Thursday, January 9, 2014

Release Day Review: The Cogs in Time - an anthology by CHBB Publishing

The Cogs in Time by Catherine Stovall
A beautiful poem by Catherine to set off this anthology.
The Properties of Mercury by Robert Craven
What do you do when you have discovered something amazing? When your theory is correct, and it can do wonders? And what if your invention is wanted by others? One group want’s to destroy it, another to use it, and not for good.
Devereux discovered the hidden qualities of mercury and when people start coming after him and his experiments, he calls out to Wentworth for help.

This short story was well written, I liked the twist with the special experiment, and the end was good. It wasn’t my favorite in this anthology though, but still very well written.


Amelia by Samantha Ketteman

Amelia is under attack by a man, and in her attempt to run from him, she hits her head very badly. Waking up after her escape, she can’t remember anything prior to the attack. Wandering around the town trying to find someone, or something she can remember, she discovers that it’s desolate. But just the night before it had been bustling? What happened?

I really liked this short story. The writing was fluid, I had no trouble following the story, and the ending was… The entire story is in reality grim, but the ending cast a beautiful glow over it. Well done Samantha Ketteman. Very well done!


Balloon by Cindy J. Smith

A poem about travelling with an air balloon, and wanting to go back in time. I liked this poem, it felt like it flowed better and who isn’t fascinated by air balloons?


Letters to the Prince by Emma Michaels

A tale of two young boys meeting a long time ago, becoming friends and when separated, started to write letters to each other.

This story is about loving someone so much that you’re willing to go all the way. Even though their real names never where exchanged, one of them knew who the other was. A Prince. And now when he is on his way on a mission with great risk of never returning, Daniel finds a way to come aboard the airship as a mechanic.

Letters to the Prince is, to me, a beautiful love story, one that had built up slowly between the two boys since they were kids, and now as adults finally can blossom.

I’ve read Owlet by Emma Michaels last year, and to tell you the truth, I was pleasantly surprised to see how well she has written this short story. Not everyone who writes good novels can write good short stories too. But Emma can.

After the Flare by Faith Marlow

In 2115 there had been a solar flare, and all technology and electronics was wiped out. For a long time it was even unsure if mankind would survive with the wars, famine and riots running rampant all over the world.

Somehow they did. And things changed to a more environment friendly technology; steam. People are growing their own vegetables, families and communities growing closer, conversations face to face and not online. But questions are still there. Where did all the technology came from in the beginning? Rumors have it that people came from the sky and with them a very advanced technology. Pen and his friend Hitch are out looking for evidence of these cultures, and they have followed a rumor down to a jungle somewhere remote, and they have found a temple. Question is what will behind the doors? (pic from

Faith Marlow delivers a short story with a great archaeological twist to it. Add to it that Hitch was in an accident a long time ago and is now dependent on his steam operated arm and leg – cool!! And crawlers!! I love those little buggers.

I know that Faith Marlow just recently released her latest novel; Being Mrs. Dracula, and it is currently waiting for me on my kindle.

Well Oiled Machine by Nina Stevens

A poem of a little girls journey into adulthood. Starting as a little girl, loving to see her father work with cars, and growing up to work with gears and chrome, to feel the metal and leather combined on her own skin as well is the true freedom to her.  Beautiful written.


Point of Departure by Wayne Carey

Harrison Pierce is retired from Her Majesty’s troops, and is enjoying his time in a bungalow on the African Savannah, writing memoirs about his time in service. Exploring new unknown territory and being in war gives you a lot of memories to share.

His retirement is (unfortunately) disrupted by an old friend; Reginald Shepard (still active in service) coming to ask for help.

There’s a new form for transportation; Tesla ports, which allows people to travel anywhere in the world (as long as a receiver is present) in a blink of an eye. But there’s been located some strange frequencies that isn’t from here, and now they need help in exploring an entirely new world.

Wayne Carey did an amazing job writing this short story, if you ask me. One thing is all the new technology (GREAT idea with the tesla coils and ports!!), another how it is used (again, beautifully spun!), the rivalcy between countries (ancient history coming back to life), with a modern twist to it; a woman who is not only an engineer, but also the owner of the airship, and built it with ALL the modifications – very cool!

In my opinion, this short story is one I would love to see more of.


First Step by Zoe Adams

The story of a future Geisha’s first journey to her first social event with her sister and teacher.  It is fascinating to read about her walk to the event, how she remembers her mother, father and younger brother and how proud they would be of her.

It’s a cute story, with more depth in it than one might think in the beginning. I liked it, the little boy who ran over to her was a nice touch.


Mausoleum by Cindy J. Smith

How would you feel if you had to go into a mausoleum to find out things about your past? And while there, heard a sound? How would you react? Cindy tries to show this in her poem, and pulls it off very nicely.


Wren City by Catherine Stovall

Cassie is on her way home from the University due to a special letter she received from an old friend. He is dying, and wants to say goodbye. Cassie and Max haven’t spoken since she was forced to leave almost five years earlier. Oh Cassie has been writing three times a week, but Max has never returned her letters. Not once. There’s a reason for that, but I won’t divulge it here.

When Cassie finally makes it back to Wren City, she is surprised to see it being changed so drastically from when she left; no more filth, hungry kids or adults, fresh air. But the price.... Cassie runs away from her father, straight into Max arms when she figures out the truth. The question is; can Cassie, Max and the old gang make one last con to save everyone’s lives and defeat the machines in their chests?

