My review of Steampunk Style 2

As we get closer and closer to my favorite holiday, Halloween, I am drawn more and more to goth and Steampunk. As luck would have it, Titan Books was kind enough to send me a copy of their latest steampunk book. This little gem is titled Steampunk Style 2.

Steampunk Style 2 covers steampunk with an Asian flair. Enjoy my review and thumb-through of the book ……….

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Titan Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review: The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes

casebook newburyhobbesThe Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes (Newbury & Hobbes Investigation)
by George Mann
Series: Newbury & Hobbes Investigation
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Titan Books (September 24, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1781167427
ISBN-13: 978-1781167427

Available through Amazon
The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes (Newbury & Hobbes Investigation)

Book Description:

A collection of short stories detailing the supernatural steampunk adventures of detective duo, Sir Maurice Newbury and Miss Veronica Hobbes.

Along with Chief Inspector Bainbridge, Newbury and Hobbes will face plague revenants, murderous peers, mechanical beasts, tentacled leviathans, reanimated pygmies, and an encounter with Sherlock Holmes.

My thoughts:

Okay, I think by now that everyone who has visited Gnostalgia is aware of my love of steampunk, detective stories, and the paranormal, so it should come as no surprise that I enjoyed The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes. Having said that, I had already read “The case of the Nightcrawler” in Encounters of Sherlock Holmes (see my review of —link).

The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes is a collection of 15 short-stories from various times in the Newbury & Hobbes history. If you are not familiar with the characters or the stories, I don’t think that you will have any difficulty with these stories. Although, you would obviously enjoy the stories more having read:  “The Affinity Bridge”, “The Osiris Ritual”, “The Immorality Engine”, and “The Executioners Heart”.

Despite having read  “The case of the Nightcrawler”, it was by far my favorite story. Mann is an excellent story-teller, and in my opinion, is an essential  read for the Neo-Victorian, steampunk,  and Gothic fan. I give this collection of short-stories 4 1/2 stars out of 5 and highly recommend The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Titan Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday freebie: Ruby Celeste and the Ghost Armada

I just bought the ebook at Amazon (a freebie) grab it while you can before Amazon changes it’s price.

Prepare to enter a dangerous place—the world of sky pirates!

After arriving at The Pharmacologist’s Eden, a grand floating port run by the cut-throat Rhod Stein, Ruby Celeste discovers the deckhand she arranged to purchase has been sold out from under her and replaced with a man kidnapped from the world’s surface. So after dispatching his guarding henchmen, she snatches him and then flees—but not before blowing a gaping hole in the SkyPort.

But unbeknownst to Ruby, Stein survives the blast. And along with the assassins now hot on her tail, she has other problems to contend with: the frail man she kidnapped and his newfound place on her ship, a pervasive series of dangerous electrical malfunctions—and what about the diary she finds on a derelict ship? Are its pages filled with the deranged words of a madman—or does it really hold the key to finding the mysterious Ghost Armada?

Sky pirates? Sounds like a good pulpy read…

Review: Sundark: An Elle Black Penny Dread

Sundark: An Elle Black Penny Dread
by Elizabeth Watasin

Series: The Elle Black Penny Dreads
Paperback: 184 pages
Publisher: A-Girl Studio
ISBN-10: 193662205X
ISBN-13: 978-1936622054

Available at Amazon
Sundark: An Elle Black Penny Dread (The Elle Black Penny Dreads) (Volume 1)

(Barry’s score 5 stars out of 5)

My thoughts:

Barry says — excellent!

Okay, let me reveal my bias, I love Elizabeth Watasin. Bear that in mind when looking at my score of 5 stars. Watasin’s stories have a sort of Blaylock (The Aylesford Skull), George Mann (Newbury & Hobbes) or a Mark Hodder (Burton & Swinburne) dark paranormal, steampunk vibe. Having said that, Watasin creates strong female characters along the lines of Tardi’s Adèle Blanc-Sec or Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher.

