The A Circuit by Georgina Bloomberg and Catherine Hapka Review

In the novel The A Circuit by Georgina Bloomberg and Catherine Hapka follows the story of a few girls (and one boy) involved in competitive horse showing on the east coast. Tommi is a billionaire heiress whose father is trying to convince her to “settle down and decide what she wants to do for a living”. Kate is a simple working student, literally working her way through the fees of showing horses. Fitz is the only boy at their stable and has been known to work his way through all of the girls that show horses. Zara is the newest member of the Pelham Lane Stables and the wild child of a famous rock star. As the story follows each of these characters, new developments about them come forward. Each has faults and strengths that can hold the Stable together and become a tight-knit family or can tear it apart piece by piece.

I really liked The A Circuit because I have a great love of horses. It was interesting to see the dynamics that come with showing horses competitively while still in high school. Many of the characters in the novel really impressed me with their abilities to balance the different aspects of life and still find time for the things they love. Because this is the first book in a series, I felt as if some of the issues did not get fully resolved as they needed to. I can’t wait for the next book to come out!

 

Rating: 

Content: 

Title: The A Circuit

Author: Georgina Bloomberg and Catherine Hapka

Format: Paperback, ebook

Page Nos.: 288

ISBN: 978-1599906348

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Release Date: May 24, 2011

Available: Amazon

Reviewer: Jillian

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

 

Pauline Baird Jones Guest Post: Defining the Indefinable

Novel Reaction is excited to welcome Pauline Baird Jones, here to tell us more about Steampunk.

Pauline Baird Jones is the award-winning author of eleven novels of science fiction romance, action-adventure, suspense, romantic suspense and comedy-mystery. Her latest release is a steampunk/science fiction romance called Steamrolled. She’s written two non-fiction books, Adapting Your Novel for Film and Made-up Mayhem, and she co-wrote Managing Your Book Writing Business with Jamie Engle. Her seventh novel, Out of Time, an action-adventure romance set in World War II, is an EPPIE 2007 winner. Her eighth novel, The Key won an Independent Book Award Bronze Medal (IPPY) for 2008 and is a 2007 Dream Realm Awards Winner. Girl Gone Nova, her ninth novel, won the EPIC Book Award, a Single Titles Reviewer’s Choice award and was nominated for a Romantic Times Best Books award. She also has short stories in several anthologies. Originally from Wyoming, she and her family moved from New Orleans to Texas before Katrina.

Photo, copyright notice © 2011 Gregory L. Jones

STEAMPUNK: Defining the Indefinable

 

“STEAMPUNK = Mad Scientist Inventor [invention (steam x airship or metal man/baroque stylings) x (pseudo) Victorian setting] + progressive or reactionary politics x adventure plot.” (Steampunk Bible, Jeff Vandermeer)

 

A hero is implied in the equation, but for those of us who love our romance, we also need to: + a heroine who refuses to be limited by her circumstances (or her corset) = a burgeoning panoply of books and stories that bust out of the familiar genre boundaries with airships and automatons and steam-based ray guns.

 

Author Robert Appleton had this to say about steampunk: “From westerns to pirates to magicians to automatons, we’re stretching the genre every which way. The commonalities—Victorian era mis-en-scene, hyper-advanced steam technology, a fun reimagining of history—are the main draws as always, but the genre’s such a Rorschach for authors (and readers) right now, it’s a case of pretty much anything goes.” (The Way It Should Have Been, Carina Press Blog)

 

That means the author can take the reader through alternate realities, on a trip through time, or even out of this world. It ranges from the fun and whimsical to dark and dystopian. All we ask is that you a) don’t judge the books only by their covers (though some are smoking fun!) and b) don’t judge all steampunk books by any one book.

 

So how does the reader find the right steampunk fit? Real world steampunk aficionados create a persona –a steamsona they call it—when putting together their steampunk outfit. May I suggest that a reader can do something similar—though figuring out your reader steamsona will be a lot less work than putting together a steampunk outfit for a local convention. No sewing machine or smithy required.

 

Let’s start by looking at what you read now.

 

  1. Do you read historical novels?
  2. Historical romances novels? (Even if you don’t, don’t stop the test yet!)
  3. Do you like humor?
  4. Romance?
  5. Dark or light stories?
  6. Do you like adventure stories?
  7. Urban fantasy perhaps?
  8. Dystopia?
  9. Does your reading list feature a lot of romantic suspense?
  10. Are you mainlining vampires and/or other mythical shape-shifting creatures?

 

If you answered yes to any of the questions, then there is a high probability you’ll like you some steampunk fiction, possibly even love it.

Think about it. Steampunk is history reimagined. Some authors like to mix in paranormal creatures, but there are also automatons and amazing clockwork inventions to read about. You’ll find within some pages your urban fantasy mixed with Victorian sensibilities, and there is even some dystopia steampunk floating around out there.

 

In others you’ll discover humor, romance—mild to smoking hot—and remember that at the heart of any romantic suspense is an adventure or a challenge to over come. Steampunk heroines just do their adventures in airships and defeat mad inventors who may or may not be serial killers (corset and goggles optional, derringer and parasol not so much). The heroes can range from dark and tortured (literally) to geeky-cute guys who use their smarts to smack down bad guys and wit to win the girl.

