Chasing the Star Garden: The Airship Racing Chronicles

Chasing the Star Garden: The Airship Racing Chronicles

by Melanie Karsak

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780615878775
Publisher: Clockpunk Press
Publication date: 11/14/2013
Pages: 314
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Melanie Karsak grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania where there wasn't much to do but read books and go for hikes. Apparently, rambling around in the woods with a head full of fantasy worlds and characters will inspire you to become an author. Be warned. Melanie wrote her first novel, a gripping piece about a 1920s stage actress, when she was 12. A steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and caffeine junkie, the author now lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.

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Chasing the Star Garden: The Airship Racing Chronicles 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
AudiobookReviewer More than 1 year ago
What if you were the best at what you do and and not use to coming in second place. Ever. Well, it is 1823, and that is how Champion Starship Racer Lily Stargazer has had the worst day of her life. She has never lost a race, never. Now some crazy man comes to her out of no where and shoves an item down the front of her pants. Tells her to find the secret. What object? The he jumps to his death. Not saying anything, Lily continues through the group of well wishers, congratulating her on her second place win. Wish they will go away as they feel like they are driving knives into her. Lily returning to a place of business to get her opium fix. As she sits there she reaches down into her trousers to retrieve the item. She takes it out and unwraps it. Looking at it she wonder why anyone would give her a kaleidoscope. Looking thru it seeing all the beautiful colors. But, why would that man tell her to search for the secret. In come Lord Byron, a good friend and non-romantic sex partner. She tells him about the morning she had and the item. This is where the adventure begins after Lord Byron convinces her to go to Italy as directed by this man and he will assist her with the financing of the trip. Lord Byron along with many other very strong characters assist Lily thru this adventure that never stops. From the time she received the item until the very end of the book. Melanie Karsak has the most amazing eye to bringing to life the words of this adventure. I am partial to this growing trend of Steampunk Fantasies and this book is now on my list of this author to follow. Lily a young girl from the orphanage that finds her way into a home but, never fitting in until she meets her inventor friend Sal. Melanie has made her an exceptional pivoting character that can turn to any direction in the book to handle the situations as they arrive. I did a bit of a problem with the drug addiction problem that Lily has. Most readers may. However, the time period of 1823, this was a common stance of the day. Not legal but, all the same there. I loved and enjoyed the characters that she added in to support Lily. Her crew on the airship. Lord Byron and Sal who were not only her friends but, her lovers. How she does not see till the end the one true love in one of them. This book is not meant for young and for the ones offended by the drugs and sexual situations I don’t recommend this book. If you are not bother by this then dive in with both hands. This story is a page turner for sure. With Libby Clearfield narrating, she has brought this book to life with the gift of many voices in her astounding performance. You know who is speaking. She did equally well with both male and female voices. I look forward to listening to other books she has performed. I love the cover of the book. it gives you a clear visualization of the ship, the steampunk era, the great and towering European town. This cover is certainly one to drawn you in as a reader and listener of this book. I look forward to the future books to this Airship Racing Chronicles series. Audiobook provided for review by the author. Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog [If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]
Melhay More than 1 year ago
*This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com, at my request. The qualifying race is coming soon, and Lily has woken to find the Stargazer has been sabotaged! Someone doesn't want them racing and wants to know what's made them so fast. The league for the qualifying races has changed it's rules. The winners of the qualifier, and racers of the World Grand Prix, will race around the world! And a dangerous race for all. With all the work needed on the Stargazer, Lily is called away to see Lord Byron. Lord Byron once again sends her on an extraordinary and out of this world adventure. We have a different narrator this time. Danielle. She has the accents for Lily and those around her along with a lulling voice to flow with the words. But she doesn't have as many different tones for the different characters. Her voice works for the heartbreaking parts, and rises us up with the