?…

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The Unpleasantness at Baskerville Hall

Although The Unpleasantness at Baskerville Hall is part of a series, it can easily be read as a solo novel. The influence of P.G. Wodehouse (an English humorist) can be seen in the characters of Reggie and Reeves (akin to Bertie and Jeeves). There are also obvious similarities between The Unpleasantness at Baskerville Hall and Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. Fans of the mystery genre will recognize elements from other great mystery writers, like Agatha Christie. (Reggie’s mention of “little grey cells” calls to mind the character of Hercule Poirot). But few casual mystery readers will draw a parallel between the novel and the story that is recognized as the first modern detective story, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.”

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The Mechanicals by Nix Whittaker

The Mechanicals is Nix Whittaker’s second book in the Wyvern Series. The first, Blazing Blunderbuss, was published early in 2016. It is not necessary to read the first book in the series to enjoy the novel, but knowledge about the characters and the story world can add a depth to the story, particularly at the start of the novel.

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Dead Magic by Kara Jorgensen

Dead Magic is the fourth novel in Jorgensen’s Ingenious Mechanical Devices series and is the second novel to feature the characters of Emmeline and Immanuel. Although Dead Magic is a sequel, it is not necessary to read The Winter Garden first. (Although you absolutely should read all of the novels in this series! They are excellent.) Jorgensen provides enough details in the narrative to catch a reader up to the plot line of the new novel.

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Book Review: Hunting for Spring by Katherine McIntyre

Hunters are a lonely breed, and Conor is no exception, until the day he meets Brenna. Even though she slinks in unannounced and kills the wight he was hunting down, the girl’s a mystery and he can’t get that blinding smile or those gorgeous curves off his mind. Since they’re both after the same caster who’s unleashing these monsters, he suggests teaming up, and despite her initial reluctance, the hungry way she scans him down promises something powerful.

However, her secrets have repercussions, and faster than Conor can lift his Glock, he’s drawn into the web of kidnappings and Unseelie mischief, all concealing the machinations of a darker foe—one that plans to bring Philly to ruin.

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Pale Highway by Nicholas Conley

Pale Highway, by Nicholas Conley, is a science fiction novel with touches of mystery, horror, and fantasy. The main character, Gabriel Schist, is a Nobel Prize winning scientist who in his youth invented the cure for AIDS. Now in his seventies, he has Alzheimer’s disease and is living in a nursing home. When one of his nursing home friends catches a virus that leaves the patient in a horrific living-death state, Gabriel realizes that he is the only one who can cure it: But he is in a race against the quickly spreading virus and his own deteriorating mind. Although the main plot focuses on a worldwide plague that threatens humanity, this is not a disaster-centered narrative. This is a story of human survival, of morality, of loyalty, of family, of sacrifice–of doing anything necessary to help those you love.

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Neil Gaiman’s Tribute to Lovecraft & Sherlock Holmes

In the preface to the collection, Gaiman (2006) explains that he found this to be a unique challenge because the two styles are very much polar opposites. The character of Sherlock Holmes is logical, scientific, and rational. The focus is on solving mysteries and presenting celebrated solutions. Lovecraft’s works proceed on a different basis. Many of his creations were deeply illogical and maintaining the mysteries helped keep humanity sane. “If I was going to tell a story that combined both elements,” Gaiman (2006, pp. 4-5) writes, “There had to be an interesting way to do it that played fair with both Lovecraft and with the creations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”

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Mechanica: Book Review

Mechanica, by Betsy Cornwell, is a young adult steampunk retelling of the Cinderella tale.   Mechanica, like other modern fairy tale adaptations (Wicked, Maleficent, Frozen) present a strong female character in Nicolette, who is derisively named “Mechanica” by her stepsisters. Like other versions of the Cinderella tale, the mother dies, the father remarries, and then he…

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Review: Redshirts & Metafiction

Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas, by John Scalzi*, focuses on new crew members aboard the Universal Union flagship Intrepid who begin to notice alarming patterns that determine how long they will survive. The story follows Ensign Andrew Dahl, newly assigned junior scientist, and his friends. They slowly come to realize that there is a…

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Book Review: The Victorian Steam Locomotive: It’s Design & Development 1804-1879

In the forward to G. D. Dempsey and D. K. Clarke’s (2015) The Victorian Steam Locomotive: It’s Design & Development 1804-1879, Dr. Pete Waterman begins by stating that even people who are enthusiastic about the age of steam power can sometimes be blasé about its history. It is hard in this day and age of technological wonders to comprehend the magnitude of the innovative process behind the development of the steam engine. In just over 90 years we moved from the simple idea of boiling water, to making steam to generate power, to the steam engine we know to this day. As Waterman explains, the engine design has not significantly changed since the Victorian era; it has been tweaked here and there, but essentially remains the same. For those of us who are steam train enthusiasts, we might say that it is hard to improve on perfection!

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Review: The Best of Spanish Steampunk

I received this anthology as a gift and opened it with a great deal of anticipation. Short, speculative fiction has been my favorite genre for many years and reading an entire anthology of steampunk stories would be a treat on a cold winter day. But as I read, I found myself to be puzzled: there were ghost stories, gaslight romances, alternate histories, and references to Victorian authors and their creations, but very few elements that reflect the steampunk aesthetic.

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Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve in . . . Tiger Trouble!

This is a terrific adventure story with a sense of whimsy and fantasy. Nominally written for kids, the humor and action are genuinely good for all ages.

The kids in the story are believable. They may go to special schools where they train to be Ninjas or Secret Agents, but they have regular life concerns.

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Review of Swollen Identity

No “Spoilers” Review of Swollen Identity

I really enjoy Rich Leder’s style of writing: It is the perfect blend of mystery, humor, action, and quick-witted comments. Leder does a wonderful job at keeping the tone light. The humor comes from the writing—the subtle way the sentences are crafted—and from the characters themselves.

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Review: For The Memory of Dragons

For the Memory of Dragons by Julie Wentzel When I first picked up this book, I didn’t know much about the author or the story. It was a fantasy, mystery, and romance; those elements were enough to intrigue me. The fact that there were dragons (one of my favorite fantasy creatures) was an added benefit.…

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Review: Onyx City by P.J. Thorndyke

He brought to light the awful reality of the sweatshops where tailors stitched clothing for fourteen hours a day; dulling their eyesight, clogging up their lungs with stuffy air and cloth fibers, denied even the shortest of breaks so that their targets were met. Wives must bring them tea and bread and drop it down their throats while they continued to work. He spoke of the match girl’s strike of July, of their exposure to the terrible white phosphorus that rotted their jaws. The speaker even touched on the poor women who were so desperate that they must sell their bodies on the street and face murder at the hands of the demented individual who stalked Whitechapel by night.

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Review: Minutes Before Sunset

Minutes Before Sunset, by Shannon A. Thompson, is book one of The Timely Death Trilogy which chronicles the lives of three interconnected groups in Hayworth, Kansas: the Light, the Dark, and the Human. The Dark and the Light have two forms—human and “mystical other”—and live in human communities, covertly hiding their supernatural forms. Those of…

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Midnight Burning by Karissa Laurel

Midnight Burning, by Karissa Laurel, focuses on Solina Mundy’s search to find out more information about her twin brother’s murder. Solina and Mani grew up in a small town in the continental U.S., but he left to have a life of adventure in Alaska while she remained at home and worked in their family bakery. After a wolf-like beast apparently kills Mani, Solina heads out on her own adventure to learn the truth about his death. Is it an accident where an animal chooses man as its prey, or is it a murder in disguise?

