The Qwillery | category: Karina Cooper


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Review: Transmuted by Karina Cooper

Author:  Karina Cooper
Series:  The St. Croix Chronicles 6
Publisher:  Carina Press, January 26, 2015
Format:  eBook, 290 pages
List Price:  $3.99
ISBN:  9781426899485
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Review: Transmuted by Karina Cooper
Book six of the St. Croix Chronicles

In this final installment of Cherry St. Croix's adventures, only one thing could compel the disgraced countess to return to Society--the threat of immortality.

All is not peaceful in the wake of the Midnight Menagerie's ruin. Although the Karakash Veil has been forced to flee its stronghold, the mysterious head of the criminal organization is not content to fade away.

Above the foggy drift, a priceless diamond vanishes. In the dangerous Underground, a murderous rampage demands retribution. The hunt for the mastermind behind these misdeeds sends me back to Society--and into the unforgiving embrace of the world I'd left behind.

Nothing is what it seems. Enemies, allies--and a man who struggles with a nature even devotion cannot tame. Torn between the scars of the past and fragile new beginnings, I must create balance in the world I have chosen--and with the people I have come to love. The game has changed; should the Veil achieve the immortality it craves, I will have nowhere left to run.

Melanie's Thoughts

Transmuted is the sixth and final book in the St.Croix Chronicles. It starts a few weeks after the end of book 5 which found Cherry alive and well and living back with her loved ones. She also managed to save the enigmatic Hawke from the clutches of The Veil but she is determined to make him pay for what he did to her, to Hawke and her friends at the Menagerie. Of course, the path to revenge is never straightforward and takes Cherry from the smoggiest slums of London to the dizzy heights of high society.

I enjoyed Transmuted and thought that Cooper wrapped up the series well. She brings back almost all of the characters from previous books including those that died at either her hand or The Veil's. Cooper uses the sub-plot of trying to find a rare diamond stolen from the Queen's vault's as the means of bringing Cherry back into high society and as a result, back in the company of her brother and mother-in-law. Her introduction back into society came on the arm of her brother-in-law Piers. These scenes were dramatic, amusing and worked well to both develop the plot and tie up some loose ends.

As much as I enjoyed Transmuted I did think there were a number of flaws. Cherry seems to spend quite a bit of time lamenting the death of her husband Lord Compton and very little time mourning the death of his murderer and her best friend. I thought that it was odd that Teddy barely got a mention considering he died at her hand and was her closest, if only friend. I didn't enjoy the diamond sub-plot which was the focus for the first third of the book but then side-lined until the very end. In fact, I completely forgot about the stolen diamond until the very end of the book. I was also much less enamored with the former ring master Hawke in this final book. I thought he acted like a bit of a jerk to Cherry by pushing her away and being jealous of Ashmore. I know they had a fairly unromantic romance but Cage was almost mean to the fallen socialite.

Flaws or not Cooper has created a gritty and colourful steampunk London for her characters. This series has been a bit of a roller coaster for me with it's ups and downs but if I look at this series as a whole I think there is something for everyone with a strong heroine at its centre. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.

The View From Monday - January 26, 2015

Happy last Monday in January! We're going to be have a bit of snow over the next couple of days - actually a blizzard with up to 30" of snow so I'll be staying in and getting some reading done... in between bouts of shoveling. If you are in the storm's path, please take care! If you are having lovely weather in the 70s, for example, enjoy! Now on to books:

There are 2 debuts this week:

Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekback;


The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac by Sharma Shields.

And from formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

Transmuted (St. Croix Chronicles 6) by Karina Cooper

Gemini Cell by Myke Cole;

The Mime Order (Scion 2) by Samantha Shannon;


Blind Faith (Sin Brothers 3) by Rebecca Zanetti.

January 26, 2015
Transmuted (e) Karina Cooper HistF - St. Croix Chronicles 6
The Second Lie Anna Richland UFR - Immortal Vikings 2