I loved this short story, it was truly amazing to read. There’s details to the story that surprised me and made me want to wander the sky market myself. When seeing the mortechs, a chill went through me. I enjoyed every person and their personalities; from Cassie (who still has loads of fight hidden in her),Max (who has so much regret and a desire to make it right), to Julian (the mad scientist in the group), and everyone else.

Wren City is a beautifully twisted tale of what happens when man tries to destroy true love, and tries to become more than what they are, and plays God.


Haven by MJ Baerman

There are two POV in this story:

1)      Thor who steals his captain’s ship and turns her into an airship. He doesn’t want to be a pirate, so he steals the ship and runs like hell. He ends up in Hungary, landing his very battered airship in the middle of a field in a small town.

2)      Christian is leaving London. He is tired of using his skills as a Seeker to hunt down and capture those of Ember Bloods, Gifted Ones, just because they’re different. He ends up in Hungary while writing down some of his ideas for mechanical inventions in his little book.

So what happens when they meet?

I liked this one too. It’s not that often you get two POV’s in a short story, and even more seldom that it can be well done. I would love to read about some of their adventures. I bet LOADS of fun things happen!!

Machine by Eada Janes

A poem about what happens when your love passes away, but you desperately wants to keep him. Sometimes, you really have to be careful with what you wish for.


Captive Sleep by Andrea Straum

Oy. This short story had more twists and turns than I ever imagined. Domaroc is chief-engineer
and second in command on the airship. Navarro was the commander. After a converter was damaged and the airship had to land in the jungle to be repaired, the crew was forced to sleep outside, due to all the smoke. Domarco isn’t comfortable with this given all the rumors of Cat Clans in the area. Turns out it wasn’t a rumor after all….

I LOVED all the twists and turns that Captive Sleep had. I thought I had it figured out, and BAM- nope, sorry Mrs. Try again. Turn a page and it will reveal more secrets buried underneath – all the way to the end of the story. Need to see if I can find more written by Andrea Straum.


Sandy Marlin: Frontier Brewer by Deborah Dalton

Sandy lives out in the middle of nowhere, brewing her wine and ale. She doesn’t like the big, bustling city with its filthy water. All she needs is supplies from her buyer, bullets, her machines and peace and quiet. But her buyer Charles always tries to lure her back to the city with promises that it has turned to the better, a good mansion, safety… Only Sandy isn’t buying hat he is selling.

But how will Sandy react when supposedly outlaw’s breaking into her house and destroys everything? Will she be able to save anything?

I like that Sandy prefers the solitude in the wilderness compared to the big, busy city. I’m kinda the same way. Oh, I enjoy going into the city from time to time, but no place like home. Sandy is a girl with both legs strapped to the ground, and I like that about her. I liked the twist with the outlaws. Nice touch!


Voyage by Eada Janes

What does an airship captain truly think about high up in the sky? Well, maybe Eada’s beautiful poem, Voyage brings the answer forth.

Invisible Sun by SJ Davis

This is the longest story in the anthology, and tell the tales of vampires, genetics, madness, hard decisions and true love. As grueling as this story is, it still fills me with hope at the same time.

Vampires are a genetic alteration from humans. But in their effort to improve themselves, they have made all vampire females infertile. To preserve their race, they are using human breeders, and inserting them with genetically modified seed. In search of the perfect vampire, they create something much worse; the meanings to their own end.

Caught in all this is Astrid, who is at the wrong place at the wrong time, meeting the right vampire; Luca. But Luca and Astrid’s fight are only beginning, not only are their budding attraction forbidden (due to an old legend about a female vampire and the weakening of their race), but they’re fighting someone close to Luca; Draegan, his brother. But will they be able to save Gravesend and London before it’s too late?

Invisible Sun was a fascinating read, and most probably the most gruesome one in this anthology. The flow was nice though, and it was a fascinating story, and it was amazing to follow the madness not only in Draegan’s mind, but how he justified everything, how he spread it.

Love works in wondrous ways, that’s all I’m saying. And never underestimate a woman’s wisdom. Just saying.


All in all:

I liked this anthology, it main theme was steampunk, but all kind of genres was blended well into the pages. As always, I have my favorites; Wren City, Amanda and Sandy Marlin; Frontier Brewer was one of them.

But this anthology isn’t “just” filled with short stories, there are poems and beautiful drawings as well. Since I’ve read this on my kindle, I have no idea if the drawings are in color or not, but they’re still beautiful.

So if you like steampunk with some great twists, then The Cogs in Time is definitely something for you. I know I enjoyed it, and even found some new authors I want to check out (one of the main reasons I love anthologies, I always find a new author or two – making a mess of my TBR Pile) ;-)

Go on an adventure through unheard of places in time and existence. Here in these remote areas, thriving cities, and secret worlds, a strange technological revolution reigns. Inside these pages inventors, dreamers, and revolutionist rule in worlds of steam driven machines, cog powered humanoids, clockwork miracles, and paranormal magic. Dressed in corsets, top hats, and cog lined finery the heroes and heroines face down immense obstacles as they take to the skies in airships, use incredible technology that is a mix between ancient and futuristic, and discover love.

Sixteen talented authors, artists and poets have come together in the must read anthology of 2014. The product of this collaboration is an incredible journey through a blend of sci-fi, fantasy, action, adventure, history, paranormal, and romance that embraces the roots of Steampunk while pushing the genre to new, bolder limits. 
You can buy The Cogs in Time HERE

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