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"A Heart fo Copper" Review

"A Heart for Copper"
by Sharon Lynn Fisher

Publisher: SilkWords
Release Date: May 9, 2014
Source: NetGalley

My Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

An automaton created by an inventor's son, Copper has finally been given a heart by her young master. Her choice of whether to keep the key or give it to him will determine what happens next in this "pick your path" steampunk fairy tale.

Will she join his family in their English country manor, where she'll be forced to consider the question of whether she's really human? Or will she search out the quirky alchemist responsible for giving her life? Will her master hold onto her heart, or will she be tempted by the charms of an automaton man?
My Review:

"A Heart for Copper" is an interactive short story, it's done in the style of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books. As the reader, you get to choose Copper's path, including romance! The story was very well-written, and I instantly felt for Copper. How difficult it would be to be silently in love with someone, unable to tell him or show him how she feels. When she does get her heart and she becomes human, she faces more questions than she ever dreamed of. She's so different from anyone else, what kind of life should she choose to lead now that she has the choice?

I found this story to be really fun and fast-paced. It's short, but I found myself going back and choosing all of Copper's different paths, in order to see how things could have come out differently. I really enjoyed the steampunk world that the author built. I could really see all of the characters living in this alternate history. The character of Copper is a great blend of vulnerable and strong, and she actually changes depending on what choices you make as the reader. 

This particular story is very sweet and appropriate for an adult or YA reader in my opinion, but be advised that there are a lot of varying heat levels in the stories featured on the Silkwords website, so be sure to choose your book accordingly! You can find the "Sweet" stories here.

Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5

Romance: 4/5

Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5


Bottom Line: The reader decides Copper's fate in this fast-paced steampunk adventure and romance.




Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Steampunk: Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol" Review

"Steampunk: Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol"
by Charles Dickens, Illustrated by Zdenko Basic
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Release Date: Sept 23, 2014
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Find on goodreads.com.
Summary from Running Press:


Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol tells the time-honored tale of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, whose encounters with the ghosts of Jacob Marley, Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come lead him to examine his bitter existence. Haunting steampunk illustrations by acclaimed artist Zdenko Basic accompany the original story, transforming this Christmas classic like never before. Images of steam-powered machinery, a chilling industrial London, and ornate mechanical gears come together as Scrooge travels through his life on Christmas Eve night.
Additionally, Charles Dickens’ celebrated short stores, “The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton” and “A Christmas Tree” are included and paired with equally enchanting steampunk illustrations. Those of us who cherish each holiday with Dickens in our hearts—the man who has linked the Christmas spirit with love, forgiveness, and charity—will treasure this rare collector’s edition for this Christmas and many to come.
My Review:

I've read a few of the Steampunk versions of classics illustrated by Zdenko Basic, and I think this book may be my favorite one. The Dickens story just translates so well into a steampunk world, and the supernatual elements are so well depicted in a fun and eye-catching way. Of course, it helps that I already love this classic story!

I love the way that Ebenezer is depicted in a 'normal' way, while the three ghosts, Marley, and other characters that Ebenezer meets are depicted in a more cartoon-like way. Their features digitally exaggerated, they have huge smiles, and it just adds to the fun, over-the-top dreamlike feeling of the story.

Two other short stories by Dickens are also included as a lovely bonus!



Bottom Line: This would be a lovely gift to fans of both the classic Dickens story and lovers of the steampunk genre itself.




Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Forged by Desire" Review

"Forged by Desire"
by Bec McMaster

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: Sept 2, 2014
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:
Captain Garret Reed of the Nighthawk guard has a deadly mission: capture a steel-jawed monster preying on women. He hates to put his partner, Perry, in jeopardy, but she’s the best bait he has. Little does he realize, he’s about to be caught in his own trap.

Perry has been half in love with Garrett for years, but this is not exactly the best time to start a relationship—especially when their investigation leads them directly into the clutches of the madman she thought she’d escaped...
My Review:

This is one of my absolute favorite series,I love the author's mix of steampunk, paranormal, and romance. Since I've read every book in the series, it's great to finally see Garret and Perry getting their own story. After looking forward to their story for so long, I may have expected more from their romance. I definitely wasn't expecting all of the twists with Perry's past, they were definitely intriguing.

This book is much darker than the other installments in the series, there was more of a horror vibe. I really liked that aspect though. The lab where they found the girls was terrifying and so well crafted, that it was straight out of a horror movie.
 
I absolutely adored the first 3/4 of the book, I was entranced by the world and by the relationship between Garret and Perry. But admittedly, by the last 100 of 400 pages, I was feeling that the story was becoming long and drawn out. The beginning and middle portions of the book kept me up way past my bedtime, but after re-hashing the same issues, I started to grow tired of the plot. Even with this slow end, I still highly recommend the book.


Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5

Romance: 4/5

Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Writing: 5/5


Bottom Line: While I enjoyed the previous books in the series more, this is still a welcome addition to the series, and answers a lot of reader questions about longtime faves Garret and Perry.




Disclosure: I received a  copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Wicked After Midnight" Review

"Wicked After Midnight"
by Delilah S. Dawson

Publisher: Pocket

Release Date: Jan 28, 2014
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:
A contortionist and a rakish brigand navigate the cabarets of Paris to rescue a girl taken by slavers in the third steampunk-tinged romance of the Blud series.

Life as a contortionist in Criminy’s Clockwork Caravan should be the height of exotic adventure, but for Demi Ward, it’s total dullsville. Until her best friend, Cherie, is stolen by slavers outside of Paris, and Demi is determined to find her.

On the run from his own past, Vale Hildebrand, a dashing rogue of a highwayman, hides Demi from the slavers…but why? He pledges to help her explore the glittering cabarets of Paris to find her friend, but much to Vale’s frustration, Demi soon attracts a host of wealthy admirers. The pleasures of music, blood, and absinthe could turn anyone’s head, and it would be all too easy to accept Cherie’s disappearance as inevitable—but with Vale’s ferocious will and Demi’s drive to find her friend, they soon have a lead on a depraved society of Parisian notables with a taste for beautiful lost girls. Can Demi wind her way through the seedy underbelly of Paris and save her best friend before she, too, is lost?
My Review:

This book was really enjoyable and also unique. I think I am starving for these paranormal historical romance books, with a dash of steampunk. I can't get enough of them, and there are so few to pick from. If you haven't read this type of book before, this would be great for something new and different.

I read the first book in this series, "Wicked as They Come," and while I enjoyed it, I didn't care for all the time/world hopping that the heroine did. This time around, I was much happier, because while Demi is from our world, she has permanently crossed over into the alternate world. It's nice because the reader has the same frame of reference as Demi, she will say modern slang, etc., but we get to totally immerse ourselves in the new world.

At first, I absolutely loved Demi. She was so youthful and fresh. She was very much like a stubborn, spunky teenager. It did get a little old when she started to be too stubborn for her own good though, getting her best friend and herself into trouble because she refused to see any type of reason. Vale was a great hero. I really liked the fact that he was somewhat of the black sheep of the family. I definitely liked that he wasn't the typical paranormal alpha male, he was much more three dimensional than that.

Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5
Setting: 4/5

Romance: 4/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 5+++/5
Writing: 4/5


Bottom Line: This is a fun paranormal historical, but it does have a bit of a dark side. I love the world that the author has built and her characters show a lot of depth as well.




Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review: "My Lady Quicksilver"

"My Lady Quicksilver"
by Bec McMaster

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Release Date: Oct 1, 2013
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:
Determined to destroy the Echelon she despises, Rosalind Fairchild is on seemingly easy mission. Get in. Uncover the secrets of her brother's disappearance. And get out.

In order to infiltrate the Nighthawks and find their leader, Sir Jasper Lynch, Rosalind will pose as their secretary. But she doesn't count on Lynch being such a dangerously charismatic man, challenging her at every turn, forcing her to re-evaluate everything she knows about the enemy.

He could be her most dangerous nemesis—or the ally she never dreamed existed.
My Review:

This is quickly becoming one of my favorite series of books! I look forward to this author's new books more than any others right now. Even though this newest installment was more loosely linked to the other books, it's still the same world that was already built. The main characters from the other two books were so intertwined with each other, so it's a little strange they aren't in this book aside from a few references. However, I think the next book will continue on with characters from this one. And while I may have missed my favorite characters from the other books, it didn't take away from this story in any way. I'm happy to keep reading about this world and the politics I already know.

The romance between the two leads was very exciting. The whole mistaken identity plot always keeps me thoroughly entertained, and this was no exception. Lynch knows Rosalind as both Mercury, his dangerous masked enemy, as well as his mild mannered secretary, Rosa. It's very interesting to see the conflict Rosalind has because she knows Lynch is attracted to both versions of herself, while feeling that both are just "roles" she is playing, and neither is her true self. I will admit, I had all of these scenarios built up in my mind of how Lynch would find out the truth. It was exciting to read and wait for that to happen. And don't worry, there isn't any cheating to deall with, it's all woven together perfectly.

Another great thread in the story is about learning about your enemy's point of view. Both Rosalind and Lynch find out that maybe the political conflict isn't so black and white. They learn to see from each other's point of view and understand where the other person is coming from.

One of the reasons that I love this series is because there is a perfect balance of adventure and romance. The romance is always in the forefront (it IS a romance after all) but there is enough action for readers who enjoy that also. I love the steampunk world in the books, it's not too much or overpowering, but there is enough that you feel like you are in a true fantasy world. It's such a great escape from present day life.

Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5

Romance: 5/5

Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 5/5 (The man doesn't resemble Lynch to me, but who cares!)
Writing: 5/5


Bottom Line: Another fantastic installment of one of my favorite series! I can't wait for the next book!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Heart of Iron" Review

"Heart of Iron"
by Bec McMaster

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca 
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Summary from goodreads.com:
In Victorian London, if you’re not a blue blood of the Echelon then you’re nothing at all. The Great Houses rule the city with an iron fist, imposing their strict ‘blood taxes’ on the nation, and the Queen is merely a puppet on a string…

Lena Todd makes the perfect spy. Nobody suspects the flirtatious debutante could be a sympathizer for the humanist movement haunting London’s vicious blue blood elite. Not even the ruthless Will Carver, the one man she can’t twist around her little finger, and the one man whose kiss she can’t forget…

Stricken with the loupe and considered little more than a slave-without-a-collar to the blue bloods, Will wants nothing to do with the Echelon or the dangerous beauty who drives him to the very edge of control. But when he finds a coded letter on Lena—a code that matches one he saw on a fire-bombing suspect—he realizes she’s in trouble. To protect her, he must seduce the truth from her.

With the humanists looking to start a war with the Echelon, Lena and Will must race against time—and an automaton army—to stop the humanist plot before it’s too late. But as they fight to save a city on the brink of revolution, the greatest danger might just be to their hearts…

My Review:

I think I liked this installment even more than the first book in the series, "Kiss of Steel". Maybe that's because the leads were a little more vulnerable than the two alphas (both hero and heroine) in the first book. In fact, it was a little sad seeing Blade from the first book growing weaker, because I never could have pictured him as weakened! And Honoria played the role of mother hen here, but at least we got a chance to revisit both characters.

Lena is so feisty and she's been trying to flirt with Will since the first book. He doesn't flirt back, but he has a very good reason! Sure, he seems grouchy to Lena, but the reader is in on his secret. Will is the (very) strong and silent hero, he's a bit tortured but he doesn't let that turn him into a jerk.

I definitely think you could read this book without having read the first book in the series, the author does a great job of keeping the reader up to speed on what happened previously. However, I think Will and Lena's relationship really started throughout the first book, so you would really be missing out if you skipped the first book. Plus it's a great book, so read both!

I love steampunk, and this author does such a great job of writing a steampunk flavored romance. The romance and the relationships between the characters is the focus of the book, but the steampunk elements are very well done and create a fun and different background for the characters. The paranormal element doesn't overshadow the characters either.


Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5

Romance: 5/5

Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Writing: 5/5


Bottom Line: Did I mention that I loved this book? I can't wait for the next installment to see what happens next in this exciting world.



If you think this book sounds good, you may want to read my review of the first book in the series:


My Review: "Kiss of Steel" by Bec McMaster



Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

'Here There Be Monsters' Review

As part of The Iron Seas Challenge at vvb32reads, I have my review of the first story in Meljean Brook's Iron Seas Series! Check out the rest of the reviews in the challenge here!




'Here There Be Monsters'
by Meljean Brook
from the anthology:

Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: Aug 3, 2010

Source: sent by the author in exchange for honest review


My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

My Review:

Ivy, a blacksmith, desperately needs to get out of London-her life depends on it. So she accepts passage on Mad Machen's ship, against her better judgement. Mad Machen, or Eben, is well known as a ruthless pirate, notorious for his ill treatment of prisoners and even his crew. Ivy escapes Eben immediately, but she knows she can't hide from him forever. He'll be back to make sure she pays him what she owes.

I love a good steampunk story and this one was great! The author balanced the romance well with the technology and gadgets that readers want to see in a steampunk story. The author paints a detailed picture of a different world that never once feels confusing or unbelievable.

This is a story where I'm so glad the romance genre uses two points of view-the heroine as well as the hero. At first, if I had only gone off of Ivy's preconceived notions of Eben, I wouldn't have liked him at all. But since we got to listen in on his thoughts as well, I totally understood why he had such a scary, hard image. I was able to also see the flip side of his personality and I liked him very much.

In true steampunk fashion, the leads had mechanical body parts, which was pretty fascinating. In fact, part of Ivy's job was to make and repair mechanical limbs.

There are so many supporting characters, each vividly drawn. The characters are especially deep for a short story. I'm eager to see them develop in the rest of the series.


Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5

Setting: 5/5

Romance: 4/5

Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 3/5
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line: This was a fantastic romance as well as a well-developed steampunk fantasy. I can't wait to read more about this world and these characters in "The Iron Duke."

(note: this review is only for Meljean Brook's story, not the entire anthology)
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