[ARC] Counter Culture by J.L. Merrow

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4stars

Title: Counter Culture
Author: J.L. Merrow
Release date: November 4th 2019
Number of pages: 344 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: It was really sweet and the characters were great.
Bad things about this book: The drama! Why? But I must say it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I do.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

ARC given by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

This was so cute! The steampunk! The really nice Robin (full name Robin Christopher btw!), the adorable Archie (real name Mars!!). Archie’s mum was such a fresh character and, while I thought I was going to hate Bridge (the ex and mum of Archie’s baby), I came to like her a lot!

It was something like a slowburn romance with tons of little cute moments mixed with bits of serious stuff, like the homeless situation in the UK. I loved that Archie was unapologetically bisexual and nobody had anything to say about that. And how Robin was really opened about being gay even if his parents were really infuriating. They are cancelled!

This book flew in my hands. One moment I started it, then it was over! Some scenes had me giggling nonstop!! I just really enjoy Merrow’s writing and storytelling. I’ve read three times her The Plumber’s Mate Mysteries series! All of it!

Do I want to attend a Steampunk event? Of course I do. Can you imagine how cool that’d be?? Yes, please!

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Timekeeper by Tara Sim

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5stars

“You’re everything. You’re… You’re chaos and order and everything between. Like sunshine kept back by clouds. Like the entire world’s imploded inside you, but all I see are the stars are sewn into your skin. You’re filled with soft, dark music. I hear it all the time. Your music.”

Title: Timekeeper
Author: Tara Sim
Series: Timekepper #1
Number of pages: 448 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: The story was compelling and the characters likeable.
Bad things about this book: There were some confusing points that in my opinion needed more explanation.
Do I recommend it? I do!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I remember buying this book because of the steampunk setting and the lgbtqia+ main couple, and I remember buying it knowing there were more books in the series so there probably was going to be a cliffhanger. Luckily, there wasn’t one but the last chapter set the input for the next book. I can’t wait to read it seeing as the third and last book was released just a few days ago.

I had many theories but, weirdly, none of them were the one that actually happened. What a nice surprise! I like not really knowing what’s going to happen. I liked Danny as a character, and Colton is just so sweet. The side characters were just as interesting and I hope we get to see more of them in the future. I’m curious about what’s going to happen next!

The setting, the world building, the story, they all were great and gave the book all the elements I usually like reading about.  I’ve been failing at putting words into a coherent review. I don’t really know what to say, so I’ll just say this: give this book a chance and enjoy it!

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Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennet ☆

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5starsplus

One day I’ll live a life that doesn’t force me to make such cold-blooded decisions, she thought. But today is not that day.

Title: Foundryside
Author: Robert Jackson Bennet
Series: Founders #1

Number of pages: 503 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: I loved the steampunk-ish fantasy world!
Bad things about this book: I want the sequel right now.
Do I recommend it? Yes, read it!
Rate: 5+++/5 (it’s a favourite!)

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Some here will whisper of liberty – but you can’t be free if you aren’t alive.

I LOVED IT!!! I loved it more than I thought I was going to! It surprised me, in an incredible way. I went in thinking I was going to find another amazing adventure by Bennett and found exactly that but so much more! I’m amazed, I’ll talk about this book with everyone!

This book is certainly different from Bennett’s Divine Cities trilogy; it is less dark and pretty straightforward, but it doesn’t lack twists and revelations that took the story on a very enjoyable level.

I liked Sancia right away; a former slave who’s been tortured and modified so that now she hears the scrived devices and feels the objects she touches learning all their secrets. In this world, there are devices modified through antique symbols to defy their natural role in the world. For example, you have a sword, you modified it telling it the gravity it’s feeling is 10 times the one it actually is, so the sword, when used will hit harder and make so much more damage. The scrivers use all their knowledge to come up with more ways to tell objects they should be doings things that’ll defy physics laws. I found this very fascinating.

What I loved, like really loved, about this book, was how it gave the world a love is love state of being. There were many political problems with the merchant houses, the foundries, the crimes, etc, but at least who you liked wasn’t an issue and I thought it was refreshing as hell. When I saw a character blushing because they saw a naked shoulder of a same gender character, a SHOULDER, my eyes opened comically; I was so glad Bennett thought of giving his characters the freedom to choose whoever they wanted to love with the normality our real world should have done from the very beginning of time. Giovanni saying he wanted to go to an exotic island because he’ll be among so many gorgeous sailor, made me smile so much. There were so many funny moments in this book.

