steampunk romance

“Clockwork Samurai” Disappoints

25014330Clockwork Samurai by Jeannie Lin
InterMix: December 1, 2015 
Genre: Steampunk
Review Source: Free from publisher.

The view was nice, but the food was bad (meh).

Clockwork Samurai is the second in Jeannie Lin’s Gunpowder Chronicles. I really enjoyed the first book, steampunk fan that I am so I was thrilled to get my hands on an advance copy of the next installment.

Clockwork Samurai takes place a year after the events in book one; Soling is working as a physician and has attracted the notice of the drug addicted Emperor. Chang-wei continues to work with the Ministry of Engineering and to encourage the Emperor to consider an alliance with the Japanese. When the Emperor agrees, Chang-wei embarks on a covert assignment in Japan to seek out a man that Soling’s father was in contact with before his death. Seeking to escape the politics of court, Soling accompanies Chang-wei, much to his chagrin. (more…)


Itinerary for the Autumnal Equinox

Autumn is hands-down my favorite season. I used to delude myself into thinking it was spring (it was easy, I just looked back at winter), but for years know I’ve known autumn is my one true love. The colorful and crackly leaves, the cooler temperatures and flirty breezes, even the occasional thunderstorm. There’s something magical about every season, but I never look forward to the beginning of a season the way I look forward to autumn. (It’s different when the main reason I look forward to spring is to be done with winter).

Speaking of looking forward to things, here are the books I can’t wait to dig into, with a wool blanket, a corner of the couch, and a mug of hot tea.

Uncomfortable World Building in “Of Silk and Steam”

18667312Of Silk and Steam by Bec McMaster (London Steampunk #5)
Sourcebooks Casablanca: March 3, 2015 (Steampunk Romance)*

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Of Silk and Steam is the fifth installment of Bec McMaster’s steampunk series. Once again readers are plunged into the intrigue of the Echelon, this time when it’s on the brink of revolution. Leo Barrons has been working steadily to eventually usurp the prince regent and it seems that his plans are going to reach fruition much sooner than he would have liked. It doesn’t help that he’s distracted by Lady Aramina who finally seems to be responding to his years of overtures.

Lady Aramina is one of the only female blue bloods, and she’s the only one that sits on the council. Because of her precarious position she has always had to hold herself aloof. Mina has also needed to keep her feelings in check to protect her best friend, the Queen. Secretly, Mina and the Queen have also been plotting against the cruel Prince Regent, having no idea that there were others moving against the Prince. Mina’s plan is thrown way off course when Barrons starts dogging her steps and Mina starts to wonder if there is someone that she can actually trust. (more…)

Darkest London Moves in a New Direction with “Evernight”

19124363Evernight by Kristen Callihan (Darkest London #5)
Forever, August 26, 2014 (Steampunk Romance)

My rating: I’d go there again! (4/5)

I have been anxiously waiting for Kristen Callihan’s newest Darkest London book ever since I finished Shadowdance. This series has gotten better with each subsequent book. With Shadowdance the author took the series in a new direction and continues with it in Evernight and I couldn’t be more pleased. The focus on the SOS (Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals) has opened up so many more avenues for this series, and brings new opportunities for readers to explore this alternative London.

Holly Evernight and Will Thorne were introduced in Shadowdance. Holly is a member of the SOS and Thorne a member of the opposing faction. Both were kidnapped in the previous book and Holly was forced to experiment on Thorne. At the beginning of Evernight Holly and Thorne are both recovering from their ordeal and not very well at that. Holly has secluded herself in her home and Thorne finds himself turning into something else altogether.

Holly and Thorne are thrown together once more when Thorne arrives on Holly’s doorstep with revenge in mind. He barely remembers what happened to him when he was tortured, but he does remember Holly and the part that she played. However, Thorne soon learns that Holly might be the only one to cure him, or at the very least keep his encroaching “disease” at bay. This might pose a problem for Holly since someone other than Thorne is out to get her. Luckily, she now has a built in protector since Thorne literally cannot live without her. This forced partnership soon breeds more than animosity. (more…)

Steampunk Win with ‘Forged by Desire’

17901769Forged by Desire by Bec McMaster (London Steampunk #4)
Sourcebooks Casablanca, September 2, 2014 (Steampunk Romance)*

My rating: I’d go there again! (4/5)

I’ve been a fan of McMaster’s London Steampunk series since I read Kiss of Steel when it came out in 2012. Since then I’ve been hooked on the series. McMaster writes great romance but also offers an interesting alternative history. In this London, vampires (where are known as blue bloods) are real and pretty much rule the upper class. From book one, I’ve enjoyed how the author has explored this notion of class and all that it entails. In the fourth book, the author takes this a step further with a woman who has escaped from the privileged world and carved a life for herself as one of the sole women vampires.