In this case, Watasin’s Sundark character is a telekinetic agent named Elle Black. The story is a fast-paced fun read. I have to admit that the vampire tease at the end of Sundark really worked. I am ready for the next episode.

There is a list of names (a who’s who) at the back of the book that may help the reader. Watasin includes some nice artwork and there is a small tease for her book Bones. While Risen, Bones and Sundark are set in the same alternate reality, each book is a stand-alone story. Just between you and me, Sundark may be the best of Watasin’s stories.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. I give Sundark a solid 5 stars out of 5. I mentioned Kerry Greenwood on Facebook when speaking about Watasin’s novel and Watasin replied, “who’s Kerry Greenwood?” While Greenwood may not be a household name now, she will be in a few years. The same may be said of Elizabeth Watasin, she may not be a household name next week or next month, but if she continues to produce great books …

Product description:

Sundark: An Elle Black Penny Dread, is the latest gaslamp fantasy from speculative fiction storyteller Elizabeth Watasin, who delights in bringing you shilling shockers immersed in Gothic Victorian mystery, women sleuths, and the eldritch vestiges of a steampunk, paranormal London. Enjoy this twist of lesbian historical fiction and look for more of Elle Black as she wrestles with the ‘small’, local horrors Secret Commission agents Artifice and Jim Dastard are too busy to take on.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Author Elizabeth Watasin. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Cover art for Fiddlehead

Cherie Priest’s new book should hit the bookstores by the middle of November 2013.

fiddleheadThe cover art looks excellent. Of course, it is just in time for Christmas and should be an excellent gift for the steampunk fan in your life.

Review: The Doctor and the Rough Rider

The-Doctor-and-the-Rough-Rider1The Doctor and the Rough Rider
by Mike Resnick

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Pyr
  • ISBN-10: 1616146907
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616146900

(Barry’s score 4 stars out of 5)

Product description:

The epic, adventure-filled ‘Wild West’ meets Steampunk’ adventure continues. It’s August 1884. The consumptive Doc Holliday is preparing to await his end in a sanitarium in Leadville, Colorado, when the medicine man Geronimo enlists him on a mission. The time the great chief has predicted has come, the one white man he’s willing to treat with has crossed the Mississippi and is heading to Tombstone – a young man named Theodore Roosevelt. The various tribes know that Geronimo is willing to end the spell that has kept the United States from expanding west of the Mississippi. In response, they have created a huge, monstrous, medicine man named War Bonnet, whose function is to kill Roosevelt and Geronimo and keep the United States east of the river forever. And War Bonnet has enlisted the master shootist John Wesley Hardin. So the battle lines are drawn: Roosevelt and Geronimo against the most powerful of the medicine men, a supernatural creature that seemingly nothing can harm; and Holliday against the man with more credited kills than any gunfighter in history. It does not promise to be a tranquil summer.

My thoughts:

If you have read this blog for any length of time, it should come as no surprise that I enjoy a Mike Resnick story.  In this case, Resnick treats us with a steampunky weird-west story called, “The Doctor and the Rough Rider”. The book is the third in a series and ties up the story first started with The Buntline Special (my review) and The Doctor and the Kid (my review).

Mike Resnick
Mike Resnick (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I strongly suggest that you read the first two books in the series. Not only are the first two books FUN, but I think that you’ll enjoy The Doctor and the Rough Rider more with the background. Have said that, this book is the best of the series and that is saying something.

The book is packed with steampunky fun, magic, and weird-west goodness. This book is perfect for the person who likes his westerners with a scifi twist while sipping his sarsaparilla. The interior art is fun and even the Appendixes are entertaining.

All in all, it’s a fun book and I recommend it. I give it 4 stars out of 5. Neo-victorians, steampunkers, and the weird-west enthusiasts will love it. While this book ties up the story, I hope that there will be more.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Pyr. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review: A Red Sun Also Rises

A Red Sun Also Rises
by Mark Hodder
Paperback: 375 pages
Publisher: Pyr (December 4, 2012)
ISBN-10: 161614694X
ISBN-13: 978-1616146948

(Barry’s score 5 stars out of 5)

Product description:

A tale of good and evil, where neither is what it seems!