Of all the side characters there were, and I’m always afraid about many side characters because it means some are expendables at some point, Clef was definitely my favourite. Brilliant, emotional, deep, and so selfless. Berenice has many more sides of herself that she will show us, I’m sure of it. Orso managed to be okay-ish at first, but then I warmed to his grumpiness. He gave a kind of vibe that made me doubt everything he did, a vibe that told me he was going to do something I wouldn’t approve. Gregor, sweet Gregor, what can I say about him? Follower of rules, he wants a better place for people to live in. He has this utopic dream of the world being a big happy place with people helping one another. He likes to think he’s doing the things he does for the greater good and he does, maybe it doesn’t always end like he intended but he tries his best. I liked him a lot and can’t wait to see what he’s going to do now, after everything that happened in Tevanne. Oh boy, things happened, so many things.

I will now be waiting anxiously for the sequel, because I didn’t have enough of Tevanne and I need more of it and of its characters. I got to know them, and I’m now like a mama hen, and will be very protective of my babies. Don’t you dare hurt them, Bennett! I’ll be heartbroken. After the Divine Cities’ trilogy, I can’t help but being scared.

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Arm of the Sphinx by Josiah Bancroft

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5stars

“The man or woman who is rarely lost, rarely discovers anything new.”

Title: Arm of the Sphinx
Author: Josiah Bancroft
Good things about this book: Sequel full of new mysteries and new amazing revelations.
Bad things about this book: Too many things left unanswered. I need the next book!!
Do I recommend it? Yes, without doubt.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

What a book! What a sequel! I expected the writing to be as good as the first book and I wasn’t wrong. I expected the plot to be as intriguing as the first book and it was even better. This review will obviously have spoilers of the first book but I will try my best to be vague about what happened in this one. It will be hard because I want to speculate about everything, mainly about that discovery and that ending!

What an ending! I will be thinking about it forever because there is too much left to the imagination and if there’s one thing I can do is imagine every single possibility there is and the possible outcomes of that revelation. The third book can’t come soon enough!

Was violence clarifying in doses but intoxicating in excess?

Tom and crew are now pirates on a wrecked ship called The Stone Cloud. They are struggling to stay alive because he is a wanted man and also because they aren’t welcome in mostly every single port of the tower. Tom is hunted by the ghost of his wife Marya and doesn’t share this essential information with his crew and friends.

“It’s strange to think of your old life carrying on without you.”

Tom is still determined to find his wife and is devoting all his strength to gather information about how to get to her. It’s been a year since their separation and many months since he was told she boarded a ship to Pelphia with a gentleman. He is a different man, that’s for sure, but what about Marya? Is she still waiting for him to come and get her back or is she enjoying her new life and had given up all hope of salvation?

Surely, it was better to go forward into ruin than backward into rot.

Edith and her prosthetic arm is still a little bit of a mystery. That arm is a technological miracle made by the Sphinx. Edith for some reason doesn’t want to talk about the Sphinx or her time at his place. What is she hiding? Who is that man who has so many machines all over the tower, a man everyone thinks a myth? We will find more about her time there and more about the Sphinx on this book and so many questions are being answered. Unfortunately after the revelations so many new questions arise and the third book doesn’t have a publication date and I think I’m going go crazy about it all.

Adam is still Adam. I’m still having a hard time trying to like the guy. I understand what he does always comes from the love for his sister but the fact that he doesn’t think what he did was wrong makes me so mad and makes me understand he can do things like that again and again. You were given so many chances and I hope you aren’t going to need more because come on, boy, there’s a limit to everyone’s patience. I’m so curious about his role in the next book. I have so many question and many more speculations!

Voleta is a free spirit. She can’t stay still for two consecutive seconds. I like her a lot and I trust she is going to make good choices now that her role is bigger and more important. She is the only one who has seen the real identity of the Sphinx and I hope that’s going to mean good things not only for her but also for everyone else. Voleta, don’t disappoint me!

Iren is such an interesting character and she is going through big changes. Now she is not only seen as a weapon but a friend and a valid member of this weird crew. Tom was the first man seeing her as more than her appearance and I think she will always be grateful for that. She will start developing mother hen feelings for Voleta; that’s very cute.