turn of events to bring us out of the haze we fell into with Lily. Lily is cleaned up. But she still has her contacts in the opium world. Phineas is one she trusts to put the details together and figure out who is behind the destruction on her ship. But at Phin's she also talks to him about other things he's looking into for her. Temenos, her father. The mention of him since the adventure with Celeste had been tickling at her mind. Phin is also making a trip to check out a grave at the debtors prison as well... The men in Lily's life... In Chasing the Star Garden we got to know Sal. We even got to know her past and adoptive fathers. Here, we get to know Byron. Lily's love, Sal. Lily seems to be questioning whether this is what she wants. She gets the feel that Sal sees her as his future wife and mother of his children. Is it nerves or something more? She's even agreed to move in with him above his new factory that will be opening. It seems Lily's actions at the end of Chasing the Star Garden has drawn eyes to Sal's invention. The parachute is something everyone wants now. And Lily has convinced him to produce the push button bodice. We get detailed visits to Lily's past with Lord Byron and her ship, the Stargazer. Byron has been a huge part of Lily's life since she got the Stargazer, actually, just before she purchased the Stargazer. And unexpectedly he helped her in the purchase of it, and not in the normal fashion. Byron is one that Lily will always hold close to her heart. This story has it's heartache and what affects Lily deeply. This is a turn of a corner for Lily, once again. But the heartache will take Lily on a new adventure in the air and in her heart. About half way through the story this drastic turn comes to light. This new turn caught my attention and drew me to wonder what would come next and where we would go. It's almost as the second part of the book is a different story. Mysterious and magical. The first half was emotional and the second half brings us to a curious feeling. Everyone has doubts and regrets. How you live with them and handle them is what works on you, or not. But we can hope and strive to live life to the fullest, with no regrets in the end. Clearing the regrets and doubts is a way to help feel one is living free and life. Melanie has packed a lot of leads in the first five chapters. Much to come to pass and work it's way out as the story continues. And oh so much more to learn.
Jasmyn9 More than 1 year ago
This was a fantastic steam punk adventure. It had a bit of an Indiana Jones feel - only he would be a female air ship racer instead of an archaeologist. I loved the history that was mixed into the storyline of the gods and goddesses and their mythical followings. As Lily searches for an ancient artifact, the steam punk world comes to life in all its glory. The tech was everywhere - from the clothing, the vehicles, and even the street vendors. I loved how it was such a feature in the story and not just part of the background. There was a hint of a romance in the story as well - but not nearly enough to actually call the story a romance book. The only part that I didn't particularly care for was the way we were introduced to Lily's past. It was a little too sporadic and random in my mind. Also, there is heavy usage of drug addiction - opium, absinthe, and morphine - if this bothers you I would steer clear. It's an important part of the story and is actually something that becomes a way for the characters to really become better people in the end as they fight it.
indiebrag More than 1 year ago
We are proud to announce that CHASING THE STAR GARDEN by Melanie Karsak  is a B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree. This tells a reader that this book is well worth their time and money!
Westcliffe_Babs More than 1 year ago
Chasing the Star Garden is in the top 10 percent of audiobooks I’ve read. The complex cast of characters, the fragile yet resourceful Lilly Stargazer, airship pilot, and the mysterious quest across Europe for an ancient mystical statue combine for a compelling story. The narrator did an outstanding job of bringing this story to life. Chasing the Star Garden has many characters from different nations and stations: English, Scottish, French, Greek, Italian, working men and women, privileged and titled lords. If I had read the book, all of those characters would have had my voice. Libby Clearfield skillfully moved from one character and accent to another quickly without hesitation and with clarity of speech. The variety and accuracy of the accents was amazing and definitely enriched the experience. Humor, sadness, concern, frustration, love and excitement were expressed by her tone of voice for each character as appropriate. I particularly appreciated her ability to voice realistic male characters with different accents without making them sound like a woman trying to imitate a man’s voice.  