Tag Archives: steampunk

Review! York by Laura Ruby

30 Oct

York: The Shadow Cipher
By Laura Ruby
496 pages – ages 9+
Published by Walden Pond Press on May 16, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- “It was 1798 when the Morningstarr twins arrived in New York with a vision for a magnificent city: towering skyscrapers, dazzling machines, and winding train lines, all running on technology no one had ever seen before. Fifty-seven years later, the enigmatic architects disappeared, leaving behind for the people of New York the Old York Cipher—a puzzle laid into the shining city they constructed, at the end of which was promised a treasure beyond all imagining. By the present day, however, the puzzle has never been solved, and the greatest mystery of the modern world is little more than a tourist attraction.

Tess and Theo Biedermann and their friend Jaime Cruz live in a Morningstarr apartment—until a real estate developer announces that the city has agreed to sell him the five remaining Morningstarr buildings. Their likely destruction means the end of a dream long held by the people of New York. And if Tess, Theo, and Jaime want to save their home, they have to prove that the Old York Cipher is real. Which means they have to solve it.”

What I Thought- I have a confession to make – at first, I didn’t want to read this book. I think when I got the review request and read the summary, I thought, same old – same old… another 39  Clues want to be. Wow- was I wrong.  Ruby knocks this one out of the park with excellent story-telling and an imaginative plot. I really enjoyed exploring the twists and turns of the novel and the differences between this world and our world. One thing I like is the fact that the Morningstarrs were so advanced for their time that no one was able to even come close to their proficiency and skill – so society was unable to replicate them, and progressed to a semblance of our modern day. All of the little details are so fun to read about, and you get invested in the awesome steampunk society and the idea of the Old York Cipher. Which leads to another point – the book includes information about ciphers and codes, and I found all of that enlightening to read about and also not just a re-tread of stories I already love. The book is told in chapters from each of the three children’s perspectives, with a few added bits from earlier days of New York. Each child has a distinct voice and personality, and it is a complete joy to see all three of them working and growing together. I definitely recommend this book, and I cannot wait to get my hands on book two! This one is getting added to my Erik’s Favs list!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! The Shanghai Incident by Bryan Methods

18 Sep

The Shanghai Incident
Series: Master Diplexito and Mr. Scant 2 (#1)
By Bryan Methods
248 pages – ages 9+
Will be published by Carolrhoda Books on October 1, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- “The pursuit of an international crime syndicate sends British vigilante butler Mr. Scant and his protégé Oliver Diplexito on a globe-hopping trip. After defeating a sinister secret society in Oliver’s home country of England, the unlikely pair has arrived in Paris, searching for Mr. Scant’s missing niece. What they discover are hints of a conspiracy that leads them all the way to Shanghai, China. Each clue they find only leads to more questions. That is, until Mr. Scant, Oliver, and their allies realize they’re the only hope of stopping a plot against China’s child emperor.”

What I Thought- I really liked the first book in the series, and Methods’ second book most definitely lives up to the precedent set with his debut. I love how it is all set in a believable time, where the history seems to be fairly accurate, just fitting more into the steampunk theme – but also quite subtly. The book has a lot of action, and I was so caught up in the thrill of it all that I read the book in its entirety in the span of a few hours (maybe five or six). Methods has a way of writing that showcases the thoughts of a clever young boy who understands that he has much to learn. I also like how all of the characters stay true to who they were established as being in the first book. I find that sometimes a debut author will change a personality drastically to show growth in their second book, but Methods keeps it simple  – very small changes that are noticed and appreciated by the reader. As a side note, the cover is phenomenal, just as the first – and I especially like the fabulous old-time feel – perfect for the book! This book is a great sequel, and I cannot wait to read the third book in the series!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! Fires of Invention by J. Scott Savage