January 27, 2015
Wastelands - Stories of the Apocalypse John Joseph Adams (ed) Ap/PA - Anthology
Hunger's Mate Part 3 A. C. Arthur PNR - Shadow Shifters 5
Mercy Snow (h2tp) Tiffany Baker Gothic
Shattered Pillars (h2tp) Elizabeth Bear F - The Eternal Sky 2
Night Broken (h2mm) Patricia Briggs UF - Mercy Thompson 8
Queen of the Dark Things (h2tp) C. Robert Cargill UF - Dreams and Shadows 2
Gemini Cell Myke Cole F/Mil - Shadow Ops
Forged in Fire (e) Juliette Cross PNR - Vessel Trilogy 1
Deadeye William C. Dietz SF - Mutant Files 1
The Sea Without a Shore (h2mm) David Drake SF - RCN 10
Pacific Fire Greg van Eekhout UF - Daniel Blackland 2
Wolf Winter (D) Cecilia Ekback Hist/Su
Viper Game Christine Feehan PNR - Ghostwalker 11
Pillar to the Sky (h2tp) William R. Forstchen Th/Ap
Bound by Flames Jeaniene Frost PNR - Night Prince 3
Panther Prowling Yasmine Galenorn UF -  Otherworld 17
Waking the Dead (h2mm) Heather Graham M/Su/R - Cafferty & Quinn 2
The Orphan Choir (h2tp) Sophie Hannah H
The Salt Roads (e)(ri) Nalo Hopkinson TT/R
Skin Folk: Stories (e)(ri) Nalo Hopkinson F/SF - Collection
Weirder Shadows Over Innsmouth Stephen Jones (ed) H
Come and Take Them (h2mm) Tom Kratman SF - Carerra 5
The Man Who Made Models R.A. Lafferty SF - Collection
Season of Strangers (ri) Kat Martin PNR
Misery Loves Company (e) Tracey Martin UF - Miss Misery 3
Vengeful Spirit Graham McNeill SF - The Horus Heresy2 9
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Takedown John Jackson Miller SF - Star Trek: The Next Generation
Inside a Silver Box Walter Mosley SF
Master Sergeant Mel Odom SF - The Makaum War 1
The Originals: The Rise Julie Plec UF - The Originals 1
The Long Mars (h2mm) Terry Pratchett
Stephen Baxter
SF - Long Earth 3
The Three Fates of Ryan Love Erin Quinn PNR - Beyond 2
Ourselves S.G. Redling UF - Nahan1
The Great Zoo of China Matthew Reilly Th
The Silent Girls Eric Rickstad Th
Star Wars: Maul: Lockdown (h2mm) Joe Schreiber SF - Star Wars: Maul
The Mime Order Samantha Shannon F - Scion 2
The Dragon Conspiracy Lisa Shearin UF - SPI Files 2
The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac (D) Sharma Shields LF/F
The Revolution Trade: A Merchant Princes Omnibus Charles Stross F - Merchant Princes
The City Stained Red Sam Sykes F - Bring Down Heaven 1
The Girl in 6E (h2tp) A R. Torre Th - Deanna Madden 1
Guardian (e) Erik Williams F/Mil
Blind Faith Rebecca Zanetti RSus - Sin Brothers 3

January 29, 2015
Alien Imaginations: Science Fiction and Tales of Transnationalism Ulrike Kuchler (ed)
Silja Maehl (ed)
Graeme Stout (ed)
SF - Anthology
A Wizard Rises: HarperImpulse Fantasy Romance (A Serial Novella) (e) AJ Nuest FR - The Golden Key Legacy 3
The Boy Who Wept Blood (e) Den Patrick F

January 30, 2015
Wolf's Song (K e) Taryn Kincaid PNR - Black Hill Wolves 4

January 31, 2015
Forsaken Kelley Armstrong UF - Otherworld Stories 13.3
The Way into Magic Harry Connolly F - The Great Way 2
Jacaranda Cherie Priest SP - Clockwork Century Novella
Ashes and Arsenic (e) SM Reine PM - Preternatural Affairs 6

D - Debut
e - eBook
ed - Editor
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
K e - Kindle eBook only
ri - reissue or reprint

Ap - Apocalyptic
F - Fantasy
FR - Fantasy Romance
H - Horror
HistF - Historical Fantasy
LF - Literary Fiction
M - Mystery
Mil - Military
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
R - Romance
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
SP - Steampunk
Su - Supernatural
Sus - Suspense
UF - Urban Fantasy
UFR - Urban Fantasy Romance

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 1

This is the first in a series of updates about formerly featured Debut Author Challenge authors and their upcoming books for late 2014 and the beginning of 2015. This update covers some of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge authors.What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 2  will cover more of the 2011 DAC authors.

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 1

Please note that publication dates are subject to change and that The Qwillery uses U.S. publications dates. In addition, some cover images are not yet available.

Ben Aaronovitch

Foxglove Summer
Peter Grant / Rivers of London 5
DAW, January 6, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 1
When two young girls go missing in rural Herefordshire, police constable and wizard-in-training Peter Grant is sent out of London to check that nothing supernatural is involved.

It’s purely routine—Nightingale, Peter’s superior, thinks he’ll be done in less than a day. But Peter’s never been one to walk away from someone in trouble, so when nothing overtly magical turns up he volunteers his services to the local police, who need all the help they can get. But because the universe likes a joke as much as the next sadistic megalomaniac, Peter soon comes to realize that dark secrets underlie the picturesque fields and villages of the countryside and there might just be work for Britain’s most junior wizard after all.

