Review: Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina

The Literary Escapism Blog has hosted a new author challenge since 2009. They ask you to choose a number of new authors to read and then review their books during the year. I chose to read 25 this year. Since this is the first book I’ve read by Shelley Adina it’s listed with the Literary Escapism blog on their 2013 New Author Challenge page. You can also check out my page for the new authors I’ve read and reviewed so far this year.

Lady of Devices: A Steampunk Adventure Novel
by Shelley Adina
Series: Magnificent Devices, book 1
Genre: Steampunk
Published by: Shelley Adina, 2011
E-book, purchased
160 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: London, 1889. Victoria is Queen. Charles Darwin’s son is Prime Minister. And steam is the power that runs the world.

At 17, Claire Trevelyan, daughter of Viscount St. Ives, was expected to do nothing more than pour an elegant cup of tea, sew a fine seam, and catch a rich husband. Unfortunately, Claire’s talents lie not in the ballroom, but in the chemistry lab, where things have a regrettable habit of blowing up. When her father gambles the estate on the combustion engine and loses, Claire finds herself down and out on the mean streets of London. But being a young woman of resources and intellect, she turns fortune on its head. It’s not long before a new leader rises in the underworld, known only as the Lady of Devices.

When she meets Andrew Malvern, a member of the Royal Society of Engineers, she realizes her talents may encompass more than the invention of explosive devices. They may help her realize her dreams and his . . . if they can both stay alive long enough to see that sometimes the closest friendships can trigger the greatest betrayals . . .


The book begins in a school for young women being trained mainly to make their debut in society and make a good marriage. Claire, however, doesn’t care about those things. She likes science and all things to do with steam power. She has a habit of blowing things up though. That’s how the book starts…she’s at St. Cecelia’s Academy for Young Ladies and blows up her experiment during Chemistry class–mostly because the professor wouldn’t tell her what would happen if she combined certain things. She’s very curious and not afraid to explode things. Of course, the popular girls tease her and make fun of her. The book starts out very traditionally and predictably.

Claire doesn’t want to get married right away as her parents expect her to. She wants to go to Oxford and become an engineer. Her mother is horrified at the mere mention. Her father loses all their money by thinking the combustion engine would win out over the steam engine (silly man!) Claire doesn’t have to worry about coming out and marrying some rich titled lord. Now she has to worry about surviving and this is where the story becomes less conventional.

Through a series of mishaps Claire finds herself stranded in London without a place to stay. With her talent for chemistry and blowing things up she becomes the Lady of Devices. From this point on she is more an adventurer and creates her own life rather than letting it happen. I liked the steampunk aspects of the story…especially that her father loses his money by betting it on the internal combustion engine! Claire learns to drive the family steam landau (before they lose all their money) and she had ridden a quadricycle. It’s fun to read the names and descriptions of these devices.

I initially gave the book a B+ when I read it in January, but as I was writing this review I realized I’d forgotten a lot of the book. I had to re-read quite a bit of it, so even though I enjoyed the book, I downgraded it a bit since I couldn’t remember it!

The book is self-published and the author has done a good job with the editing and writing. There are already four books in the series, but I’ve only read this first one so far. I do have the second book–Her Own Devices–and plan to move it up my TBR list.

Ten New Books for Summer 2013


I published this and then realized I forgot to add a shout out and link to The Broke and Bookish blog who sponsors this weekly meme.

Top Ten Tuesdays have a new topic each week asking each blogger to write about their top ten favorites for that topic. This week was the top ten books on our summer TBR list. I interpreted this as the top ten books published this summer I’m most excited about.


June books


Trail of Dead by Melissa F. Olson…this is book 2 of the Scarlett Bernard series. I read and enjoyed the first book in the series--Dead Spots–and reviewed it in May.


Shapeshifted by Cassie Alexander…this is the third book in the Edie Spence series and I enjoyed the first two books a lot!


