THE SUNKEN – Gauge Wars Book #1 by S.C Green #Steampunk #Bookreview #Amreading @steffmetal

The SunkenThe Sunken by S.C. Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Sunken is Book #1 in The Gauge Wars series of SteamPunk books. The setting is Industrial London in the 1800’s, but set in an alternative reality. King George III is on the throne, but dubbed a mad man and “The Vampire King”. There is great steam invention rivalry between Robert Stephenson and Isambard Brunel.

Christian Religion has been replaced by engineering sects, with followers of as many different leaders as world religion has today. The highest position held by the Messiah of the Church of the Great Conductor and people are encouraged to attend worship in the style of engineering lectures.

A Royal Society exists to police the engineers and hand out punishment where needed. A work force of “Stokers” fuel the city, treated as “dirty folk” they were lured away from their swamp lands by the need for engine stokers.

School friends, Isambard, James Holman and Nicholas Thorne, meet once more and become embroiled in the King’s new scheme to protect London from the marauding Swamp Dragons, however they soon learn of a more sinister reason behind the King’s urgency to build such a structure.

This is a big book at over 500 pages long, but it is split into three very readable parts. Part two cleverly gives all the background to the current situation and part three builds the tension to a compelling read and leads the way to book 2# in the series. I would recommend this to fans of Steampunk, and those who like the industrial era of England who are open minded to an alternative fantasy underlined story arc.

Find a copy here from Amazon US or Amazon UK

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT JASPER by @tonyriches #HistFic #Tudors

Today’s team review is from Alison, she blogs here http://alisonwilliamswriting.wordpress.com/

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Alison has been reading Jasper by Tony Riches

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Jasper – Book Two of the Tudor Trilogy by Tony Riches

England 1461: The young King Edward of York has taken the country by force from King Henry VI of Lancaster. Sir Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke, flees the massacre of his Welsh army at the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross and plans a rebellion to return his half-brother King Henry to the throne.  When King Henry is imprisoned by Edward in the Tower of London and murdered, Jasper escapes to Brittany with his young nephew, Henry Tudor. Then after the sudden death of King Edward and the mysterious disappearance of his sons, a new king, Edward’s brother Richard III takes the English Throne. With nothing but his wits and charm, Jasper sees his chance to make young Henry Tudor king with a daring and reckless invasion of England.  Set in the often brutal world of fifteenth century England, Wales, Scotland, France, Burgundy and Brittany, during the Wars of the Roses, this fast-paced story is one of courage and adventure, love and belief in the destiny of the Tudors. 

I love well-written fiction that’s based on actual historical events and people. Bringing these characters to life in an interesting and entertaining way while still maintaining historical accuracy is a difficult balance, but Tony Riches does this brilliantly. It’s no mean feat to research as thoroughly as Riches obviously has for this book, and then to turn that research into a gripping and engaging tale. The past is really brought to life.

I very much enjoyed the first in this trilogy, so was really looking forward to this novel. It doesn’t disappoint. The characterisation works really well, the writing is skilful and, for the most part, technically flawless (a few issues with tense at times, but nothing that really spoiled the reading experience), and the passion the author has for history comes across in the way that history is portrayed.

My only issue was that, as I don’t know a great deal about this period, I was sometimes a bit confused as to who was who and what their relationships to each other were. To be honest though, I’m not really sure what Riches could do to make this clearer, and possibly in a book that covers so much intrigue and differing alliances and allegiances, this is just how it has to be. These were complicated times, and Riches can’t change history! He does a very good job of writing it though.

Four out of five stars

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

 

Wednesday Wing – Self-Publishing Part 2 by @AlisonW_Editor #wwwblogs #amwriting

Here on Wednesday Wing we try to pass on useful information for readers and writers.

Rosie's Notebook

Today Alison Williams continues with more advice on Self-Publishing.

Alison Williams

Self-publishing – essential information

Contrary to popular opinion, self-publishing isn’t just a case of uploading your manuscript and spending the royalties. There are some technical and legal issues that you need to be aware of – issues that can have a real impact on royalties, marketing and sales.

ISBN

An ISBN is the International Standard Book Number. It’s a ten (pre-2007) or thirteen (post-2007) digit number that identifies a particular book. The ISBN is used by publishers, booksellers, libraries, internet retailers and others in the supply chain for ordering, listing, sales records and stock control. You do not need an ISBN to publish an eBook through Amazon’s KDP. When you upload your book, it will be assigned a unique ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number). If you publish a paperback version of your book through CreateSpace, you can buy an ISBN that you can use for any distributor, or you can use a free ISBN.

If you publish through Smashwords, they will assign a free ISBN as long as your manuscript meets the standards required to be included in its Premium Catalogue – details here. Although you can technically publish without one, an ISBN means Smashwords can distribute to more retailers.

