Tag Archives: author

Review: The Golden Spider by Anne Renwick


The Golden Spider by Anne Renwick

Series: The Elemental Web Chronicles

Genre: Steampunk Romance




London papers scream of dirigible attacks, kraken swarms, and lung-clogging, sulfurous fogs. But a rash of gypsy murders barely rates mention.

Lady Amanda is tired of having both her intelligence and her work dismissed.

After blackmailing her way into medical school, she catches the eye of her anatomy professor from the moment she walks into his lecture hall. Is he interested in her? Or only her invention–a clockwork spider that can spin artificial nerves?

Lord Thornton, a prominent neurobiologist, has been betrayed.

Secret government technology has been stolen from his laboratory, and a foreign spy is attempting to perfect it via a grisly procedure… using gypsies as test subjects. The last thing he needs is the distraction of a beautiful–and brilliant–new student, even if her spider could heal a deteriorating personal injury.

Until her device is stolen and used in the latest murder.

Lord Thornton has no option but to bring her into his laboratory as well as the investigation where they must fight their growing, yet forbidden, attraction. Bodies accumulate and fragile bonds are tested as they race across London, trying to catch the spy before it’s too late.

I am always on the lookout for a decent steampunk read and The Golden Spider blurb caught my attention. What is there not to like, Victorian London, intelligent and feisty female character and a growling male?

The book can be read as a mystery with a touch of romance. The steampunk world is mostly there with krakens and dirigibles. The clockwork spider was definitely a unique piece of equipment that I haven´t come across in any other books. The London setting is well described but could have had a bit more. The plot is well developed with a few twists that keeps reading interesting. I enjoyed the main characters and secondary characters are well written that along the book you grasp the different personalities. There are no editing issues in this book that I noticed, whether typos or grammatically.

My one negative remark on this book is the medical lingo, way too much and too detailed for someone without medical background. At a certain point I started skipping the dialogue feeling utterly lost and confused with the exchanges. There is also no way to verify what the author is saying is accurate or not, well I could google it but that is not the point of reading a book.

If you like steampunk you should enjoy this book, you will probably enjoy it more if you have some medical knowledge to help you through the technical dialogue. If like me you don´t, it´s still readable .

Overall I did enjoy this book and will read book 2 in the series, The Silver Skull.


Giving a new author a chance

I have never heard of Julius Schenk but I saw the promotion of his book on one of the many pages I follow, from his photo he looks rather young and while this is not typically what I like in fantasy I am willing to give it a try. What swayed me? I read his biography on Amazon and he states, and I quote:

“My main mission as a writer of ‘Dark Fantasy’ is to keep it original and unique and hopefully come up with some monster or power that is new. I’d love to be like Bram Stoker with Vampires or Romaro and Zombies.”

Anyone who aspires to be like Bram Stoker deserves that I at least read the book.

So Mr Schenk, here is my contribution to your new book…

Take The Body… (Dark Gods & Tainted Souls Book 1)

by Julius Schenk

Seth stood and watched the nightmare creature as it tore its past master into bloody shreds and tried not to let the gripping fear show on his face. He could feel the man’s life force, his memories, his talents and hard won skills filling his own mind and body, turning him into something much more than the lowly soldier he’d been just mere moments before.



RIP Umberto Eco

From Reuters


Umberto Eco, Italian author of ‘The Name of the Rose,’ dies at 84

Italian author Umberto Eco, who became famous for the 1980 international blockbuster “The Name of the Rose”, died on Friday, Italian media reported. He was 84.

La Repubblica newspaper said it had been informed by the family that Eco died late on Friday night at his home in northern Italy.

Eco was virtually unknown outside university circles until well into middle age, when he found himself an international celebrity overnight after he published his first novel, an unorthodox detective story set in a medieval monastery.

“He was an extraordinary example of European intellectualism, uniting a unique intelligence of the past with an inexhaustible capacity to anticipate the future,” Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was quoted as saying by the Italian news agency Ansa.

