Pass, Fail, Promise: Summer Reading Edition

So many books! So little time to review them in!

Pass: Rhys Bowen’s Molly Murphy Series

I love this series to bits. If you decide to read it, then I highly recommend the audio version, though the only place I’ve been able to find it is Audible. I’ve been lucky so far and have had some free credits, but if you are one of the lucky souls whose library carries the audiobook, then I highly recommend that you snap it up because the narration just adds so much to the overall story.

After accidentally killing a would-be rapist in self defense, Molly Murphy must flee her small home town on the west coast of Ireland. Fearing that the law is on her heels, she is in luck when Kathleen, a dying mother of two, provides her with passage to America. In return for using Kathleen’s name and ticket, she must escort her two young children to their father in New York City.

In the first book, Molly manages to trip of three dead bodies, is propositioned twice, and is nearly recruited as a prostitute. In between misadventures, she must clear the name of her dear friend Michael (and herself!) who is a suspect in a murder on Ellis Island. And she has to do it without the police finding out her true identity!

The second book is just as good, if not better than the first, and I cannot wait to start the third. There are at least 12 books listed on Goodreads, so there are plenty more of Molly’s adventures waiting.

Genre: Mystery
Sub-Genre: Historical fiction
Page Count:256
Amazon Link

Fail: Sorcery and Cecelia, or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot–Patricia C. Wrede, Caroline Stevermer

This is one of those books that I really wanted to like, but didn’t. I’d heard a lot of good things about it. Sorcery and Cecelia (and the two sequels, The Grand Tour and the Mislaid Magician) are considered essential pieces of literature in the Steampunk community. Everyone I know who has read these books loves them.

The premise is even something that I would normally enjoy–two young girls in Victorian England, experiencing vastly different summers (one in the city for her season, the other trapped in the country for another year) attempt to solve a magical mystery and lift a curse while communicating via post.

Sadly, I found the story dull. There were some more exciting bits near the end that I enjoyed, but I had to force myself to keep reading for at least the first 2/3 of the book. I’ve been told that considering what my current novel is about and the style in which it is written, it is a must that I read the second and third installments, but I’m not sure if I can bring myself to do it.

If you read and enjoyed this book, what is it that you liked about it?

Genre: Young Adult
Sub-Genre: Historical fiction, fantasy
Page Count: 336
Amazon link

Promise: Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina

The Lady of Devices is the first book in the Magnificent Devices series, and is available for free on Amazon. I have not been able to find the series anywhere else, except at the occasional Steampunk gathering, but if you happen across it it’s well worth a read. There isn’t much that I can’t tell you about this one that won’t spoil it for later, but I’ll sum it up as best I can: Claire is the daughter of a Viscount, and completely set up to all of the things that a fine lady should: she has a proper education, she comes from a wealthy, well respected family, and she’s pretty, if generally a little sooty, thanks to her exploits in the chemistry lab. Unfortunately, she’s also willful and generally too smart for her own good, at least according to the adults in her life. These qualities might just be what saves her life however, when her father loses her estate and ends up dead under mysterious circumstances. When her mother flees London, Claire is left to fend for herself on the streets. In order to survive, she must turn these “disadvantages” into resources.

Funny, smart, and well written, don’t make the mistake of passing this one up. There are currently six books out, which I believe is the entire series. I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest!

Genre: Young adult
Sub genre: Steampunk
Page count: 258
Amazon link