THE BLOODLESS ASSASSIN by @CelineJeanjean #YA #Fantasy #Steampunk #BookReview

The Bloodless Assassin (The Viper and the Urchin, #1)The Bloodless Assassin by Celine Jeanjean
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Bloodless Assassin is book #1 in The Viper and The Urchin series and has been re-launched under its new title. I felt this book was a mix of fantasy and steampunk.

The Viper is Damsport’s deadliest assassin, but he also a poet, a writer and an alchemist. However he has a serious flaw, he can’t stand the sight or smell of blood, which is why his chosen weapon is poison.

Rory is a teenage girl, a street urchin and thief. For two years she has been saving all her money to pay to be Master Xian’s pupil. Inspired by the meeting of a scarred female warrior she wants to learn the art of sword-fighting to take her away from life on the streets and enable her to protect herself and in time become, perhaps, a hero.

When Rory loses her savings, she must find her own luck. She chances upon a street brawl and helps save a man who might just teach her how to swordfight if she can just blackmail him. The gentleman she saves is Longinus aka The Viper.

However Rory’s training becomes interrupted by a copy cat murderer who is impersonating The Viper. Just how far will someone go to make The Viper take the blame for the murder of a very important dignitary? Can Rory and The Viper get over their differences in time to solve the puzzle?

There are some great characters and dialogue in this book, the steampunk machines are lightly sprinkled with a higher emphasis on the fantasy world setting. Book #2 in the series is already available to readers.

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AUTOMATIC WOMAN by Nathan Yocum @CuriosityQuills #BookReview #Steampunk

Automatic WomanAutomatic Woman by Nathan Yocum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Automatic Women is a Steampunk novel set in London in 1888. Jacob Fellows is a thief catcher and works for The Bow Street Firm, which I believe is the author’s take on the original Bow Street runners, the first professional policemen of London.

Known as “Jolly” Fellows, he is called to a theft as a penny theatre by Dr Saxon. Saxon has a set of automated dancing dolls who perform to the music of Swan Lake, but his leading lady, The Swan Princess, has been stolen. Jolly knows little about automated figures and leans on his informers for a name where he can go to begin his enquiries. Jolly meets eccentric Frenchman Jacques Nouveau, who himself owns several life-like automatons. He knows of Saxon and admires the magical qualities of his figures, especially The Swan Princess.

Returning to Saxon’s theatre, Jolly finds Saxon being crushed to death by the Swan Princess, a graveyard of other automated figures and then he is attacked and must fight to save his own life. He is now the number one suspect in a murder case, is forbidden to return to his workplace and has fourteen days to prove himself innocent. The one piece of evidence which might save him is locked in storage back at The Firm.

An intriguing plot follows as someone wants Jolly dead and he becomes a pawn in the long standing game between too theorist rivals of the time. There were some great characters; Conan Doyle, Darwin and Bramstoker mixed with historical components of the era. For me the ending left more questions than answers and the copy I read had a good dozen minor editing errors which just needed tweaking.

This review is based on a free copy of the book given to me by the author via Curiosity Quills.

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A CURSE OF ASH & IRON BY @cnorrisauthor @CuriosityQuills #BookReview #Steampunk #wwwblogs

A Curse of Ash and IronA Curse of Ash and Iron by Christine Norris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Curse Of Ash and Iron is a steampunk tale set in the late 1800’s Philadelphia in an era of mass industrial revolution. The book evolves around the Eleanor Banneker and Benjamin Grimm. Childhood friends pulled apart by dramatic family events and then reunited by chance seven years later.

Aged 17 Ben now works as stage crew in a theatre, Ellie has become the victim of her wicked stepmother in a Cinderella style life. However there is a sinister twist as Ellie believes she and her father are under a curse. Desperate for help Ellie turns to Ben.

At the Centennial Exposition the pair are mesmerised by mechanical inventions, but they also meet a fortune-teller who knows more about Ellie than is possible without the sight. She gives Ellie clues about breaking the curse and then vanishes. Ellie and Ben set out to gather items needed, even having a wild adventure in a steam powered “motorcar”, but the curse must be broken before midnight on New Year’s Eve.

A mystery person arranges for Ellie to go to the New Year’s Assembly Ball in true Fairy-Godmother style, with a race against time to break the curse.

