Review: The Airship Also Rises

The Airship Also Rises (Take to the Skies #3)The Airship Also Rises by Katherine McIntyre

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The hardest part about finishing any series is having to stay good-bye to old friends. There is a feeling of sadness when the characters that you know and love must inevitably dance off into your “read” pile. Today I finished the last in the Take to the Skies series, “The Airship Also Rises”.

For those of you unfamiliar with the rest of the series, this is the third and final installment in a series including “An Airship Named Desire” and “A Tale of Two Airships”.

Katherine McIntyre is an inspired author. She tells a story which calls you in and keeps you glued. Most important to any novel, are characters who you fall in love with. Most importantly, you grieve when something happens to them.

In this installment, we find our intrepid Captain Bea and her crew plowing the skies in search of something they need more than anything, a future. Plenty of battles, witty dialogue, and exciting steampunk to keep anyone thoroughly engrossed, I keep finding myself wondering if there is yet another adventure for the crew of the Desire at some point.

At any rate, “The Airship Also Rises” is well written and fun. I will miss the crew who will live on in my imagination and will likely be pulled from my shelves to be reread sometime in the future.

Three Cheers for Katherine McIntyre!

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Review: A Tale of Two Airships

A Tale of Two Airships (Take to the Skies, #2)A Tale of Two Airships by Katherine McIntyre

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes I not sure where to begin a review. It is kind of like I want to start with the excellent writing, although maybe I will start with the excellent characters, maybe the excellent settings and scenes. Maybe I will just start this one by saying, A Tale of Two Airships by Katherine McIntyre; making armored corsets sexy again!

I loved A Tale of Two Airships. Naturally I read the first book in the series and found I needed more! The tale is an engaging one, a steampunk setting with characters who you can see in your mind’s eye.

I often say the mark of truly great writing is when you worry about the characters as you are reading. What I mean is when one of them dies, you are sad for that character; when one of them is in peril, you don’t stop reading until you know they are safe. This is what the Take to the Skies series offers in spades. Even an inanimate object, the good ship Desire, is written in such a way that you are concerned for its well-being.

While I think it is possible to read this book without reading the first in the series, you are going to want to read the first one. Heck, buy them all at the same time. There are things in the first book which lend themselves to why people are taking certain actions and making certain decisions.
Not a heavy read, by any means, Katherine enjoys telling a good story and doesn’t weight it down with tons of extraneous stuff. Like a good roller coaster, it leaves you with that awesome feeling in your tummy by the time you are done with the ride!

I hate female fictional characters who are strictly one-dimensional cliches. Captain Beatrice is not some flower who wilts in the sun. As a man, I like a good female character who is still feminine, but will run into battle with me, screaming her head off and slicing through the enemy. And then she’ll buy the first round at the bar for her crew. In short, Beatrice is a character who is equally likable for men and women alike.

She also has enough of a backstory to ensure we know exactly how she has these skills in battle. She comes by her battle gravitas honestly. As she does the honor of serving as captain. In this book, there is now shortage of likable characters.

I could go on, but you shouldn’t spend your time reading my review. Start reading A Tale of Two Airships!

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Where Do I Want to Go With This Writing Thing?

Funny thing about being an author. People make some assumptions right away. They will reach one of these three conclusions about you with little evidence to support any of these arguments.

  • You are a millionaire recluse who hangs out with other luminaries in a secret cave beneath your mansion (or maybe that’s Batman)
  • You sit in your mother’s basement, screaming at her to bring you a PB&J while criticizing the fact that she didn’t cut the crust off of the bread and it stifled your creativity. Now you are forced to regain said creativity by playing Call of Duty for thirty-six consecutive hours.
  • You say you’re an author, but it is really just a cute hobby and you will never really amount to anything.
    • BTW, this last one, you can tell these people because they will often say things to you like, “So, how’s the book coming?” They say this because they assume it is something you have been working on for years and will never finish. These are also the people who generally don’t take time to hear anything you say.

The reality is that all authors have goals for their writing career and they vary from one author to the next.

Fun Fact: Every time I sit down to dine with other authors, I have a massive impostor complex. I start fidgeting and sweating a little as I realize I am surrounded by greatness and I can’t help but feel like I don’t belong.

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One of my first book shows!

I was at a convention recently and there was a guy who came up to me and told me he was excited to meet me and said he was impressed by my work. I had to look around me to make sure someone wasn’t standing behind me.

