Book Review: The Inventress by Mary Victoria Johnson

The Inventress by Mary Victoria Johnson

A Young Adult Steampunk Mystery Novel published by Fire & Ice Young Adult Books (07/18/17)

Summary:

Kay Ross, daughter of one of the most hated families in England, hasn’t been able to make many friends. Domino is her only friend. Domino is the genius and the inventor, but she doesn’t always tell Kay all her secrets. Her new invention is going to be the grandest of them all, but she never gets to show the world. The same day Domino lets Kay in on her new security camera invention and lets Kay take her to a society ball, she is murdered. In order to figure out who is to blame, Kay will have to find out more about her own family history and what on earth Domino was inventing.

Keywords:

Steampunk, Mystery, Death, Murder, Friendship, Loyalty, Family, Rivalry, Inventors, Socialite, England, Past, Challenges, Enemies

My Review:

Slow to start, this story soon wound me up in its intrigue. I desperately needed to know what happened to Domino. The more that Johnson expertly showed me the past friendship between Domino and Kay, the more I was sucked into the story. Domino is more than just an inventor – she puts up with Kay and her moods. She would never harm anyone and doesn’t believe in weapons. Who killed Domino? And why? Kay will stop at nothing to figure this mystery out.

I absolutely love stories that have strong friendships and interesting character details. Kay is closed off from her world, choosing to become what those around her think she is – the same power-hungry money-hungry person as her parents.

The steampunk elements were subtle throughout the novel. They were woven into the details of the world. At times, I got a strong historical fiction vibe from when Kay had to dress up to go to society affairs, but for the most part the story centers around Kay and her need to solve Domino’s murder. Everyone is a suspect and the only clues left behind are Domino’s latest invention and a slow trail that keeps including Kay in the mystery.

Disclaimer: I received a free ARC of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

This novel was published by Fire & Ice Young Adult Books on 07/18/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Mary Victoria Johnson’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Annual Book Party at Neverending Bookshop Aftermath!

What a fun party!

I had all my books, donuts, a coloring station, and new special donut soaps at my party! Thanks to Dreamy Suds for specially making those beautiful donut soaps! Check out photos from the event below. Remember my event from last year? Did you miss out this year? Come next year when all my donuts books will be available or see me at any upcoming event.

Photo taken by fellow author Stephanie Larkin

Photo taken with fellow author Stephanie Larkin

Debuting my new coloring books – I still have some adjustments to make on them

Thanks, Donna for giving me my cool blow up donut!

Donuts from Countryside – not the greatest donuts I’ve ever had

My lovely standup sign that Paul made for me

My entire setup

 

Book Review: Paper Cranes (A Fairytale Twist Novel) by Jordan Ford

Paper Cranes (A Fairytale Twist Novel) by Jordan Ford

A YA Contemporary Romance Novel Published by Amazon Digital Services (6/16/17)

Summary:

“I know it must seem odd sometimes like we’ve never really fit into this world. But there’s magic in words and storytelling. I’d be lost without books, Tristan. They’ve kept me afloat through my darkest days. Escaping into another world full of love, enchantment…heroes. It keeps me breathing.” (Kindle Locations 1450-1452).

Tristan decided to live with his dad when his parents divorced because his mom had someone to come home to and his dad did not. Tristan feels more and more burdened taking care of his dad. He doesn’t want to participate in school or be social and would rather be the typical morose teenager until he meets the girl in the tower next door, Helena. She is straight out of a fairytale with her mild English accent, proper English, and romantic notions.

Keywords:

Puppy Love, Tower, Fairy Tale, Paper Cranes, Wishes, Quirks, Poetry, English Assignments, Love, Romance, Divorce, Teenagers, Dreams

My Review:

Tristan, outside of Helena feels incredibly real and like sullen teenager, but with Helena he is full of puppy love. Most of this book was focused on the ridiculous and hard to read over-the-top puppy love. Helena never felt real to me and she was a flat character and though Tristan idolizes her and her unique ‘personality’ she felt unreal and exaggerated to me.

Tristan is incredibly dynamic. He’s your typical broody teenager, but his backstory is rather interesting. Every moment we were in his head as he interacted with his dad or his mom, I was engrossed in the book.

The plot was quite predictable, a bit dull and unremarkable. If only more of the book was devoted to Tristan, it would have been a much better read.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services on 06/16/17 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.25

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Jordan Ford’s Website

All About the Donuts: Local Donut Shop Review – Factory Donuts – Kirkland, WA

Factory Donuts

Kirkland, WA

12505 NE 144th St, Kirkland, WA 98034

(425) 821-6140

 

Review criteria:

Most popular donut at the shop: Maple Bar
Signature shop donut: Croissant Sandwich/Large Glazed Ring
Most popular US donut: glazed
2nd most popular US donut: Boston crème
Donut Hole: Yes

What I tried:

cruller, glazed knot, old fashioned, maple, Boston, Donut Holes

$14.50/mixed dozen

I’ve been to this donut shop before – during NaNo, but went back for a dozen for this review!

What to expect:

Maple – sweet but one of the best subtle maple flavors, a clean and fresh glazed, dry cruller, the plain cake donut – oily exterior and classic interior. This shop has almost every classic donut you could want and a few more variations. Everything I’ve had was fresh and delicious.

 

My favorite:

Anything glazed! Even their maple ‘glaze’ is not too bad.

