Reviews

About The Marvelous Mechanical Man:

(First Edition)

on July 9, 2013
Our intrepid heroine, Jo(sephine) Mann, a resourceful Irish orphan with few job options and an adorable, scene-stealing cat, charms Professor Alistair Conn into taking her on as a laboratory assistant. The poor professor is in dire need of assistance, as Miss Mann finds. His laboratory is a disheveled mess. On the surface, Professor Conn seems to be a sweet, absent-minded scientist. In fact, he has hidden levels of badassery, which are a joy to discover. In her quest to organize her new employer’s workspace, the dime-novel-devouring Miss Mann discovers the titular marvel. Unfortunately, the mechanical man disappears shortly thereafter, plunging the two into intrigue and steam-powered adventure. There are incredible gadgets, like an airship, a steam car, something that is essentially a motorcycle, and of course the mechanical man himself.

This book wasn’t perfect. It seems that the characters are the luckiest characters around. Professor Conn has a family member to assist with any problem that might arise and Jo has the good fortune to fall out of an airship almost on top of the only person in the wilderness who could possibly assist her. My complaint is that the book isn’t long enough for the characters to truly struggle, and I would like to see them fighting their way out of bad situations even more than they already do. You know the book is pretty good when the complaint is that it isn’t long enough!

There’s also a nifty narrative device employed here. Each short chapter begins with an excerpt from a dime novel that relates to the conflict in the chapter. I really enjoyed this; it was like getting two stories for the price of one. I hope Rie Sheridan Rose goes even further with this neat concept in the sequel! Wouldn’t it be terrific for Jo Mann to meet Calico Kate (the rancher whose troubles precede each chapter)?

I give The Marvelous Mechanical Man four gears out of five. I highly recommend this one. You will have a great time reading it!
4 Stars: It is strong on action and fun, and would be an excellent introduction for young …, July 14, 2014
 This review is from: The Marvelous Mechanical Man (A Conn-Mann Adventure) (Volume 1) (Paperback)

This book is a very enjoyable read. It is strong on action and fun, and would be an excellent introduction for young readers into the Steampunk genre. The Marvelous Mechanical Man has all the necessary elements that boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 17 should like: fancy inventions, mystery, adventure, a bit of romance, dangerous situations, and a persistent bad-guy scientist who wants nothing more than – you guessed it – the title creation. The story begins in Post-Civil War America in New York City, and Josephine Mann is practically out on the street with her last two dollars when she takes advantage of an job opportunity serving as a laboratory assistant for Professor Alistair Conn that ends up being a real adventure, one much more exciting than the Penny Dreadful stories she reads.

The novel features a strong female lead character (Jo Mann) who may not be good at science or handy with tools, but it is her common sense that continually helps save the day for her employer, Professor Alistair Conn, a brilliant scientist-inventor, and his creation, a huge mechanical man, which Jo names Phaeton. Unfortunately, Professor Conn is as naïve as Jo is street-smart, because he makes the mistake of showing Phaeton to a colleague at the university, Dr. Blessant, the aforementioned bad-guy scientist, who will stop at nothing to claim the mechanical man as his own creation. Things definitely take off from there – literally – as the story is filled with wondrous steam-powered inventions that fly and zoom faster than trains. Along the way the reader meets Professor Conn’s very proper Victorian era family, a western town filled with more baddies, another strong-willed, smart-as-a-whip and inventive teenaged girl who almost always introduces herself as “Bond. Winifred Bond. But I like to be called Fred.” Needless to say, Fred and Jo form a fast friendship that has a bit of a, well, you know, teenaged girl jealousy thing going on when…

Hm. It would be best to stop there and let readers enjoy the story. It is a very fast book to read at 248 pages long, with every chapter ending with an old-fashioned cliffhanger. Author Rie Sheridan Rose introduces each chapter with a relevant snippet from one of Jo Mann’s favorite Penny Dreadfuls, and the connection between that fictional heroine (Kate Winslow) and Jo is obvious. This is a nice narrative device that keeps the reader interested, even if it does make the story-line a bit predictable. Rose does a very nice job of keeping these intrusions to a minimum in order to maintain the story’s active pace.

