Genre: Steampunk

Review: The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen

Posted July 24, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell AllenReviewer: Holly
The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen
Narrator: Elizabeth Knowelden
Series: Steampunk Proper Romance #3
Also in this series: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast, Kiss of the Spindle
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Publication Date: August 6, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Steampunk, Fairytale
Pages: 368
Length: 9 hours and 32 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Hazel Hughes has spent her life believing she is a Medium—someone who can talk to ghosts. But as of yet, that skill has remained frustratingly elusive. She is also suffering from a reoccurring childhood dream of someone who looks almost exactly like Hazel, but this dream version of herself is slowly going mad.

Sam MacInnes is a talented surgeon who runs in the highest social circles thanks to his family’s position and history. When Sam hires Hazel to assist him with his medical practice, he is immediately drawn to her intelligence, wit, and beauty.

Their potential relationship is derailed one evening when a mysterious count arrives in London and reveals to Hazel the truth about her past: she was abducted at birth and her twin sister has fallen dangerously ill.

Hazel agrees to travel to Romania with Count Petrescu in order to save her sister, and Sam insists on accompanying her. The count has secrets, though, and the journey grows more sinister with every mile that draws Hazel closer to her homeland. Even as her feelings for Sam become deeper and more complicated, she fears she might not survive the quest to save her sister with her heart intact, not to mention her life. She must learn to draw on gifts she doesn’t know she has if they are going to ever return home again.   Hazel and Sam must fight their way past dark magic, clockwork beasts, and their own insecurities as they try to reach her sister in the impenetrable Coppergate Tower before time runs out.

The Lady in the Coppergate Tower is the third book in Nancy Campbell Allen’s Steampunk Proper Romance series, which is a mesh of fairytale and steampunk. I call these books “Steampunk Lite”. Though there are Steampunk elements, they’re very lightly drawn. We first meet Hazel and Sam in book one, Beauty and the Clockwork Beast. Although not necessary to read in order, I do believe you understand more about them and their motivations if you read the other books first.

Hazel Hughes comes from a long line of Mediums. Her mother is convinced she has the same power, but her first real attempt to summon spirits ends in a complete disaster (Beauty and the Clockwork Beast). Now she works as Sam’s surgery assistant. She’s had a crush on him for ages, but they run in different social circles and she knows they can never be. When a mysterious man turns up and claims to be her uncle, she’s shocked. Even more so when he tells her she was actually abducted at birth, and she has a twin sister who is slowly going mad. The Count believes Hazel may be the key to saving her twin. She agrees to travel to Romania with him to help her sister, and Sam joins them. As they travel in a submersible, strange things happen that make her question everything..her uncle, her sister and her relationship with Sam.

I was very interested in Hazel and Sam after the previous two books. In keeping with the series, this is a Rapunzel retelling. Though the fairytale elements were light, I enjoyed it. Hazel’s journey across the ocean, as well as her personal journey, was fun and interesting. I did struggle a bit with the book in the middle, as it was rather slow. But the early parts and last quarter or so really worked for me.

Nancy Campbell Allen was a great find for me this year. I’m looking forward to the next book.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Steampunk Proper Romance

three-half-stars


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Review: Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen

Posted July 22, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell AllenReviewer: Holly
Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Series: Steampunk Proper Romance
Also in this series: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast, The Lady in the Coppergate Tower
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Publication Date: July 3, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Fairytale, Steampunk
Pages: 323
Length: 9 hours and 24 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A steampunk Sleeping Beauty story from the author of Beauty and the Clockwork Beast.

Doctor Isla Cooper is cursed. Literally. Each night, at the stroke of midnight she falls into a death-like sleep from which she cannot be awakened for six hours. To make it worse, the curse has an expiration date--after a year, it becomes permanent. And the year is almost up.

In a desperate attempt to find Malette--the witch who cursed her--Isla blackmails her way onto Daniel Pickett's private airship bound for the Caribbean, only to discover she's traveling with three illegal shapeshifters and the despicable Nigel Crowe, a government official determined to hunt down and exterminate every shapeshifter in England. Isla and Daniel must work together to keep the identities of the shapeshifters hidden while coming to terms with their own hidden secrets, and their blossoming attraction to each other.

Filled with suspense, intrigue, and plenty of romance, Kiss of the Spindle is steampunk Sleeping Beauty story. It is a race against the clock as Isla and Daniel try to hunt down the elusive Malette before Isla's death-like sleep becomes permanent.