This is my first Steampunk read, so I’ve nothing to compare it with, certainly there were mechanical attractions, magic and mystery, did the Cinderella tale add or detract from the genre? I’m not yet sure.

This review is based on a free copy of the book given to me by the author via Curiosity Quills.

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Cinderella Twist? #FridayFiveChallenge #Steampunk would you BUY or PASS?

This fun feature is a mini workshop. We look at book covers just from their thumbnail pictures at online selling book sites and make quick fire buying decisions. We look from a READER’S Point of View and this exercise is very EYE OPENING.

From the book cover we will browse the book description, price and some of the reviews BUT we only have 5 MINUTES.


Join in and see where it leads.

Grab a coffee and spend 5 Minutes on this exercise.

This week I’ve been looking at STEAMPUNK a genre I’ve not read, but one I want to stretch my reading with.

The Curse Of Ash & Iron by Christine Norris

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Book rescription

Benjamin Grimm knows the theater is much like real life. In 1876 Philadelphia, people play their parts, hiding behind the illusion of their lives, and never revealing their secrets.

When he reunites with his childhood friend Eleanor Banneker, he is delighted. His delight turns to dismay when he discovers she has been under a spell for the past 7 years, being forced to live as a servant in her own home, and he realizes how sinister some secrets can be.

She asks for his help, and he can’t refuse. Even if he doesn’t believe in ‘real’ magic, he can’t abandon her.

Ellie has spent the long years since her mother’s death under the watchful and unforgiving eye of her stepmother. Bewitched and hidden in plain sight, it seems no one can help Ellie escape. Not even her own father, who is under a spell of his own. When she sees Ben one evening, it seems he is immune to the magic that binds her, and her hope is rekindled along with her friendship.

But time is running short. If they do not find a way to break the spell before midnight on New Year’s Eve, then both Ellie and her father will be bound forever.

Price; £3.99 kindle UK or $4.99 Kindle US

Number of reviews; 2 Amazon UK and 24 Amazon US

Published May 2015

Would I BUY or PASS?…….BUY


This genre is completely new to me so I have little to compare it will, I like the book cover, cogs and the era of yesteryear are part and parcel of this genre. One reviewer mentioned a Cinderella link and I spy the familiar surname of Grimm, which is linked to books, so I’m hopeful that this will be a good place to start on this genre.

My Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book,

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

(then write a little analysis about your decision)

Share your post, use #FridayFiveChallenge @rosieamber1 and I’ll help share all relevant posts.

Here are links to others taking part in today’s challenge

Shelley searched for Good Friday and found GoodFriday:Dreams & Nightmares by JR Wirth

Cathy searched for Druids and found Time’s Legacy by Barbara Erskine

Liz has been searching for Poison and found The Colour of Poison by Toni Mount

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT The Viper and the Urchin by @CelineJeanjean

Today’s team review comes from Crystin, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Crystin chose to read and review The Viper and the Urchin by Celine Jeanjean


Title: The Viper and the Urchin by Celine Jeanjean

  • Genre: Steampunk mystery


Longinus isn’t your typical assassin. He’s a gentleman assassin – the most elegant assassin in Damsport. As such, he doesn’t rely on messy methods of killing, like using swords or daggers. No, no, real assassins use poison.

Of course, the fact that Longinus can’t stand the sight of blood has nothing to do with his preference.

But when orphaned waif Rory discovers his secret, Longinus is blackmailed into teaching her how to sword fight. As if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, a mysterious rival assassin is taking credit for Longinus’s kills – and copying his poisons. When Rory and Longinus realize they’re the assassin’s next target, it’s a race against time to uncover the impostor’s identity … but they discover far more than they bargained for.

I have to admit, this book was a surprising delight. I love sassy characters, and let me tell you: both Longinus and Rory are as sassy as they come. This isn’t a typical steampunk either – rather, it’s more of a low fantasy with steampunk flavor. I heartily approve of the mix, and the mystery element was also fairly well done. I did have one or two moments where I felt things were a little too convenient – but overall, it didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the story. If anything, it probably added to the humor: I would snort to myself and roll my eyes … but kept right on reading.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a fun read, especially one who likes unique, well developed characters – cause this book had a few of them. The same goes to readers who enjoy discovering new worlds and exploring new genres. There’s just enough fantasy/steampunk/mystery/action/romance/suspense woven all together to give readers a taste of each without being overpowering. Well, except for the action – there’s a lot of action. Sword fights, street chases, a race to save the country … those are essentials to any good book. 😉

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!

