Review: The Earl of Brass by Kara Jorgensen

51h1A-1fCbL._UY250_Steam punk is one of those genres, I thoroughly enjoy but so rarely indulge in. I had the pleasure of reading The Earl of Brass recently and absolutely fell in love with the genre all over again. I’m going to try and keep this review concise, because I want to gush about everything all at once. Let me start by saying, I adored the main characters Hadley and Eilian. Two very different characters, who broke the mold on gender sterotypes in a classically rigid time period. Hadley is everything I look for in a female lead, strong indipendent and out to change the world. Hadley is a mechanical genuis who learned about autotomics from her older, when her older brother dies from a disease, she is determined to keep her business afloat, even if it means impersonating a man. The secret feminist in me, gets a little giddy when women in the Victorian era are going against the patriarchy. And Hadley definitely fights the good fight.

While Eilian, is not classically masculine, he is the right mix of intelligent, insightful and with perhaps a dash of awkward, but that might be my imagination since that’s my weakness. He has a serious case of wander lust, and rejects the antiquated notions of earldom, which he is destined to inherit. After a derigible accident (which is tragic but also awesome, come on a derigible crash!) he loses his arms from the burns. In comes Hadley. She and her brother make prostethesis and after a humiliating dinner party, Eilian agrees to be the guinea pig for a new experimental prostetic arm, which will move and function like a real arm, but made of metal (this is freaking amazing, I cannot tell you how much I fangirled over this one concept).

I have to talk about the arm, because I can tell Jorgenson spent a lot of time researhcing biology and mechanics. But if any of you are a fan of the Manga/Anime Full Metal Alchemist, you’ll remember Edward Elrich had a metal arm, and Eilian’s puts it to shame. It was a forgone conclusion from there that I was going to love this book after that.

 

I wont spoil what happens from there, but lets say there’s a bit of gender bending, some interesting philosophical questions posed, bad guys with guns and the pressures of gentry. This is an absolute must read! But if you still need convincing here’s some of the book details:

 

Summary:

When Eilian Sorrell, a promising archaeologist and the eldest son of the Earl of Dorset, loses his arm in a dirigible crash, he fears he will face a bleak future among London’s aristocracy. On a quest for normalcy, Lord Sorrell commissions a prosthetic arm but finds the craftsman is not what he seems.
After the death of her brother, Hadley Fenice takes over his prosthesis business but knows it will be an uphill battle as women are discouraged from doing man’s work. In return for building Lord Sorrell an automaton arm, he offers her a chance at freedom by following him to the Negev Desert under the guise of a man.
But what lies beneath the desert is more precious than potshards or bones. As they venture deeper, they discover a society where the path of life is not governed by gain but by passion. When imperialistic invaders come in search of a new colony to pillage, Eilian and Hadley are forced to defend their fleeting glimpse of paradise.

Buy now on Amazon

More about Kara Jorgensen:

 

Kara Jorgensen is an author and professional student from New Jersey who will probably die slumped over a Victorian novel. An anachronistic oddball from birth, she has always had an obsession with the Victorian era, especially the 1890s. Midway through a dissection in a college anatomy class, Kara realized her true passion was writing and decided to marry her love of literature and science through science fiction or, more specifically, steampunk. When she is not writing, she is watching period dramas, going to museums, or babying her beloved dogs.

 

Facebook, Twitter, Web, Pinterest

 

 

Princess Teaser

Princess - Ebook - PNGPrincess is the second novella I’ve written in the world of Diviner’s. I found while I was writing the Diviner’s Trilogy I was drawn to the tragic story of Princess Edalene. Born a product of rape and half Neaux, she never fit in at court. I could not stop wondering, who is she? What would her story be and so PRINCESS came to life. Here is an excerpt from the book. Enjoy!

 