Kiss of the Spindle (Steampunk Proper Romance #2) by Nancy Campbell Allen has flavors of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, along with Steampunk and other Fantasy elements.

Everyone knows Daniel owns a fleet of Airships. What they don’t know is that he often smuggles Shifters out of the country to save them. When an inspector suddenly turns up on one of his voyages, he is not happy. Even worse? Doctor Isla Cooper blackmails him into letting her on the ship as well.

Isla is suffering under a curse that puts her into a death-like sleep every night. She’s afraid time is about to run out and she’ll be permanently at rest, so she forces her way aboard Daniel’s ship so she can visit an Island she’s sure houses the witch who created her curse.

I really loved Isla. She was tough and no-nonsense. Her sense of duty to her family was misplaced, but I loved how loyal she was to them. I also liked Daniel. He, too, had a strong sense of right and wrong, and that worked well for him. Even so, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I did the first. It moved slow in parts and I found myself getting impatient/bored toward the middle of the book. I also didn’t care as much for the overall story-arc as I did the previous book.

I enjoyed the romance and the world is fun and interesting. I’m looking forward to the next book, even if this one was a little slow.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Steampunk Proper Romance

three-stars


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Review: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen

Posted July 20, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell AllenReviewer: Holly
Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen
Series: Steampunk Proper Romance #1
Also in this series: Kiss of the Spindle , The Lady in the Coppergate Tower
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Steampunk
Pages: 318
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Jane Eyre meets Beauty and the Beast.

When Lucy Pickett arrives at Blackwell Manor to tend to her ailing cousin, Kate, she finds more than she bargained for. A restless ghost roams the hallways, werewolves have been reported in the area, and vampires lurk across the Scottish border. Lord Miles himself is clearly hiding a secret. He is brash and inhospitable, and does not take kindly to visitors—even one as smart and attractive as Miss Pickett. He is unsettled by the mysterious deaths of his new wife, Clara, and his sister, Marie. Working together, Miles and Lucy attempt to restore peace to Blackwell Manor. But can Lucy solve the mystery of Miles? Can she love the man—beast and all?

Tracy turned me on to this author. I’ve been in the mood for Gothic romances lately and this one was just what I was looking for. This book is labeled as Steampunk, but I would call it Steampunk-lite. I easily fell into the story and didn’t want to put it down.

Lucy Pickett arrives at Blackwell Manor to visit her best friend/cousin, Kate. Kate recently married into the Blackwell family, and ever since she arrived at the manor she’s been feel poorly. Lucy is concerned something serious is wrong, and she’s determined to get to the bottom of what’s ailing her cousin. Between ghosts, werewolves and vampires, her time at the manor is anything but dull. Add the mysterious Lord Miles, Kate’s brother-in-law, to the mix, along with the mysterious deaths of his wife and her sister, and Lucy is in for a wild ride.

I really enjoyed Lucy. She’s a strong character who wasn’t afraid to stand up for herself or do what’s right. She was also very progressive and that worked well in context. I enjoyed her strength and determination, and how that pushed Miles. Their romance was well done and very enjoyable. The mystery behind her cousin’s illness and the deaths of other members of the family was easily solved, but I liked watching the characters work through everything.

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast is an odd mishmash of Gothic, Steampunk and Fantasy Romance, but it really worked. If you’re looking for something a little different, I highly recommend this series.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Steampunk Proper Romance

four-half-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook

Posted September 18, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Iron Duke by Meljean BrookReviewer: Rowena
The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook
Series: The Iron Seas #1
Also in this series: The Iron Duke (Iron Seas, #1), Fire and Frost, Tethered (Novella), The Kraken King Part I, Here There Be Monsters (Iron Seas, #0.5), The Kraken King (Iron Seas, #4), Heart of Steel (Iron Seas, #2)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: October 5, 2010
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Steampunk
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's Summer Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

After the Iron Duke freed England from Horde control, he instantly became a national hero. Now Rhys Trahaearn has built a merchant empire on the power - and fear - of his name. And when a dead body is dropped from an airship onto his doorstep, bringing Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth into his dangerous world, he intends to make her his next possession.

But when Mina uncovers the victim's identity, she stumbles upon a conspiracy that threatens the lives of everyone in England. To save them, Mina and Rhys must race across zombie-infested wastelands and treacherous oceans-and Mina discovers the danger is not only to her countrymen, as she finds herself tempted to give up everything to the Iron Duke.

