5 Stars for Melanie Karsak’s Steampunk short story: CHASING CHRISTMAS PAST ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Subtitle: An Airship Racing Chronicles Short Story



Length: 41 PAGES


Type of Book: EBOOK


Release Date: 2014


Price: $1.02 on Amazon

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


The main character is a young woman named Lily. She is the captain of the airship “Stargazer.” Lily has entered the Yuletide Airship Race ever since she was young, and last year she had almost won. This year – 1820 – Lily was determined to win.

Lily would never admit it to anyone, but she is lonely and Christmas being the next day amplified her loneliness.

Will Lily finally be able to beat out all the other airship captains? And what will she do about her loneliness?

Melanie Karsak’s world-building is superb. The Steampunk version of London where the story takes place is highlighted by vivid imagery.

What a gift! Melanie Karsak has the ability to describe a scene so well that you can visualize it easily in your mind. For example:

The rooftops were covered with a powdering of crystalline snow. The gaslamp light made everything sparkle. The waves on the Thames twinkled with golden light.”

I rate this short story as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I highly recommend this wonderful Steampunk Christmas tale.

Thank you to the author for providing me with a free copy of this story.

To sign up to Melanie Karsak’s Newsletter, click HERE.


Melanie Karsak is the author of The Airship Racing Chronicles, The Harvesting Series, and The Celtic Blood Series.

She is a steampunk connoisseur, zombie whisperer, and heir to the iron throne.

Melanie currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children.

She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:











BERKELEY TO PARIS AND BACK WITH TWO STOPS IN NEW YORK by Lynn Snyder is a moving read. 4 Stars -🌟🌟🌟🌟



Type of Book: SOFTCOVER


Length: 101 PAGES


Release Date:

ISBN: 9781530855896

Price: $5.38 USD

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟

* I received a free copy of this book through the 
Goodreads Giveaway program.

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Playwright Lynn Snyder had decided to give up looking for love. In fact, she even briefly contemplated moving far away from San Francisco to live out the rest of her life on the edges of the High Sierra mountain range.

Thankfully she realized that idea would be taking things a bit too far.

Not long after making this monumental life decision, she heard an announcement on her favorite classical music radio station regarding personal ads for meeting people with the same interests (this was many years before the invention of online dating.) Lynn decided she wouldn’t mind meeting new people and answered an ad that interested her.

It was the best decision she had ever made. It was how she met and fell in love with Leo, which led to them having twenty years together.

I expected this book to be a chronicle of their lives together and nothing more, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that while it was what I expected, it was also so much more.

Leo is eventually diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease and at this point in the story it could have taken a dramatic and sad turn. The author instead chooses to use his diagnosis as a challenge. It is one that Leo will inevitably lose, but at least they had each other and they were deeply in love.

Lynn Snyder is an intelligent and interesting person who loves to travel and who is extremely self-aware. I love that she is unapologetic and firm in her beliefs – many of which I share.

The scene I found the most compelling takes place at a Huntington’s Support Group.

Jane’s eighty-year-old mother, Marilyn tells us that Jane has started to become violent.” Obviously this poses great problems for Marilyn since she is Jane’s sole caregiver. “She says that when her physician suggested Jane be placed in a nursing home, Jane protested loudly, demanding that she be allowed to commit suicide.” Marilyn is deeply religious and does not believe in suicide and the resident social worker tells her to trick Jane into going into a nursing home. She also points out that suicide is illegal. I agree 100% with Lynn’s response to this conversation and I applaud her for voicing her opinion in such an emotional matter. When she says that suicide is a crime, Lynn says:

“I’m well aware of that. But deceiving a mentally unstable person should be and isn’t, which doesn’t mean that we, in this group, should be as unenlightened as our society.”

Lynn leaves the support group – never to return. She realizes that she does not fit in, which, in my opinion, is a good thing.

Lynn also does a credible job of articulating the helplessness and despair that is often felt by those who have to watch a loved one deteriorate, knowing there is nothing they can do to save them. This is my favorite quote from the book:

“I want to help him speak and walk. I want to rub strength into his fingers so that he can play the piano. I love him so much, and it seems incredible that I can’t translate my love into restoring what is rightfully his – speech, mobility, everything that allows him to be who he is.”

There is so much emotion in those few short sentences and Lynn’s love for Leo shines like a beacon for the rest of us.

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟 

The one thing that I would have liked to see would have been some photos the couple and possibly some photos of their travels and their homes. 