Front and back matter

When you’ve finally finished your book, it’s natural to want to thank everyone who’s been involved, to dedicate the work to someone special and to tell the readers something about yourself. However, to be brutally honest, most readers won’t really care about this – they will want to get on and read the story. So if you’ve included information about your website, details of where to buy other books etc. in the front matter, the chances are the reader won’t look at these details. It’s far better to include your social media links, website details, information about other books etc. at the back. This means that if someone has read and liked your book and wants to know more about you and your publications, they will then have the opportunity to straight away find out more information. If you’re publishing an eBook, add links to everywhere a reader can find you and connect with you.

Add a note at the back asking readers to leave a review on Amazon etc. if they have enjoyed the book. If you decide to also publish through Smashwords, then don’t ask readers to review on Amazon in the back pages of what you upload to their site, or mention that any future books are available through anywhere other than Smashwords, as this will prevent you being included in their premium catalogue.

DRM

When you publish an eBook, you can choose to have the content protected by DRM (Digital Rights Management). It’s simply a case of checking a box when you publish. The purpose is to inhibit unauthorised copying or access to your book – pirating. Once you choose to have DRM for a publication, you are stuck with it, you can’t ‘un-choose’ it. While you are protected from potential pirating, selecting DRM means a reader who buys the eBook can’t then share it with other readers and they can’t transfer it to another device. It also means that the reader, the owner of your book, can only access it on the device they bought it for. This puts some people off buying books that have DRM.

It is a contentious issue and the decision is yours. My personal feeling is that I borrow paperbacks from other people all the time and pass on books I love to other people to enjoy. I would be flattered if a reader liked my book so much that they wanted to share it with someone else. That someone might buy my next book.

Tax (for non US authors)

If you publish with KDP, CreateSpace   or Smashwords, there are tax issues to bear in mind as you will be technically earning money from an overseas country. This used to cause a bit of a headache but it’s much simpler now. All the information you need is here.

 

You can find lots and lots more information about all these issues on both the KDP and Smashwords sites.

Here are links to all our Wednesday Wing Posts http://wp.me/P2Eu3u-7Lw

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT ACROSS GREAT DIVIDES by Monique Roy @MonWriter1 #WW2

Today’s Team Review is from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Terry has been reading Across Great Divides by Monique Roy

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Across Great Divides by Monique Roy

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber’s Review Team

This is the story of Eva, a Jew living in Berlin, and her family. It starts in 1932/3, when Hitler first came to power, and moves on to the family’s escape to Antwerp, then to Rio, and their next move to South Africa.

It starts off well, describing teenage Eva’s life before the Nazis, and her initial fear of anti-semitism. However, it soon becomes more like a quite basic history book or newspaper article, told mostly from the point of view of a narrator, rather than the characters. With four years of enchroaching Nazi terrorism rushed through in a small percentage of the book, I didn’t get a sense of the build up of fear. We are told that Eva’s brother Max is the most fearful of the Nazis, and her father, Oskar holds the optimistic view that it will all blow over, but I felt that the family were used as occasional illustrations for what was happening, rather than them being the subject of the story. I imagine most people who choose to read the book will already know what happened during the 1930s and 1940s in Europe, and are looking for characters to become involved with, atmosphere and emotion, rather than factual information.

There are some interesting sections in the novel, such as information about the diamond trade in Antwerp and Eva’s friend Trudy’s experience working on the side of the Nazis in Ravensbruck, but with the huge subjects of the persecution of the Jews, daring escape in Nazi dominated Europe, and apartheid in South Africa, I felt it was far too short a novel; it’s only 223 Kindle pages long and I read it in an afternoon.

On the whole, the book was enjoyable enough to read (if ‘enjoyable’ is the right term, without trivialising the subject matter), but there was no time to become emotionally attached to the characters. It’s a terrific story, and I am aware that much of it is taken from real life; the author has all the material there, but just needs to work on the actual craft of storytelling.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT BACK HOME by Tom Williams @TomCW99 #TuesdayBookBlog #HistFic

Today’s Team Review is from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

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Terry has been reading Back Home by Tom Williams

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BACK HOME by Tom Williams

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber’s Review Team

I loved this book. Although the third part of a trilogy, it is a complete stand-alone (I haven’t read the other parts), with a two page preface that gives exactly the right information about what has happened before; this is so well written that I couldn’t wait to get cracking on the main story.

Back Home is an excellent piece of intricately researched historical fiction, set in the mid-19th century, when affluent, middle class John Williamson returns home from thirty years in Borneo and India to find England a place that has gone through much change. Circumstances take him to London, where he becomes involved with the murky, criminal side of life in order to rescue a friend from danger—and because he is being blackmailed.

