Book Review: “White Hornet” by Celine Jeanjean

Title: White Hornet (The Viper and the Urchin #5)
Author: Celine Jeanjean
Genre: Steampunk/fantasy
Intended audience: Upper YA/Adult
Date Read: 13/10/19 – 17/10/19
Rating: ★★★★★

Review:

Please note: this review contains minor spoilers for the previous four books in this series.

If you’ve been following my reviews for a while, you’ll know that there is very little negative I have to say about the Viper and the Urchin series. This instalment is no different.

In White Hornet, the gang are undercover in the neighbouring country of Airnia, on a spy mission for the Old Girl. They have no idea who they can trust, and at any moment, their covers could be blown…

There was so much intrigue going on. I loved seeing the political machinations inside the House of Bel, even as I hated basically everyone there.

There are some really great character moments, from Adelma using alcohol to try to hide how much recent conflicts in Damsport have affected her (and the others noticing anyway), to Rory and Rafe setting some ground rules in their burgeoning relationship and Longinus finding out more about his family.

I really enjoyed Rory dealing with the Airnian fashions. Rory is no noblewoman, so having to put up with bustles and corsets was very much not to her liking and it was incredibly entertaining. XD

Speaking of Airnia, the descriptions were fantastic. I felt like I was in the middle of a steampunk Imperial Russia with all the descriptions of cold and snow and heated carriages, and enormous coats and pelts. A far cry from muggy Damsport.

This is the first book in the series to end on a cliffhanger, and the next book will be out in a few months. I’m intrigued to see how our team goes as they continue to navigate among their enemies!


(Thank you to Celine Jeanjean for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. This did not affect my opinions in any way)

You can read my reviews of The Bloodless Assassin (book 1),  The Black Orchid (book 2), The Slave City (book 3) and The Doll Maker (book 4) by clicking their titles.

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“Even if tonight goes all belly-up, I’ll still be very glad today happened the way it did.” // Review of “The Doll Maker” by Celine Jeanjean

Title: The Doll Maker (The Viper and the Urchin #4)
Author: Celine Jeanjean
Genre: Steampunk/fantasy
Intended audience: YA
Date Read: 21/04/19 – 24/04/19
Rating: ★★★★★

Review:

Celine Jeanjean is spoiling us. After a gap of several years, we’ve received two Viper and the Urchin books within a few months of one another. And I have to say I really loved this one. I may have caught myself making silly noises a couple of times.

One thing I enjoyed about this book particularly was that a lot of the stakes were really personal. Friendships were betrayed, loyalties were tested and feelings had to be faced.

We also got to learn more about the history of Damsport, and how the Marchioness and Lady Martha operate. Revolution is in the air and that got quite tense at times. It was interesting to see Rory having to reconcile her loyalties in Damsport with the political situation she sought to dissolve in Azyr in the previous book.

Rafe grows on me more with every book and in this instalment we got to learn a bit more about the family he’s unwilling to talk about. I also really loved the dynamic between him and Rory here. I won’t say anymore. 😉

Longinus once again needs all the hugs for various reasons. He’s still the Longinus we know and love from book one, but he’s learning to overcome some of his issues, though they are certainly still haunting him (and that’s going to be a major part of the next book, I expect).

I pretty much read this book in one sitting, so now I’ve got to wait the maximum amount of time for the next one. But I think it will be worth the wait.


(Thank you to Celine Jeanjean for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. This did not affect my opinions in any way)

You can read my reviews of The Bloodless Assassin (book 1),  The Black Orchid (book 2) and The Slave City (book 3) by clicking their titles.

Find me on:
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#WWW Wednesday – 13 February 2019

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

First of all, a bit of a plug!

So do you remember in my last WWW post, I mentioned I was contemplating starting a Booktube channel to talk about Australian authors? Well, I didn’t think about it for too long and I started one! I’ve already put up two videos, so check it out if you feel inclined.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled WWW post.

What have you recently finished reading?

This was a good reading week!

I finished The Slave City, the third Viper and the Urchin book by Celine Jeanjean. I enjoyed seeing the world of the first two books expanded as the characters travelled to a new country. I reviewed it here.

After that, I read my ARC of In Another Life by C. C. Hunter, which comes out at the end of March.  This is a YA contemporary about an adopted girl who finds out that her adoption may not have been strictly legal…

Then I read Finding Aurora by Rebecca Langham, which is queer retelling of Sleeping Beauty.  This was really good except I didn’t realise it was a novella, so it was really short! I reviewed it here.