If all evil men only looked evil, there’d be a lot less trouble in the world, but in her experience, looks had nothing to do with character.

New characters were introduced. New villain? Sure and I already hate him. Luc Marat, humanitarian with a hunger for power, I’m positive of that. He wants to be pitied, wants people to know how ugly the tower is. But what is he hiding? What does he really want?

We were also introduced to the Sphinx and his, let’s say, butler; a mechanical stag who goes by the name of Byron. The Sphinx has a weird spoon-like mask, doesn’t show his skin, his height seems to change and has a mechanical voice. Who is he? I’m not telling you but you are going to find out! Byron, the stag, is hilarious and I already love him. I want to see more of him and his funny comebacks.

“The doors won’t open until the hall arrives.”
“What if I broke it down?”
“You would fall into a hole, and no one would miss you.”

So many things happened in this book and many more are going to happen. We now know how many ringdoms the tower has!!! We now know why the painting is so important. We now know who the Sphinx is and what does he want. We now know why Senlin is having visions of his wife. We may know all of that but there is still so much more to find out. Can’t wait!

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Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft

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5stars

The Tower grows up. The Tower grows down. The Tower holds up the hollow ground.

Title: Senlin Ascends
Author: Josiah Bancroft
Why you should read this book: Because it’s great and it has my seal of approval!
Do I recommend it? Yes, it is one of a kind and it won’t disappoint.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I was attracted months ago to this book by its cover so I added it to me TBR books ever growing list; I thought it was very beautiful and the title intrigued me. It had something to do with the Tower of Babel and it had adventure in it. Count me in, I thought, I put in on my amazon wish list. Then I forgot about it. Until I bought my kindle and activated kindle unlimited and saw it was free to take! How fortunate, right? It made me rush to read it and it was one hell of a decision.

I loved everything about this book. It has a little bit of all the things I love about a good story: adventure, love, some sort of magic, steam punk feeling, a story outside of a specific time and really nice characters you love and love a little less from time to time.

“The Earth doesn’t shake the Tower; the Tower shakes the Earth.”

Tomas Senlin is a recently married headmaster of a little town. He is fascinated by the tower and picked it as their honeymoon destination. He read a guide written obviously by someone who hasn’t been to the tower because as soon as they both arrived they didn’t think they will be overwhelmed by the crowd and the vastness of it all, and they aren’t even inside the tower but only outside in the immense marketplace that changes continuously.
Tom is naïve about the whole tower situation because he still sees it as this miraculous construction and a thing of marvel, so he distanced himself from his wife Marya and, guess what? He loses her in the crowd.

“It’s odd you should mention my wife. I seem to have lost her.”

His mission is to find Marya and go back home with her. Simple, right? He just has to find her in a tower that nobody knows how many floors it has. Each floor is called a ringdom because, as the name suggests, it’s a huge kingdom, each with its own rules, dangers and peculiarities.

Tom will have to ascend the tower and he will meet a lot of people. He has to learn that the tower changes people and he has to be careful about the trust he puts on his new acquaintances. His adventures will challenge him as a man; from a quiet man of letters he will have to transform into a witty man of action.

First, it turned luxury into necessity, and then the Tower conspired to revoke all claims to happiness, dignity, and liberty.

The book has flying ships!!! Everything is so steam punk I loved it from the beginning. Vapor, weird machines, pirates, a mystery, secrets all over the place! There is one mystery I can’t wait to find out because I can’t think of a reason why that thing is a clue to finding out more about the tower. How many floors does it have? Who lives on the top? Does it have a top floor? Is there a king of the tower, someone watching over everyone else? Who the hell build the whole thing? I need answers and I hope I will get some of them by the end of the second book. Thinking that the author said there are going to be four books and that he writes slowly is making me nervous with curiosity.

“Top of the Tower,” she said with exaggerated dramatic emphasis.
“We will not. I’ll meet you right here beside this cart of socks.”
“Such a romantic!”

I will be on edge until I see Tomas and Marya together again and the rest of the characters happy forever. I’m delusional, I know, I am almost sure someone will die. I can only hope I’m wrong!

“The truth, when finally told, will often sound strange, while a lie is so often familiar.”

I don’t want to reveal anything more because the story is great and needs to be experienced first-hand. Trust me, you will love it. And yes, I have a crush on Tom Senlin, it was inevitable!

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