The Marvelous Mechanical Man is a solid entry into the Young Adult Steampunk genre that mixes adventure and science together in a way that is recommended for youngsters interested in the fast-growing literary genre known as Steampunk. Rose intends to write more Mann and Conn stories, and that is a good idea. Here is hoping that there won’t be a very long wait for the next book: young readers should not be kept waiting for their heroes’ next set of adventures.

on May 19, 2015

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a fun and exciting adventure. Professor Conn has invented something ‘Marvelous’ and others want to get their hands on it. Cue a steaming adventure that’s a great read.

I liked the two main characters and their awkward romance. The supporting cast are each interesting in their own way. I particularly liked Fred and her steam powered bike.

The authors take on an automaton is ever so slightly different from the norm and the tale benefits from it.

It’s a fast read and that is because the story rattles along at a good pace.

This is most definitely an introduction and sets up everything very well for further adventures.

I am personally looking forward to reading these.

(Second Edition)

5 Stars: a light fun romp

on November 8, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
This was such a fun read. The characters are very likable. Reading it feels like a light hearted jaunt through a Disneyesque western setting. The villain was simple and underdeveloped, but I didn’t mind because this book spent more time establishing the hero’s and their relationship. I’m looking forward to seeing where things go in the next volume.

5 Stars:  Loved it!
on May 19, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition
Love Jo and her adventures with her distracted professor! They quickly caught my interest and imagination. Not a story of just cold steel… love the heart in the story.

5 Stars: This is a delightful, fast paced steampunk adventure. …
on November 4, 2016

Format: Paperback
This is a delightful, fast paced steampunk adventure. It is full of action, humor, likable characters, and just a touch of romance.
3 Stars: Whimsical
on February 15, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
A light-hearted, easy to read book. If you like clean, upbeat steampunk with a happy ending you’ll like this one. I liked Phaeton the robot the best of all the characters, and I hope to see him in future episodes.

 

 on July 19, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
A fun read about a disheveled (yet handsome) professor and his clumsy (yet smart) female assistant who create a robot with artificial intelligence that gets stolen by a rival professor. There were a lot of things that I really enjoyed about this book and a lot of things that I didn’t. Overall I read the whole thing and it was the perfect palate cleanser for all the dark books I’ve been reading, like I said earlier it’s a lot of fun, but that’s about it. Not a whole lot of substance and basically 0 thinking needed to read this one.

Pros:
This book is a really short, easy read. It’s the junk food of it’s genre, incredibly predictable but in a fun Nancy Drew meets Clive Cussler sort of way. You knows what going to happen but the details are fuzzy enough that you keep reading.

Phaeton was by far my favorite part of this whole story. Phaeton is the robot who’s created by Professor Alistair and doesn’t really become a character until about the middle of the book. I don’t know exactly what it was that got me hooked on his character but he’s the reason I kept reading.

If you’re looking for a quirky romance without the raunchiness, sex or swearing, this book is perfect. If it were a movie it might get a PG rating, but would lean heavily towards a simple G rating.

Cons:
The novel tried really hard to imitate a classic dime store detective novel and had no problems letting you know it… over and over and over again. It really started to take me out of the story.
“He would never survive in one of in one of the dime novels…”
“It often turned out that way in the dime novels…”
“He sounds just like one of your dime novels…”

Annoyance number 2 was the weird western thrown in this story that had nothing to do with anything. A girl named Calico Kate whose best friend is a horse named Pecos is upset when a bad man decides that he’s going to steal away her Pa’s farm. At the end of almost every chapter there was an additional page of Calico Kate’s story but it never connected to the main one. It’s like the author wanted to write a short story, but didn’t know what to do with it, so she just shoved random pages of it through out the book.

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Non-Amazon Feedback:
“Hooked. Already through the first 3 chapters.” — Bill Skeen (after downloading the Free Book Promotion)

 

“Just bought 1-4. Will be a fun deep dive! Thanks” — Margaret Scharold Woelfl (as a result of the Free Book Promotion)

About The Nearly Notorious Nun:

on December 4, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
An excellent follow up to the first novel in this series. The reader is treated to more steampunk adventure and a greater insight in to the past of our heroine.