the clockwork scarab

First of Series on the TBR (please ignore the last PJO book) 

DECEMBER WRAP-UP!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, so this month I read almost TWICE as many books as I usually do. Probably because break and the Christmas-Book-Tube-A-Thon. So, let’s get started!!

The first book I read this month was 

A Mad, Wicked Folly, by Sharon Biggs Waller

This was a beautifully written historical fiction novel. It takes place in the Edwardian era and is about a young woman who wants to be an artist, but is struggling with the limitations of her restrictive life. I reviewed this on my blog here. It was one of those very-well researched historical fictions and you can tell how much work the author put into it.

Next was

The Clockwork Scarab, by Colleen Gleason

This one was pretty okay. It takes place in Victorian London and our main characters are the niece of Sherlock Holmes and the sister of Bram Stoker. This book was packed with steampunk, paranormal, and some science fiction elements. My only problem with it was that there was a little too much going on, and some of it really had no relevance to what was happening in the story now. This is the first book in the Stoker and Holmes series (or is it a trilogy?) So I know some elements are probably important in the next one, but I probably won’t be continuing it.

After that was a quick trip into high fantasy with

Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo

I know I’m super late to this trilogy, but I’ve owned the first book for a while so I decided to read it. This book takes place in a mythical country called Ravka, which is based on Russia. It centers on an orphan named Alina, who is a mapmaker in the army, and she discovers she has an extremely powerful ability. She is than thrust into life at court and is under the tutelage of a powerful being called the Darkling. I’ve already reviewed this one here , and i think eventually I’ll continue the trilogy.

Going back to historical fiction I read

Song of the Sparrow, by Lisa Ann Sandell

This book was beautiful. It was written in free verse, and it’s from the point of view of Elaine of Ascolat, better known as the Lady of Shallot. Loved the setting,which is just before Arthur becomes king, so late 400s. I loved the characters and how vivid the imagery was and how beautiful the writing style is. If you like Arthurian fiction, PICK THIS UP!!!

Then I read

The Falconer, by Elizabeth May. 

This was another steampunk historical fiction, but it was slightly different from the ones I’m used to. For one thing, it takes place in 1840’s Scotland, which is a different time and place from the traditional Victorian England steampunk. Also, this book had a lot of Scottish faerie lore. I really liked it, and thought that it was a great first novel. The setting was nice, i liked the mix of genres, and i liked most of the characters. It ended on a huge cliffhanger though, and I wasn’t expecting it. 

Next are the three books I read for the Christmas-Book-Tube-A-Thon. I read each book in one day, which is something I’ve never done before. 

The first one was 

Cinders and Sapphires, by Leila Rasheed

This book was a nice Downton Abbey-esque historical fiction story, taking place in 1910’s England. It follows two girls, one a wealthy lady, the other being her maid. It also centers around other characters in the book as well, each having their own little story lines. It felt like I was reading an episode of Downton Abbey. It was a very nice story, but didn’t have anything too ground-breaking. I still would like to continue on with the trilogy. 

Then it was

The Girl in the Steel Corset, by Kady Cross

This to me, is what a definitive steampunk novel should be. It had the Victorian time period, the London setting, and the mix of steampunk and supernatural elements. Also, great characters. The main character Finley, has extraordinary abilities and gets mixed up with a mismatched group of teenagers who also have similarly strange abilities. I loved nearly everything about this. My only problem was that it was a little long, but maybe thats because I had to read it all in one day.

The last book in the read-a-thon was

Born Wicked, by Jessica Spotswood

This was another English Victorian novel, but it is centered around witches. This book focuses on the Cahill sisters, three girls who all must hide the fact that they’re witches, or face a terrible punishment.The oldest one,Cate, discovers her late mother’s diary and finds out a terrible prophecy that can put her family in danger. This book takes place in a sort of alternate history London, where its a totalitarian government that still practices witch hunts. I liked the idea of a different historical timeline, and maybe will try to finish the trilogy (I keep saying that a lot don’t I)?

After the Christmas-Book-Tube-A-Thon was over, I managed to squeeze in two more books (wow)!

The Gathering Storm, by Robin Bridges

I REALLY, REALLY, loved this one. It is the first book in the Katerina Trilogy and takes place in 1880’s Russia. The main character, Katerina, is a powerful necromancer, who has to keep her abilities hidden in order to maintain her standing as a member of the nobility. In this book, a majority of Europe’s royal families are descended from faeries, vampires, and a bunch of other creatures. I reviewed it better here.  I recommend this to anyone who likes Russian history and supernatural creatures thrown in!!

And last but….actually yes it is the least-likable one

Venom, by Fiona Paul.