Book Review: The Girl and the Clockwork Crossfire (Clockwork Enterprises Book 3) by Nikki McCormack

The Girl and the Clockwork Crossfire (Clockwork Enterprises Book 3) by Nikki McCormack

A YA Steampunk Novel published by Elysium Books (6/01/17)

Summary:

Maeko must choose where her loyalties lie – with the Pirates or just those she loves. Can she betray her new friends to keep her loved ones safe? New information from the Lits’ secret prison isn’t good and Maeko won’t be able to ignore it.

Keywords:

Clockwork, Cat, Pirate, Friendship, Streets, Fleeing, Fighting, Stealing, Officers, Mystery, Death, Street Smarts, London, Teenager, Female Main Character, Love, Loyalty, Proper Society, Detective, Wealth

My Review:

Maeko only wants to do right by those she loves, but she can’t always save everyone. In fact, those around her seem to get into just as much trouble as she does! Maeko’s love and empathy for everyone around her, even the cat (and so much the cat) is quite endearing. She is a phenomenal person (even for a Rat and a Pickpocket) and a well-built main character. She is loyal to a fault and stubborn and brave.

Macak the cat even gets his own mini chapter in this third book and he’s more important than ever! He is one of my favorite literary ‘pets’ even though he’s more like a sidekick to Maeko. I wish I had a cat that sat on my shoulder and followed me into all sorts of danger!

The storyline continues to be amazing and the balance between action and storytelling is perfect. I do wish there was more to the Maeko and her mother storyline, but such is the way between parents and their children sometimes.

McCormack is a professional storyteller and I would read anything she writes.

This novel was published by Elysium Books on June 1st, 2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Twitter

Nikki McCormack’s Website

Book Review: The Girl and the Clockwork Conspiracy: Clockwork Enterprises Book Two (Volume 2) by Nikki McCormack

The Girl and the Clockwork Conspiracy: Clockwork Enterprises Book Two (Volume 2) by Nikki McCormack

A YA Steampunk Novel published by Elysium Books (9/12/15)

Summary:

Maeko is recuperating from her injuries as a ward of Lucien Folesworth. She saved his life and now he feels compelled to save her from a life on the streets, but high society and propriety isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Maeko would rather live in poverty on the streets than have to conform to life following all the ridiculous rules as a woman in the ruling wealthy class. Will Maeko stay with Lucien or will something else tear them apart?

Keywords:

Clockwork, Cat, Pirate, Friendship, Streets, Fleeing, Fighting, Stealing, Officers, Mystery, Death, Street Smarts, London, Teenager, Female Main Character, Love, Loyalty, Proper Society, Detective, Wealth

My Review:

I have never read a steampunk series quite like The Clockwork Enterprises. The story is believable and gritty and full of plot and action and interesting characters.

Maeko is a loveable hero who doesn’t stop to think twice, even if her own life is in danger. She is now torn between her feelings for Chaff and the affection Ash feels for her, but she is almost too busy with other problems. Almost.

I loved seeing Em, the surly detective, more in this book.

The story is well put together and though the ending could have been a bit stronger, I’m glad that the third book is already available so I can start reading it immediately.

The steampunk elements were elegantly integrated. Again, like with the first book, McCormack is a genius with world building and writing a good story.

This novel was published by Elysium Books on September 12th, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Twitter

Nikki McCormack’s Website

Wine & Words – A Fun Time

     

It was such fun to read from my new book “Seize the Donut” for the first time and to walk the audience through instructions on using chopsticks! Steven made me laugh with his short piece from the prompt of a funeral and jealousy. The cinnamon bun and stratta, as always, were very delicious.

Book Review: Mixed Feelings (Empathy in the Preternatural PNW Book 1) by Olivia R. Burton

Mixed Feelings (Empathy in the Preternatural PNW Book 1) by Olivia R. Burton

An Urban Fantasy/Mystery novel published by Peacock Deceiving a Suitcase (05/31/2016)

Summary:

“As I munched irately on my tangy, chocolaty, wafery bundle of deliciousness, I considered the last week, wherein I’d been hired by fairies, bewitched by a demon, nearly seduced by a werewolf, kidnapped by a vampire, and rescued by my gun-toting best friend. All things considered, sharing pizza and wine with Mel hadn’t been the worst thing to happen, but I wasn’t going to tell Chloe that.” (Page 188).

Gwen uses her empathy ability to help her therapy clients. She’s approached by the same two characters who announced her ability weak when she was a child. This time they think she’s up for the job: of helping rescue some missing kids. Gwen, along with her best friend and admin Chloe and the horn dog werewolf PI Mel, will drop all their current clients so they can find out who’s nabbing these kids and stop some future kidnappings as well.

Keywords:

Sugar, Werewolves, Supernatural, Mystery, Kidnapping, Ability, Empathy, Friendship, Junk Food, Monster, Rescue, Secret, Sarcasm

My Review:

Gwen’s obsession with donuts, sweets, and sugar is hilarious. How can someone consume that much sugar without it adversely affecting them? I’m not sure it’s possible, but I don’t care. Gwen is not the most amazing hero and she’s helped almost every step of the way to save the kids. She herself needs saving every now and then. It is her gift that is more useful than herself at times, but her can-do and sarcastic sugar-loving attitude are hilarious to watch as she bungles along. Besides, she’s like any one of us, right?

I had a hard time getting into this book and kept putting it down until about halfway through. If you like urban fantasy, you probably won’t have this same lack of connection that I did with the plot and characters.

Not all questions were answered in the end and I’m very curious to see what happens with Chloe, the best friend, in subsequent books.

This novel was published by Peacock Deceiving a Suitcase 05/31/2016 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 3.50

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Olivia R Burton’s Website