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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Review of "Steamed" by Katie MacAlister


Ahhh Katie MacAlister, one of my favorite authors. And when she said she wanted to try a Steampunk novel, well... I said Alright, I'll try it to. And I did. And we'll just see how it goes, okay? Okay!

Disclaimer: I purchased this book on my own, no money nor any fun freebies were exchanged for a review. Or even un-fun freebies (whatever they may be).

From the back of the book: " Jack Fletcher's heart is about to get punked. Computer technician Jack Fletcher is no hero, despite his unwelcome reputation as one. In fact, he's just been the victim of bizarre circumstances. Like now. His sister happens to disturb one of his nanoelectrical system experiments, and suddenly they aren't where they're supposed to be. In fact, they're not sure where they are when...

...they wake up to find a woman with the reddest hair Jack has ever seen - and a gun. Octavia Pye is an Aerocorps captain with a whole lot of secrets, and she's not about to have her maiden voyage ruined by stowaways. But the sparks flying between her and Jack just may cause her airship to combust, and ignite a passion that will forever change the world as she knows it. "

First off, I'm totally in love with the tag line "Jack Fletcher's heart is about to get punked." It's perfect, and just sparks immediate interest. Along those lines, the cover is stunning. I'm usually more of a fan of non-illustrated covers, but this one is definitely an exception.

This was actually my first journey into steampunk, and I know well not to judge every style of novel by one example. However, I think my first glimpse at Steampunk wasn't a bad one. I can't see all steampunk novels being like this, since Jack starts out in our world, and is knocked into a different version of reality - one that is steampunk-y.

I could see a lot of the things I love about Katie MacAlister's stories in this book. There are character types you find in her other novels, with just enough spin on them that they don't get old. I liked Jack and Octavia both, but I felt like Jack had a bit too much of a backstory. The author made me feel like I had missed something, that Jack Fletcher had had novels previous to this, and that I had come in on the middle of a series. I always love it when characters had an interesting life, one that shaped them in amazing ways - but this seemed like just a bit too much for me. Octavia, on the other hand, seemed better, easier to understand. Yes, the reader is told she has many secrets, but it never gets to be too overwhelming, while Jack's past seems like too much information thrown at the reader at once.

But that wasn't too much of an issue. My main problem with the book was the switching of perspective. Chapter one started from Jack's perspective, and the second chapter switches to Octavia's perspective. It just feels a little jarring when you get used to seeing things through one character's eyes, then the next page moving on to the other person. And there were ways to help the reader realize whose thoughts we would be hearing for that chapter, but sometimes it wasn't enough.

All that said, I really did enjoy "Steamed" by Katie MacAlister. There are certain habits Katie MacAlister has that I love, and they showed up in this book. I really enjoyed the characters, the plot was interesting, and I thought the steampunk-y elements were well done. However, as I said, I am new to this genre. I think "Steamed" is a good stepping stone for non-steampunkers to break into the genre, if they wish.

That said, I'm giving "Steamed" by Katie MacAlister a FOUR out of FIVE. I did enjoy it, it was a quick, fun read, but as I said, the switching of perspective gave me pause a few times. As far as I remember, Katie MacAlister's earlier novels never had this issue, and it wasn't until her past few releases that's she's picked up this habit. I just wish there was a smoother way to transition between the two, if she decides to keep it up.

Happy reading!
~!~ Morning Glow

Monday, March 15, 2010

Review of "Back in Black" by Lori Foster


Ahh, here I am, back again with another review - "Back in Black" by Lori Foster. Disclaimer: This book was purchased for my by a family member. I was not given the book, nor money, in exchange for a review.

From the back cover: " Drew Black, president of the SBC fighting organization, is as controversial as they come. But this hotheaded entrepreneur is a perfect match for his popular sports club venture: uncompromising and extreme. Maybe too extreme. With a reputation for saying what he thinks, Drew's been causing a lot of friction. That's why someone's been called in to clean up his image - before he does any permenant damage.

The lucky lady is Gillian Noode, a PR expert who has smoothed out the rough edges on many a man. But Drew is rougher than anyone she's ever met, and he refuses to change for any woman, for any reason. To make matters more complicated, Gillian's starting to like him raw. Now opposites aren't simply attracting - they're igniting. But in the rising heat, who will end up on top? "

Well, as a whole, I really liked this book. But I did have a few issues - the biggest of which is that the back of this book? Totally doesn't do it justice. There's actually two couples highlighted in this book, Drew and Gillian of course, but also Brett and Audrey. And in fact, I think they're story is just as important, or maybe I just like them better. Alright, I'll admit it, I wanted Brett. But I really liked Drew and Gillian too.

Actually, that brings me to the second thing I didn't like - I think Gillian and Drew moved a little too fast. It was their second or third meeting, and they had sex. It just seemed a little too.. whirlwind for me. This, however, could be a personal taste sort of thing.

Those really are the only things I didn't like about this book. I loved the characterization, and I really loved the antagonist. I think the ultimate baddie of the situation was amazingly done, and such a complex character. I thought all the characters were passionate about their chosen profession, and they just felt genuine. I'm actually rather interested in MMA fighting after reading this. I always thought that was one of the signs of a good book, when it makes you interested in not only the book, but anything connected to it.

This is actually the first book I've ever read by Lori Foster. I have read a short story in an anthology I picked up years ago, but that was barely a taste. So using "Back in Black" as my main example, I'd have to say I'm definitely a fan. I hope to be able to check out other books soon - and actually, I think I have an anthology ( "Tails of Love" ) featuring Lori Foster and a few other familiar authors in my To Be Read pile.

I am going to give "Back in Black" by Lori Foster a FOUR POINT FIVE out of FIVE. I really, really enjoyed it, and I can't wait to find and read more by this author in the future, especially more of this grouping of books. I don't think it's really a series, though it seems there are recurring characters in each.

Happy Reading, and check out "Back in Black," or anything else by Lori Foster!
~!~ Morning Glow