That interaction got me to thinking that while we all want to be the headliners at a book show, there really is ever only one headliner and the rest of the tables have to get filled by someone. No matter where you are in your writing career, or what table you occupy, you may be someone else’s headliner whether you know it or not.

I hate looking at the world that way. I want to hide in my corner and stare in awe at the likes of other writers who have a good following and show up to shows and literally run out of ink in their pen they use for signing books because they have that many autographs to sign.

I remember what it was like being the new writer who stared in awe at the authors sitting at their tables, selling their books and talking to customers about their work. Today, I am the one sitting at the table and I hope to never forget there is a writer in the corner of the room, staring at me, longing to be where I am at. Most of all, I am constantly reminding myself to always contribute to the community of writers.

This brings me to my goals. What are my writing goals? I have a friend who is an amazing writer. When he gets shipments from his publisher, the publisher’s name is one we all know. I am honored to call him a friend. We all want to be there, but I am just not ready yet. I’ll get there by writing word after word, but I am not there yet. And that is just fine with me.

Right now I am comfortable with going to shows, meeting customers, and talking about my work. No, I am not burning up the Amazon charts, but I am okay with that. For today, I am content with working every day toward my goal of becoming a full-time writer. It might be that it is a retirement job for me. And if it is, then fine. I am okay with that too.

What are your goals? No matter what they are, I’d like to hear them as a source of inspiration! Send them to me at bryanthewriter@bryannowak.com or post them below!

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Review: Stiff by Mary Roach

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human CadaversStiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a fiction writer, I am constantly researching the things I write about (death and dying) so Stiff was a natural fit for me. We have a fairly odd view of death here in the West and dare I say, it is unhealthy. Death is natural and also inevitable.

Here often humorous look at the things she does for research purposes is sprinkled into a look at the realities of being dead, and what you can expect in your new life as a dead person. Well written and easy to read, I found myself often unable to stop reading since I was enjoying it so much.

Of particular interest to me was the chapter entitled “Crimes of Anatomy” which looks at the thefts of bodies over the years and how we came to know as much about the human body as we do.

I joyfully, and full heartily (before someone takes it from my body to donate it to someone) recommend Stiff for anyone interested in what happens after the end comes.

-Bryan the Writer

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Review: The New Adventures of Rocky Jordan

The New Adventures of Rocky JordanThe New Adventures of Rocky Jordan by Richard White

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am a huge fan of radio classics. I even have my computer bookmarks set up to listen to some of my favorite programs. So when I saw that someone had written The new Adventures of Rocky Jordan, I jumped at it.

This is a series of stories which focus on Rocky Jordan, Cairo saloon owner and a perpetual thorn in the side of the Cairo police department. No matter where Rocky goes, trouble seems to find him and he is ready and waiting.

This is a collection written by a few authors who do such a wonderful job capturing the spirit of the original series, they are hard to beat.

If you love the old stories on the radio, dime store crime dramas, or the penny dreadful, you will absolutely love this collection of stories.

-Bryan

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Review: Plot Your Health

 

Plot Your Health: A Journey to Wellness PlannerPlot Your Health: A Journey to Wellness Planner by C.J. Ellisson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In November of 2017, I was healthy overall. Not perfect, but not in horrible shape. Fast forward a year later and I am fighting three diagnosed conditions, one of which is potentially life threatening if not checked on a regular basis. I have more specialists than I ever cared to know, on several different drugs requiring monitoring, and take a variety of vitamins every day.

In the midst of what seemed to be a mounting avalanche of doctor’s visits, lab tests, continual drug refills, and a monthly injection, I was beginning to make careless errors. You never want to make mistakes with your health. I did two things which brought order to my chaos. I bought a pill organizer and I got a copy of Plot Your Health by award winning author, C.J. Ellisson.

What I love about “Plot Your Health” is that it allows me to use it how it suits me best. There are sections for medicines, doctor visits, a symptom tracker, and a monthly calendar. There are also pages which are open so I can write in things I want to keep track of.

One of my conditions comes with occasional days where I will be in a mental fog making it hard for me to grasp concepts and questions I should remember to ask. This organizer helps me to write out the questions I want to ask my doctor when I see him or her next and I don’t have to pray that I will be having a good day that day!

I also love the habit tracker! One of my treatments include regular swimming at my gym and the tracker lets me track which days I did it and which days I missed.

I would trade almost anything to get rid of these conditions, but mine are genetic and will be with me the rest of my life. With Plot Your Health, I feel like I have more of a plan to control my health rather than have my health control me.


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