January 19, 2018

The Steamborn Trilogy by Eric R. Asher ~ #audiobook #bookreview

January 19, 2018

Title: The Steamborn Trilogy
Series: Steamborn, Books 1-3  
Author: Eric R. Asher
Release Date: October 4, 2017
Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld 
Length: 27 hrs and 27 mins

Source: Audiobook copy for review  

Purchase: Audible | Amazon | B&N 

My Rating: 

Steamborn (Book 1)

Jacob, a tinker's apprentice, has never backed down from an adventure, but when a swarm of Deadlands creatures shatters the peace of Ancora, he'll face trials the likes of which he has never imagined. Forced out of the Lowlands, Jacob and his friends seek shelter behind the towering walls of the Highlands, only to uncover a terrible darkness at the heart of their city.

Steamforged (Book 2)

There are old wounds in the forgotten places of the world, and some are soaked in blood.

Jacob and his allies flee into the Deadlands after the fall of Ancora. Charles, the enigmatic smith, hopes to find answers in the desert city of Bollwerk that could prevent a war.

Their enemies are many, and here Jacob will learn the cost of life in the Deadlands.

Steamsworn (Book 3)

The world dies in war only to be reborn. It is the way of things, and always will be.

Forged in the Deadlands crucible, and armed with the knowledge of their true enemy, Jacob, Alice, and their allies bring the fight back to Ancora. The wounds cut deep in their darkest hour, but in the end, vengeance will light their path.

NOTE: For my review, I'll first discuss the narration of the entire trilogy, then go into more detail with each novel. 

Narration for the Steamborn Trilogy

The narrator, Saskia Maarleveld, did an amazing job voicing all of the different characters. She has a lovely and pleasant voice to listen to, and her accent is fab! I was impressed with her ability to differentiate the characters so cleanly to where I never had to wonder who was speaking. I'm interested in hearing her also narrate other novels.    

Steamborn (Book 1)

In Steamborn, we're introduced to Jacob, a teenage boy and resident of the city of Ancora who often finds himself in trouble. He's brilliant with gadgets and inventions as an apprentice to his mentor, Charles. While Jacob does have both of his parents, Charles is still like a father figure to him, and I loved their interactions. He is impressed by Jacob's devotion to their inventions and encourages his thoughts and ideas. 

Jacob's friend, Alice, is straight-laced and a rule follower but extremely caring and loyal. I loved their close friendship and the way it blossomed over the course of the story. 

While Steamborn does start a bit slowly, it soon picks up its pace and has a lot going for it. There's giant bugs, steampunk gadgets that are easy to imagine and understand, the struggle between the rich and the poor, and a mystery Jacob discovers about the city he's lived in for his entire life. An excellent start to an excellent trilogy!

Steamforged (Book 2)

Steamforged gives us a look into the world outside of the city of Ancora and into the Deadlands and the city of Bollwerk. Jacob, Alice, Charles and Samuel (a spider knight) travel across the Deadlands to Bollwerk, and new characters are introduced. My favorite new character was Mary, who's not only a strong and independent woman but also an airship captain (go Mary!). I loved her!   

While Steamborn was more introductory, Steamforged brings much needed action and suspense to the trilogy. I looked forward to experiencing the places and people which were talked about in the first book.   

There's tension and I love delving into the differences between the poor and the rich because a lot of those parts of the story seem to parallel what's going on in the real world. I think there's a message in this story about the lengths the rich will go to in order to protect themselves no matter the heavy cost the poor ends up paying. Steamforged gave me a lot to think about with terrific characters and stellar writing. I loved it!  

Steamsworn (Book 3)

Man, Steamsworn hit me hard right in the feels! Asher upped the ante with for his characters with this last installment in the Steamborn trilogy. The book was action packed from beginning to end, and there were moments where I think my heart stopped from being kept in suspense. My emotions were all over the place, and I couldn't believe how much was happening. It wasn't overwhelming at all, so don't worry about that. 

Steamsworn means so much to me because I love the characters fiercely. I feel their feelings and know their thoughts. They've become like real people to me with their hopes and fears. 

This last installment in the trilogy was satisfying, and while I'll miss the characters and their passion to fight for what's right, I'm happy with the way it ended.   

Thanks for visiting Donnie Darko Girl!  