I was initially concerned about reading this story, based upon warnings of abuse, sex and drug use in another review. While it is present, the abuse is presented in flashbacks, without excessive detail, but is necessary to the character and story development. The sex and drug use is in current time, but much less graphic than many historical romance novels and not an issue. The unveiling of Lilly Stargazer’s background and emotional development, through flashbacks, gradually helps the reader understand her complex, driven nature and why she gets into trouble. Fortunately, her own skills and her friends help her evade disaster time and again. Lilly has not shared all of her secrets by the end of the novel and has more air races to win. I want her to succeed in her quests for love and success. Melanie Karsak has created a believable steampunk universe with interesting characters, adventures and thrilling airship races. I look forward to the next novel in the series and hope that Libby Clearfield will return as Lilly Stargazer.   Disclosure: I was given a free copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
CiannaElizabeth More than 1 year ago
**This review was done in conjunction with NerdGirl. For more information, feel free to check out their FB page  ** Wow, this was a ride. It’s pretty great how the author ties in things we know of history into a steampunk fantasy story, because it really make the reader think it could’ve really happened, maybe an alternate timeline, but still, we could’ve had experiences and a world like this. That would’ve been awesome! :) Lily is one of the best, well written characters I’ve come across lately. She’s so far from flat it’s funny. Not only is she beautiful, she’s a killer airship pilot, who’s got a bit of an opium addiction, and a penchant for lovers. She’s witty, interesting, driven, and I really enjoyed reading about her. I think it’s the adventure that really pulls this book in a perfect direction. I did laugh out loud when the kaleidoscope was stuck down her pants, but otherwise, you can really see that the author took a lot of time to craft a believable story. I also enjoyed that though the main character had various lovers, it wasn’t in your face and definitely not a romance novel. You didn’t have to drown in a sea of sex to understand that this character is free, and loves to love, but it doesn’t make  her a bad person. She’s a flawed human, which is a perfect example of anyone. I dare you to find me a perfect person, as you see in some novel... Bring them to me, and I’ll find a flaw. No one is perfect, but its human nature and it’s what brings a real level of depth to a novel, and allows you to throw yourself in and connect. I definitely liked Lily and related to her dreams and struggles, and was excited by  the adventures she has. The reckless abandonment of the main character is what makes it all the more fun, a woman like her in 1800s is such a fun, wild concept, and the author executed it lovely! I think this was a beautiful novel from a world building, descriptive stance, because the author knows her way around some wording, and I just wanted to live in this world. It was lush, and detailed without being heavy, and I think that really speaks to the skill of the author. I’ve read a variety of Steampunk novels since the genre has blown up, but I have to say, this is one of my favorite. Lily is a beautiful, daring mess, and I loved it! *I was given a copy of this book for honest review.
kirstyviz More than 1 year ago
Chasing the Star Garden is brilliantly innovative with the most flawed, but kick-ass heroine in any book I have read. This is a story which spans several countries, dealing with drug abuse, forced prostitution and sex, in its rawest of forms. Melanie Karsak's writing is honest, her story addictive and her descriptions of people and places lively. Lily is an airship pilot and though it is a male dominated field, she excels. She takes her sport seriously and is competitive, but in her downtime is addicted to Opium and drinking Absinthe. Despite her extra-curricular activities the reader does not feel the need to judge her; the story of her journey is punctured with memories of her dark childhood, which help us to understand her need for an escape from reality. Chasing the Star Garden is a steampunk adventure novel in which we follow Lily and her crew across Europe, as they race to uncover the mystery behind a kaleidoscope Lily is given. This instrument is left with her after a race along with the words "Go to Venice", just before the messenger dies. The reader is immediately intrigues and along with Lily we attempt to solve the clues placed before us. Lily's time aboard the Stargazer, her voyage to beautiful places (particularly Venice!) and the many acquaintances she meets allow us more insight into her complicated personality. Melanie Karsak also provides Lily with her first experience of love, and though I admit a fondness for the eccentric Lord Byron, we understand that Sal is by far the better choice for her. Throughout the novel Lily's character gradually evolves as realisations about her past change her; she becomes bolder, happier, less selfish and more balanced. Chasing the Star Garden is beautifully written and I know that I will be continuing the Stargazer's story. Brilliant! I received this as a complimentary review copy, but this has had no influence on my opinion.