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT The Viper and the Urchin by @CelineJeanjean #Steampunk

Today’s review comes from Chris, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Chris has been reading The Viper and the Urchin by Celine Jeanjean


Action aplenty in this part fantasy, part action thriller, part coming-of-age story.

Longinus, Damsport’s most feared assassin, teams up with the feisty urchin, Rory, under the dual duress of having his identity stolen and being blackmailed into teaching the (to him) incredibly annoying Rory how to sword-fight. She dreams of becoming a warrior, he dreams of elegant poisons, and they both need to work together to unmask the culprit standing in their way.

While action-packed, the pace is not dizziness-inspiring fast, the plot is full of twists and turns, and the characters are so wonderfully charming, you want to invite them all over for a (post-bath) meal. A book about assassins that leaves you feeling hopeful and happy – who would have thought it possible?

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT The Viper and the Urchin by @CelineJeanjean

Today’s team book review is from Barb, she blogs at Barb chose to read and review The Viper and The Urchin by Celine Jeanjean My Review: 5 stars out of 5 I was thinking of the three sliding variants of … Continue reading

Guest Author Jack Croxall

Today our guest is Jack Croxall, author of yesterday’s book “X”. If you missed the review here is a link.

Jack Croxall - Author Photo Portrait

Let’s find out more about Jack.

Where is your home town?

It’s a tiny little village in Nottinghamshire, England (Winkburn) – it’s so beautiful, I love it!

How long have you been writing?

Since I could hold a pen! I used to make little booklets and magazines when I was a kid (mostly stories about dinosaurs and sharks) but I started ‘seriously writing’ when I was at university. I started writing bits and bobs for student publications, and then began writing fiction. I published my first novel at the beginning of last year.

Where did the idea for “X” come from?

Even though it only came out towards the end of last year, I’d actually been mulling X over in my mind for a very long time – I can’t remember the first bit of work I did on it! The reason I suddenly veered forwards with the story was because I finally worked out the theme, and, with it, X’s real plight. Before that all I really had was a setting and a character; nothing to tie them together in any meaningful way.

What are the “Uglies”?

They’re meant to be the undead, but the undead as I specifically imagine them. I’m writing a full novel set in the same world and I go into far more detail about them in that. In X I guess they’re kind of whatever the reader wants them to be.

Have you considered making the short story longer?

Not really, I think the nature of X’s predicament means the story just can’t be very long. The upcoming novel revolves around four different characters and a different storyline, there will be a few Easter eggs for anyone who’s read X though.

The world of books is so huge that I’ve not come across your work before, what genre or genres to you write in?

I write in the YA genre at the moment, but I always like to try and include elements of other genres too; mystery, horror, historical and thriller are my favourites.

Can you tell us about your “Tethers Trilogy”?

Of course! Tethers is a Victorian fantasy, steampunk-y, YA-y and adventure-y series set in rural England. It follows two teenagers, Karl and Esther, across three books as they become embroiled in a kind of conspiracy involving various otherworldly artefacts and a whole host of sinister characters. The first two books (Tethers and Unwoven) deal with themes of fate, grief and obsession.

Tethers Cover

What are you working on at the moment?

The final Tethers book and my zombie novel simultaneously – both are coming on well!

Do you have an expected publication date for fans?

Well each Tethers book has come out in February, so I’m aiming for the third to come out in Feb 2015 to follow the trend. As for the zombie novel, I really have no idea!

Where can fans find out more about you and your work?

The best place is my website: everyone is always welcome!!

X cover

Find a copy of X here from or

Thank you Jack, I look forward to reading more of your work.

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross

This book review is brought to us by my teenage book reviewer, Bethany;

‘The girl in the clockwork collar’ by Kady Cross
 The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (Steampunk Chronicles, #2)
When Jasper is accused of murder, his friends follow him to New York, eager to clear his name. But even their special ‘abilities’ will not protect them from what they discover. This historical book has several  interesting characters that make the action and romance enjoyable. However, I feel that the time period of 1897 does not compliment the plot and some descriptions of the action were rushed, particularly towards the end. On occasions I found the book hard to follow; perhaps reading the first book would make this one clearer.