Charlotte Amelia Caprice may seem like an ordinary girl. She has a job she hates, a boss she despises, and zero romantic prospects. Her friends call her Charlie, when she can keep one for more than a few weeks. Though Charlie may seem ordinary, she is anything but. Charlie doesn’t have a heart. Instead, she has a steam driven machine in her chest, always making her feel leCharlotte Amelia Caprice may seem like an ordinary girl. She has a job she hates, a boss she despises, and zero romantic prospects. Her friends call her Charlie, when she can keep one for more than a few weeks. Though Charlie may seem ordinary, she is anything but. Charlie doesn’t have a heart. Instead, she has a steam driven machine in her chest, always making her feel less than human. Gears and pistons have been using her own body heat to pump her blood for over a decade. There is one small problem. Her heart is beginning to break. When Charlie meets a brilliant man, one who could save her life, she must choose between being heartless and being alive. A simple choice for some, but for Charlie living on steam isn’t easy....
|Format Type||:||Kindle Edition|
|Number of Pages||:||41 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
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In “Steam,” Jessica Fortunato introduces Charlie, a young woman harboring a deep secret—her heart isn’t her own. No, I don’t mean that she once gift-wrapped her heart and her innocence and gave them to an earnest young man who promised to love her forever … only to catch him cheating with the neighborhood skank a week later. I’m talking about a machine stuffed into the middle of her chest, replacing her original, albeit faulty, organ.Charlie is none too happy about the organ—because it plays out of tune? No … not that kind of organ—for a variety of reasons: she never wanted it; it broke up her parents’ marriage; it led to her father’s untimely death, it factored into her doctor’s untimely death (leaving her as the owner of boxes upon boxes of the doctor’s medical notes. Thank heavens she doesn’t rent in NYC.); and the damned thing is faulty. How faulty, you ask? Well, it’s so faulty that Charlie has to control her emotions or she overheats and passes out. A female? Emotions? I’m not even going there. But I will say that it puts a real damper on Charlie’s love life. Heck, the very act of letting off a little steam is enough to fry the poor lass’s circuits.But, fear not. Just when it seems that Charlie’s down to her last few heartbeats, she meets Viktor, an engineer/doctor who’s convinced he can help her.Fortunato creates a frazzled—yet loveable—character in Charlie and matches her with a nerdy wunderkind that you can’t help but root for. Sprinkled throughout are Fortunato’s trademarks of witty banter/dialogue and world-weary observations of human nature. It’s a compelling story with strong characters and stronger messages about love. Will Charlie’s experiences end in a HEA? I don’t have the heart to say … but I highly recommend “Steam” to romance, sci-fi, and steampunk fans.
Fortunato takes a nice-sized leap away from her series, The Sin Collector, in the short story Steam. I’ve enjoyed The Sin Collector and the companion novella, The Sin Collector: Thomas, but with Steam it is a much different genre, set of characters, and overall feel that sets it apart from her past work.At the base of this story is the theme of love. But this isn’t just a love story of romance. There is love on many levels throughout that can touch many different readers. This is all due to the life that the main character, Charlotte (or her nickname, Charlie,) has to live. When you live a majority of your life with an artificial heart instead of a human heart, things won’t be normal.I really enjoy how Fortunato can put so much into a short story. There’s no lack of depth to her characters. As mentioned Charlie is a complicated character. Viktor also is hard to figure out until later in the story when things start clicking together. It is the complexity that allows the reader to think, predict, and still enjoy whatever outcome happens in the end.Aside from the characters, I enjoyed the mixed genres in Steam. I don’t even know what to call it exactly. There’s part steampunk, in the technology used to keep Charlie alive, there’s a bit of a fantasy element because of this as well, coupled with being more of a sci-fi or at least slight jump into medical innovations of the near future kind of feel. All of this is placed in a very contemporary world where almost everything seems normal. Don’t let that make you think it’s confusing. I think it’s great that this story can’t be placed in one little pocket of a genre and forgotten. I think it appealed to me more because it doesn’t have a place anywhere but has a place everywhere, in a sense.To wrap this up, I thought I’d be looking forward, more, to reading Fortunato’s The Sin Collector series book 2 when it comes out later this year. But, now that I’ve read Steam and seen her talents for working in an almost alien genre to TSC, I’m going to be on the lookout for more pieces like this to come.
Ever wonder what it's like to not have a heart? But I don't mean being heartless and mean. I mean literally not having a heart? Charlotte does. Even though she may seem like some cool superhuman by having a mechanical heart, bioceramics aren't durable enough to withstand the emotions she's faced in her life, and the repeated stress has put its toll on her survival. Rather quickly (although, to be fair, this is more a short story than anything else), Charlotte finds out she doesn't have long to live, unless she's willing to subject herself to a partial life: unable to let herself fully feel and experience what's so invaluable about having a human heart....Steam is a really sweet story about what it actually means to have a heart, what makes you human, and what's worth living for. In some ways, this story reminded me of fairy tales of old, with themes reminiscent of those seen in "The Warlock's Hairy Heart" from J.K. Rowling's The Tales of Beedle the Bard. The writing style brings a set of complex characters to the forefront of what feels like a fantasy tale that's been painted over with a steampunk brush, while grounded to a contemporary setting. Pinpointing what exactly this is, genre-wise, becomes difficult because of this mish-mash, but it works terrifically. If nothing else, this is a love-story, and a wonderfully timed one with its release around Valentine's Day. Actually, Steam makes for a great read to give to that special gal in your life. Just pair it with some cheesy line like, "I know sometimes I might seem like an idiot or upset or heartless, but that doesn't mean I still don't care about you. You don't need a heart to feel love." ^_^
Steam is different from the Sin Collector series, but this is a very good thing. It shows Fortunato’s gift to write a wide range of genres. First of all, Jessica once again hit the mark with her originality. The concept of a girl in the modern day with a metal heart is brilliant. What I love best, however, is the emotion depth of the characters. This book had me in tears at a few points. I was cheering for Charlie and Viktor the entire time. As usual, the themes presented in Fortunato’s stories are ones that almost everyone can relate to. And yes, there is a hot shower scene. I really have no complaints for the story. Want a good read to snuggle up with for Valentine’s Day? Get Steam.