I enjoyed every word of this novel. It’s so cleverly written, with low-key humour in parts, the research used subtly and unobtrusively. Williamson’s new life centres around an underground industry; the detail about this is fascinating, as are the eye-opening accounts of life in early Victorian slums. That aside, I loved reading about his impressions of this new London, his observations about the sociological changes and patterns, and the people he meets. Even the mundane domestic detail held my attention a hundred per cent.

I shall be reading the previous book, Cawnpore, very soon, and highly recommend this novel to all lovers of intelligent historical fiction. Really impressed!

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT BREADLINE by Alain Dizerens

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Terry has been reading Breadline by Alain Dizerens

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Breadline by Alain Dizerens

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber’s Review Team

Hmm – a strange one! It’s not very long, probably novelette or short novella length, a memoir of the jobs taken on by the author, from experience of Vietnam, to a distributor for washing powder samples, a nightwatchman, and time on a kibbutz.

The whole presentation is quite ‘experimental’, a series of memory snapshots with little to link them together. It needs editing, for sure, and the style is eccentric, but it’s not without charm. I liked some parts, like the author’s take on pretentious art critics, while working as a caretaker at a Picasso exhibition, and of the banal attitude of the masses who passed by the works of art as if they were wallpaper or worse, and I very much liked his observation about how, when returning from Vietnam, even things like being able to switch on a light or sit in a comfortable chair felt like luxuries, but how quickly one got used to them, and began to complain about stuff that didn’t matter, again…

This books reminded me of the early days of self-publishing on Kindle, before writers were urged to make their books conform to professional standards, and to be aware of their market; I imagine that with some re-drafting, more detail and a more enticing cover this would appeal to the reader who seeks the unconventional.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT THE OWL GODDESS by @JennyTwist1 #Mythology #SundayBlogShare

Today’s Team Review is from Jessie, she blogs at http://behindthewillows.com

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Jessie has been reading The Owl Goddess by Jenny Twist

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You know me, I hate to reveal too much about a book in a review. I promise, no big spoilers but I’ve got to tell you something this time…

… the owl goddess, her name is Athena and she lives on a spaceship.

Talk about food for thought!

Let’s just say that when I start out a book and “regular” people are named Zeus and Athena, Artemis and Aphrodite, there are expectations and ideas that pop into my head. When those “regular” people met some other mostly regular but more stone-age-ish other people and they have names like Atlas and Prometheus and Pandora… More ideas occur.

As it turns out, I meet a character named Pandora, I just hold my breath the whole time waiting for the you-know-what to hit the fan, because you know it has to… it’s Pandora! You don’t even need any extra foreshadowing when you have a name like that!

For the first part of the book I wasn’t a very good reader. Instead of just putting my faith in the story and letting it flow, I couldn’t stop wondering what the author was up to and guessing how what I knew about those names was going to fit in.

Then there was a turning point about halfway through the book. Suddenly both the characters and I had a grasp on what was going on and I finally settled in and enjoyed the unfolding of the tale.

Would I recommend it? The author did a really nice job crafting her story around Greek mythology yet writing something totally new. I think this will not only be a hit with young adults who already know and love Greek mythology but also an excellent way to introduce kids, who would rather read about space travel than where olive trees came from, to the classic tales.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

HAIL MARY by @cmalbrecht FUN, short #Contemporary read, a tale of hell raising Grandmas

Albrecht_HailMary1jpgHail Mary is a fun contemporary quick read. It revolves around Cray Drummond. The tale really begins a little way into the book when Cray is fired from his job as an accountant, he returns home to more sad new, the death of his father “Bulldog Drummond” a retired police officer.
Doing the right thing, Cray and his wife offer Cray’s mother, sixty eight year old Mary, a room in their home for a few days, so she can be with close family at this sad time. Mary invites her old friends Gracie  and Maude to the funeral, but neither can make it on time. Instead Gracie arrives a day late and it’s from this point that the book really takes off. Mary and Gracie head off for a night out at the local Bingo rooms, they sneak in liquor and get invited to an illegal casino out back, where they end up in a police raid.
Next day they “borrow” Cray’s car and swing by to pick up Maude, their long-time friend and Marijuana seller. Living out the adage “you’re only as old as you feel” they set off running a real riot, the three leave debris and destruction in their wake as they take on leather clad bikers, an aeroplane and a dangerous storm.
I won’t tell you more, as it will spoil your read, but the characters were great fun, even the family dog called Rowlf whose bit part consisted mainly of him sleeping.
I’ve read several books by this author and this is his best work yet. My only complaint, was the slow start, it was very well written, just too slow for me.
4*.
Soon to be released