Soon Peter’s in a vicious race against time, in a world where the boundaries between reality and fairy have never been less clear….

Jenn Bennett

Grave Phantoms
Roaring Twenties 3
Berkley, May 5, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 1
From the author of Grim Shadows and Bitter Spirits comes the new Roaring Twenties novel in the series hailed as “Boardwalk Empire meets Ghost Hunters, but so much better” (Molly Harper, national bestselling author of the Jane Jameson series).

Feisty flapper Astrid Magnusson is home from college and yearning for the one thing that’s always been off limits: Bo Yeung, her notorious bootlegging brother’s second-in-command. Unfortunately her dream of an easy reunion proves difficult after a violent storm sends a mysterious yacht crashing into the Magnussons’ docks. What’s worse, the boat disappeared a year ago, and the survivors are acting strangely…

Bo has worked with the Magnusson family for years, doing whatever is needed, including keeping his boss’s younger sister out of trouble—and his hands to himself. Of course, that isn’t so easy after Astrid has a haunting vision about the yacht’s disappearance, plunging them into an underground world of old money and dark magic. Danger will drive them closer together, but surviving their own forbidden feelings could be the bigger risk.

Adam Christopher

The Burning Dark
Spider War 1
Tor Books, March 3, 2015
Trade Paperback, 336 pages
Previously published in Hardcover and Digital

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 1
Adam Christopher’s dazzling first novel, Empire State, was named the Best Book of 2012 by SciFi Now magazine. Now he explores new dimensions of time and space in The Burning Dark.

Back in the day, Captain Abraham Idaho Cleveland had led the Fleet into battle against an implacable machine intelligence capable of devouring entire worlds. After saving a planet, and getting a bum robot knee in the process, he finds himself relegated to one of the most remote backwaters in Fleetspace, overseeing the decommissioning of a semi-deserted space station.
The station’s reclusive commandant is nowhere to be seen. Persistent malfunctions plague the station’s systems while interference from a toxic purple star makes even ordinary communications problematic. Alien shadows and whispers seem to haunt the lonely corridors and airlocks, fraying the nerves of everyone aboard.

Isolated and friendless, Cleveland reaches out to the universe via an old-fashioned space radio, only to tune in to a strange, enigmatic signal: a woman’s voice that echoes across a thousand light-years of space. But is the transmission just a random bit of static from the past—or a warning of an undying menace beyond mortal comprehension?

The Machine Awakes
Spider War 2
Tor Books, April 21, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 1
Adam Christopher's The Machine Awakes is a far future space opera set in the universe of Burning Dark. In the decades since the human race first made contact with the Spiders—a machine race capable of tearing planets apart—the two groups have fought over interstellar territory. But the war has not been going well for humankind, and with the failure of the Fleet Admiral’s secret plan in the Shadow system, the commander is overthrown by a group of hardliners determined to get the war back on track.

When the deposed Fleet Admiral is assassinated, Special Agent Von Kodiak suspects the new guard is eliminating the old. But when the Admiral’s replacement is likewise murdered, all bets are off as Kodiak discovers the prime suspect is one of the Fleet’s own, a psi-marine and decorated hero—a hero killed in action, months ago, at the same time his twin sister vanished from the Fleet Academy, where she was training to join her brother on the front.

As Kodiak investigates, he uncovers a conspiracy that stretches from the slums of Salt City to the floating gas mines of Jupiter. There, deep in the roiling clouds of the planet, the Jovian Mining Corporation is hiding something, a secret that will tear the Fleet apart and that the Morning Star, a group of militarized pilgrims searching for their lost god, is determined to uncover.

But there is something else hiding in Jovian system. Something insidious and intelligent, machine-like and hungry.

The Spiders are near.

Isabel Cooper

The Highland Dragon's Lady
Highland Dragon 2
Sourcebooks Casablanca, December 2, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 1
Regina Talbot-Jones has always known her rambling family home was haunted. She also knows her brother has invited one of his friends to attend an ill-conceived séance. She didn’t count on that friend being so handsome…and she certainly didn’t expect him to be a dragon.

Scottish Highlander Colin MacAlasdair has hidden his true nature for his entire life, but the moment he sets eyes on Regina, he knows he has to have her. In his hundreds of years, he’s never met a woman who could understand him so thoroughly…or touch him so deeply. Bound by their mutual loneliness, drawn by the fire awakening inside of them, Colin and Regina must work together to defeat a vengeful spirit—and discover whether their growing love is powerful enough to defy convention.