Princess Excerpt

Celia knocked on my door for what felt like an eternity.
“Edalene, what’s wrong? Talk to me,” she said in a coaxing tone.
In that moment, I hated her too. She’s just like the rest of them. She only pretends to care because she’s supposed to, because that is her job. They chose Celia because like me, she was half-Neaux. I knew that from the moment she arrived, but it was easy to forget that she was appointed to be my companion. In that moment I felt the separation like a canyon gaping between us. Celia would agree to an arranged marriage if it advanced her station. Her father was some well-to-do spice merchant. Her mother was a daughter of a lesser branch of House Sixton. She was considered a lady but only just barely. Her family had money but no station. That was why they had agreed to let her be my lady-in-waiting in the hopes she would find a good match. Most girls dream of a wealthy suitor. Goddess knows I’ve heard them babble on about it enough times through the walls.
After a while, Celia gave up on her knocking and went away. I rolled over, feeling miserable. She probably went to tell Aunt Idella. If she has not heard about the council meeting already, she’ll bring her here, and Aunt Idella will scold me. I sighed and rolled back onto my back. I stared at the canopy over my head. The plush velvet curtains met in the center of the canopy where a button tied them together. I could hear the crash of waves muted and distant just outside my window. There was no secret passageway from my room, unfortunately, but I desperately wanted to get out of the palace. I would escape and never look back if it were my choice. I balled the fabric of my coverlet in my hand hard enough to rip. I don’t get a choice. Princesses don’t have that luxury.
I got up, padded over to the door, and pressed my ear up against it, listening. There was no sound on the other side. Celia was indeed gone. That was her mistake. I slid out of my chamber and down the hall to the sitting room. I glanced over my shoulder a few times, checking for Celia, but she was nowhere to be seen. She had gone to get Aunt Idella as I suspected. I squeezed through the crawl space for the second time that day. My gown ripped in my haste, but I did not stop to examine it. I did not care if I tore a hundred gowns if I could snatch one moment of freedom. This time instead of turning right, I went left. This was a longer stretch of tunnel with much less of interest in it. It sloped upward for a while, and the ceiling was so low I had to crouch down to get through. It was brighter here as well, stones had fallen away from the outer wall, and I could hear the ocean thundering. A gull cried, singing a sad lament as it reeled through the sky. At the end of the tunnel there was a gap where the stone had tumbled away.
It opened up on a ledge that overlooked the sea. When I crawled out and onto it, the wind tore at my dress and tangled in my hair. The scent of the sea and the feel of the wind helped to cool my temper. Up above I heard guards walking along the walls, calling out to one another as they passed by on their rounds. I scooted along, careful not to look down. A pebble broke free and clattered downward, the sound swallowed up by the roar of the ocean below.
It ended at a narrow stretch of sandstone. From there was a sloping hill that led up to the palace gardens. I climbed up the hill, clinging to scraggly grass, the ground shifting beneath my feet. I slipped and skidded backwards. My heart leapt into my throat. I clutched at the roots of a large tuft of grass, one foot wedged into a boulder. I knew it was not wise to do so, but I looked over my shoulder. The ocean swirled beneath me, and my head spun for a moment looking down at the drop. One wrong move and I would fall to my death, a sad crumpled doll smashed among the rocks. I looked away and resumed my climb. The hill crested at the edge of the forest. I slipped through a hedge and out into the maze. I could hear a fountain burbling nearby. Dusk had begun to fall; the garden was washed in pinkish light. Except for the sound of the ocean, everything was hushed. I navigated the maze quickly. I had learned it by heart at a young age; my brother taught me the trick to it. There was a pattern to the turns: two lefts, one right, one left and three rights. Coming through here always made me think of him. He would never have forced me to marry, I know it.
At the end of the maze, I shed my slippers and wriggled my feet in the grass. And oh, it felt so good to feel the earth beneath my feet and the sky gray above, streaked with pink and purple as the sun set. I took off at a run. They were bound to discover me missing at any moment, and I wanted to indulge in every moment of my freedom. The grass ended, and my feet slapped against the sandstone that skirted the overlook facing the ocean. I came to an abrupt stop at the cliff edge. The wind howled, pulling at my gown and drawing me closer.
I let the wind breathe through me. I held up my arms as if I could take flight like a gull. I am going to tell King Layton I refuse to marry anyone he chooses for me. I will remain an old maid if that’s what it takes. There has to be someone else who can give birth to his heir. I will not let them dictate how my life is to be lived.
“I am not anyone’s tool!” I shouted to the wind.
The crash of the waves and the hollowing of the wind swallowed up my words. It felt good to speak my mind, to have my voice heard even if it was only by the wind. Night had fallen at last, and the wind brushed against my skin like icy daggers and my feet were starting to turn numb. I should head back. I turned to leave when I spotted someone standing at the edge of the clearing. I froze, realizing I had been caught. They stood in the shadows near the entrance to the maze entrance. They were petite and thin.
“My little bird in a little cage sings, sings, sings.”
I knew that voice. Just the sound of it brought me crashing back to earth.
“Momma, what are you doing out here?” I hated how small and vulnerable I sounded.
“The ocean calls to me, come, come, darling. It’s time to dance down below,” my mother said in a singsong voice.