26 Jan

mysteryinventFires of Invention

Series: Mysteries of Cove #1

By J. Scott Savage

288 pages – ages 9+

Published by Shadow Mountain Publishing on September 29, 2015

Synopsis- In the underground city of Cove, the worst insult you can call someone is an inventor. It’s the worst of the cuss words. Trenton Coleman was shocked and mostly insulted when, after hooking up two approved devices (power generator+swing=motorized swing), and the power goes out in the city, he is blamed for it and *gasp* called an inventor. The math didn’t add up for how the swing shut off the power, and sure enough – there had been a clog in one of the mine’s power grinders. Only Trenton could fit in there, so he goes in, and finds… a strange device… that isn’t made from an approved metal! And then Trenton starts to find out that Cove isn’t all that it says it is…

What I Thought- This is probably the best steampunk-ish/dystopian book I’ve read in a while and it’s an MG book so it will appeal to a wide range of ages. Trenton is a great main character who you really connect with – he doesn’t mean to cause trouble (at least, not at first), he is just naturally adept at mechanics and I really enjoyed his character. Kallista, his friend, and the daughter of a deceased inventor, is an interesting person who you want to get to know more about. Mr. Savage has written an entertaining and engaging book (so much so I got into trouble several times for reading the book when I should have been doing something else!). I found it really cool that at the beginning of each chapter in the heading, they show a “penciled” dragon blueprint, and with each chapter, more is completed. I enjoyed how Mr. Savage has created a dystopian world and put the city underground. The reasoning behind it rings true and makes sense, making the plot all the more entertaining.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! A Riddle in Ruby by Kent Davis

29 Nov

riddleA Riddle in Ruby

By Kent Davis

432 pages – ages 8+

Published by Greenwillow Books on September 22, 2015

Synopsis- Ruby Teach is a thief [in training]. Her tutor is a master of disguise. Her father is a pirate. They all live [part-time] on a ship with her father’s crew, giving rides to rich people while transporting cargo. (They are fake, “for show” pirates.) But when young Lord Athen Boyle comes aboard, he isn’t looking for a good time. He’s looking for a fast ship. At sea, though, they realize that they aren’t fast enough when a royal ship overtakes them. Ruby, Lord Athen, and his serving-boy are hidden in a room during the encounter.

Ruby’s father gets taken aboard the ship, and it all seems to be Lord Athen’s fault. That seems fair to Ruby. But as a mysterious plot unfolds, and more events occur, it seems to point to Ruby at the center…

What I Thought- I really like the idea of this book. It seems to take place in the 1700’s (but maybe later?), because there are still the thirteen colonies of America (under British Rule). What’s different though, is the fact that it is a heavily steampunk-influenced society, that has a slight use of science spiced with magic in it. It’s really interesting. Needless to say, I was enthralled by this book. Ruby is a spirited main character that keeps you on your toes. Athen Boyle is an intriguing character also. I enjoyed the cast of characters in the book, each with a memorable personalities. I like the world that Mr. Davis has created. I cannot wait for book two, as there should be second one coming (judging by the cliffhanger).

I give this book five out of five bookworms.fivebooks

Review! The Secret of King Triton’s Lair (The Expeditioners Book 2) by S.S. Taylor

28 Nov

exped2The Secret of King Triton’s Lair (The Expeditioners Book 2)

By S.S. Taylor

Illustrated by Katherine Roy

320 pages – ages 9+
Published by McSweeney’s McMullens on September 23, 2014

 

Synopsis- After their escapades in Drowned Man’s Canyon (see my review HERE), Kit, Zander, M.K. West (and Sukey) are back in another adventure! When Kit’s supposedly dead father gives him clues that lead to an island in the North Carribean, Kit finds the perfect excuse to go there – via an expedition request! After the Drowned Man’s Canyon fiasco, the Wests joined the Academy for the Exploratory Sciences (a school for expeditioners). The Academy has a yearly program that allows the students to make a request to go on an expedition of their choice. But when their rival at the Academy, Lazlo Nackley, steals their idea, he is one of the ones to get chosen, and becomes head of the operation. It all starts to go downhill when Lazlo’s evil, controlling father comes along as a chaperone (the nice teacher that is supervising them can’t come because he is seasick and wouldn’t have been able to help).  The Wests (and Sukey) know that they have a hard journey coming on, but there is much more they aren’t expecting.