Roaring Midnight (The Gardella Vampire Chronicles) by Colleen Gleason…this book takes place in the Roaring 20s and since I liked the original Gardella books and since a book in the Roaring 20s sounds fun…

July books


Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews…these books about Kate and Curran are one of my favorite series. When I finally get this book it will be one of the highlights of my summer!

CarniePunk (anthology) by Rachel Caine, Jennifer Estep, Kevin Hearn, Seanan McGuire & Rob Thurman…these authors are such good writers and have written some of my favorite books so I think this would be a great anthology.


A Time of Dying by Hailey Edwards…the first book in this series is one of my favorite books of the year so far. This is the third book in the series. I reviewed the first book–A Hint of Frost–just a couple weeks ago (though I read it in January).

August books


Seduction in Silk by Jo Beverley…Ms. Beverley is an autobuy author for me. I love her historical romance books. This one is set in the Georgian era of the Malloren world–which started a number of years ago when Ms. Beverley wrote about the Malloren family.


The Arrangement (Survivor’s Club) by Mary Balogh…this is the second book in Ms. Balogh’s Survivor’s Club series. She is also an historical romance autobuy author for me.


Dragonwriter: A Tribute to Anne McCaffrey and Pern by Todd McCaffrey, David Brin, Lois McMaster Bujold, & Mercedes Lackey…I read the Pern books many years ago and loved them. I’m interested to see what these very good authors have to say.


This is a meme hosted by the herding cats & burning soup blog.

Just pick a quote and the book it came from.

lady_of_devices_shelleyadina_cover_500x800My quotes today are from the book I’m reviewing later this week…Lady of Devices: A Steampunk Adventure Novel by Shelley Adina.

“…If there’s anything I hate, It’s someone telling me ‘don’t’ without saying why.”

“And one must know the reason why for everything.”


“You have something you wish to say to me?” She had quite a number of things she wished to say to him, but not in front of the girls. If one wanted models of good behavior, one must be a model of good behavior oneself.

“Yes, I–well, I–” Flushing again, he chewed the lower edge of his mustache. Good heavens. He was as edgy as a man about to propose. Not that she had any experience along those lines except for what she’d see in the flickers.

“Cat got your tongue?” Lizzie enquired.

“He’s got something stuck in his throat,” Maggie agreed. “Lozenge?’ She held up a hard cherry drop, somewhat fuzzy from being carted about in her pocket all day.

Lord James looked down at them like Zeus from Olympus. “Little girls should be seen and not heard.”

Sunday Post–June 16

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

This is where I take a look at my last week and look ahead to what I might be doing next week.

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there!

Last Week

Around the House

A quiet week…some reading, working on the blog, lunch with our son.


I’ve been taking a WordPress Blog and Website class so I decided to take the plunge and move my blog. To my surprise it was a pretty painless process. I spent most of the time after the blog exported and then imported picking out a theme and then deciding on categories and tags. I still have a few more things to do and I may decide on a different theme, but I’m enjoying the process!

  • Sunday Post
  • Quote-Tastic
  • Top Ten Tuesday–Beach Reads
  • Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Books read

Faefever by Karen Marie Moning

What I’m reading

Shapeshifted by Cassie Alexander

E-books bought


The Mad Earl’s Bride by Loretta Chase


Memory’s Wake (Memory’s Wake Trilogy) by Selina Fenech


A Blood Seduction: A Vamp City Novel by Pamela Palmer

Clarity by Kim Harrington

Around the web

The Sync free downloads for this week (June 13 – 19)

June 13 – June 19, 2013
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Will Patton (Scholastic Audiobooks)
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya, read by Robert Ramirez (Recorded Books)

Next Week

Around the house

A busy week ahead of us. We have a couple sets of visitors coming this week and next. Time to get the house cleaned!

Posts on the blog

  • Quote-Tastic
  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Review: Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina
  • Sunday Post

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer is another new author to me so I have added this to the New Author Challenge 2013 at the Literary Escapism blog.

by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles, book 1
Genre: Fantasy
Published by: Feiwel & Friends, 2012
E-book, purchased
400 pages
Grade:  B
Synopsis: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless Lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.