For a moment when she said her little bird, I thought she was talking about me. But she never knew I existed other than as a nightmare creature to remind her of what had been done to her. You don’t know me, I am not your daughter, and I should stop considering you as my mother. You only gave birth to me. I was a parasite that grew in your womb and slithered out, leaving you an empty shell.
“How did you get out?” I asked instead. It was dangerous for her out here. She could easily slip and fall over the cliff. Who let her out? Her garden should have been locked, and someone should have been watching her. Even when I tried to distance myself from her, I could not stop caring.
“The starfish king wanted me to dance with him, but I told him no, no, no, but then…” Her eyes were wide and fearful. “I told him no, I screamed and he said, ‘Hush, hush, this will only hurt a bit.’”
I swallowed hard. She was having one of her fits again. “Momma, come to me. We need to go back inside.” I held out my hand to coax her to me. It never worked, but I kept on trying no matter how many times she spit in my face, clawed at me or called me a demon.
“No, no, they broke me. I am a hundred different pieces as sharp as daggers. Do not touch!” She rocked back and forth for a moment.
I took a hesitant step towards her, and her head shot up. Her gaze fixed on me. “You!” She pointed at me.
I expected her to attack me as she had done in the past. I braced for it and closed my eyes.
“The dark one has chosen you, but you will be the mother of kings!” she said.
My eyes flew open as I looked at her. Her expression was one I had never seen before. It was focused. Her eyes were boring into me.
“Momma?” I asked.
“You are the one who binds nations yet to be born, but without sacrifice there is no future.”
She looked away from me and to the cliff. I saw her line of sight, and though I stood between her and the cliff, I hesitated, not certain she would do what I thought she meant to do. She ran past me towards the edge. I lunged forward to grab her hand. I brushed against her skin as she slid past me, slippery as an eel.
I ran after her. Despite her haggard appearance, she was quick. My feet slammed on the ground in my haste to try to capture her. My hands reached for her. The cliff loomed large before her, the sky an endless black tunnel behind her. The first few stars twinkled in the twilight like distant candles. My mother had always seemed small and fragile. She had tiny bird bones and dark hair in a wild tangle that was turning grayer all the time. Her cheeks were sunken in and her arms frail. She stopped at the edge, her heels pressed against the precipice. “I have to fly, child of mine, or you will never be free.”
I hesitated. She had never called me that, never acknowledged the fact that she was my mother. As she looked at me, for a moment I saw past her madness. I saw the hints of the beautiful woman she had been, the curve of her lips and the high regal cheekbones. I saw the woman who would have been a mother to me had life been different, if the goddess had been fair. The moment was over in a blink. She smiled a wild crazed smile from behind cracked lips. I took a few steps forward, hand outstretched. If I could only move my legs faster, I could grab onto her wrist. She opened her arms wide, a cruel parody of what I had done before, as if she could take flight. And then she fell over the edge, her hair flying around her like black and gray wings in the wind.
I screamed some inarticulate sound as if my words could reach out and cradle her, hold her back and keep her from going over. I reached the edge seconds too late, my hand closing in on emptiness. Nothing I could do could save her. She fell out of sight. I looked over the edge of the cliff and saw her body tumbled on the ground at the base of the cliff. Her salt-and-pepper hair splayed out on the ground, her body bent at odd angles and blood, blood, blood.
My mother is dead.
For a moment shock was greater than reason. I stared at her body broken on the ground at the base of the cliff, the water lapping over her body, making pink rivulets of the dark blood.
My mother is dead.
I turned and walked back to the palace. My mother is dead. It had turned into a sick chant inside my head. I placed one foot in front of the other. The world had lost color. I couldn’t smell the jasmine bushes. I couldn’t feel the bite of the wind or the tingling of my feet on the grass.
I found a palace guard who was making his rounds about the palace. He stopped me and said something I could not process.
“My mother jumped over the cliff,” I said. My own voice sounded empty and hollow. Shouldn’t I be crying? Shouldn’t I be screaming? The woman who brought me into this world is dead.
“Where? How did this happen?” he asked.
I pointed in the direction I had come. “By the exit to the garden maze,” I said.
The palace guard shouted to another guard, and he ran to find help. Someone grabbed me by the shoulders, shaking me and asking questions. I was too numb to respond. I remember shouting, a blur of movement and nothing else. I came back to myself outside my chamber door. I had wandered away without realizing it. I knocked on the chamber door, and Celia answered with a frown. I never came through the front door when I snuck out. I just didn’t have the forethought to go back through the tunnel.
“Edalene, where have you…?” Celia’s frown transformed into a look of concern. She knew me well enough not to ask any questions. “You’re not wearing any shoes. Get inside. I’ll bring you a blanket and something warm to drink.” She put her arm around my shoulder and brought me into the apartment. She led me into my chamber and sat me down on the edge of my bed.
She scurried off to tend to her tasks. I stared at the wall opposite my bed. I watched my mother fall over and over in an endless loop. I should have stopped her. Why did I not move faster? Celia returned with a cup of spice wine. She handed it to me, and I held it without drinking. She hovered over me, biting her lip. She wanted to ask me what happened, I knew, but I was not ready to talk.
After a few moments she cracked. “Edalene, you’re scaring me. What is wrong?” Celia was peering at me, her dark brows pulled together.
“I killed my mother,” I said. It was not today, but the moment she became pregnant with me, she had been marked for death. My mother was raped by a Neaux man and conceived me. The rape and my birth broke her. I had not pushed her off that cliff, but I might as well have.

