Review: Storming by K.M. Weiland

StormingStorming by K.M. Weiland

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“In the high-flying, heady world of 1920s aviation, brash pilot Robert “Hitch” Hitchcock’s life does a barrel roll when a young woman in an old-fashioned ball gown falls from the clouds smack in front of his biplane. As fearless as she is peculiar, Jael immediately proves she’s game for just about anything, including wing-walking in his struggling airshow. In return for her help, she demands a ride back home . . . to the sky.

Hitch thinks she’s nuts—until he steers his plane into the midst of a bizarre storm and nearly crashes into a strange airship like none he’s ever run afoul of, an airship with the power to control the weather. Caught between a corrupt sheriff and dangerous new enemies from above, Hitch must take his last chance to gain forgiveness from his estranged family, deliver Jael safely home before she flies off with his freewheeling heart, and save his Nebraska hometown from storm-wielding sky pirates.

Cocky, funny, and full of heart, Storming is a jaunty historical/dieselpunk mash-up that combines rip-roaring adventure and small-town charm with the thrill of futuristic possibilities.”-Goodreads

Ooo-weee. That was one wild ride!
I don’t read much steampunk/dieselpunk. (In fact, the only books I can recall off the top of my head that would fit either of those genres is the Matt Cruse trilogy by Kenneth Oppel.) Therefore, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to read Storming, both for its unusual genre, and also the high ratings it garnered from my Goodreads-friends.

Let’s start with the characters, shall we? The characters were very well developed. Nearly all of them had complex back stories and motives–even minor characters (the only exceptions being the villains). Jael wasn’t *quite* as rounded out as the rest, but part of that was to keep the foreigner feel, so I won’t take off any points. Weiland’s strong suit is definitely in writing people, because she nailed every last one in this book.

World-building: I was not expecting much of this, since #1, it is set in the real world, and #2, the setting chosen isn’t an exciting or exotic locale. However, Weiland brought Scottsbluff to life. I was totally amazed at how she used every bit of writing–dialogue, description, even characters’ thoughts–to flesh out this small, Nebraskan town. The writing style never lapsed once from keeping in character with the time period and locale. It was incredible how real and life-like it seemed! I felt like it was an actual place I could visit to see the places where the story played out. And the whimsical illustrations scattered in-between chapters were just the right touch.

The plot: I did have a few quibbles with this. The plot picked up at first, and then dragged a bit in the middle, before racing towards the finish. Instead of edge of your seat action every single minute, it was more of teasing out the plot, so that I wanted more, more, MORE. Some readers might really enjoy this–I, however, was slightly frustrated by it. I feel like if the pace could have been increased just a bit in the middle, and I would enjoyed it even more. I debated whether or not to take off points for this, and finally settled on deducting a star, because it just didn’t keep me gripped.

Conclusion: Storming was an excellent read. If you are into major character-development, and love that homey, country feel with just a touch of sci-fi, than this book is perfect for you. Readers who prefer edge-of-their-seat-suspense in their books might be a bit disappointed.

Rating: 4 stars
Recommended: 12 and up

Content guide (may contain minor spoilers):

Language: 1/10 (“durn it” and similar phrases used)
Violence: 7/10 (violent death of a character, a bit gruesome. characters incurs serious wounds. fist-fights and beatings. one disturbing scene in which a ‘good’ main character unapologetically tries to kill a villain by beating him to death. beating people up or killing them if they’re villains is considered acceptable.)
Sexual Content: 1/10 (one character has a “love ’em and leave ’em” type of mindset, a few light kisses)

*Many thanks to the author for providing a copy to review!*

For more reviews, see gabriellenblog.wordpress.com and fullofbooks.com

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10 Random Favorite Things

It’s been a while since I’ve had a non-book related post, so I decided to do one for fun. Here goes!

10 Random Favorite Things (not necessarily in order)

  1. The fluffy sound my dog makes when he shakes without his collar on. Similar to the sound of shaking a bag of cotton balls.
cotton-balls
Shake vigorously…

2. Beautiful books. Fine-binding, unique and symbolic covers, etc.

books
Does anyone else salivate at this picture? No? Is it just me?

3. Swimming, be it ocean, pool, or bathtub. Okay, maybe not bathtub.

underwater
Under the sea, wish I could be….

4. Snow-frosted trees.

snow-lane
Just hear those sleigh bells jingling….

5. Getting my scalp scrubbed when I get a haircut.

hair-wash
Scrub, scrub, scrub your head, rinse it down the sink…

6. Mouth-wateringly fruity lotions and perfumes. (Yes, I’m a girly-girl)

fruit
But where’s the strawberries?!?

7. Pace Chunky Mild Salsa. It doesn’t get much better than this.

salsa
Yum. Now to get some chips…

8. Any soundtrack by Adam Young. They’re perfect for when you need to study and concentrate!

soundtrack
This is my favorite so far–I like the water sounds incorporated.