Lynn Snyder was born in Akron, Ohio. After receiving a degree in political science from the University of Michigan, she became a journalist.

She spent time in London, England, and Cambridge, Massachusetts, before moving to Northern California.

It was there that she met her husband, Leo.

In addition to journalism, Snyder has also worked as a playwright, campaign publicity director, and literature teacher.

Visit Lynn Snyder on FACEBOOK    

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5 Stars well deserved for TŌRU: WAYFARER RETURNS by Stephanie R. Sorensen – BOOK REVIEW



Author: Stephanie R. Sorensen

Type of Book: Softcover

Genre: Alternate Historical Fiction 

Length: 257 pages

ISBN: 978-0-9969323-1-8

Price: $16.95 

Publisher: Palantir Press 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

A nation encircled by enemies.

A noblewoman with everything to lose. 

A fisherman with everything to prove and a nation to save. 

In Japan of 1852, the peace imposed by the Tokugawa Shoguns has lasted 250 years. Peace has turned to stagnation, however, as the commoners grow impoverished and their lords restless. Swords rust. Martial virtues decay. Foreign barbarians circle the island nation’s closed borders like vultures. 

Tōru, a shipwrecked fisherman rescued by American traders, defies the Shogun’s ban on returning to Japan, determined to save his homeland. Can he rouse his countrymen in time? Or will the cruel Shogun carry out his vow to execute all who set foot in Japan after traveling abroad? Armed only with his will, a few books, dirigible plans and dangerous ideas, Tōru must transform the Emperor’s realm before the Black Ships come. 

Firstly, I feel compelled to talk about the absolutely stunning cover of this book. It is gorgeous, and obviously I am not the only one who thinks so. The cover won a gold star award from the Book Designer website. 

There will probably be some debate as to exactly what genre this book belongs. Is it Alternate Historical Fiction? Is it Steampunk? Is it somehow both? Or neither? My answer to those questions is that it is all of the above. With the addition of dirigibles, it clearly enters the realm of Steampunk, but since it is set in an actual period of our world’s history, this takes it away from the Steampunk genre and instead into the realm of alternate historical fiction. All in all, the genre does not really matter. It is the story that matters and the story is superb.  
The action begins on the very first page of this book, as does the reader’s love affair with the character of Tōru. 

Anyone who knows anything at all about historic Japan knows that it is a history filled with culture and customs that can be difficult for even the most seasoned writer to navigate. The fact that this is author Stephanie R. Sorensen’s first published novel and that she has done such a tremendous job of bringing the Victorian Japanese era to life while still preserving the dignity and love of Emperor and Country to life is nothing short of brilliant. 

Purists may disagree, but I loved this book. The way the author chose to use actual historic facts, policies and people as the basis for creating a new and radically different history is awe-inspiring. 

This is a book that needs to be read. There are many ideas in it’s pages that reflect some modern day dilemmas. Tōru not only wants to protect Japan from being overthrown by the Americans, he loves his homeland deeply and wants to improve the lives of it’s people. 

Tōru not only brought new technologies to Japan, but he also brought new ideas, and not just about industrial and Militaria change, he wanted to see societal change as well. 

For a culture that had not changed in centuries, it was difficult to accept the new technologies, but it was even more difficult to accept that change to their way of life was also necessary for Japan to thrive as a nation. 

“You need the lowly as well as the great made strong and educated and committed to strengthening our country.” 

These words may have been quoted from this work of fiction, but that does not make them any less true. Maybe it is time that the leaders of both the United States and Canada listened to Tōru – The Wayfarer. I’m 100% sure that there are lessons in this book that relate to us all. 

This is the first book in the “Sakura Steam Series”. I am now following author Stephanie R. Sorensen on Goodreads and Amazon as well as on her website because I will be eagerly awaiting the next book in the series. 

I am eager to find out what happens next, not only with the Japanese country as a whole, but also what happens in the lives of Tōru, Masuyo, Jiro, Lords Aya and Tōmatsu, Lord Abe and even the Shogun and the distant Emperor. Whatever happens, I am convinced that it will be entertaining and extremely well written. 

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
* I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this book for free did not influence my rating in any way. 

Stephanie R. Sorensen is a writer based in the Victorian mining town of Leadville, Colorado, where she lives at 10,000 feet with her husband, five chickens, two bantam English game hens and one Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She likes Her Victorian attire spiced with a little Neo-Victorian futurism and the biggest bustle possible. 

To sign up for news of future books by the author or to contact her, visit http://www.stephaniersorensen.com  

Check out the publishers website for more great books.