Pre-order at:

kobo-icondownload (2) amazon-icon

Win a Paperback Copy of the Diviner’s Trilogy

To celebrate the release of the Diviner’s Trilogy Bundle, I am giving away a ton of paperbacks. There’s four different winners. Each with a different prize, the grand prize is a copy of the Complete Diviner’s Trilogy in paperback plus copies of Duchess and Princess in paperback.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

Wattpad Wednesday #4

As I review my favorites on Wattpad I often times find myself with a difficult choice. I have quite a few authors that I enjoy everything they write and yet I don’t want to just bombard everyone with a billion stories from one author. So here I sit staring at my favorites list on Wattpad making the difficult choice. And in the end I went with a story I have been literally addicted to for the past week or so. Today’s feature is:

Catch, Curse, Release

By wonelson

Love Bites

Author’s Summary:  Lori Mayer is a failing law student whose latest boyfriend just ran off with her study partner (she was really going to miss Karl, he took the best notes). However bleak everything seems now, Lori soon discovers that life and love can get a whole lot crazier when a psychotic love god named Des sends her back in time to meet her true love; A time and place where immortal warriors run rampant and her iPad is about as useful as a frisbee. Can Lori resist her attraction to Eric, the ridiculously tasty leader of the immortals, and return to her own time? Not if Des has anything to do with it. He may be cursed to help mortal women find their true loves but it’s his game, and in this game only one thing matters: sealing the deal. Unfortunately for him, Lori has her own rulebook and she isn’t about to give in without a fight. Can a modern-day woman really outplay him at his own love game? Not bloody likely!

My Thoughts:

Never before have I found the combination of comedy and sex appeal that Mrs. Nelson brings to a story. Her characters practically jump off the page, pick you up in their well oiled arms and ride with you off into the sunset. (I may have a slight crush on her heroes).  I enjoy everything she writes but after devouring some 10 chapters over the course of a couple days and one very steamy scene, this story won this round. Her plots are clever and never cliched and her heroes… well just read and you’ll see what I mean.

Wattpad Wednesdays #2

Wattpad Wednesday #2:

Shadowfall

I love a good epic fantasy, and anyone who knows me—or is familiar with my writing—knows I adore romantic fantasy, more specifically, Historical Romantic Fantasy (try saying that five times fast!) This weeks feature is the perfect combination of my favorites in fantasy.

Shadowfall

By Onepieceoftherainbow

439765-256-256186

From the Author’s Summary:

Leia Illyria, Duchess of Amareth, and her family have kept away from court since she was little, for reasons she doesn’t fully understand – in Myaengaer, where magic has been banned for two hundred years, Leia possesses extraordinary power. When a mysterious and evil threat that has lain dormant for two centuries begins to rise again, Leia learns a secret which forces her to confront her hidden self, with the help of Prince Caleth, heir to the throne of Myaengaer and leader of the Myaen Guard. Working together, they must face down the evil that threatens to destroy the kingdom, the land and their lives.

My thoughts:

I have been following this story for a long time and it continues to keep me on my toes! I adore Onepieceoftherainbows mystical style of writing and the way she describes a scene just draws me into the action and I can imagine the action unfolding before me as if it is happening. The story is set in a pseudo European country where magic is outlawed, when evil threatens the land it’s left up to Leia and Prince Caleth to find the answers, and master her powers, in time to save the kingdom. It’s an exciting epic fantasy with a dash of romance and you should run out and read it right this moment!