This book really disappointed me. I mean it was supposed to be a murder mystery set in Renaissance Venice. Who wouldn’t like that? Well I didn’t just because the characters weren’t very logical, or for that matter decent people, and the romance was very iffy, borderline red-flag in my opinion. I explained it better here. Parts of it can be trigger warning I feel, so I really don’t want to recommend it. 

So in total I read 10 books this month! That is an insane amount of books! I also reviewed a lot of them too! I hope everyone had a good Holiday season, and have a Happy New Year!!!

On Following Legends | The Clockwork Scarab Book Review

Reading Colleen Gleason’s The Clockwork Scarab has me disappointed…

Disappointed… that it’s another series! Its steampunk, alternate London filled with glam and intrigue has me riveted and I’m disappointed that I have to wait - yet again - to find out more about the two dashing heroines! It is rare these days that I find myself reading a book straight through and yet that’s what I’ve just done, which goes to show that this novel is something else…

The story’s protagonists are Evaline Stoker, sister of the famous Bram, and Mina Holmes, niece of the famed Sherlock, who were both recruited into a secret society under the orders of the Princess Alexandra to solve a mystery plaguing the high society of London with only a clockwork scarab as a clue.

Your assistance is requested in a most pressing matter. If you are willing to follow in the footsteps of your family, please present yourself…

The main characters are well-rounded, equipped with all the faults and graces that come from having famous relatives. Evaline is a fierce vampire hunter - a twist I rather liked - whose failure at a mission left her traumatized at the sight of blood. Mina, on the other hand, is intelligent and knowledgeable in the  deductive arts, whose reclusive nature leaves her insecure at times. Both are strong female characters driven by their desire to prove their worthiness at an age where women are deemed inferior. Despite their initial rivalry, both comes to like the other and their journey there had endeared them. The three main male characters are perfect foils for the ladies - the impish and stalwart Pix, the refreshing Dylan and the nonsensical, brooding Inspector Grayling. They complement their ladies well, their interactions helping the plot along instead of just being asides.

The story may have been set in the Victorian era where a lady’s life revolves around social functions, but this novel revolves mostly on the mystery and the non-stop action, giving Evaline and Mina a chance to display their skills. It is narrated between the two heroines which gives deeper insight to their characters. The setting might be a bit complicated as the alternate London envisaged by Gleason involves additional street levels and items (e.g., Tufference’s Super-Strenght-Mop-Wringer) that are rather too much. Her descriptions are a tad more detailed which I find both eases the imagining of the characters and the setting, but lengthens the story.


I applaud Gleason’s tenacity in keeping up Pix’s Cockney accent - I thought she’d expose him sooner - and in maintaining a traditional Holmes-esque monologue for when Mina’s deducts. I like how she melded together Egyptian mythology, steampunk, Holmesian mystery and time travel (yes!) seamlessly in one.

The cover art is rather brilliant, showcasing a photograph of a real clockwork scarab held in the palms of lace-covered hands. The title script is slightly curled in elegant gold with the series name in simple font.

Overall, it is a charming and witty read, with characters you can get behind and an adventure that will whet your appetite for more! Look out more Stoker & Holmes novels!

YA Retellings: Classics

I made a list of fairy tale retellings, but needed a separate one for classics too:

Alice In Wonderland

Sherlock

The Wizard of Oz: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Robin Hood

The Nutcracker: Winterspell by Claire Legrand

A Tale of Two Cities: Tell the Wind and Fire

Jane Eyre: Jane by April Lindner

Romeo & Juliet

Hamlet

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Macbeth

Twelfth Night

The Tempest

Much Ado About Nothing: Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty by Jody Gehrman

Wuthering Heights: Catherine by April Lindner

The Scottish ballad of Tam Lin: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

Lois Lane (Superman is a classic ok): Fallout by Gwenda Bond

Tarzan: Wild by Alex Mallory

The Fall of the House of Usher: The Fall by Bethany Griffin

Moby Dick: Railsea by China Mieville

Persuasion: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

The Scarlet Pimpernel: Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

Pride & Prejudice

Hey everyone, due to other conflicts, Sylvia and I never managed to post our list of May recommendations!! So here’s a little impromptu collection of our recommendations for Steampunk!! 

If you want to know more about Steampunk or the recommendations, don’t hesitate to message me or grangerandherbooks

Happy Reading! 

