Lady of Devices

Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina

LODcoverBook Description:

London, 1889. Victoria is Queen. Charles Darwin’s son is Prime Minister. And steam is the power that runs the world.

At 17, Claire Trevelyan, daughter of Viscount St. Ives, was expected to do nothing more than pour an elegant cup of tea, sew a fine seam, and catch a rich husband. Unfortunately, Claire’s talents lie not in the ballroom, but in the chemistry lab, where things have a regrettable habit of blowing up. When her father gambles the estate on the combustion engine and loses, Claire finds herself down and out on the mean streets of London. But being a young woman of resources and intellect, she turns fortune on its head. It’s not long before a new leader rises in the underworld, known only as the Lady of Devices.

When she meets Andrew Malvern, a member of the Royal Society of Engineers, she realizes her talents may encompass more than the invention of explosive devices. They may help her realize her dreams and his . . . if they can both stay alive long enough to see that sometimes the closest friendships can trigger the greatest betrayals . . .

My Review:

Lady Claire is plucky and there are few traits that I admire more in a heroine than pluck.  I enjoy it when a character doesn’t succumb to their plight and Lady Claire chooses to move forward.  She doesn’t wait for a husband or divine intervention.  She takes hold of her situation and navigates it just as assuredly as she does her landau.  She doesn’t just do it for herself.  She meets a gang of children and becomes their leader using her extensive knowledge of chemistry, her wit, and the manners that she mostly took for granted in her old life.  She soon begins to change the circumstances of the orphans and herself.

There is a delicate give and take between the band of orphans and Lady Claire.  They begin to trust her and her knowledge of the world.  She begins to trust them and their potential.  Shelley Adina did a great job of creating the children.  She balanced their real world concerns with the fact that they were actually children and prone to do childish things. In my opinion this book is worth reading for the Mopsies (the twin girls) alone they’re very entertaining.

Lady Claire is one of those characters that you have to go back and buy the next one in the series even though you can’t read it right away.  She is going to have grand adventures you just know it.  I for one can’t wait.  I immediately went back and bought the box set.

This would also be a great book to introduce anyone to the world of Steampunk.  It’s full of inventive devices.  The tube system, Mother’s Helper, landau, not to mention that incredible shotgun fit so well into the Victorian era that anyone would be curious how.  I can only imagine that the next book is full of Andrew’s improved coal and steam engine.  Lady Claire is going to have the best time in his lab.  There is a lot of technology in this book and you’ll be so charmed and mesmerized by it you’ll only want more.  Did I mention that I immediately went and bought the box set?

There is now a twin set of books 5&6.

Here are the books in order:

Lady of Devices -Book One

Her Own Devices -Book Two

Magnificent Devices -Book Three

Brilliant Devices -Book Four

A Lady of Resources -Book Five

A Lady of Spirit -Book Six

A Lady of Integrity -Book Seven

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Try these other books:

12933942flash goldRomulus Buckle & the City of the Founders lg

 

 

 

 

 

Original Background Image: Old Car Horn by Petr Kratochvil from PublicDomainPictures.net

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Novella Thursday: Her Mad Hatter

Her Mad Hatter

Her Mad Hatter

By Marie Hall

Kindle Price: $ .00

Amazon Summary:

Alice is all grown up. Running the Mad Hatter’s Cupcakery and Tea Shoppe is a delicious job, until fate–and a fairy godmother with a weakness for bad boys–throws her a curveball. Now, Alice is the newest resident of Wonderland, where the Mad Hatter fuels her fantasies and thrills her body with his dark touch.

The Mad Hatter may have a voice and a body made for sex, but he takes no lovers. Ever. But a determined fairy godmother has forced Alice into Wonderland–and his arms. Now, as desire and madness converge, the Hatter must decide if he will fight the fairy godmother’s mating–or fight for Alice.

My Review:

I know what you’re thinking.  Lynn, this is nothing but a bodice ripper.  Look at that man on the cover how could you think we could possibly take him seriously?  He’s wearing suspenders and still can’t hold his pants up.  I would then have to explain that he is the Mad Hatter and then I would then have to say something smart like you can’t judge a book by its cover.  And I have to say that you really can’t judge this book by its cover.  I checked it out because it was mad hatter.  I have this weird fascination with Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson).  When I was a child I would listen at school to Alice in Wonderland being read, I could only imagine that Lewis Carroll was either a genius or a lunatic.

My Carroll fascination aside, I would have to say that this story is a cousin to the bodice ripper.  Yes it has all of the sex that any self respecting bodice ripper would have but this story has something extra.  Believable characters.  A beautiful setting and  A PLOT.  It’s a good one too.  I will admit that I didn’t have high hopes for this novella.  It isn’t my usual fare.  But it had the Mad Hatter going for it.  I found that I read the whole novella in one sitting.

As far as the plot goes I have to say I enjoyed it.  Alice has to overcome the Hatter’s memories of the other Alice’s that have come before her.  That was twisted all on its own.  I won’t spoil the twist ending that I honestly can say that I didn’t see coming.  I think that’s what made this a winner for me.

