Mini-Review: The Peculiars, More Beauty Less Beast, Alias Dragonfly


Time for some mini-reviews! What are mini-reviews, you ask? As the title suggests, these are short reviews, consisting of one paragraph tops, about a book. It’s a way to catch up on the books I’ve read a while ago, but never got around to reviewing.

The Peculiars

Title: The Peculiars

Author: Maureen Doyle McQuerry

Genre: Steampunk, Fantasy, Young Adult, Historical Fiction

Rating: 5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

This dark and thrilling adventure, with an unforgettable heroine, will captivate fans of steampunk, fantasy, and romance.
On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into the northern wilderness of Scree when Lena was young. Scree is inhabited by Peculiars, people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Lena wonders if her father is the source of her own extraordinary characteristics and if she, too, is Peculiar. On the train she meets a young librarian, Jimson Quiggley, who is traveling to a town on the edge of Scree to work in the home and library of the inventor Mr. Beasley. The train is stopped by men being chased by the handsome young marshal Thomas Saltre. When Saltre learns who Lena’s father is, he convinces her to spy on Mr. Beasley and the strange folk who disappear into his home, Zephyr House. A daring escape in an aerocopter leads Lena into the wilds of Scree to confront her deepest fears.

Review: Steampunk is either hit or miss with me, and this one was definitely hit. Lena is a great character with an interestin personality. The world-building is solid and the writing is great. This is one of those books that’ll leave you thinking even after you finish reading.

More Beauty, Less Beast

Title: More Beauty, Less Beast

Author: Debora M. Coty

Genre: Non-Fiction, Inspirational

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

If you ever wrestle with that out-of-control inner ogre that threatens to destroy the divinely beautiful princess hidden within, this witty and wise book is for you. With simple, practical tips for taming that nasty, unsightly beast, you’ll discover how to transform its unattractive snarl into inner and outer beauty—refashioned, revitalized, and renewed.

Review: This book was nothing like I expected, in fact, it was a little dissapointing. Each chapter is short, and focuses on an inspirational message. The book tries too hard to be witty though, and somehow it doesn’t work that well if read all at once.

Alias Dragonfly

Title: Alias Dragonfly

Author: Jane Singer

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Historical Fiction

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Fifteen years old. Wanted: Dead or Alive.

“Don’t love a spy,” warns fifteen-year-old Pinkerton agent Maddie Bradford, a lonely, rebellious outsider with a mind on fire and a photographic memory. It is 1861, the Civil War has just started and this motherless teen must move with her soldier-father from New Hampshire to Washington, DC-a city at war, packed cheek by jowl with soldiers, Rebel spies, slave catchers and traitors of all stripes bent on waging a war of destruction against the Union, and President Lincoln himself.

Maddie’s journal, written in secret, of course, begins with her arrival at her aunt’s DC boardinghouse through the first year of the Civil War, a time, as Maddie puts it, full of “dips and dangers,” when she becomes a fearless Union spy. And then there is the mysterious, maddening Jake Whitestone, a young man who awakens something equally dangerous in Maddie: Love in a time of terror.

Civil War historian, author and lecturer Jane Singer brings her unique voice to Alias Dragonfly.

Review: Original plot, but predictable every now and then. Maddie is a likeable protagonist, and the setting was unique and entertaining and historically correct, as far as I can say. The ending is a bit abrupt though, and slightly dissapointing.


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