Cinder is a cyborg…meaning parts of her aren’t human. She doesn’t really remember what happened to her, but was told she was injured in an accident that killed her parents. She was given some mechanical parts because she was so badly injured. She’s very careful to keep her nonhuman parts hidden so when the prince shows up in her repair shop she hides the fact that she has removed her foot to replace it with another foot. He believes she’s a human girl and flirts a little with her. He has brought an android for her to repair. It’s an old android, but Cinder can tell it’s important to him and she promises to do what she can to repair it.

Cinder was brought back by her foster mother’s husband from the European states, but he died very quickly from the disease which is becoming epidemic on Earth. Because he brought Cinder home, but didn’t reveal a reason for adopting her and because he became sick right after he returned to New Beijing with Cinder, Cinder’s foster mother and sisters don’t like her–though one sister is kinder to her (as in many of the Cinderella stories).

The plague which is ravaging the population comes to the market where Cinder has her repair shop when the baker across the street sickens. Anytime someone is sick androids appear to take them away to some secret place. These people are never seen again. Cinder knows the government has begun a lottery choosing who are used as guinea pigs to find a cure since they aren’t really viewed as human. Cinder fears she will “win” this lottery eventually.

My thoughts: When I first saw this book a few months ago I didn’t even read the synopsis because I was sure I didn’t want to read a take-off on Cinderella. A couple of weeks ago I did read the synopsis and immediately thought, “Well, maybe I do want to read this…a book about a cyborg, New Beijing and Lunar people…sounded good!

I downloaded it and quickly read it. I like the storyline and the way the book followed Cinderella…the wicked stepmother, stepsisters,  the prince, the ball…all were there. Even the stepmother and sisters (foster mother and sisters) lord it over Cinder that they are going to the prince’s ball wearing their beautiful dresses and she’s not.

But I love how the story changed–Cinder is a mechanic and cyborg and shunned by anyone who figures out she’s a cyborg. The Lunar Queen is a new character, but certainly does fairy tales proud with her evilness! The epidemic is a new twist, too. Also the prince meets Cinder on several occasions before the ball and likes her. Actually, most of the book happens before the ball. The ending of the story doesn’t follow the original Cinderella either, but apparently Cinder shows up in the next book–Scarlet–which I haven’t read yet.

Cinder has an identity problem and inferiority problem…but with reason–people do shun her when they find out she’s a cyborg. Parts of her aren’t human and even people who like her turn against her when they find out the truth. During the course of the book she grows and becomes more self-confident…but still has difficulty taking the final step in her journey towards self-identity. By the end of the book she has her own identity and is a strong and confident young woman. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to her in future books.

Top Ten Tuesday–Beach Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme sponsored by the Broke and the Bookish blog. I don’t participate every week, but it’s a fun meme with great topics each week.

I’m actually going to the beach this summer…to the Oregon beach toward the end of July for a few days. I grew up in Oregon and love the Oregon beach…some beautiful beaches to walk on. However, the beaches aren’t usually ones to laze on. The Oregon coast gets lots of rain–even in the summer–and when it’s not raining it’s usually only about 60 maybe up to 70 degrees! The water is cold, too, but it’s still beautiful.

My husband and I and our three adult children are flying out and meeting in Oregon. My brother and sister-in-law who live in Oregon will meet us there and possibly my niece and her family. I can’t wait! I won’t read all ten books on my vacation…I do need to spend some time with my family…lol!

Here are the e-books I plan to put on my e-reader:

Trying to catch up

Where Serpents Sleep (Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries, book 4)
by C. S. Harris book
I’m way behind in this series, so I’m going to start here and re-read this one.
An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire
A great series…I want to catch up with October Daye and plan to re-read the third book.
Ghost Ship by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
I love the Liaden series and am so glad Lee and Miller are continuing the series. I love the characters and space opera adventure. I think I’m three books behind!

