Review: The Clockwork Scarab

clockworkThe Clockwork Scarab

Series: A Stoker & Holmes Novel

By Colleen Gleason
Hardcover: 356 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books (September 17, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1452110700
ISBN-13: 978-1452110707
Available September 17, 2013 at Amazon and other online bookstores

(Debby and Kat’s score 5 Thumbs up!)

Product description:

Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes never meant to get into the family business. But when you’re the sister of Bram and the niece of Sherlock, vampire hunting and mystery solving are in your blood. And when two society girls go missing, there’s no one more qualified to investigate.

Now fierce Evaline and logical Mina must resolve their rivalry, navigate the advances of not just one but three mysterious gentlemen, and solve murder with only one clue: a strange Egyptian scarab. The stakes are high. If Stoker and Holmes don’t unravel why the belles of London society are in such danger, they’ll become the next victims.

Our review:

It was decided that this book would be sent to me since my wee one’s (Kat) age is the intended audience. When I told Kat that a book was on the way and that she would be giving a review of it, she excitedly waited (and checked daily) for the mail. Last Wednesday, she rushed in with a package saying “It’s here Nana”! So, we opened it, and her first journey into the world of murder mysteries and great sleuthing begun.

Now, my wee one is the typical 13 year old girl. She loves things pink, she loves fashion, she’s into Skylanders…and video games. It just so happens that the same day we got this book, she also received a new video game that she had also been waiting for. She played that for a little while in her room and then came out and sat down and started the book. Even though she knew that I was an avid fan of Sherlock Holmes and have been watching him lately on Netflix, she basically knew very little about him and his stories except that he solved murder mysteries. So, when she started reading this book, and she read through the first 3 chapters before setting it down (remember, her NEW video game was here!), I knew that this book was something that was well written. After all, if it could take her attention from her favorite pastime and newly acquired and long-awaited video game, this author had accomplished  a great feat!

Kat set the book down several times to play her video games during the first half of the book. But then, somewhere just after the half way mark, when she started reading again, she just couldn’t seem to put it down. Even for her new video game. And she kept coming out from her room and telling me about what was happening in the story, VERY excitedly. And when she told me that she was close to the end of the book after about the 5th time of coming out from her room, I knew right then, that the author had a BIG hit on her hands!

When Kat finished the book, she told me all about it and said, “You’ll like this book, Nana.” And by George, she was right! Even though the intended audience is a young crowd, even some of us who are more acquainted with Sherlock Holmes will find this an interesting read. I could see why the first half of the book had a harder time keeping Kat away from her new video game than the last half because this is where the setup of the story is (naturally). And because this is Kat’s first introduction to a murder mystery, she’s not used to a longer developing plot. But, with that said, it DID keep pace and on par for her attention with her new game! This spoke volumes for this book. So, when I read it, I went in knowing it was a good read. I was not disappointed.

In classic Holmes style, this story is set in London, in 1889, at the dawn of electricity and the slow demise of steam generated mechanics and during the tumultuous time of Jack the Ripper. But here, steam generation reigns supreme. Electricity is outlawed. And three worlds are one. The world of the greatest sleuth of all times (Sherlock Holmes), the world of the greatest vampire story ever written, by Bram Stoker (Dracula) and the world of technology from steam mechanics (there’s an awesome steam mortorcycle and air ship!) to time travelling, combine to create a most delightful stage for not only solving a murder but also involving deduction about an ancient secret society which introduces an arch nemesis for the great young female Holmes. No, there are no vampires. But there is a vampire hunter! And, there’s a new generation involved, the niece of Holmes and the younger sister of Bram. Both are teenagers, coming into their own greatness and carrying on their families’ tradition for sleuthing and solving mysteries.

katana2“I like this book and I recommend it to any teen who likes murder mysteries. What kept me reading is the intrigue that faced the young teenage sleuths and the way the author combined the ancient world with the future.

The story starts with a mystery. A meeting is set up by Miss Holmes receiving a letter with directions to go to the British Museum at midnight if she was willing to follow in her family’s footsteps as her help was needed. But there was no other information. No signature and other information would be given only at the meeting. She decided to accept the invitation. There, she met up with another young girl who happened to be another sleuth of a different kind, a vampire hunter and together, they went into the museum to meet with who sent them both the invitation.

They meet up with an older lady who tells them about 2 murders and a disappearance of 3 young teenage girls from well-known wealthy families which she wanted them to help find out who the murderer was. Found at each scene was a scarab. Which Miss Holmes found to be a mechanical geared device.  While at the meeting, they heard a noise and followed it and found a weirdly dressed young man bent over yet another murdered young girl. And this began the mysterious journey through London, time and ancient secrets that kept me wanting to read this to the end. I hope the author makes this into a series because I want to read more about Miss Holmes and Miss Stoker and find out if the boy returns to his time in the future and if Ankh, Miss Holmes arch nemesis, returns.”

Conclusion:

This is a very well written book which keeps you on the edge of your seat and waiting with bated breath as to what happens next. It even ends with a mystery! With the clever combination of ancient secrets, old and futuristic technologies, historical and fictional history set in the near past of today’s world and the fact that it kept my wee one’s attention and wanting more, we give this book 5 thumbs up!