2015 Book Genre Challenge

anonymous asked:

Hi :)) I'm looking for a pretty amazing book but I can't find any🙈 have you any recommendation?🙏 hahah

Well you have come to the right blog 😃
Here are some awesome books you should totally check out:
*starting first with series/trilogies*
~PercyJackson/Heroes of Olympus
~The Hunger games
~Divergent
~Harry Potter
~The Lunar Chronicles
~The Mara Dyer trilogy (which I’m currently reading and it’s fantastic)
*now the stand alone books*
~Like every John Green book ever (TFIOS, Paper towns, Looking for Alaska,etc.)
~Fangirl (one of my all time favorites)
~Eleanor and Park
~The strange and beautiful sorrows of Ava lavender
~Let’s get lost
And I don’t know if these books are part of a series or they just stand alone but
~The Clockwork Scarab (A Stoker and Holmes Novel)
~The SpiritGlass Charade(A stoker and Holmes Novel)

Fantasy Books That Are Out of This World (see what I did there?)

Most of these are YA, but a few are MG and after each book, I’ve put a brief summary. Because the fantasy genre has so many subgenres, I’m going to list these books out by subgenre. Some books may cross subgenres! 

Epic/high fantasy

  • The Iron King: Girl’s brother gets kidnapped so she takes a trip to Fairy Land and meets Emma Swan
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone: Don’t fall in love because you will cause the apocalypse 
  • Throne of Glass: Beautiful cinnamon roll prince gets boss bitch assassin out of slavery so she can compete against other criminals for her freedom
  • The Young Elites: Marie Lu writes about a crazy ass anti-heroine with superpowers
  • Graceling: Heterochromatic people have superpowers 

Urban Fantasy

  • My Soul To Take: A look inside the mind of Lydia Martin. Also, people are dying left and right, which puts a damper on everyone’s weekend plans
  • Vampire Academy: Half-vampire has to protect nice, full-vampires from evil full-vampires
  • Bloodlines: Prejudiced human has to babysit vampires and learns that #NotAllVampires are evil 
  • Firespell: The new girl in town joins a magical cult 
  • Arcadia Awakens: Shape-shifters and the mafia
  • Ruby Red: Girl has a time traveling gene
  • Half Blood: It’s basically Vampire Academy with gods and goddesses instead of vampires
  • City of Bones: Yer a demon hunter, Clary
  • Obsidian: True Story - My Neighbor is a Hot Alien
  • The Iron Trial (MG): Magical boy doesn’t want to be the Chosen One or go to not-Hogwarts 
  • White Hot Kiss: Demon/gargoyle girl falls for a hot demon while trying to stop the apocalypse
  • Boys That Bite: That awkward moment when the idiot vampire turns the wrong twin
  • Sketchy: Recovering drug addict starts to draw people’s thoughts. That’s not a typical withdrawal symptom. 
  • Wildefire: In the land of gods and monsters, I was a Polynesian volcano goddess 
  • The Lightning Thief (MG): Waterbending son of Poseidon saves the world (with help from his homies)

Historical Fantasy

“The Clockwork Scarab” – Colleen Gleason – Review by Mary

*NO SPOILERS*

So, this is the first steampunk book I’ve read and amazingly, I still don’t know exactly what that is.  Also, the name Holmes was the solemn reason I picked this up.

Still, the book was great.  His greatness relying on the fact it had everything. It had great females leads in from the nineteenth century, one extremely smart niece of Sherlock Holmes and one bad-ass vampire hunter sister of Bram Stoker. It had Egyptian mythology, which, fine, not my favorite, but very interesting. It had something I cannot say because it kind of a spoiler. It had feminism (they didn’t call it that but you know it is). It had hot guys. You get it, it had everything. Well, except maybe for a character development. Apart from the relationship between the two girls, you don’t see much of an evolution.

I don’t want to get to the story itself, because this is sort of a mistery, so going into it blindly is probably the best option. You just really need to know that these two girls work together and the kick ass.

I am really looking forward to the next one and I do hope I get to know each character better, because they just seem so interesting. If this sounds interesting, you should definitely pick it up.  

Xoxo,

Mary

2

Wednesday

Tried to plan out some meals for next week but was inspired by nothing…😧 Hopefully I will find some interesting recipes on my search later tonight.

2 miles today on my walk. 👍😊 And the weather was, once again, lovely. Unfortunately it’s not going to last 😣 Apparently its going to be in the 90s and raining next week. 😑😦😣

Currently reading The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason. Started it over a month ago and only got a few chapters in 😅 It’s pretty fricken good so far. It’s just that lately I’ve found it hard to settle down to read. I can only read a few chapters before I’m… not bored but just… IDK! But I’m determined to read everyday, even if it is just a few chapters.

Song of the Day

▪ A Few Years Later - Block B ▪

Song of the past 4 days actually 😅