New series to start

The Shape of Desire by Sharon Shinn
A Shifting Circle series, book 1
Sharon Shinn is one of my favorite authors, but I haven’t read this book yet. It was published a year ago and only one more book in the series so far (Still Life with Shape Shifter)!
The Silvered by Tanya Huff
I’ve read and enjoyed many of Tanya Huff’s books. This was published last November and I’ve been wanting to read it since I read about it.

New authors

The Chocolate Thief by Laura Florand
Summer Knight by Jim Butcher
Hounded by Kevin Hearne
the Iron Druid Chronicles, book 1

A little romance

An Invitation to Sin by Sarah Morgan
I enjoy Sarah Morgan’s books and a Harlequin Presents is the perfect quick beach read!
The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James
I bought Once Upon a Tower in May and then realized I hadn’t read the book which came out last fall

Quote-Tastic–June 10

This is a new meme from the herding cats & burning soup blog.
Just pick a quote and the book it came from. This sounds like a fun meme.

I’ve chosen a quote from Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I’m posting a review of Cinder later in the week so it’s been on my mind!

From Cinder by Marissa Meyer:

“Maybe her programming was overwhelmed by Prince Kai’s uncanny hotness.”
Cinder flinched. “Can we please not talk about the prince?”
“I don’t think that will be possible. You’re working on his android, after all. Just think about the things she knows, the things she’s seen and–” Iko’s voice sputtered. “Do you think she’s seen him in the nude?”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake.” Cinder yanked off her gloves and tossed them onto the table. “You’re not helping.”
“I’m just making conversation.”
“Well stop.”

Sunday Post–June 9

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is where I take a look at my last week and look ahead to what I might be doing next week.

Last Week

Around the House
I spent a lot of time resting this week…really tired from my trip to the Midwest! I finally stopped fighting it and just took it easy. Saturday was a great day since our son visited. We had a great time together.

Posts on my blog
Sunday Post–June 2

June 2013 books to look forward to

Review: A Hint of Frost by Hailey Edwards

Book I’m reading
Faefever by Karen Marie Moning

E-books bought

Trail of Dead by Melissa F. Olson
Shapeshifted (an Edie Spence novel) by Cassie Alexander


The Last Slayer by Nadia Lee


First (Wrong) Impressions: A Modern Pride & Prejudice by Krista D. Ball


Andromeda Rising (Celestial Series) by James Ramsey

Around the web

To celebrate June is Audiobook Month the Going Public blog is offering a free story each day. They have teamed with Spoken Freely–a group of professional narrators–to offer a free short story each day. These are stories in the public domain from authors like Chekhov, Twain and Alcott.

Dear Author has an interview with professional narrator Karen White who picked three of her favorite contemporary romance titles she’s narrated by authors Julie James, Jill Shalvis and Katie MacAlister to talk about. She’s narrated numerous other titles. A fascinating interview.

I mentioned in my Sunday Post a few weeks ago that the the Sync blog–Sync YA Literature Into Your Earphones–is offering two free audio titles each week this summer. The titles available this week:

June 6 – June 12, 2013
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 1: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood, read by Katherine Kellgren (HarperAudio)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, read by Wanda McCaddon (Tantor Audio)

Next Week

Around the house
I plan to do a few more things next week…more on the blog and more reading, I hope.

Posts on the blog

Top Ten Tuesday–Top Ten Beach Reads

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Another review?

Sunday Post

Review: A Hint of Frost by Hailey Edwards

This is a new author to me and listed at the Literary Escapism blog’s New Author Challenge 2013.

A Hint of Frost
by Hailey Edwards
Series: Araneae Nation, book 1
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Published by: Samhain Publishing, 2012
E-book, Purchased
236 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: When her mother is murdered in her nest, Lourdes has one choice: she must marry before her own nest is seized. All she needs is a warrior fierce enough to protect her city and safeguard her clansmen. Such a male is Rhys the Cold.