Lastly, I read The Zigzag Effect by Lili Wilkinson. This is a YA contemporary about a teen who gets a summer job working for a magician and I had hoped to really love it. It was enjoyable but not my favourite.

I’ve got to get a few reviews written but I also posted my review of Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor here.

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading an ARC of Second Star by J. M. Sullivan, which is a sci-fi retelling of Peter Pan. It has some really strong aspects and some… not so. Like Harry Potter references in the very far future? Except some of the character dynamics feel more like they are from the time period of the original story… so. Still, I am enjoying it. I’m about 40% of the way through and at the moment it’s feeling like a solid 4 star read.

I think I went at least a week without listening to Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor, but I’ve started up again with it this week. Minya was frustrating me for a while but we are now getting to know her a bit more, which is good. But at the same time, as with the first book, I can tell the different story threads will intersect at some point and I kind of wish they’d hurry up about it!

What do you think you will read next?

I should probably start focusing on my Australian Women Writers Challenge, since I upped my goal to twenty for this year (the previous few years I’ve only offficially aimed for twelve) and I’ve only read two. It’d be good to get ahead in case i start lagging around uni and travel times later in the year.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

Book Review: “The Slave City” by Celine Jeanjean

Title: The Slave City (The Viper and the Urchin #3)
Author: Celine Jeanjean
Genre: Steampunk/fantasy
Intended audience: YA
Date Read: 24/01/19 – 01/02/19
Rating: ★★★★

Review:

I’ve got to say, I was pretty excited when I got an out of the blue email from Celine Jeanjean offering me an ARC of this book, as it had been a while! I re-read the first two in antipcation and then dived into this third one, where we are not only reunited with all the fabulous characters from this series, but also get to  see what this world is like beyond Damsport.

In this instalment,  Rory and Linginus, along with a ragtag group of friends, are sent to the nation of Azyr to rescue a Damsian machinist, and assist with the rebellion against the ignorant Prelate and evil Seneschal. Of course, nothing goes to plan…

In this book, Jeanjean diverges from the pattern in the first two books of only having Rory and Longinus as POV characters. We get to see what Cruickshank is doing, along with some of the new characters from Azyr. Sometimes I felt that it let us know what was going on a bit too too early, but it definitely made sense later when nearly all the characters were separated from one another.

I really enjoyed Rory’s character growth.  She realises over the course of the book that you can’t always hold onto things from the past, and sometimes you have to let go of things that once seemed the most important things in the world.

The plot is once again tightly structured. Having read all three books in the series in quick succession, I have to say I’m jealous of Jeanjean’s ability to craft a story. Things are foreshadowed and references made in the beginning of the book come full circle by the end.

I’m gather Celine Jeanjean has plenty more ideas left for these characters and I’m definitely looking forward to continuing adventures in this series.


(Thank you to Celine Jeanjean for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. This did not affect my opinions in any way)

You can read my reviews of The Bloodless Assassin and The Black Orchid by clicking their titles.

Find me on:
GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

#WWW Wednesday – 29 January 2019

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished The Black Orchid, which is #2 in Celine Jeanjean’s The Viper and the Urchin series. I remembered a fair bit of it from the first time I read it, but I still enjoyed all the little details I had forgotten. l

am behind on my reviews, so nothing new posted this week.

What are you currently reading?

I am making progress with Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. I get the reasons for Minya’s single-mindedness but it is still irritating me. But Lazlo and Sarai are still great.

Also reading The Slave City, the third Viper and the Urchin book. It hasn’t quite grabbed me the way the other two did but I remain jealous of Celine Jeanjean’s ability to craft a world and structure a plot.

What do you think you will read next?

I have no idea! I haven’t read anything for my Australian Women Writers Challenge yet and considering I upped my goal this year, I should probably get on that. I’m also contemplating starting a BookTube channel focusing on Australian authors, so if I want to do that any time soon, I’ll need to get started.

Short and sweet post this week! What are you reading? 

#WWW Wednesday – 23 January 2019

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished my re-read of The Bloodless Assassin by Celine Jeanjean. I only remembered a few little details and so I enjoyed revisiting this story a lot. Definitely recommend this series for any steampunk fans. I’m not reviewing this again but you can read my original 2015 review here.

I also finished Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor on audio and didn’t even need to get the e-book in the end! This is a great fantasy book, and I’ll have a review up soon. If I try to express any thoughts here, I am sure I will start rambling.

What are you currently reading?

