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Chasing the Star Garden (Airship Racing Chronicles Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Melanie Karsak
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $12.99
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Book Description

An opium-addicted beauty.
An infamous poet living in self-imposed exile.
An ancient treasure about to fall into the wrong hands.

Melanie Karsak's Chasing the Star Garden takes readers on a thrilling adventure from the gritty opium dens of gaslamp London to the gem-colored waters of the ancient world. Lily Stargazer, a loveable but reckless airship racer with a famous lover and shattered past, reluctantly plunges into a centuries-old mystery in a steampunk romantic adventure best described as Dan Brown meets Mary Shelley.

It all begins on one of the worst days of Lily’s life. She just lost the London leg of the 1823 Airship Grand Prix. To top it off, a harlequin fleeing from constables shoved a kaleidoscope down her pants, told her to fly to Venice, then threw himself from her airship tower. What’s a girl to do? For Lily, the answer is easy: drink absinthe and smoke opium.

Lily’s lover, Lord Byron, encourages her to make the trip to Venice. Lily soon finds herself at the heart of an ancient mystery which has her running from her past and chasing true love and the stars along the way.

*This novel is intended for mature audiences.

Editorial Reviews


Top 10 Finisher: Best Steampunk Novel of 2013, Preditors & Editors Reader's Poll

Chasing the Star Garden is a B.R.A.G. Medallion® recipient for excellence in writing.

"Mere words don't seem adequate to explain how truly brilliant this story is,"- My Book Addiction

"While Chasing the Star Garden will certainly engage the Steampunk connoisseurs with its gadgetry and elegance, it's the intense attention paid to each characters' personal importance to the overall story that makes it a great adventure,"- Colossal Pop

"The author paints a vivid portrait of Venice, with its palazzi, jewel-coloured waters, masks, and gondolas. Venice truly comes to life as well as the other destinations visited in the course of following the mystery around the kaleidoscope. It is, indeed, a feast for the senses," - Torre de Babel

"One of my favorite things about this book is the world building. It is amazing. I could easily envision the airships, the airship towers, sky pirates, and the elaborate dress and contraptions. . .I absolutely loved it!" - Gin's Book Notes

"Chasing the Star Garden was a captivating tale from the complex characters to the breathtaking world-building. Karsak's writing has a flow and ease to it that allows the reader to slip into the worlds she creates." - Kimba the Caffeinated Coffee Reviewer

"The cover art is just a sampling of the overall beauty of the novel. . .Lily Stargazer is sort of an anti-hero with her absinthe and opium addictions, not to mention having multiple lovers. But, at the same time, she is so beautiful, rebellious, and tough that I found it impossible not to love her" - Twisted Book Junkie

"If you like your lofty steampunk sexy and adventurous, you may want to give this story a try," - SFF World

From the Author

The Airship Racing Chronicles Reading Order:

Chasing the Star Garden,
Book I
Chasing the Green Fairy, Book II

Chasing Christmas Past
is a prequel short story to The Airship Racing Chronicles

*Adult novel. Due to depictions of drug use and steamy scenes, this novel is best suited for mature readers.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1493 KB
  • Print Length: 316 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Clockpunk Press (January 8, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #298,022 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What an awesome adventure! February 27, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
The book description bears no repeating so I'll get down to my thoughts.

What did I love?

The dark of it all. Anyone in a torrid (rather S/M) relationship with Lord Byron was going to be dark, and well, interesting. ;) This propelled me into wanting to know Lily, our heroine. Why was this beautiful spunky young airship mistress floundering in drug highs and scary guys? I admit to loving the inclusion of Lord Byron in this way because who doesn't love to fantasize about what he might have been like? This story felt like a cheeky bio peek, which revealed him to bo as passionate, edgy, dangerous as we'd expect, but also loyal.

During their incredible journey through the skies, we find out why Lily abuses herself with drugs, and we see her fall in love as the reasons are peeled away, one-by-one. Leaving her emotionally drained, exposed and vulnerable, she finally opened up to see value in what's in front of her. She learns to want a better life.

I want to gush all the facts out on this page so you can understand why I'm DYING to read the next installment. But that would be cruel. Go and read this marvel of fantasy, technical intrigue, historical wonder, and Lily Stargazer: An intrigue all of her own.

To get technical, the writing and research were spot on for me. I'm always eager to get to the action, and there was plenty of it in this book, but in between sat poignant, emotional revelations and interactions. I'm not big on sentimentality, not unless it's given in small eloquent doses, and feels genuine. And I felt they were here.