Rhys’s clan is starving, but their taste for the Araneaean flesh makes them unwelcome dinner guests. Yet Lourdes threatens to melt the cold encasing his heart. When her sister is captured, they pursue their enemies, where she will discover if she’s worth her silk or if she’s spun the thread by which her clan will hang.


I think this is a very imaginative, unique book. It opens in the middle of a battle. We gradually learn that Lourdes’ mother and father have been murdered. The Araneidae clan aren’t fighters. They’re a rich clan of artisans who spin silk. But Lourdes isn’t willing to go down without a fight:

I was not a warrior born, but perhaps a warrior made.

…I was half Theridiidae, trained by one of their best strategists, my father….Araneidae spun silk ten times the strength of the strongest metals, and my fingertips tingled where my spinnerets loosed a singled silken thread.

I looped my thread behind his head, jerking down hard enough his chin caught my shoulder. While he was stunned, I whirled to his side out of Calum’s reach, until I stood at his back and my makeshift garrotte sliced his throat.

Lourdes’ father was from the Theridiidae clan and his clan have been the bodyguards for the Araneidaes. Now the Theridiidae have betrayed the Araneidae clan. Lourdes tries to save her clan and her remaining family by asking for aid from a clan more dangerous than the Theridiidae.The Mimetidae clan are known to eat their fellow Araneaeans, but they are fierce fighters and that’s what Lourdes needs for her clan.

I’d sent a plea for aid to the one clan cruel enough to stave off the Theridiidae invasion and, I hoped merciful enough I hadn’t signed my death warrant by exposing my soft underbelly to them.

Gods, I hoped the Mimetidae weren’t hungry.

The Mimetidae do come to the aid of the Araneidae. The maven of the Mimetidae clan, Isolde, was Lourdes’ mother’s dearest friend, but she demands a price from Lourdes. The Mimetidae clan is one of the poorest clans and making an alliance with the Araneidae is a huge benefit to the Mimetidae. Isolde demands their warriors be outfitted in Araneidae armor spun from Araneidae silk and for Lourdes to wed a Mimetidae. Lourdes is horrified by this, but Isolde promises Lourdes her dearest wish–revenge on her parents’ killers. Rhys the Cold is the youngest son of the Mimetidae clan and Isolde’s son. He’s Isolde’s choice for Lourdes. Lourdes is drawn to him, but doesn’t trust him especially since he’s part of the Mimetidae clan.

Lourdes discovers her sister is missing after the battle. Was she kidnapped or was she involved in the murder of their parents? Either way Lourdes is determined to find her and get her back. Lourdes and Rhys track her sister and her companions (kidnappers?). Following the trail they travel south and not only encounter some of the traitors, but also a mysterious plague which is ravaging the south. I get the feeling this plague will appear in future volumes of the series.

My thoughts: The culture of the Araneae Nation is fascinating. The world building is good and is revealed gradually. I don’t like spiders at all, but Ms. Edwards has created a culture based on spiders’ characteristics…some have poison to kill their prey, a bite used in lovemaking or spin silk from their fingers. Even though I don’t like spiders at all I thought using spiders’ characteristics was brilliant.

One quibble I have with this book is the names of the clans…very hard to keep straight and pronounce even in my head. Thank goodness I wasn’t reading out loud…lol! The worst names to keep straight were the Araneidae clan and the Araneaeans which is the name for all the clans in this world. That was confusing! Writing this review with all these names was also a challenge! Ms. Edwards has a pronunciation guide on her website. I guess I understand why she used all these words, but when a pronunciation guide is needed maybe you should use easier parts of these words!

The book is a good start to this new series. I also read a short story in the series–A Cast of Shadows. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t quite long enough. I would have enjoyed more time with the characters in that story.

The second book in the series–A Feast of Souls–is already out as an e-book, but I haven’t read it yet. It has been buried in my e-reader so I will have to dig it out before the third e-book arrives–A Time of Dying–at the end of July.