Aiden Fleischer, a bookish priest, finds himself transported to an alien world. With him is Miss Clarissa Stark, a crippled hunchback of exceptional ability, wronged by an aristocrat and cast out from society.

On the planet Ptallaya, under two bright yellow suns, they encounter the Yatsill, a race of enthusiastic mimics who shape their society after impressions picked up from Clarissa’s mind. Creating a faux London, the alien creatures enroll Clarissa in their Council of Magicians and Aiden in the City Guard. But why does the peaceful city require guards? After a day that, in earthly terms, has lasted for months, the answer comes, for on this planet without night, a red sun also rises, and brings with it a destructive evil.

The Blood Gods! Hideous creatures, they cause Aiden to confront his own internal darkness while trying to protect his friend and his new home.

With a sharp eye for period detail and a rich imagination, Mark Hodder establishes a weirdly twisted version of Victorian London on a convincingly realized alien world, and employs them to tackle a profound psychological and moral question. A Red Sun Also Rises breaks new ground by combining the sword & planet genre with Victorian steampunk while adding an edgy psychological twist.

My thoughts:

All to often, I build my expectations for a book so high that I come away a little disappointed. To my great relief, Hodder’s “A Red Sun Also Rises” met my expectations — and exceeded them.

The story is brilliant. I liked  the character of Fleischer and I like the thought of a hunchback, Clarissa Stark, helping the pastor develop a spine. Fleischer struggles with his life, his faith, and finally with reality itself, and his human frailty and subsequent growth really pulled me in to the story. The characters were nicely developed and the world of Ptallaya was freaking brilliant.

I don’t think that I have read anything quite like it. I highly recommend it and give it 5 stars out of 5. Having said that, it should get extra points for sheer WTF moments, characters, and story. It’s a must-have for your library.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Pyr. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Trailer: Tarnished, the St. Croix Chronicles, by Karina Cooper

My name is Cherry St. Croix. Society would claim that I am a well-heeled miss with an unfortunate familial reputation. They’ve no idea of the truth of it. In my secret world, I hunt down vagrants, thieves . . . and now, a murderer. For a monster stalks London’s streets, leaving a trail of mystery and murder below the fog.

Eager for coin to fuel my infatuations, I must decide where my attentions will turn: to my daylight world, where my scientific mind sets me apart from respectable Society, or to the compelling domain of London below. Each has a man who has claimed my time as his–for good or for ill. Though as the corpses pile, and the treacherous waters of Society gossip churn, I am learning that each also has its dangers. One choice will see me cast from polite company . . . the other might just see me dead.

Desirable new book: An Airship Named Desire

A new ebook has hit the shelves at Amazon October 18th, “An Airship Named Desire” by Katherine McIntyre.

Airships, sky-pirates, smugglers and soldiers… An Airship Named Desire is an action-filled steampunk adventure. Ever since their last botched smuggling job, First Mate Bea and the crew of her airship can barely afford fuel, let alone a barrel of grog. So, when a gentleman from Old Germany offers them a fortune to steal a locked box from a British merchant airship, they jump at the opportunity. Somehow, though, their employer forgot to mention the box’s military escort, and the Morlock mercenaries who would kill to get their hands on it. Oh, and that if made public, the contents could engulf Europe in another devastating war. Stealing the box was the easy part. Now, with a target on their back, and some of the toughest characters in the sky after them, they have to find a way to survive. If the crew of the Desire don’t polish their pistols and prepare for a hell of a fight, they’ll end up worse than grounded. After all, everyone from the Brits to the Morlocks will kill for the contents of that box, and no one survives an airship crash.

The author was kind enough, or perhaps foolish enough, to give me a copy for review purposes. I’ll let you know what I think of it soon.

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