Night of the Highland Dragon (Highland Dragon 3) is slated for publication in June 2015.

Karina Cooper

The St. Croix Chronicles 6
Carina Press, January 26, 2015

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 1
In this final installment of Cherry St. Croix’s adventures, only one thing could compel the disgraced countess to return to Society—the threat of immortality.

All is not peaceful in the wake of the Midnight Menagerie’s ruin. Although the Karakash Veil has been forced to flee its stronghold, the mysterious head of the criminal organization is not content to fade away.

Above the foggy drift, a priceless diamond vanishes. In the dangerous Underground, a murderous rampage demands retribution. The hunt for the mastermind behind these misdeeds sends me back to Society—and into the unforgiving embrace of the world I’d left behind.

Nothing is what it seems. Enemies, allies—and a man who struggles with a nature even devotion cannot tame. Torn between the scars of the past and fragile new beginnings, I must create balance in the world I have chosen—and with the people I have come to love. The game has changed; should the Veil achieve the immortality it craves, I will have nowhere left to run.

Review: Engraved by Karina Cooper

Author:  Karina Cooper
Series:  The St. Croix Chronicles 5
Publisher:  Carina Press, August 11, 2014
Format:  eBook, 288 pages
List Price:  $3.99
ISBN:  9781426898815
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Review: Engraved by Karina Cooper
Cherry St. Croix returns to the fog-ridden streets of Victorian London, where the balance of power threatens all that she loves.

I will not wither without laudanum. Sober and determined, I have chosen another way-- alchemy, and the pursuit of wellness it embodies. My name is Cherry St. Croix, and though freedom is finally at my fingertips, I return to the blackened streets intent on righting the wrongs I'd left behind.

All is not well in London low. Caught in a war between gangs, men are torn limb from limb, and I am called on to ascertain how. The immoral Karakash Veil is no doubt involved, and Micajah Hawke, a prisoner in his own Menagerie, cannot soften the danger this time.

Armed with the alchemical arts I have learned, my ever present guardian, and what few friends are left to me, I embark on a campaign to rescue the ringmaster I cannot abandon, save the Brick Street Bakers from annihilation, and finally face that which frightens me the most--my own heart.

Melanie's Thoughts

Engraved is the 5th book of The St. Croix Chronicles and finds Cherry back in London, laudanum free. She has been joined by her mentor/lover/guardian Ashmore to rescue the enigmatic Micajah Hawke. The London that she has returned to, free of the fugue of heroin, is not what she was expecting. Everywhere she turns her friends and loved ones are victims of the changes that the Karakash Veil has spearheaded since she left the city. There is now a war between the street gangs and the sweets from the Menagerie who had protected her are being are being broken and tossed aside. The most horrifying event however, is what has happened to her reluctant lover, Hawke. Cherry finds that Hawke has been imprisoned by the Veil but it is not clear whether he has been caged by his master or has chosen to be caged. It would all seem quite bleak and hopeless, but not for Cherry. Things couldn't really get much worse than the events of book 4 (Tempered) when her mother, from beyond the grave, tried to kill her and take over her body. Stopping the war and freeing Hawke seems almost like a walk in the park in comparison. Dark forces are at work and Cherry will have to use all her skills from years as a Collector and the new ones learned during her time with Ashmore in order to save her friends and her love, Hawke.

This instalment was a refreshing change to the previous novels where everything seemed so hopeless as Cherry sunk deeper and deeper to the grip of her heroin addiction. It's not like Cherry is running in fields of flowers or playing with kittens with balls of strings in this novel but at least she now has a clear mind and is empowered with the alchemical arts taught to her by her former guardian, Ashmore. As much as I could see Cherry's attraction to Hawke in the first 2 novels I am more convinced that it is Cherry's innate self destructive nature that draws her to his anti-hero. Hawke offers her up as a sacrifice in book 3 and is physically abusive to her in book 5 but she is still convinced he is worthy of her love. I wasn't entirely sure. I think I would find it hard to forgive a lover who hurts me physically and mentally. I suppose she can't resist a bad boy!

Many of the characters from previous novels make a re-appearance in this instalment, even those who died or were killed in the other books. Her short lived marriage to Lord Compton is prominent in her mind in the early chapters as she is forced to rely on her brother-in-law for help. Even though the tragic demise of Lord Compton is a feature of the first half of the book Compton's murderer and Cherry's dear friend Freddy is barely mentioned. I was expecting Cherry to be forced to come to terms with what Freddy did and the part she played in his downfall and the murders he committed to draw her attention. There was a lot to cover, however, with Cherry trying to save Hawke, the Baker boys, her friends and to escape the Veil and the evil he has spread across London.