June 2013 books to look forward to

I don’t have too many books I’m thinking of buying this month, but the following books sound good! And I know as the month goes on I will find plenty of other books to buy!

June 4

Trail of Dead
by Melissa F. Olson
Series: Scarlett Bernard, book 2
Published by: 47North
Genre: Urban Fantasy
310 pages
Synopsis: As a null, Scarlett Bernard possesses a rare ability to counteract the supernatural by instantly neutralizing spells and magical forces. For years she has used her gift to scrub crime scenes of any magical traces, helping the powerful paranormal communities of Los Angeles stay hidden. But after LAPD detective Jesse Cruz discovered Scarlett’s secret, he made a bargain with her: solve a particularly grisly murder case, and he would stay silent about the city’s unearthly underworld.

Now two dead witches are found a few days before Christmas, and Scarlett is once again strong-armed into assisting the investigation. She soon finds a connection between the murders and her own former mentor, Olivia, a null who mysteriously turned into a vampire and who harbors her own sinister agenda. Now Scarlett must revisit her painful past to find Olivia—unless the blood-drenched present claims her life first.
My Thoughts: I’ve already preordered this book. I liked the first book (Dead Spots) and reviewed it in May.

Eight Million Gods
by Wen Spencer
Series: Unknown
Published by Baen Books
Genre: Fantasy
368 pages

Synopsis: A contemporary fantasy of mystery and death as American expats battle Japanese gods and monsters to retrieve an ancient artifact that can destroy the world.

On Saturday afternoon, Nikki Delany thought, “George Wilson, in the kitchen, with a blender.” By dinner, she had killed George and posted his gory murder to her blog. The next day, she put on her mourning clothes and went out to meet her best friend for lunch to discuss finding a replacement for her love interest.

Nikki is a horror novelist. Her choice of career is dictated by an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that forces her to write stories of death and destruction. She can’t control it, doesn’t understand it, but can use it to make money anywhere in the world. Currently “anywhere” is in Japan, hiding from her mother who sees Nikki’s OCD as proof she’s mentally unstable. Nikki’s fragile peace starts to fall apart when the police arrest her for the murder of an American expatriate. Someone killed him with a blender.

Reality starts to unravel around Nikki. She’s attacked by a raccoon in a business suit. After a series of blackouts, she’s accompanied by a boy that no one else can see, a boy who claims to be a god. Is she really being pursued by Japanese myths—or is she simply going insane?

What Nikki does know for sure is that the bodies are piling up, her mother has arrived in Japan to lock her up for the rest of her life—and her novels always end with everyone dead.  
My thoughts: I like Wen Spencer’s writing and have enjoyed so many of her books, but I think I will wait to see reviews of this book since it’s expensive. The synopsis sounds good though!

Gameboard of the Gods
by Richelle Mead
Series: Age of X, book 1
Published by: Dutton Adult
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
462 pages
Synopsis: A brilliant but bitter exile, plagued with an addictive personality and a troubled past.  A beautiful super soldier whose true nature holds more danger than anyone realizes.  In a futuristic country that’s turned its back on religion, these two unlikely partners find that a series of ritualistic murders are just the beginning of supernatural forces slowly attempting to reclaim the world…
My thoughts: This is another book which sounds good, but is expensive so I’m going to wait to hear what other reviews say.

by Cassie Alexander
Series: Edie Spencer series, book 3
Published by: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Urban Fantasy
321 pages
Synopsis: Nurse Edie Spence is once again called upon to save a life…and this time, it’s personal. Can her new community of zombies, vampires, and shapeshifters come to her rescue when she needs them most?

When Edie was fired from her paranormal nursing job at County Hospital, her whole world came crashing down. Now she’s is once again shaken to her core. Her mother is deathly ill and there’s only one thing that will save her: vampire blood. But with the paranormal community shunning Edie, where can she obtain it…without losing her own life in the process?  
My thoughts: I’ve preordered this book. I’ve read the previous books in this series and it has quickly become one of my favorite series.

What new June books are on your list for this month?