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Stolen Petals by Katherine McIntyre

SPOILERS AHEAD I enjoyed this novelette quite a bit. It is set in Victorian Era London and has a few touches of a steampunk world, including airships, innovative weapons, and small, brass globes that freeze when squeezed. The heroine, Viola, uses these globes while bartending to chill drinks without diluting the alcohol. Of course, bartending…

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Daniel Ausema’s Spire City: Book 2 and Book 3

Spire City is home to mighty machines of steam power and clockwork, and giant beetles pull picturesque carriages over cobbled streets, but there is a darker secret behind these wonders. A deadly infection, created by a mad scientist, is spreading through the city, targeting the poor and powerless, turning them slowly into animals. A group…

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Spire City: A New Infection

Spire City: A New Infection (Season One: Infected Book 1) is the first book in Daniel Ausema’s serialized steampunk fantasy creation. Ausema’s elegant writing style, cleverly executed plotline, and thought-provoking ideas about the issues that face humanity when living in a totalitarian society—greed, chance, courage, perseverance, the sanctity of friends and family, and a desire…

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Seconds Before Sunrise Book Review

I enjoyed Shannon A. Thompson’s previous novel, Minutes Before Sunset, so I was glad to be given the opportunity to review Seconds Before Sunrise before its official release date. The two novels are part of an announced trilogy which chronicles the lives of three interconnected groups in Hayworth, Kansas: the Light, the Dark, and the…

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Book Review: Golden Heart by PJ Thorndyke

The Golden Heart, by PJ Thorndyke, is the first book in the Lazarus Longman Chronicles. This is a gripping steampunk adventure set during the time of the American Civil War. Lazarus Longman is an archeologist working for the British Empire. By order of the government, he is searching for the Seven Golden Cities of Cibola.…

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Review: Beasts of Tabat by Cat Rambo

Beasts of Tabat focuses on the intertwining tales of Teo, a young boy who has been sold to the Temple by his parents in order to save his younger sister’s life, and Bella Kanto, a gladiator who represents the force of winter in Tabat’s arenas. Teo’s objections to his slavery are understandable. He is a…

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The Winter Garden by Kara Jorgensen

The Winter Garden, by Kara Jorgensen, is book Two of the Ingenious Mechanical Devices series. It is not necessary to read the first book in the series before enjoying this novel. **Possible Spoilers Ahead** The Winter Garden is a neo-Victorian style novel. Immanuel Winter, a student at Oxford, rescues a young woman, Emmeline Jardine, after…

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Book Review: Nemo’s World: The Substrate Wars 2

There is an interesting line in Jeb Kinnison’s new novel, Nemo’s World: The Substrate Wars 2: “The reward for succeeding is more work.” Kinnison wrote a terrific sci-fi dystopian novel, The Red Queen. His reward for this success was writing the next novel in the series, Nemo’s World. Kinninson’s hard work paid off in the form of a…

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Book Review: Juggler, Porn Star, Monkey Wrench

I was already a fan of Rich Leder’s work after reading his humorous mystery novel, Workman’s Complication, when I picked up Juggler, Porn Star, Monkey Wrench: A Romantic Hollywood Sex Comedy. (You can read my review of Workman’s Complication  HERE. This book has a dry and sometimes dark/ironic humor. (Think of the type of humor…

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Book Review: Workman’s Complication

I knew that I would like this novel from the very first line: “It was harder to sing with the vampire teeth than I thought it would be.” This is a very evocative image, especially given the number of television shows and movies that have featured vampires in the last decade. I often wondered how…

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As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride

Last night I started reading As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes (who played Westley/The Dread Pirate Roberts) with Joe Layden. I had planned to read just a few chapters—no more than an hour or so—and then go to sleep with the intention of reading the same…

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The Former Hero by Jeffrey Allen Mays

The Former Hero, by Jeffrey Allen Mays, is a complex novel that I can foresee re-reading several times. I attended a launch party for the novel on Facebook and was fortunate enough to win a signed copy. After receiving it in the mail and reading the first few chapters, I went to my iPad and…

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