For the professor from Bologna University, then aged 48, it was a late introduction into the world of international literary fame and one that took many critics by surprise.

“The “Name of the Rose”, with its highly detailed description of life in a 14th-century monastery and learned accounts of the philosophical and religious disputes of the time, at face value was hardly a novel to appeal to the average modern reader.

But the book’s popularity lay in a clever plot line, the masterfully evoked atmosphere of fear and gloom brooding over the monastery, and the attractive central figure, unashamedly modeled on the famous detective Sherlock Holmes.

As the novel opens an aging priest, anxious to record the story before he dies, looks back on events that took place in 1327 when as an 18-year-old novice he visited a sinister Italian monastery with his master, Brother William of Baskerville.

During their stay several of the monks are gruesomely murdered and William and his young assistant are soon involved in a detective hunt to track down the villain.

The unusual juxtaposition of a gripping storyline and erudite scholasticism helped to explain why the “”Name of the Rose” was translated into dozens of languages, sold more than 14 million copies and won several international literary prizes.


The book was also the subject of a lavish film production directed by Frenchman Jean-Jacques Annaud and starring Scottish actor Sean Connery as Brother William.

Eco attributed the book’s success to the similarity of experiences shared by mankind in the fourteenth and late twentieth century.

““I hope readers see the roots, that everything that existed then – from banks and the inflationary spiral to the burning of libraries – exists today,” he said in an interview with the New York Times Book Review in 1983.

But he also expressed irritation about the apparent reluctance of the international press to let him move on from that achievement.

““I can’t spend the rest of my life talking about a book I left behind me five years ago,” he once complained.

The novel form was a new departure for Eco, who until “”The Name of the Rose” was best known for his highly academic writings on semiotics, the study of signs, and more topical weekly articles in the influential Italian political magazine L’Espresso.

His second novel, “”Foucault’s Pendulum,” was less successful internationally but still highly acclaimed.

His last novel, “Numero Zero” (Number Zero), which was set in an Italian newspaper newsroom, was published last year.

Born in the northwest Italian city of Alessandria on Jan. 5, 1932, Eco was the son of an accountant employed by a manufacturer of iron bathtubs.

His father wanted him to become a lawyer but he chose instead to study philosophy at the northern University of Turin, where he became fascinated by the medieval world.

After taking his doctorate in 1954, Eco started working for the recently established national broadcasting network RAI preparing cultural programs and gaining a lasting interest in mass communication.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Promoting one of my favourite series

This book is always free. And the series is complete, so no waiting.
‪#‎selfpromofriday‬ ‪#‎urbanfantasy‬ ‪#‎reading‬ ‪#‎indie‬

25 of Oscar Wilde’s Wittiest Quotes

Source: http://mentalfloss.com/article/59484/25-oscar-wildes-wittiest-quotes

1. I think that God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.

2. The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.

3. Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.

4. It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.

5. The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any use to oneself.

6. Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.

7. What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

8. A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.

9. When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.

10. There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.

11. Work is the curse of the drinking classes.

12. Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.

13. True friends stab you in the front.

14. All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.

15. Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.

16. There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.

17. Genius is born—not paid.

18. Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.

19. How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being?

20. A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone’s feelings unintentionally.

21. My own business always bores me to death; I prefer other people’s.

22. The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything.

23. I like men who have a future and women who have a past.

24. There are two ways of disliking poetry; one way is to dislike it, the other is to read Pope.

25. Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.

And one bonus quote about Oscar Wilde! Dorothy Parker said it best in a 1927 issue of Life:

If, with the literate, I am
Impelled to try an epigram,
I never seek to take the credit;
We all assume that Oscar said it.

125 years ago today a star was born… Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie was born 125 years ago today! To celebrate, we’ve used our “little grey cells” to compile a list of fascinating facts about the beloved English crime novelist.

1. At the age of 26, she handled poisons for a living. 
After working as a nurse during World War I, Christie became an apothecaries’ assistant, allowing her access to a myriad of toxins. “Since I was surrounded by poisons, perhaps it was natural that death by poisoning should be the method I selected,” she wrote of her decision to include strychnine and bromide in her first published novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles.