I enjoyed this instalment, much more than book 4. Cherry's return to London signaled to me that Cooper was going to return to the gritty, steampunky, noir feel of the previous novels. I also feel this is down to the return of characters from previous books, as well as, the familiar setting of London. I didn't especially like that Cherry was still a victim of Hawke's but at least she is able to stick up for herself a bit more now due to her newly found powers. This read like the final book of the series to me. I think that Cherry could now be left to live her life. However, Cooper has one more of Cherry's story to tell (Transmuted) and I will be happy to read it. This is a dark series and not for anyone who has a problem with a heroine with a drug addiction or a hero who isn't that nice to his love interest. If however, you have a like a conflicted heroine and a perpetual bad boy living in the smog of a steampunk London then this is the series for you.

Melanie's Week in Review - August 17, 2014

Melanie's Week in Review - August 17, 2014

Well after the embarrassing events of last week (only having finished one book) I stepped it up a bit this week by reading 2 and one short story. The short story was so short its not worth telling you about so I will focus this week's WIR on full length novels. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - August 17, 2014Qwill very kindly pointed out that Engraved, the 5th in the Cherry St Croix series was available on NetGalley. Needless to say I dropped everything else and rushed off to request it. I will be writing a full review of Engraved (Carina Press, 8/11/2014)  so keep your eye out for it. It has already been released so if you are a diehard fan of the series then its available at all good retailers (and perhaps some not so good ones!) - eBook format only. I can't say too much other than I really enjoyed it and, despite all the action, Engraved has some relatively pleasant moments for Cherry who seems to go to hell and back (and then back again) during every book.

Melanie's Week in Review - August 17, 2014Next on my list to read was Blightborn by Chuck Wendig (Skyscape, 7/29/14). This is the 2nd novel in his dystopian YA Heartland Trilogy. Both my husband and I really enjoyed Under The Empyrean Sky. This trilogy is no less harrowing than many of Wendig's other books but he can really write convincingly from a teenager's POV.

Cael is back and still on the run with his friends Rigo and Lane. Cael is determined to rescue his sister Merelda and his girlfriend Gwennie who has found that life as a lottery winner on the flotilla isn't as glamorous as it was made out to be. Chasing Cael are Boyland Jnr, his obligated Wanda, Rigo's father, as well as, a mysterious hobo who is out for revenge. The story is told from several different POVs including those of Cael, Gwennie, Merelda, Cael's friends Rigo and Lane plus a few scenes with the misfit Wanda. This works well as the action occurs both on the flotilla and in the Heartland where Cael and friends have been caught up in a terrorist group called the Sleeping Dogs. Action and different shades of friendship are all mixed together with the folklore, mythology and religion of the Heartland. The Maize Witch is introduced who is the Heartland's version of the bogeyman. She is used to scare young kids into thinking they will be turned into 'the blighted' those poor individuals who are part human and part plant. Is she myth or is she real? Well you will have to read it to find out.

This series is another great example of Wendig's prodigious imagination. In Blightborn we learn more about the engaging characters from book 1 along with some new characters who vacillate between being bad and not so bad or bad and very very bad. You are always kept guessing what will happen next to this plucky group of teenagers who are tied to one another through bonds of love and friendship. This is a great series and even if you aren't a fan of books aimed at younger readers. There is really something in this series for everyone.

Well that is it for me. One more book than last week and hope to keep whittling down my TBR. I wish you all a happy week in reading.

The View From Monday - August 11, 2014

Happy Monday! Hope everyone is enjoying summer. Thoughts now turn to school supply shopping. Thankfully the list is short this year. I'm presently reading The Ultra Thin Man by Patrick Swenson and enjoying it immensely.

The View From Monday - August 11, 2014

This is a fairly light release week with 3 debuts:

The Supernatural Enhancements (D - English) by Edgar Cantero;

Season of the Dragonflies by Sarah Creech;


The Ultra Thin Man by Patrick Swenson.

From formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

Engraved (The St. Croix Chronicles 5) by Karina Cooper.