9. Thinking up new plot ideas that I deem brilliant. (*cough* even if they never make it to paper…*cough*)

plotting
They’ll never expect this plot twist! MWAHAH-*hack, hack*

10. Art. Especially colored pencil. Check out my updated gallery!

img_0444-2
Horse Portrait in Colored Pencil. 

Interested in a commissioned piece? Comment on my artwork page and we’ll talk! (Please remember to include contact info as well.)

 

Here’s just a few random things I list among my favorites. How about you?

Review: Intermission by Serena Chase

IntermissionIntermission by Serena Chase

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh man. Serena Chase really knows how to write–and she doesn’t pull her punches, either. Intermission was like an ice-cold shower–painful, breath-stealing, agonizing…but at the same time, renewing.

I’m not gonna lie–this book was hard to read. It hurt. But it was worth it. The perseverance, love and sheer hope that it inspires you with is worth the tissues. Trust me.

The characters stole the show–sorry, couldn’t help it–and they are what drove the story. Faith and Noah are so real–imperfect, lovable, and piecing themselves together. I could connect with Faith so much. She was the heart and soul of the entire book.

The plot was both heart-breaking and hopeful, revolving around the character’s interactions with each other. You just knew things were not going to go well, and you just wanted to reach right into the pages and rescue those poor souls. But oh, it was worth it. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Not much world building in this one, but I was fine with that. This book is all about the characters.

Intermission deals with some really tough and painful issues–such as abuse, both emotional and physical. Serena Chase handled it all well. She didn’t tactlessly and graphically plow through the issues, but neither did she tiptoe around them either. Because this is such a heavy, heavy book, I recommend it for 16 and up.

One nit-pick–I would have like to see Faith’s spiritual life develop more. It was touched on, but I felt like it needed more importance.

Overall: this was an emotional tear-jerker, but it wasn’t overpowered by despair. Intermission had notes of hope, love, and most of all perseverance. It’s heavy, but worth it.

Rating: 5 stars

Recommended: 16 and up. Some mature themes and difficult topics.

Content guide (may contain minor spoilers):

Language 4/10 (obscene name calling related to accusations of sleeping around–not deserved)
Sexual Content 7/10 (kissing and embracing. Character is mentioned as being loose, and a wild parties. Condoms, STDs, and pregnancy tests all come up. Characters are accused of sexual activity. Character is forced to go to a women’s clinic for testing for STDs and pregnancy testing–later described as indirect physical abuse.)
Violence 4/10 (emotional abuse, and indirect and direct physical abuse.)

For more reviews, see Gabriellenblog.wordpress.com, or fullofbooks.com.

View all my reviews

Review: The Ryn by Serena Chase

The Ryn (Eyes of E'veria, #1)The Ryn by Serena Chase

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My dear friends, I have found you another life-changing book. The Ryn, while containing the simple truths and clear-cut beauty of a fairytale, is so much more. It has many profound gems hidden in its pages, not the least of which is the allegory. From the first few pages, I knew this book would totally capture my attention–and it held it all the way through.

The Ryn mixes hints of classic fairytales with fantastic world-building. There is so much magic and wonder packed into each setting, that I had a hard time deciding whether I wanted to be Andoven or Veetrish. (I eventually decided Veetrish. Read The Ryn, and you’ll understand why. 😉 ) The amazing world-building reminded me of Seeker’s Call by Cassandra Boyson–another worthy read, if not quite as well-written as The Ryn. I thoroughly enjoyed being immersed in the world of E’ veria.

The characters were well done also, drawn vividly and given distinct personalities. While at times I felt them to be a little bit cliché, they were well-rounded for the most part. Rose was a very sympathetic protagonist, and I look forward to reading more about her in the rest of the series.

The plot was very suspenseful–all sorts of surprises kept causing me to gasp or laugh by turns. At one point, I clapped my kindle cover closed and shrieked–causing my siblings to ask if somebody had died. I didn’t bother answering–I had to get back to the book. While the basic plot isn’t unique in itself (I’ve read a few books that follow similar plots–again, I liken it to Seeker’s Call) I felt like it was fresh enough to be worth the read.

One odd thing about The Ryn that threw me off was the writing went from third-person to first-person. It was a little jarring, and I would have preferred that the author had chosen one or the other to stick with throughout the book.

Final notes: The Ryn, though marked by a few errors common to first-time writers, was an excellent book. Fantastic world-building and an exciting plot make an irresistible combination. I can’t wait to jump into the sequels.

Rating: 4 stars

Recommended: 12 and up

Content guide (may contain minor spoilers):

Language 0/10
Sexual Content 1/10 (romantic feelings, an almost-kiss. Romance is very clean and well represented)
Violence 3/10 (curses cause death and sickness, some wounds–not graphic, a razed village is mentioned, but not described)

*Many thanks to the author for providing a copy to review*

For more reviews, see Gabriellenblog.wordpress.com, or fullofbooks.com.

View all my reviews