Ugh, August was a really bad month for me, on the reading front. I had such big plans of finishing my Summer Reading Challenge and this book ended up being one of the only books on my list that I read. Sigh. In good news though, I really enjoyed this book. It took some getting used to because I don’t read a lot of steampunk books so it was hard for me to picture everything but the more that I listened, the more that I talked to Holly, the clearer the picture of the steampunk world that Brook created for these characters came to be and this book ended up being a lot of fun and super steamy.

So, when The Iron Duke saved the world from activated nano agents, he became a national hero. He used that hero-worship to build himself an empire and all was well until a dead body drops onto his steamship and brings Detective Mia Wentworth to his doorstep (or whatever they call their doorsteps on the steamships). Mia’s got a case to solve and for, maybe the first time in her life, Trahaearn sees Mia, the woman and not Mia, the woman with horde blood in her veins. Mia can’t afford to be distracted from her work because her family relies on her financial support but you can’t stop love when your destiny is to love the Iron Duke.

The strongest part of this story, for me, was Mia. Her character was wonderfully written and I was here for every single thing that she went through. I loved the woman that she was and I really loved seeing her grow into the feelings that she was developing for Trahaearn. She meant business and she knew what she was about and I couldn’t help myself. I cheered for her from beginning to end. I wanted her to get everything her heart’s desired because she deserved it. She was a genuinely good person and she was fair and when that scene happened, I was shocked and at first, I didn’t know how to feel though my heart hurt for Mia. I was glad with the way that Meljean Brook handled that and how everything came together.

I enjoyed the narration of this story too. I was able to easily follow along with what was happening, even when it took me a little bit to picture everything in this steampunk world. This book had me gripped from beginning to end and though it wasn’t my favorite read of the Summer Reading Challenge, I still really enjoyed it and look forward to continuing this series. I definitely recommend.

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

The Iron Seas


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Throwback Thursday Review: Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook

Posted January 25, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Heart of Steel by Meljean BrookReviewer: Holly
Heart of Steel (Iron Seas, #2) by Meljean Brook
Series: The Iron Seas #2
Also in this series: The Iron Duke (Iron Seas, #1), Fire and Frost, Tethered (Novella), The Kraken King Part I, Here There Be Monsters (Iron Seas, #0.5), The Kraken King (Iron Seas, #4), The Iron Duke
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 3rd 2012
Genres: Steampunk
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

 New York Times bestselling author Meljean Brook combines Victorian sensibilities with steam, steel, and adventure on the Iron Seas. 

As the mercenary captain of the Lady Corsair, Yasmeen is only loyal to her ship and her crew. So when a man who once tried to seize her airship returns from the dead, Yasmeen will be damned if she gives him another opportunity to take control. But treasure-hunter Archimedes Fox isn’t interested in the Lady Corsair—he wants her coldhearted captain and the invaluable da Vinci sketch she stole from him.

To reclaim the painting, Archimedes must seduce the woman who once tossed him to a ravenous pack of zombies…and she’s no easy conquest.

When da Vinci’s sketch attracts a dangerous amount of attention, they journey to Horde-occupied Morocco—and straight into their enemy’s hands. But as they fight to save themselves in a city on the brink of rebellion, the greatest peril Yasmeen faces is from the man who seeks to melt her icy heart…

***Every Thursday in 2018 we will be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally posted on December 28, 2011.

Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook is book 2 of steampunk The Iron Seas series.

When adventurer Archimedes Fox tried to take her airship by force, Lady Corsair’s captain, Yasmeen, had no choice but to throw him overboard into zombie infested territory. She did him a kindness, however, and threw him into a canal knowing zombies don’t go near water. She figures there’s a 50/50 chance he’s alive. Two months later when she goes to notify his sister, she finds out the truth.

His sister agrees to allow Yasmeen to sell the da Vinci sketch Archimedes found. She makes some inquiries and word gets out that she has it. Before she has a chance to deal with the one who spoke out of turn, she’s nabbed by none other than Archimedes himself.

Archimedes needs to sell the sketch in order to pay off a very large debt he owes. The sketch is important, but that’s not all he wants. He also wants Yasmeen herself. The kickass captain has intrigued him from the first. He’s determined to have both. When the sketch is stolen, Yasmeen and Archimedes team up to find it. What ensues is a spine-tingling adventure.

Brook is of a rare breed of authors. Each book is better than the last. Her novels are filled with intrigue, adventure and steamy romance. Heart of Steel is the perfect blend of all three. I love the world she’s created with her steampunk series. I have two complaints about this book. 1) it ended. 2) it ended and there aren’t any other books in the series that I haven’t read.

5 out of 5

Iron Seas Series

five-stars


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