I have moved on to The Black Orchid, which is #2 in Celine Jeanjean’s The Viper and the Urchin series. I am remembering a little bit more of this one than I did of the first, but that’s not hampering the experience too much.

I have also started Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. I decided to get the audio book because it is a few hours shorter than Strange the Dreamer so I don’t think I’ll have quite as much trouble getting through it.

What do you think you will read next?

I have an ARC of The Slave City, the third Viper and the Urchin book, which comes out on January 31 (hence the re-read of the first two). Going by the summary, it looks like the characters will be venturing out of their home of Damsport, and I am excited to see Jeanjean expand on the world she has built.

It feels slightly strange to have only two authors represented in a whole WWW post, but there we are! Not gonna lie, I’m a little bit proud of the layout of this post, lol!

What are you reading this week?

#WWW Wednesday – 16 January 2019

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

What have you recently finished reading?

Sad to say I ended up DNFnig The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi. This was a real disappointment as it sounded like something I would really love  but just nothing about it worked for me. Since it’s a DNF, I didn’t review it as such, but I wrote some thoughts on my GoodReads. But don’t take my word for it, as there are 277 five-star reviews and onlyl 41 two-star. It was released yesterday so go find yourself a copy if it sounds like your thing!

While that was the closest I came to finishing something this week, I did post my review of Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart A Doorway, which you can read here.

What are you currently reading?

Still going with  Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor on audio. It’s 18 hours long and I’m around the 9 hour mark! I’m actually tempted to return the audio book and buy the ebook, maybe with WhisperSync included. I’m not good at long audio books! Plus I’m not doinig a lot of solo driving and it’s too hot to go walking at the moment.

I have started re-reading The Bloodless Assassin by Celine Jeanjean. I gave this five stars when I read it in 2015 and was gushing all over it. It’s possibly closer to a four star read for me now? But I really love Jeanjean’s world-building and the characters are very strong. I’ve always found steampunk books a bit hard to get into but I never had that problem with this series.

What do you think you will read next?

I’ll move onto The Black Orchid, which is the second book in the The Viper and the Urchin series by Celine Jeanjean. After that, I’m not sure!

What are you reading this week?

Book Review: The Black Orchid by Celine Jeanjean

Title: The Black Orchid (The Viper and the Urchin #2)
Author: Celine Jeanjean
Genre: YA/steampunk
Date Read: 31/03/2016 – 04/04/2016
Rating: ★★★★

Review:

blackorchidcover(Thank you to Celine Jeanjean for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for a review).

After having such a bad experience with the last book I read, I was so glad that I had a copy of the Black Orchid on my Kindle that I could move straight onto. I knew that being back with Rory and Longinus would bring a smile to my face, and I was not disappointed.

This book picks up a couple of months after the first book. Rory and Longinus are now in the Marchioness’ employ, though so far, she hasn’t had them do anything. When she asks them to investigate the death of man in the Rookery, found exsanguinated, their digging leads them a new brothel, The Black Orchid, and a smuggling ring whose existence makes no sense. When they are framed for the death of an important diplomat’s bodyguard, the race is on to find out exactly who is behind the mysterious disappearances and deaths, before they both end up in prison.

Once again, I can’t decide whether it’s the characters or the world-building that are the highlight. Both are so well-drawn. . Longinus needs all the hugs; while is coping with his most recent confrontation with his sister, Myran, his issues aren’t entirely gone, and there are times in this book when Rory unintentionally exacerbates them (hence him needing the hugs). I really loved the little detail of him saying Myran’s name a few times every day, to ensure his stutter is kept in check. Rory is torn between wanting to make something of herself and leaving behind her urchin identity, which is the only identity she’s ever known. This is partially due to Rafe, who also makes some more appearances in this one, and is now firmly established as Rory’s love interest. We learned a few things about him in this book, too, and I look forward to that being explored further.

And I have to say, I love Damsport. We got to see a few more of the districts within this thriving city, and learned more about how it operates. Jeanjean’s descriptions are wonderful; I want to run along the rooftops with Rory or drink butterscotch coffee in Susie’s Coffeehouse with Longinus. Even though I’m a complete klutz who would slip on the first uneven tile and I generally don’t drink coffee at all, I still want to. The whole place is just cozy and comforting to read about, even with the rough around the edges aspects. In the next book, our favourite characters are going to be traveling out of Damsport, and I can’t wait to see what locations they visit and how those are brought to life.

Overall, I honestly can’t recommend this series enough! Get to it! 😛