August 11, 2014
Engraved (e) Karina Cooper UF - The St. Croix Chronicles 5
John Golden: The Heroes of Mazaroth (e) Django Wexler SF/F - John Golden 2

August 12, 2014
MaddAddam (h2tp) Margaret Atwood PA - MaddAddam Trilogy 3
MaddAddam Trilogy Box: Oryx & Crake; The Year of the Flood; Maddaddam Margaret Atwood PA - MaddAddam Trilogy Omnibus
The Supernatural Enhancements (D - English) Edgar Cantero SupAd/H/Go
The Sleeping Dead (K e) Richard Farren Barber H
Soda Pop Soldier Nick Cole SF
Season of the Dragonflies (D) Sarah Creech Su/O
Riftwar Legacy (e) Raymond E. Feist F - Riftwar: Legacy Omnibus
We Are All Completely Fine Daryl Gregory UF
Journal of the Plague Year: An Omnibus of Post-Apocalyptic Tales C.B. Harvey
Malcolm Cross
Adrian Tchaikovsky
SF/Ap/PA - Afterblight
Jim Henson's The Storyteller: The Novelization (ri) Jim Henson Folk Tales - Collection
Hellhole Inferno Brian Herbert
Kevin J. Anderson
SF - Hellhole Trilogy 3
Fool's Assassin Robin Hobb F - Fitz and the Fool Trilogy 1
Black Ice Susan Krinard UF - Midgard 2
A Tale of the Five Hundred Kingdoms Volume 3: The Sleeping Beauty \ Beauty and the Werewolf (e) Mercedes Lackey F - Tale of Five Hundred Kingdoms Omnibus
Dirty Little Misery (e) Tracey Martin UF - Miss Misery 2
The Dystopia Chronicles Matthew Mather Dys/Ap/PA - Atopia 2
Vengeful Spirit (ri) Graham McNeill F - Horus Heresy 29
Fortune's Favors Marlene Perez UF - Nyx Fortuna 3
The Queen of the Damned (ri) Anne Rice F/H - Vampire Chronicles 3
The 6th Extinction James Rollins AA/SF - Sigma Force 10
This Changes Everything (K e) Denise Grover Swank UF - Curse Keepers Secret 2
The Ultra Thin Man (D) Patrick Swenson SF
Star Wars: The Jedi Path and Book of Sith Deluxe Box Set Daniel Wallace SF - Star Wars
Sleeper: A Tor.Com Original (e) Jo Walton SF
Cursed Moon Jaye Wells UF - Prospero's War 2
The Ace of Skulls Chris Wooding F - Tale of the Ketty Jay 4

August 13, 2014
La Signora: A Tor.Com Original (e) Bruce McAllister DF

August 14, 2014
Return to Armageddon Malcolm Shaw
Jesus Redondo
The Age of Scorpio Gavin G. Smith SF

D - Debut
e - eBook
h2tp - hardcover to Trade Paperpack
K e - Kindle eBook
ri - reissue or reprint

AA - Action Adventure
Ap - Apocalyptic
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
Go - Gothic
H - Horror
O - Occult
PA - Post Apocalyptic
SF - Science Fiction
Su - Supernatural
SupAd - Supernatural Adventure
UF - Urban Fantasy

Review: Tempered by Karina Cooper

Author:  Karina Cooper
Series:  The St. Croix Chronicles 4
Publisher:  Carina Press, February 10, 2014
Format:  eBook,
List Price:  $3.99
eISBN:  9781426897924
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher via NetGalley

Review:  Tempered by Karina Cooper
Forced out of London's coal-blackened streets, Cherry St. Croix is faced with her most difficult undertaking yet: sobriety.

At long last, my guardian, the enigmatic Mr. Oliver Ashmore, has revealed himself-and his order is clear: I am to be dried out at once, regardless of my wishes.

I loathe the country estate I am imprisoned within. Footsteps follow me, voices call for me, and my sanity wavers. In my fevered dreams, I am haunted by those I failed, while waking proves no protection from the ghosts of my reckless past. The craving for laudanum plagues me. I require a distraction.

To unravel the alchemical mysteries of my mother's family, I must rely on Ashmore's tutelage. I am lured to the art and drawn by the secrets my guardian possesses. Yet the deeper I delve, the more I believe that something dreadful disturbs these haunted corridors. In my madness, I fear that what it wants me.

Melanie's Thoughts:

*This review contains spoilers*

Tempered is the fourth instalment of the Cherry St. Croix Chronicles and starts immediately after book 3, Corroded. Cherry has been rescued from The Menagerie by her guardian, Oliver Ashmore. He is taking her to the family estate to recover and to dry out from the opium that has ruled her life for years. Cherry's withdrawal from the drug is a living hell with the inevitable physical pain but also with nightmares that force her to relive the multitude of horrific events in her past. Cherry's drive and fight is whittled down during this period and it is a life or death struggle for sobriety. Cherry only has to pull her way through the pain and the fugue left by her drug addiction in order to learn about Ashmore, her mother and the alchemical arts studied by both her parents. Secrets are lurking at every turn and it will take everything Cherry has and more to fight her addiction and find out who she really is and what she is capable of.