What I didn't love

I loved everything, but should be frank! You will find references and scenes of child abuse, (even rape and attempted rape). I found this disturbing, as I should.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor characters and characterization March 25, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not the book for me. I got about a third of the way through but couldn't keep going. The main character was a mishmash of 'cool' ideas - opium addiction, lover of a devoted Byron, airship racer, orphan, part of ancient bloodline- that just didn't fit together. None of the minor characters were anything except what the plot needed them to be. Also, way too much Deus ex machina for me. The main character rarely seems to do anything herself, but instead has others do it for her. Good idea but poor execution.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Adventure March 25, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I’m always eager to read a steampunk adventure and had high hopes for this one. I liked the story, but it didn’t quite meet all my expectations of what a steampunk adventure is. There was plenty of adventure, but the steampunk aspects of it, what there was of them, weren’t quite what I was looking for. I didn’t care much for the heroine, Lily Stargazer, at first. She didn’t seem all that likeable and between her opium use and sexual activities, I wasn’t too impressed with her as a person. As the tale went on and I learned more about Lily’s past, I understood her motivations and behavior better and felt more sympathy for her. The adventure was entertaining, with airship racing, various baddies attacking Lily, and a quest to recover an ancient statue, all while she tried to decide just what she wanted in life, a hedonistic lifestyle or to settle down with her true love. As for her two lovers, I wasn’t all that impressed with Lord Byron, he didn’t seem like the best influence for Lily, but did show he cared for her. Although Sal was a bit boring and quite a bit older than Lily, he cared deeply for Lily and seemed like a better choice for her. After all was said and done, by the end of the story I was rooting for Lily and Sal to have the ending they deserved. On the whole, I was happy I read it, and since I have the next book in the series, Chasing the Green Fairy, I’ll certainly give it a chance as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When I started reading this book, I almost quit. In the first two chapters, She comes in second in a major airship race, witnesses a suicide, gets high on drugs and has S&M sex with Lord Byron in an opium den. I wasn't sure if I really wanted to continue reading this book, but I'm glad I persisted. At the beginning of the novel, Lily has just come in second in a major leg of an airship race when she is accosted by a harlequin who gives her a strange kaleidoscope and then jumps to his death. Lily is saddled with the burden of solving the mystery of the harlequin and the kaleidoscope. During the course of the novel, Lily's adventures take her to the Greek Islands while being pursued by a secretive group trying to solve the same mystery as she. As she learns more about her history, Lily comes to understand the reasons behind her self-destructive behaviors and vows to come clean, and she finds love. This book is fast-paced and action-packed. I would definitely recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top 10 percent of audiobooks November 3, 2014
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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good.
First steampunk novel for me. Pretty good.
Published 10 days ago by ProTours1
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome!
I loved the entire story. When I read deeper into the book I kept saying "I shouldn't be reading this book". But the problem was, I couldn't stop reading it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by jazzlady
3.0 out of 5 stars Romantic steampunk adventure
London, 1823. Lily Stargazer just lost another Airship Grand Prix to American Hank Cutter. A stranger, pursued by constables, gives her a kaleidoscope, tells her to go to Venice,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Walki F Tinkanesh
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun Fantasy Romp
This story is fast paced and the descriptive style holds the reader's attention and interest. The overt use of symbolism never became overbearing, for me. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Chasing the Star Garden
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. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jasmyn9
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
It was good. I was torn between rating this book three or four stars. I would have been comfortable with a 3.5 rating. In my rating requirements, this is a decent rating. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Michael Peterson
5.0 out of 5 stars B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree
We are proud to announce that CHASING THE STAR GARDEN: THE AIRSHIP RACING CHRONICLES by Melanie Karsak is a B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree. Read more
Published 3 months ago by indieBRAG
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent read
This was a pretty decent read. It was a little difficult to keep up with the variety of characters and some of the Greek "lessons" were a but confusing but a enjoyable read... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Britteny Strawn
1.0 out of 5 stars Thumbs Down!
Thumbs down! I don't think we need books with heavy drug usage featured. Would not recommend!
Published 4 months ago by patricia wuestenhagen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book! Well written, keeps you interested and turning the pages late into the night.
Published 5 months ago by Lauren
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More About the Author

Melanie Karsak is the author of the Amazon best-selling steampunk series The Airship Racing Chronicles (Chasing the Star Garden and Chasing the Green Fairy) and the award-winning horror/dark fantasy Harvesting Series. She grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania and earned a Master's degree in English from Gannon University. A steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and zombie whisperer, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.

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