What I liked- This was a marvelous sequel to the first book. It has all of the steampunk-y, futuristic-ness that I came to love in the first book. It explains some more about how the world got into its “current” state, with all of the dystopian-ness of it. The new adventure that the West’s go through was cool and exciting, and they really make use of their surrounding events perfectly. I think that they go to the Bermuda Triangle (although it is called something different, in this world-frame), and visit a mysterious island in it. The setting is a fascinating place, and plays an important part in the series. The characters get stuck on a deserted island, full of unknown animals, and the island isn’t charted as existing. Like the first book, the book jacket is reversible, and has a blueprint-y feel to them, as it shows a machine from the book. This is a great adventure story that a lot of kids will like. I really like this series, and I can’t wait for the next one to come out!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

The Merman and The Moon Forgotten by Kevin McGill

15 Apr

merman and the moon forgottenThe Merman and The Moon Forgotten

Series: Nikolas and Company: Episode #1

By Kevin McGill

Illustrated by Carlyle McCullough

233 pages (ebook reviewed) – ages 12+
Published Aero Studios on January 2, 2014

14-year-old Nick desperately wants to get off Earth (a dystopian/futuristic Earth). His parents are crazy, he sees injustice all around him and he feels drawn toward the moon, as if it’s his real home. Nick tries everything to run away and hop a ride to the moon even though life there is much less comfortable compared to his privileged life on Earth. And then there’s the voice in Nick’s head that keeps repeating the same warning message.

Yeri is a driver for the Fungman, Zedock and Josiah Stagecoach Company. He lives on the moon. Not the moon you see in Nick’s world, but the moon from tens of thousands of years ago, when the moon was tethered to the Earth through a magic force. The moon was packed with life, both human and other, and magic. Yeri was responsible for trying to save the lives of a group of Mermen (or Merrows as they are called) who inhabit the moon and walk on its surface in automaton legs.

These two worlds are destined to collide – only first Nick has to figure out how he’s going to explain to his parents that he blew up their shed, dismantled his dad’s Validate (some sort of futuristic vehicle) and set Hiker’s Canyon on fire.

First of all the book gets bonus points for an awesome cover. The story is really what is depicted on the cover – excitement – danger – steampunk meets Harry Potter meets Doctor Who. The story plot, characters and setting are so good, I can’t get it out of my mind.  The book is one where you literally have to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next. The steampunk (mixing of old and new technology and lifestyles) feel to the book was an extra for me. The alternate world Mr. McGill created is incredible! The story is totally unique and one that I found fascinating. There are a couple of creepy things that go on in the book (for example the government runs refugee camps where the people who live in them are actually owned by an organ donating company) that may not be appropriate for younger kids, but there is nothing graphic about it and there is no bad language. I’d rate it at a 12+ age level.

This book is so close to total and complete awesomeness – like Percy Jackson/Redwall awesomeness, but it made me mad too. I actually yelled at the book when it ended because it didn’t end in a cliff hanger, it ended in the middle of the story!  >:/  The reader (me) had no sense of completion. I know it’s the first book in the series, but in my opinion, it needed some kind of end. The beginning chapters were a bit confusing and they drug down the rest of the book a bit. I had to reread in a couple of places. After getting past them the rest of the book flowed easily. Mr. McGill’s writing style is a joy to read. His imagination is incredible. I actually went back and forth on giving this book 3 (good) or 4 (great) bookworms (mostly because I was mad at the ending), but I literally can’t keep the story out of my head. Any book that can do that gets the extra worm. I will be reading Episode 2!

Four out of five book worms for The Merman and The Moon Forgotten.fourbooks

 Check out the book’s trailer!

This Has Nothing to do with Books….but We Look Cool!!

31 Oct

Happy Halloween!

  ..In case you didn’t know, I’m the one on the left (Ha Ha)!

My sister and I are Steampunk kids for Halloween! What are you going to be?

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