I was really looking forward to Tempered as Cooper managed to leave us with such a huge cliff-hanger at the end of book 3 even after wrapping up so many plot threads from the previous books. Tempered almost felt like a stand-alone book as Cherry's story is told at her family's cold and crumbling estate and far away from London and the Menagerie where the last three books have been set. The story focused mainly on Cherry and Ashmore's relationship. He becomes the tool for her to learn about her mother. The chapters of the book involving Cherry's withdrawal from opium were particularly harrowing due to the realistic and believable way they were written. It was almost like you were there, suffering along with Cherry.

I didn't, however, warm to Oliver Ashmore as a character. I thought it was a bit odd how often comparisons where made to the colour of Cherry and Ashmore's hair and I thought that he was going to end up being related somehow. However, later in the novel I thought it even more unusual when these comparisons continued even after he becomes a romantic interest. I wasn't sure if I was 'reading' too much into this or I was missing the point. I also thought that given Cherry's character that she would have been less likely to pursue a romantic relationship with Ashmore given the disastrous way her first sexual encounter with Hawke ended. She was going through opium withdrawal so I will let her off with bad choices at this point. It felt in parts that the story is moving more towards PNR rather than its beginnings in steampunk or noir. I hope this isn't the case.

Cooper manages to wrap up yet another plot line that started back in book 1. It feels like she is really tying up loose ends. But what of the enigmatic Micajah Hawke?  He is mentioned but does not play a part in this instalment, much to my dismay. Hopefully, book 5 will see more of the Menagerie's bad boy ring master. I didn't enjoy Tempered as much as the others books in the St. Croix Chronicles. I thought it was quite similar in some respects to Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. In Wilde's story the young Dorian's life is linked to his portrait which stores his sins while he leads a life of debauchery and vice. In Tempered however, Ashmore stores the 'life force' of his victims in their portraits and fuels his immortality from them. Perhaps it was this similarity that helped me to predict what would happen next, something that I hadn't been able to do so far.  I do really enjoy the series though and I like the way that Cooper deals with a character that is so flawed and with such a debilitating addiction. I am looking forward to see what Cherry is up to next. Bring on book 5!

The View From Monday - February 10, 2014

Happy Monday! It's a relatively light release week with something for all SpecFic genre fans.

The View From Monday - February 10, 2014

There are 3 debuts:

The Waking Engine by David Edison;

Cold Iron (Cold Iron Trilogy 1) by D. L. McDermott;


The Martian by Andy Weir.

From formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

Tempered (St. Croix Chronicles 4) by Karina Cooper;


Deep Down (Hallie Michaels 2) by Deborah Coates is out in Trade Paperback.

February 10, 2014
Tempered (e) Karina Cooper Hist/SF/SP - St. Croix Chronicles 4
The Ultimate Choice (e) Lisa C. Hinsley Th/Dys
Cold Iron (e) (D) D. L. McDermott PNR - Cold Iron Trilogy  1
Reaper's Touch (e) Eleri Stone PNR/Dys

February 11, 2014
Mojo And The Pickle Jar (1st e) (ri) Douglas Bell F
Deep Down (h2tp) Deborah Coates UF - Hallie Michaels 2
Conquest John Connolly
Jennifer Ridyard
SF - The Chronicles of the Invaders 1
The Waking Engine (D) David Edison F
Pillar to the Sky William R. Forstchen SF
The Mist in the Mirror Susan Hill Gh
The Memory of Death (e) Trent Jamieson UF - Death Works 4
Wild Cards III: Jokers Wild (ri) George R.R. Martin (ed) SF/Adv - Anthology
The Runestone Incident Neve Maslakovic TT/R - The Incident 2
Night on the Galactic Railroad and Other Stories from Ihatov Kenji Miyazawa F/SF - Modern Japanese Classics
The Book of Why (h2tp) Nicholas Montemarano Meta
McFall Scott Nicholson Th/H
The Dreams of a Dying God Aaron Pogue F - Godlanders War 1
The Wrath of a Shipless Pirate Aaron Pogue F - Godlanders War 2
The Martian (D) Andy Weir SF/Adv
Wolf of Sigmar C.L. Werner F - Time of Legends: Black Plague Trilogy  3
The Judge of Ages John C. Wright SF - Count to Trillion 3
Carnal Secrets Suzanne Wright PNR - Phoenix Pack 3

February 13, 2014
Mystic's Touch Dena Garson FR
Braedric's Bane: HarperImpulse Fantasy Romance Novella (e) AJ Nuest FR - Golden Key Chronicles 4

February 15, 2014
Magistrates of Hell (h2tp) Barbara Hambly UF - James Asher Vampire 4
The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet and Other Stories (ri) Vandana Singh SF - Collection

D - Debut
e - eBook
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - Reissue or Reprint

Adv - Adventure
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FR - Fantasy Romance
Gh - Ghosts
H - Horror
Hist - Historical
Meta - Metaphysical
PNR - Paranormal Romance
R - Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SP - Steampunk
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy

Review: Corroded (The St. Croix Chronicles 3) by Karina Cooper

This review discusses plot points in previous novels of this series. There are SPOILERS!