Read more: http://www.sarcasmandlemons.com/2013/...Steam is an ambitious story that combines elements of light sci-fi and steampunk with classic boy-meets-girl. Only boy is a socially awkward med-school dropout recluse and girl is a steam-driven hybrid. It's a compelling concept that makes for an entertaining read. The romance between Viktor and Charlie is cute and the whole bioceramic heart thing brings up a lot of interesting ideas about what it means to be human. My main complaint is that, as my creative writing professor always used to say, I'm getting the feel of a novel stuffed into a short story. The ideas and plot here could have been more deeply explored in a longer work. So the end result is a fun story, but left me wanting more. plot . 3/5Like I said, I felt like the plot had to be crunched. There's a lot of hints for development between Viktor and Charlie, but so much is condensed that we're left to assume a lot of what's going on. Which can be fine, but here I just felt like something was missing. Like I wanted to see more of their exchanges, more stolen glances, more hints of initial longing and lust before that steamy (ha, I crack myself up) first encounter. The whole heart failing thing does give a nice sense of urgency, which kept me reading. concept . 5/5So clever. Automatons are a common Victorian element and it's fascinating to see the idea used here as sort of a cyborg concept, but not so much the "I'll be back" variety. A love story growing out of it is interesting as well, because (as Fortunato cleverly points out in the text), so many emotion words are tied to the heart. Heartbroken. Heartwarming. Heartsick. It's a clever commentary on how we think about life and love. characters . 4/5I liked Viktor and Charlie but felt that I couldn't fully get a sense of them. Viktor starts out this sort of recluse living in his brother's basement who gets anxiety attacks whenever his past med school experience is mentioned. Then not long after, he's spilling his soul to Charlie. There was development there that I didn't fully get because of the short nature of the story. Charlie was much more accessible, but I still would have liked more time to watch her wrestle with her unusual situation. style . 4/5Fortunato has a nice style. It's clean and it doesn't sacrifice beauty despite the conciseness. It's good genre writing that supports the story rather than overshadowing it, but does pause on some lyrical moments that catch your eye and make you think. mechanics . 4/5There were a few things that jarred me, like too few contractions, but it was nicely polished otherwise. take home messageA clever commentary on love and life that really left me wanting more.
With Valentine's Day here, guys are running around like crazy trying to find the perfect gift for their gal. Flowers, candy, jewelry...I don't know about you, but I'd rather get a good book!STEAM by Jessica Fortunato, is just the book (well, okay, in this case short story) that you should pick up for the lady in your life. It is less than a dollar, but worth so much more than that! And if your lady is anything like me, it'll make her heart go pitter patter. But it doesn't go all Nicholas Sparks crazy.STEAM introduces us to Charlie. She's not quite your ordinary girl. There is something about her that no one else knows. Well, except a few people, and they aren't talking...for reasons. Unfortunately, because no one really knows her secret, when she starts having issues, they have no way to help her.Then, she met Viktor.From their first, odd meeting, Viktor has "got" Charlie more than anyone else ever would and he wants to help her. And in a way, by helping her, Viktor is able to help himself.Ms. Fortunato had me from the very start. I'm a sucker for a good story and this one was so much better than I was anticipating. I had started reading this on my lunch break at work and didn't want to go back to work because I wanted to keep reading. I love, love, love stories like that!I have a couple of Ms. Fortunato's other works (THE SIN COLLECTOR and THE SIN COLLECTOR:THOMAS) saved on my Kindle, but hadn't touched them yet. After reading STEAM, I'm going to bump them up higher on my "to read" list.So, should you pick up STEAM? Absolutely! Sure, it is a little lovey...but it is so much more!Guys...I'm telling you...skip the flowers and candy and jewelry...go get her STEAM! Gals...you can pick it up for yourself too, if you like. Either way, you won't regret it. ;-)
I got an ARC of this book by the author in exchange for my honest opinion.I have read previous books by Jessica Fortunato and I have to say that I liked them better than this one. This one is fine, but judging by her other books, she can do much better. This story reads like a mixture of YA and Steampunk, with some touches of romance. Charlie is a girl who seems to be normal and ordinary, but once you know that she has a steam-driven heart you discover that she is quite extraordinary. Charlie cannot figure out what she can do with her life, but unexpected things will get in the way. Will she find the answers that she need? Is life worth of being lived?This short book deals with very profound issues concerning life and humanity. The problem? As I said, the book is short. Too short. So short that I wish it had been longer so all those issues could have been further developed. I needed more. I also found typos and it could have used one more round of edits.However, the story is enjoyable and good for a quick read.
4.5 stars.Great story. I love a main character who dislikes Valentine's Day as much as me. ;) There were a few sentences and chapter beginnings I thought read awkward, and a few missing comas. Nothing that made me want to stop reading, but enough to temporarily jar me from the narrative.