Paper ISBN 978-1-61386-369-5
e-book ISBN 978-1-61386-370-1

 

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Across Great Divides by Monique Roy @MonWriter1 #WW2

Today’s Team Review is from Alastair, he blogs at https://northpointsocial.wordpress.com/

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Alastair has been reading Across Great Divides by Monique Roy

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Across Great Divides

By Monique Roy

`Dramatic family saga, set against the backdrop of Nazi Germany and WWII’

Star Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Right from the start you get a real sense of time and place in this book, which opens just as Hitler and the Nazis have come to power in Germany during the 1930s. Monique builds up the pace steadily, introducing the reader to Oskar, a diamond cutter and dealer, his wife Helene, plus his twin daughters Eva and Inge, and their brother Max. From the first few chapters you can feel the foreboding, as the Nazis gradually tighten their grip on political power and then Hitler’s long term plans for the Jews of Europe, are set in horrible, tragic motion.

I have to say that the first half of this book is gripping, beautifully paced and it draws the reader into the era of pre-war Germany extremely well. The historical details are all there, the dialogue rings true and even the descriptions of diamond grading, washing and cutting are spot on – I know, as I run a jewellers shop. Monique is a writer who paints a vivid, realistic world from the pages of the past and that takes skill and imagination, as well as research.

As the book unfolds, the awful sense of doom never leaves the reader’s mind. We all know – or should – what happened to the Jews in Europe as war broke out in September 1939, and then the German army swept across Belgium, France, Norway and many other countries in 1940-41.

The flight from Berlin to Antwerp, then from ruined, war-torn Belgium to France, Spain, Portugal and eventually Rio-de-Janeiro is a roller-coaster of emotions – you hold your breath with each page as you wonder if each member of Oskar’s family will survive. There’s also a blossoming love story, for both Eva and Inge, as an underground network of Jews, and decent people willing to assist, help them escape the concentration camps being constructed across Eastern Europe from `42 onwards.

For me, the book loses a little of its edge and excitement in the second half, but the conclusion to this historical family saga is expertly handled, and any reader who loves books like The Winds of War, Schindler’s List, or The Diary of Anne Frank, will love this epic tale of survival, family bonds, true love and forgiveness.

Alastair w

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

#FridayBookShare THE SUNKEN by S.C Green @steffmetal @ShelleyWilson72 #Steampunk #amreading

I’m joining in with the NEW #FridayBookShare meme created by Shelley Wilson

07 _ 10 _ 2014 (2)

 

#FridayBookShare

With the weekend approaching it’s the perfect time to seek out new books to read, Shelley has created a Friday Book Share game to help search for that ideal read.

Anyone can have a go – all you need to do is answer the following questions based on the book you are currently reading/finished reading this week and use the hashtag #FridayBookShare

First line of the book.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb.

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Your favourite line/scene.

I’m currently half way through THE SUNKEN book 1 of the Gauge Wars – Engine Ward by S.C Green

First Line; 1820 “This beam engine pumps water from the Thames directly into those reservoirs and the water tower.”

Recruit Fans with the Blurb:

In the heart of London lies the Engine Ward, a district forged in coal and steam, where the great Engineering Sects vie for ultimate control of the country. For many, the Ward is a forbidding, desolate place, but for Nicholas Thorne, the Ward is a refuge. He has returned to London under a cloud of shadow to work for his childhood friend, the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Deep in the Ward’s bowels, Nicholas can finally escape his strange affliction – the thoughts of animals that crowd his head. But seeing Brunel interact with his mechanical creations, Nicholas is increasingly concerned that his friend may be succumbing to the allure of his growing power. That power isn’t easily cast aside, and the people of London need Brunel to protect the streets from the prehistoric monsters that roam the city. King George III has approved Brunel’s ambitious plan to erect a Wall that would shut out the swamp dragons and protect the city. But in secret, the King cultivates an army of Sunken: men twisted into flesh-eating monsters by a thirst for blood and lead. Only Nicholas and Brunel suspect that something is wrong, that the Wall might play into a more sinister purpose–to keep the people of London trapped inside.

Introduce the Main Character in only 3 words; Nicholas Thorne =  Mysterious, lonely, curious.

Book Cover: 23224207

Amazon US or Amazon UK

Audience Appeal: For those who enjoy #Steampunk, Dark Mysteries and Georgian/ Victorian #HistFic with a fantasy twist.

Favourite line or scene: A park scene, where families have gone to see caged animals kept cruelly on display for the public, a young boy who can hear the thoughts of the animals, helps them escape to freedom.

If you want to join in, then answer the F.R.I.D.A.Y questions and use the Friday Book Share meme. Tag Shelley (@ShelleyWilson72) and myself (@rosieamber1) in so we can read what you have added too.