Author:  Karina Cooper
Series:  The St. Croix Chronicles 3
Publisher:  Carina Press, September 23, 2013
Format:  eBook, 264 pages
List Price:  $3.99
ISBN:  9781426896392
Review copy:  Provided by the Publisher via NetGalley

Review: Corroded (The St. Croix Chronicles 3) by Karina Cooper
Hungry for vengeance, Cherry St. Croix is forced to the fog-ridden streets of Victorian London. My rival, a collector of bounties like myself, has murdered one of my own. In consequence, I have been removed from my house, my staff and all who would support me. I have nowhere else to turn, so I beg asylum within the Midnight Menagerie, London's decadent pleasure garden. Micajah Hawke's dominance there will not tolerate my presence for long. I am fixated on revenge, but I walk a razor's edge under his scrutiny. His wicked power is not easily ignored, and I must not allow myself to submit--no matter how sweet the sacrifice. Challenging my rival to a race is the only way to end this--no small task when the quarry is the murderous Jack the Ripper. As my enemies close in, I fear the consequences of this hunt. I am trapped between two killers, and what doesn't kill me may leave its scars forever.

Melanie's Thoughts:

The third in the Cherry St Croix series adds a new dimension to dark and foreboding. Cherry continues her search for both Jack the Ripper and the 'sweet tooth' who murdered her husband on their wedding day. She barely escaped being locked away by her vindictive mother-in-law who has always thought Cherry was not good enough to marry her son. Determined to find justice for her husband, her friends and the murdered sweets Cherry continues her search in the underbelly of London.  Luck is definitely not on her side as time has run out and The Veil wants the concoction that her father had poisoned her with in book 1. Cherry neither has the serum or the desire to give it to them but her hand might be forced as no one betrays The Veil and goes unpunished. The future looks as bleak as the landscape for the reluctant heroine.

Cherry's addiction to opium completely takes over her life and becomes more than just a crutch. The focus of her every step is dependent on when or how much resin she has to consume. Through her dependency we get an insight into her life before she was rescued as a young girl. Her time in the circus was truly horrific and it is plain to see how she came to be addicted to laudanum in order to escape the nightmare of those years. Despite this Cherry still manages to stay true to herself and to her mission despite the fact that most of it is seen through the fugue of a heroin high.

The enigmatic Micajah Hawke is ever present in Cherry's life as she uses the Menagerie as her base. Rather than learning more about Hawke I was left with ever more questions although there was plenty of development of his character during their interactions. Very few of the other characters from Cherry's life are present in this installment but this makes complete sense as she is hiding away from them in order to find the sweet tooth. Her sense of loneliness is palatable as is the sense of loss and regret for the life she never really fit into. She doesn't have too much time to feel sorry for herself as her personal mission to find a killer keeps her more than busy.

I found this review very difficult to write. Not that I didn't enjoy the book because I did. Cherry's life is so bleak and has been since book 1. It keeps getting darker and darker without much of a reprieve in sight. I was quite maudlin at the end of book two when Lord Compton died. I didn't think it could get more depressing but it seems to. Cooper is a master at creating pathos and has developed an environment that lends itself to conveying this feeling.

Cooper resolves the sweet tooth plotline in such a perfect and subtle manner. After so much focus on this plot throughout the series the resolution just seems to pop in, almost to fuel the action in later scenes. Cooper creates a mystery within a mystery in Corroded and leaves the reader with a magnificent cliff hanger. She certainly does know how to tease as I thought the ending of book 2 was cruel enough to my already frayed nerves but Cooper does it again. I am more than eagerly awaiting book 4 but I beg of Cooper...please, please, please have something nice happen to Cherry!  Maybe she finds a penny on the street or she gets a hug from a stranger or she gets to play with some kittens or puppies.  Its almost getting too dark and I need a tiny little light at the end of the Cherry St. Croix tunnel.
Review: Transmuted by Karina CooperWhat's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2015? - Part 1Review: Engraved by Karina CooperMelanie's Week in Review - August 17, 2014The View From Monday - August 11, 2014Review:  Tempered by Karina CooperThe View From Monday - February 10, 2014What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors in 2014? - Part 1Review: Corroded (The St. Croix Chronicles 3) by Karina Cooper

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