As a Nighthawk, Perry has successfully hidden her past as a privileged daughter of the Echelon. She’s content with her work; however, the past she ran from is never far from her thoughts. When she begins investigating a serial murder, it seems that Perry’s past might not be as far away as she would like.

Joining Perry in her search is new Captain of the Nighthawk’s Garrett Reed – who just so happens to be the man that Perry has been in love with since she joined the Nighthawks. While Garrett hasn’t actually noticed Perry as more than a partner, he certainly has had a change in perspective thanks to an investigation in the previous book. Of course now that things are actually moving in a romantic direction, a serial killer has to run rampant, Garrett has to battle his own degrading nature, and Perry has to make the decision on whether or not to flee the city. (more…)

Top Ten Books with Airships: for flying adventures!

In no particular order, our top ten steampunk books/series that have airships! (Note: multiple books in one series will be collected and listed as one)

1. The Spritwalker trilogy is one of my favorites. And it’s steampunk, and it has the occasional airship, so I’ve decided to include them all here. The series follows young Cat Barahal and her cousin Bee, around a world similar to our own but very much re-imagined. There are gates between mortal and spirit realms, shapeshifters, superbly drawn sibling relationships, love stories, revolutions, and more.

2. In The Iron Duke, Detective Inspector Mina and “Iron Duke” Rhys Trahaearn join forces to save England from conspirators and zombies. Along the way, they fall in love. The subsequent books in the Iron Seas series also feature airships, so read those too!

The Iron Duke (The Iron Seas #1) Heart of Steel (Iron Seas, #2) Riveted (Iron Seas, #3)

3. In Conspiracy of Alchemists, Elle Chance is a dirigible pilot. When she picks up suspicious cargo, she becomes embroiled in the Shadow’s plans to sacrifice a young woman to plunge the world into darkness. Irritating Warlock Hugh Marsh helps (and hampers) her. (more…)

‘Steel and Song’: An Unusual Romance

22713456Steel and Song by Ani Bolton
July 11, 2014 (Steampunk; Romance)*

My rating: Beach vacation (3/5)

Steel and Song is the start of a steampunk romance series. I enjoyed this first installment, but I’m not sure that I love it enough to commit to future installments of a series. The world building is cool and innovative; it was the romance that fell flat for me.

Tova Vanaskaya is an airwitch who has recently been drafted into the army. An airwitch is “born a gytrash, able to draw upon nature to wield magic. But riding the line between life and death meant that, inevitably, a gytrash would get too close to the death side” (p. 8). Airship captain, Piers Dashkov, has no choice to take on Tova as his airwitch; there are no other options. For someone like Piers, a disgraced Cossack, but a warrior-noble nonetheless, Tova is expendable and replaceable. He doesn’t care about Tova, he cares about his mission to restore his honour. If that means Tova is killed in the process, so be it. The set up is intriguing but the gaping difference in social status between Piers and Tova do not make for an auspicious start to a romance.


Smugglers and Romance in ‘Dragons & Dirigibles’

21861438Dragons & Dirigibles by Cindy Spencer Pape (Gaslight Chronicles #7)
Carina Press, May 19, 2014 (Steampunk Romance)*

My rating: Beach vacation (3/5)

Dragons & Dirigibles is the seventh in Cindy Spencer Pape’s Gaslight Chronicles, a series that has hooked me from book one. I was hoping the book seven would return to the family that started it all; however, this one focused on Melody McKay, sister to Connor of book five, Cards & Caravans.

Melody McKay crash-lands her airship on the Earl of Blackwell’s estate. A gothic and desolate place plagued by smugglers. Even more disturbing to Melody is the Earl himself, ex-Royal Navy Captain Victor Arrington; a man who has firm ideas of women and their exact place in society. It should come to no surprise that Melody is none to pleased with Victor’s attitude, especially when she finds herself rather attracted to this prudish man. (more…)

Serial Series with ‘The Kraken King’

20645265The Kraken King Part 1 by Meljean Brook (Iron Sea #4.1)
InterMix, April 15, 2014 (Steampunk Romance)*

My rating: I’d go there again! (4/5)

I’ve been anxiously awaiting the next installment to Brook’s steampunk Iron Seas series. It is one of the best steampunk romance series out there, and I highly recommend that you start at the beginning; there’s so much world building and explanations, you definitely need to. For this latest book in the series, the author is releasing it in an eight parts, and I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of part one. With this serial format, I’ve decided to do my review in two parts, first I’m going to address that actual book and then I want to take some time to comment on the serial format. (more…)