It had great characters as well.  Not only was Alice reimagined but the Hatter was too.  I could see how crazy the Hatter was and how his madness was escalating.  Then there was Danika, godmother extraordinaire,  and her wand.  I haven’t read the next two stories yet, (yes I went and bought the Kingdom Series Collection) but this story alludes to Danika doing her best to set up the rest of her charges with wives.  I loved Danika she was my favorite character.  If all fairy godmothers were like Danika I may have wanted one as a child.  She’s spunky and determined but she also knows what she’s done to Hatter by bringing all of the Alice’s to him for untold decades.  She’s desperate to make it right.  I purchased Danika’s Surprise

because it says that there is more Danika, Alice, and Hatter in it.

I am now a mostly-reformed hater.  I will do my best not to look down on books that have chosen to include a lot of sex.  The sex can be skipped.  I almost missed a great story and that would have been a true tragedy.

If you love Alice in Wonderland consider that Kindle has The Complete Alice in Wonderland (Wonderland Imprints Master Edition).  This edition really is the definitive version.  I love it.  It even has essays as well as all of the Alice stories.

Stars: 4 out of 5

Rating: NC-17 This is strictly for adults only.

http://mariehallwrites.blogspot.com/

Jessica’s Review:

After reading Lynn’s review for this book I really wanted to give it a try.  My thought was I had been reading a lot of books lately to review, and I was just looking for something quick and fun.  I honestly didn’t expect to really enjoy the story line as much as I did.  I confess to immediately picking up the second book in the series as soon as I was done with this one.

Lynn says it all with the escalating madness of the mad hatter and Danika “godmother extraordinaire “.  The twist on Alice is fun and the ending is unexpected.  The story is rich in detail and the characters are well developed.  I felt like I was transported to Wonderland once again, only this time as an adult.  As with Lynn I highly recommend it.

Warning:  There are 5 books in the series.  If you like this one, I will guarantee you will be picking up the other four.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Sleeping Beauty a Novel

41A1onvRDUL._SL500_AA300_Sleeping Beauty a Novel
By Elle Lothlorien
Amazon

Amazon’s summary:

Sure, Claire Beau thought about sleeping with her doctor. With his moss green eyes and sexy petulance, neurologist Brendan Charmant is definitely worth fantasizing about. But she didn’t actually do it…did she?

In this tale of “While You Were Sleeping” meets “50 First Dates,” Claire knows she should be able to answer this simple question, but she has no idea. What she’s sure of: She met Dr. Charmant for an appointment one day and woke up at home six weeks later to find that they are in the middle of a whirlwind love affair, a claim bolstered by her brother, their friends, and the weeks of steamy emails and text messages they’ve exchanged. But to Claire he’s just the arrogant doctor with only a passing interest in finding a diagnosis for her debilitating symptoms.

Claire Beau is afflicted with “Sleeping Beauty Syndrome,” a mysterious disorder that causes her to sleep for days at a time, and black out for entire weeks. Dr. Brendan Charmant might have given her the best night (or two, or three) of her life, but she has no memory of ever seeing him out of his white coat. Still, she can’t help finding herself more than willing to fall for him (again). After all, doesn’t every girl deserve a Prince Charming? And waking up comes with other perks, including a plum starring movie role that appears poised to catapult her to fame.

Sure, she knows that her best friend, the hot, blond surfer, Davin Wibbens, thinks she deserves better. Still she’s crushed when he abandons their friendship over her decision to continue dating Brendan. But when Brendan’s arrested for a crime against her that she can’t recall, and Davin disappears and is feared dead–all in a matter of days–Claire realizes that sometimes the best way to make your dreams come true might be to just stay asleep. So why is she risking everything to save them all from this waking nightmare?

My Review: 

I enjoyed this book.  At times the surfer lingo was a little hard to follow, but it was a unique take on a modern sleeping beauty.  Claire is a tough woman who understandably just wants to know what is wrong with her.  As a person who works in the medical field I can tell you some of the lines definitely get crossed with doctor/patient. Then again with brother’s boyfriend/sister’s best friend, but I like the ending and think things are just the way they should be. I realize that is different from what a lot of other’s who read the book think, but I think Claire ended up with the right guy.

There were times when I wanted to scream for Claire.  When they hold back information from her like she’s a child I just want to shout “TELL HER THE TRUTH!!” But I think that is what makes a book.  Your ability to get so involved with a character.  I felt all the characters were well written.  It’s a quick read an enjoyable book.

Rating:  4

PG

http://ellelothlorien.com/

Before I go to Sleep

before i go to sleepBefore I go to Sleep

By: Ronne Randall (Author) Tony Kerins (Illustrator)

Price: 3.46 

Summary: Snuggle down, close your eyes, and imagine drifting gently away on a sleepy, dreamtime journey to say “night-night” to the whole world. A beautiful bedtime storybook to share.