Chanzie More than 1 year ago
4.5/5 stars Chasing the Star Garden surprised me. It is not what I expected - not that I really knew what to expect! Characters: 4 / 5 Melanie creates interesting and unusual characters. The story starts off with Lily and her crew racing in the Airship Grand Prix. After the race a man dressed as a harlequin delivers Lily a message, and then commits suicide by jumping off the side of the ship - What a way to start a story. Lily - Lily is an unusual heroine. I like her and absolutely love her name 'Lily Stargazer'. She doesn't pretend to be anything she is not. She is a bit loose and carefree but mostly in control - when she isn't high on opium. Her character is very interesting and she has a sad childhood history. I enjoy her journey in the book and the way it all came together throughout the story. Lord Byron - I liked him from the beginning - a high profile Lord from Britain. He is one of Lily's lovers and 'sponsors' her trip to Venice.  Byron is one of those characters that surprises you and makes your heart swell. Sal - What an interesting and likable character. He is Lily's other lover. The more you see of him, the more you love him. Sal's love for Lily is beautiful and he is a man filled with tender moments.  Plot, Pace, Writing style: 4.5/5   I enjoyed the clues Melanie drops throughout the book. The plot is interesting and unique. At parts the pace was a bit slow, but on the whole it kept a moderate pace. It felt like an exciting treasure hunt. I loved how the title of the book tied in to the story - it really was such a beautiful 'A-ha' moment. I would say it was a good read for most of it, but the last 5 chapters really made it for me. The story really does tie up with a bang! Cover talk: 5/5 I really loved this cover, it is beautiful and intriguing. Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this steampunk fantasy read and cannot wait to see where Melanie takes it in the next book 'Chasing the Green Fairy.'
closkot More than 1 year ago
My Thoughts - 3 out of 5 Unicorns - I liked it!!! ***Received ebook as part of a Fabulosity Reads Tour for an honest review. The cover is steampunk beautiful :) I totally love it!! It looks so magical :) First, this book is not a YA book as several people listed in Goodreads. The rampant drug use, sex, fetishes, alcoholism, and more would make this new adult or just adult, take your pick. I am sooo torn with this book because it is beautifully written and had some great moments, but I didn’t connect with completely with the characters. I think my reason for the disconnect is all the drug use but not really sure. I have never been that curious about drugs or known anyone with this sort of addiction, but it seemed very life like in the writing. I am sort of new to the steampunk genre, so I’m not sure if the drug use part of this book is typical of the genre or just this book. I love the idea of all the cool things made by tinkers and the airships. It would be so cool to travel by airship (with a parachute just in case) and see the world as an eagle would see it. I think I want to read book 2 to see if she conquers her drug use and if that helps me fall more in love with Lily as a character. I feel bad for Lily because so many terrible things have happened to her, but I do not want to ruin anyone's journey into reading this book. As this book sort of baffles me, I’m not sure who to recommend this book to except to say steampunkers should read the blurb and my review and decide for yourself :)
mutmainna_ivbooks More than 1 year ago
Let me tell you, I’m a big fan of all things mythology. Literally. I don’t care who or when or where, if it’s got something to do with mythology, even in the slightest, I would go for it, always. So it’s no wonder that I seem to love this one too. The author has mingled myth with the plot so well you can only like it. The best part I think is that it is spontaneous and never feels imposed. I loved the adventure element of the book. I am biased with books that has an adventurous plot, specifically when it is executed this well. The stuff Lily, the lead of the story, does sounds so cool in itself! And the theme of adventure (in freaking Venice!), along with all the other things make this book a steampunk story in the truest sense! Above everything else, I LOVED Lily. Pure kick-ass. Though she’s not the kind of character I would usually go for, but the author has made her character in such a way that you cannot help liking despite her antics. She’s weird, absurd, flawed, in short a kind of an anti-heroine and yet I find it impossible not to like her throughout the book! Though I’m not into reading the kind of romance that is shown here I still couldn’t dislike it. I only find the parts, specially the beginning ones that dealt with Lily’s addiction to drugs and sex to be a bit dragging. You may even feel like it’s a biography of someone with a wasted life. But if you are able to keep up with it, the fun and joy ride that comes later would surely make it up to you :) Among other characters, Lord Byron and Sal were really really interesting to see, though I haven’t been able to swoon over either of the two (maybe because I was so busy noticing Lily all the way :P) To be honest, I haven’t paid that much attention to other minor characters as I was too preoccupied with Lily ^.^ Overall, it’s a fantastic read. This book is the first in its series and I’ll surely be looking forward to reading the later ones. If you're mature (18+ due to steamy scenes) and love kickass heroines, steampunk, adventure, mythology or any one of these, just GO FOR IT! **Received from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.