January 18, 2018

The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker ~ #bookreview

January 18, 2018 

Title: The End of the World Running Club
Author: Adrian J. Walker
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark 
Release date: September 5, 2017
Source: Borrowed from the library 

Purchase: Amazon | B&N 

My Rating: 


Perfect for fans of The Martian, this powerful post-apocalyptic thriller pits reluctant father Edgar Hill in a race against time to get back to his wife and children. When the sky begins to fall and he finds himself alone, his best hope is to run – or risk losing what he loves forever.

When the world ends and you find yourself forsaken, every second counts. No one knows this more than Edgar Hill. Stranded on the other side of the country from his wife and children, Ed must push himself across a devastated wasteland to get back to them. With the clock ticking and hundreds of miles between them, his best hope is to run -- or risk losing what he loves forever.

The premise of The End of the World Running Club intrigued me, but the characters annoyed me, especially the main character, Edgar (Ed). 

Ed is married with two young children, and he has to be the whiniest character I've ever encountered, and I've read a ton of books over my lifetime so far so that's saying something. I'm a wife and mom, and I totally get that sometimes it can be a monotonous life with the routine of going to work everyday and coming home. HOWEVER, Ed was disgusting with his pathetic worldview, and I genuinely hope he's the exception and not the rule. 

Once the action began with Ed hurrying his family into the cellar with some supplies he threw together at the last minute, I was horrified. I felt every ounce of anxiety, tension and panic that Ed felt when he knew shit was about to hit the fan. It took my breath away. 

But once that was done, I ended up slogging my way through the rest of the book. It was long, and there were many details that were unnecessary in my opinion. 

As you can tell, I hated Ed and never warmed up to him, not even when he makes a transition from a complete douche to  slightly becoming a better person. I just didn't care for him or about him at all. 

The group of people with whom Ed finds himself consisted of vastly different personalities coming together to survive and get to Ed's family and the hope of a better place with food, water and medicine. I loved Harvey, and Bryce grew on me quite a bit. I never liked Richard and didn't care if anything happened to him. Grimes was the only female, and she was okay but kind of bland. 

Ed and his group meet various people on their journey with some who were helpful and others who were downright cruel and dangerous. That's one of the themes of The End of the World Running Club - if you manage to survive the cataclysmic event that triggered the apocalypse, then you not only have to worry about basic human needs but also running into violent survivors who would do anything to stay alive, include killing you for your supplies. You don't know who you can trust. 

Overall I thought the quality of writing was good with the exception of needless tiny details where no action took place. I don't think Ed was meant to be a likable character, so I wasn't upset about hating him. The running included in this story made it a bit more interesting. All in all, I wouldn't highly recommend this book, but if you are interested in a post-apocalyptic story with adult characters, you might want to give this one a try.  

Quotes I Liked  

In the end, I thought, this is how we all end up: running alone through our own wilderness, the landscape of disjointed events that form our lives, with nobody to make sense of it but ourselves. The road is ours, and ours alone. 
You don't run thirty miles; you run a single step many times over. That's all running is; that's all anything is. If there's somewhere you need to be, somewhere you need to get to, or if you need to change or move away from where or what you are, then that's all it takes. A hundred thousand simple decisions, each one made correctly. You don't have to think about the distance or the destination or about how far you've come or how far you have to go. You just have to think about what's in front of you and how you're going to move it behind you.

Thanks for visiting me here at Donnie Darko Girl! 

Living Out Loud by Staci Hart ~ #coverreveal

January 18, 2018

The wait is over! We have our first stunning Staci Hart cover for 2018. It is beautiful! I cannot wait to get my hands on LIVING OUT LOUD! Check out more about this upcoming release below!

Title: Living Out Loud
Author: Staci Hart
Publication Date: February 1, 2018
Cover Design: QukiryBird Design 


When Annie Daschle arrives in New York City, the only thing she can control is her list.

Not her father’s death or the loss of her home. Not the hole in her heart or the defective valve that’s dictated so much of her life. But she can put pen to paper to make a list of all the ways she can live out loud, just like her dad would have wanted.

See the city from the top of the Empire State Building: Check.
Eat hot dogs on the steps of The Met: Check.
Stand in the middle of Times Square: Check.
Get a job at Wasted Words: Check.

Two things not on her list: Greg Brandon and Will Bailey. And just like that, she finds herself caught in the middle of something she can’t find her way out of, with no clear answers and no rules.

List or no list, she realizes she can’t control anything at all, not even her heart.

Not the decisions it makes, and not the moment it stops.

*Standalone contemporary romance Inspired by Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.*

About the Author

Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life -- a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife, though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey. When she's not writing, she's reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

Author Links

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