Review: This is a great bedtime story for any preschooler. Viola and I read this book every night. As you know preschoolers love repetition. We have read it so much the pages are ripped and falling out, but she doesn’t care. As we travel the world to bed time we say good night to Mommy, Daddy, Teddy, Waggy Dog, Kitty, and Grandma and Grandpa. It is a quick read, but that is how any preschool book should be and it always puts Viola in the mood for sleep.

Viola’s Review: I love this book. It is my favorite!!! I kiss Mommy and Daddy, and Teddy Bear every night.

Rating: 5

The Woodcutter by Kate Danley

195877767The Woodcutter

By Kate Danley

 

Book Summary:

Deep within the Wood, a young woman lies dead. Not a mark on her body. No trace of her murderer. Only her chipped glass slippers hint at her identity.

The Woodcutter, keeper of the peace between the Twelve Kingdoms of Man and the Realm of the Faerie, must find the maiden’s killer before others share her fate. Guided by the wind and aided by three charmed axes won from the River God, the Woodcutter begins his hunt, searching for clues in the whispering dominions of the enchanted unknown.

But quickly he finds that one murdered maiden is not the only nefarious mystery afoot: one of Odin’s hellhounds has escaped, a sinister mansion appears where it shouldn’t, a pixie dust drug trade runs rampant, and more young girls go missing. Looming in the shadows is the malevolent, power-hungry queen, and she will stop at nothing to destroy the Twelve Kingdoms and annihilate the Royal Fae…unless the Woodcutter can outmaneuver her and save the gentle souls of the Wood.

Blending magic, heart-pounding suspense, and a dash of folklore, The Woodcutter is an extraordinary retelling of the realm of fairy tales.

My Review:

This book is delightful.  I read and listened to this book with Whispersync.  It is a brilliant mash up of ever fairy tale I have ever known.  It was inventive and clever without the usual problem these books have.  They usually try too hard.  You can usually see them trying to be inventive and clever and I hate that.  There isn’t anything usual about this book.  The author kills off characters that we know and love from our childhoods whenever she needed to and I loved it.  It felt like a real adventure, like anything could happen and a new character could be introduced at any second.  It was fun.  The forest felt like a real place and so did the characters in it.

I also have to point out the audio book since I listened to half of it.  Sarah Coomes narrates this book.  She did a great job even though it sounded like she fell into the woodcutter’s voice when she shouldn’t have.  I’m putting that down to editing though because it didn’t happen often enough to do more than make me pause for a split second.  It also would only happen for a couple of words and then it would be gone.  The voices were distinctive and animated.  I really can’t ask for more than that.

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Some violence, (the poor seven dwarves.)

 

 

 

 

Original background image: The House In The Forest by Larisa Koshkina from PublicDomainPictures.net

The Truth About Butterflies

truthaboutbutterfliesThe Truth About Butterflies

By Nancy Stephan

Book Blurb:

They belong to each other, Nancy and Nicole–mother and daughter. They’re two halves of a whole, two facets of the same breath–until the day Nicole exhales. . . and never inhales again.

After the death of her daughter, and quickly losing her own battle with grief, Nancy decides to move from the house she can no longer bear to live in. While packing, she comes across a box in the attic. Inside this box, Nancy uncovers treasures she didn’t know existed and evidence that her and her daughter’s lives had been more divinely entwined than she could’ve imagined.

The Truth About Butterflies is a true story of grief, hope, and transformation, and a single enduring truth: Life cannot be restrained by death.

My Review:

This is a wonderful true story about a mother’s faith, her love for her daughter and their struggle together, then ultimately alone. I loved this book.  It was wonderfully written. Having a daughter of my own I can’t begin to imagine the courage and strength it took to write this.  It made me cry and touched my heart.  It made me take the extra time with my daughter and just hold her tight.

I would recommended this book for anyone who wants there heart to be touched by an amazing woman who would do anything for her daughter.

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Divergent

DivergentDivergent

By Veronica Roth

Harper Collins

Paperback: 9.99

Kindle: 4.99

Goodreads Summary:

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

My Review:

I consumed this book in record time because I had to know what was going to happen next.  This book made me read a dystopian novel.  I never thought that would ever happen as I am the single person on the planet that never read the Hunger Games.  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the landscape.  I have never been to Chicago but I’ve seen pictures and video.  I’ve heard stories.  So when the city was described, and Tris talked about the way it has always looked to her, you can’t help but be sad.  A good portion of the city is completely empty.

To me, though, this book was less about a dystopian future and more about a girls fight to be who she wants to be.  Her struggle makes her question the things she’s always believed in and it causes the reader to do the same.  Why do we do the things we do?  Why do we think the things we think?  Do we come to conclusions on our own or has someone told us this is what we should do?

It’s not that Tris goes from mouse to mountain lion.  When we meet her she’s already brave.  We can see it in her she just can’t see it in herself.  By the end of the book she’s proven it to everyone.  I can’t wait to read the next one.  There are a lot of unanswered questions like what exactly happened to make Chicago look and feel the way it did.  Why is the lock on the outside of the gate that surrounds the city?  I can’t wait for the final book to come out in October and the movie in March.

Five stars

PG-13 because of violence.

http://veronicarothbooks.blogspot.com/