2. Christie did her best thinking while eating apples and drinking tea—in the bath.
Unfortunately, she found modern baths “too slippery, with no nice wooden ledge to rest pencils and paper on,” so she was forced to give up the stimulating habit.

3. She was one of the first British people to try surfing. 
Christie got the opportunity on a trip to Hawaii with her first husband, Archie Christie. Already a bodyboarder, she took to the sport quite quickly: “I learned to become an expert, or at any rate expert from the European point of view—the moment of complete triumph on the day that I kept my balance and came right into shore standing upright on my board.”

4. During World War II, MI5 investigated Christie. 
The culprit? Her 1941 mystery, N or M. The British intelligence agency was troubled by the novel’s inclusion of a character named Major Bletchley who claimed to possess critical wartime secrets. They worried Christie was actually referring to a real person, her friend Dilly Knox, a codebreaker at Bletchley Park. The novelist insisted the whole thing was a coincidence—”Bletchley? My dear, I was stuck there on my way by train from Oxford to London and took revenge by giving the name to one of my least lovable characters.”—and MI5 eventually dropped their investigation.

5. She despised marmalade pudding, going so far as to use it to kill a man in her 1953 novel, A Pocket Full of Rye
Though, to be fair, the cause of death was taxine, an alkaloid poison. Marmalade was just the delivery method.

6. At the height of her popularity, Christie saw herself as a “sausage machine.”
She was producing two books per year at the point, and the exhausting schedule led her to declare, “I’m a sausage machine, a perfect sausage machine.”

7. She grew up believing her mother was psychic.
Christie always asserted her childhood had been “very happy,” and maybe Mama Clara’s second sight had something to do with it.

8. No one can confirm or deny that aliens abducted Christie in 1926.
The theory’s not as silly as you might think. (Though, admittedly, it’s one of the sillier ones). On December 3, 1926, the mystery writer kissed her daughter goodnight, got in a car, and disappeared for eleven days. Over 150,000 volunteers combed the area, but she couldn’t be found. Just as accusations of foul play began to circulate—primarily against her husband Archie—Christie turned up in a hotel in Harrogate, England. She never explained her disappearance.

9. On top of being a famous mystery writer, she was a successful romance novelist.
Christie wrote six romance novels under the pen name Westmacott, including Unfinished Portrait, a semi-autobiographical story about a writer who attempts suicide after her marriage falls apart.

10. Christie has sold more books than there are people in China and America.
With 2 billion copies sold in 103 languages, she remains the best-selling novelist of all time.

Taken from Goodreads

What I´m currently reading

The Scarlet Deep (Elemental World #3) by Elizabeth Hunter 
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00068]
On the waves of the North Atlantic, a poison spreads, sapping the life from humans and striking madness into immortals.

Patrick Murphy, the immortal leader of Dublin, has been trying to stem the tide of Elixir washing into his territory, but nothing seems to stop the vampire drug. While others in the immortal world work to cure the creeping insanity that Elixir threatens, Murphy has been invited to London to join a summit of leaders hoping to discover who is shipping the drug. If Murphy and his allies can cut off the supply, they might be able to halt the spread long enough for a treatment to be found for the humans and vampires infected.

Anne O’Dea, Murphy’s former lover, retreated from public life over one hundred years ago to help immortals in need… and to heal her own broken heart. Though powerful connections keep her insulated from the violence of vampire politics, even Anne is starting to feel the effects of Elixir on her isolated world. The human blood supply has been tainted, and with Anne’s unique needs, even those closest to her might be in danger. Not just from infection, but Anne’s escalating bloodlust.

When Anne and Murphy are both called to London, they’re forced to confront a connection as immortal as they are. As they search for a traitor among allies, they must also come to terms with their past. Behind the safe facade of politics, old hungers still burn, even as an ancient power threatens the fate of the Elemental World.