 

So you’ve found your reading steamsona, right? Now what? How do you find your perfect steampunk novel? You can start by searching Amazon, or your favorite reseller. Just add “steampunk” to your favorite genre, i.e. steampunk romance, etc. And don’t forget to go beyond the first few pages of search results. While steampunk is trickling onto major publishing lists, it is exploding in the indie presses.

 

Another place to find out about steampunk releases is The Galaxy Express blog. List owner, Heather Massey tracks more than science fiction romance releases.

 

Hope you’ll don your goggles (virtual or not, doesn’t matter!) and dive into this exciting and fun new genre. Your inner steamsona will thank you.

 

Have you tried any steampunk? Feel the urge? Which books are tempting you? Share your steamsona score? Comment and be entered in a drawing for a pdf copy of one of Pauline’s anthologies: Dead and Breakfast; A Death in Texas; Ghostly Dreamspell; The Mystery of the Green Mist; or Romance of my Dreams 2.

 

Pauline Baird Jones’ steamsona loves romantic peril mixed into her steampunk. She also likes to mash it together with some science fiction romance, which is why her latest release, Steamrolled, is called a science fiction/steampunk mash up. Because she mashed stuff together, not to mention steamrolls her characters before delivering a happy ever after. You can find out more about her and her books at: http://www.perilouspauline.com

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Thank you Pauline for stopping by and sharing some great information on the steampunk genre with us. I have enjoyed the “light” steampunk books that I have read. Pauline shared with me this steampunkish music video by Sugarland.

Cool Bookcases and Book Signing Nearby….

BuzzFeed has posted 20 great bookshelves, my favorite is number 13, the reading nook, unfortunately it won’t fit in the house I currently live in.

The Dark Days of Supernatural Tour has started with authors Aprilynne Pike (Illusions), Veronica Roth (Divergent), Amy Plum (Die for Me), Ellen Schreiber (Vampire Kisses), Kim Harrison (Something Deadly This Way Comes), Josephine Angelini (Starcrossed), Tara Hudson (Hereafter). I am excited because I will be seeing them on June 10th in Tempe, Arizona. If anyone is going to be there, drop me a note and we can meet up.

Bree Despain has announced the title for the third book in The Dark Divine series, The Savage Grace which is scheduled for release in December 2011.

Brenda Pandos has released the cover of the third book in the Talisman series, The Onyx Talisman, which is scheduled for release in November 2011.

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Giveaways:

Icey Books is giving away two copies of Heather Dixon’s Entwined, contest ends May 31st.

Romantic Crush Junkies is giving away two copies of Tiffany Clare’s The Secret Desires of a Governess, contest May 24th.

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Free Reads:

Victoria Gray has posted an excerpt of Angel In My Arms.

Tiffany Clare has posted the first three chapters of The Secret Desires of a Governess.

Kris Tualla has posted an excerpt of A Woman of Choice.

Mary Kay Andres has posted the first three chapters of Summer Rental.

Carolyn Hayes has posted an excerpt of Bone Appetit.

Stephanie Pintoff has posted an excerpt of Secret of the White Rose.

Stephanie Burkhart has posted an excerpt of The Wolf’s Torment.

Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah MacLean Review

Upon her father’s death, Juliana Fiori, a half-Italian young woman, has traveled from Italy to England to join the half-brothers she didn’t know existed until they obtained guardianship of her. Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah MacLean begins with Juliana trying to fit into English society but her passionate nature leads her from one slightly scandalous event after another. Juliana doesn’t mean to be such a trial but somehow she finds herself in difficult situations and somehow Simon Pearson is always there to see the event.

Simon Pearson, nicknamed The Duke of Disdain, has been raised to consider his family’s reputation above all other things. Simon is unable to understand how Juliana finds herself in the situations she does and he struggles to understand how he keeps ending up in the  middle of them. As Simon gets to know Juliana more he starts to wonder what it would be like to have all that passion directed at him but Juliana’s nature doesn’t fit in with what is required of his future bride.

I was a little hesitant starting of Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart (which the title alone is a mouthful), Simon is in the previous stories by Sarah MacLean and I really didn’t like him. Having Simon as the hero in this story was going to be a bit of stretch for me to connect with the story but I felt like Sarah MacLean pulled it off. Simon’s upbringing and formal disdain were believable, as were the situations where he found himself in the middle of helping Juliana help herself. I did feel like Juliana’s actions were a bit scattered at some portions of the novel, she wanted to have the respectable reputation and then she didn’t care and then she wanted the respectable….you get the picture. I did like the Duke’s journey of self-discovery and I totally didn’t see what happened in the middle of the story to Juliana (I am not going to say what because it is a spoiler but…wow…). Overall, a good read.

Reading Order:

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake

Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord

Eleven Scoundrels to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart

 

Rating: 

Content: 

Title: Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart

Author: Sarah MacLean

Format: Paperback, eBook

Page Nos.: 384

ISBN: 978-0061852077

Publisher: Avon

Release Date: April 2011

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

 

**I received a copy of this book from NetGalley but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.