5thumbsup

Disclosure of Material Connection: We received this book free from Chronicle Books. We were not required to write a positive review. The opinions Kat and I have expressed are our own. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

THE HERBAL ALCHEMIST’S HANDBOOK

alchemistThis book by Karen Harrison will be out for purchase on June 1, 2011. Although Amazon does have 6 advance copies left for purchase right now. I’ve received one from Weiser Books and will be writing a review on it sometime next week. There will also be a give-away contest for 2 free copies as well! So stay tuned, you may be one of two lucky souls to win!

Master herbalist and magickal practitioner Karen Harrison shows how to select herbs based on their astrological associations as well as their medicinal properties. With amaterial magica of more than 150 herbs and a multitude of recipes, readers will learn how to blend incense, ceremonial oils, bath salts, herbal amulets, fluid condensers and herbal philtres; and how to use them in meditation, ritual or energy work.

Karen Harrison has been involved with magick, the psychic arts and occultism since early childhood. She earned a Master of Herbology from Emerson College of Herbology in Montreal and is the proprietress of Moon Magick Alchemical Apothecary. She and her husband also owns Isis Books, Gifts and Healing Oasis in Denver, CO (www.isisbooks.com), the largest and most complete brick and mortar store in the U.S. specializing in world spirituality, magick and herbs/essential oils.

From the author:

“Indeed, some of my favorite subjects!  I’m a life-long student of herbs both magickal and medicinal as well as magick, alchemy, Qabalah and more.  I was fortunate to have been born into a family who not only supported my interests, but led me to many of my favorite practices and philosophies.  All of this is reflected in my book, The Herbal Alchemist’s Handbook.  I designed it to be a work that would be an excellent entry for the beginner, but also would add to the knowledge of the experienced herbalist as well.  Full of lore, rituals, tables and very practical how-to, I hope you will like it and find it as useful as I intended.”

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY OF THE HERBAL ALCHEMIST’S HANDBOOK

alchemistFor advertising information and the author’s comment, please see my previous article HERE.

When I received this book in the mail, it was a complete and pleasant surprise. Somebody (I won’t mention their name! LOL) forgot to tell me that they happen to mention to Weiser Books that I’d get a better use from this book than them since I’m a practicing Gnostic Wiccan. :-)

I really loved the look of this book. The front cover has an earthy, pretty handsomeness to it and the folksy artwork by Jim Warner made no doubt as to what was inside.

On the back cover was an impressive list of Who’s Who within the magickal & herbal world and they gave glowing reviews. I was very excited to get to reading and quickly shut off my phones (after calling up my friend who referred me and thanking them profusely!) and my computer, got a glass of milk, some fruit and sat down on my couch for an evening of good entertainment. Well, let me say, that I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, for the next two days, I couldn’t put this book down. This book though, is more than entertaining. It is one of the best informative, educational and practical teaching tools that I have ever come across, and I have quite a collection in my library to help me along my spiritual pathway.

Karen Harrison has accomplished to put together, in a very easy to read and understand format, everything one needs to create an herbal concoction for any situation we may find ourselves wanting a natural solution for. From formulas & recipes to astrological charting to explanations of the elements, planets, time of day, month and seasons relationships to herbs and what medicinal and or magickal results come from these, this book is powerfully and delightfully heads above the rest.

Whether you are a novice just starting out or a seasoned practitioner, this book has something for you. I only wished I had had this when I first started making my own oils and incense for my rituals! Instead, I had to have several books laid out to find the list of herbs, a book for telling me the times and seasons to do certain works, a book listing metals and stones, an astrology book telling me the pertinent zodiac and planetary info, a book for my altar setup…etc and then put this info down on paper so I could figure out what I had to do to accomplish my craft. A lot of work and preparation to do even just a 10 minute house blessing ritual! But this book has it all! To include astrological chart and numerology work. And believe me, if I can now understand this previously too hard to comprehend realm for me, ANYBODY can understand it!

But what inspired me the most is this: the message of this book covers the complete spiritual spectrum! I have 2 christian friends who have absolutely nothing to do with the magickal world but who still want this book. And I can totally see where they’d absolutely get a benefit from it. The recipes would be made with their loving and caring hearts with themselves and loved ones in mind while making the oils, drinks, bath salts and even foods so their intentions would infuse them just as any magickal chants would. And the instructions given by Karen are so simple and easy to follow that anyone can efficiently create an effective and powerful natural solution to any emotional want/need, ailment or health care concern, no matter what your spiritual inclinations may be.

I will be making several of these recipes and will be posting the results of them here at a later date. I didn’t have the time to do this from when I got the book in the mail to writing this review, but will definitely finish by the end of this month. So make sure to come back for this review.

As for this book, it truly is a must have for your library and I enthusiastically  give Karen Harrison’s book – The Herbal Alchemist’s Handbook – 5 thumbs up!

5thumbsup

Kudos and thank you Karen for sharing such a great blessing with us!
Click here to visit Karen Harrison.
*****************************************************
Gnostagia is running a give-away of two of Karen Harrison’s book The Herbal Alchemist’s Handbook. For a chance to win, just leave a comment here, fill out the form below or email me with your contact info. Winners will be chosen at random on Sunday, May 22, 2011.

Open for US only. No PO Boxes allowed for delivery of the book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Weiser Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

***********************************

CONTEST WINNERS: There were 18 entries…..THANK YOU to all who entered!

And BIG THANK YOUs to Weiser Books for their generosity in providing the free books!

Congratulations to Mrs. Shukra from Waipahu, HI and Julie Smith from Cleveland OH…. the 2 lucky winners of Karen Harrison’s ‘The Herbal Alchemist’s Handbook’from Weiser Books!