Genre: Steampunk

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)
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: July 3rd 2012
Genres: Steampunk
Pages: 320
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
five-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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Review: Gaslight Hades by Grace Draven

Posted September 11, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Gaslight Hades by Grace DravenReviewer: Holly
Gaslight Hades (The Bonekeeper Chronicles, #1) by Grace Draven
Series: The Bonekeeper Chronicles #1
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: March 10, 2017
Genres: Steampunk
Pages: 117
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Goodreads
four-stars

Nathaniel Gordon walks two worlds—that of the living and the dead. Barely human, he's earned the reputation of a Bonekeeper, the scourge of grave robbers. He believes his old life over, until one dreary burial he meets the woman he once loved and almost married.

Lenore Kenward stands at her father’s grave, begging the protection of the mysterious guardian, not knowing he is her lost love. Resolved to keep his distance, Nathaniel is forced to abandon his plan and accompany Lenore on a journey into the mouth of Hell where sea meets sky, and the abominations that exist beyond its barrier wait to destroy them.

GASLIGHT HADES is a 39k-word novella-length gaslamp fantasy romance with a sprinkling of airships, monsters and ghosts.  This story may also be found in the duology, Beneath a Waning Moon, alongside an Elizabeth Hunter tale.

Gaslight Hades is a dark and gritty novella that introduces us to a new Steampunk series by Grace Draven.

Nathaniel Gordon used to be a gunner on an airship, until he fell into hell and was remade by a monster. Now he’s a Guardian; Able to walk between two worlds – the living and the dead – he’s a Bonekeeper, a protector of graveyards and those who reside in them from grave robbers, who steal dead bodies and deliver them to madmen to be experimented on and brought back to life in the worst imaginable way. Life as he knew it is over, he understands and accepts that…until his lost love, Lenore Kenward, turns up in his graveyard for her father’s funeral.

Lenore begs The Guardian to watch over her father’s grave, not realizing he’s what’s left of the man she was meant to marry. There’s something very familiar about him, and she finds herself drawn to him despite his appearance and the probably danger. But will she still be able to accept him once she finds out the truth?

This my first story by Draven. I really like Steampunk so I expected to enjoy it, but I was surprised by how much I liked it. I was very sad it ended when it did. I would have loved to have more: More of the world, more Lenore and definitely more Nathaniel. I’m really excited to see this is just the start of a series and I hope all 6 Guardians get their own books.

3.5 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: The Kraken King by Meljean Brook

Posted January 21, 2015 by Jen in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: The Kraken King by Meljean BrookReviewer: Jen
The Kraken King (Iron Seas, #4) by Meljean Brook
Series: The Iron Seas #4
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), Heart of Steel (Iron Seas, #2)
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: November 4th 2014
Genres: Steampunk
Pages: 576
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-half-stars

A former smuggler and thief, Ariq—better known as the Kraken King—doesn’t know what to make of the clever, mysterious woman he rescues from an airship besieged by marauders. Unsure if she’s a spy or a pawn in someone else’s game, Ariq isn’t about to let her out of his sight until he finds out…

After escaping her fourth kidnapping attempt in a year, Zenobia Fox has learned to vigilantly guard her identity. While her brother Archimedes is notorious for his exploits, Zenobia has had no adventures to call her own—besides the stories she writes.

But when she jumps at the chance to escape to the wilds of Australia and acquire research for her next story, Zenobia quickly discovers that the voyage will be far more adventurous than any fiction she could put to paper…

The Kraken King by Meljean Brook is book four of The Iron Seas series.

Reading time has been painfully scarce for me the last few months. I don’t know about you, but when I have limited time to read, I really, really want to read something worthwhile. I was trying to decide what book would be a slam dunk for me when Rowena reviewed Here There Be Monsters, a novella in Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas series. This reminded me I still hadn’t read The Kraken King (book 4 in the series), and I immediately knew where I’d find my slam dunk. Brook hasn’t failed me yet, and The Kraken King was no exception.

Zenobia Fox is the sister of Archimedes Fox, who we met previously in the series.  Zenobia writes adventure stories inspired by her brother’s exploits. Unlike her brother, Zenobia lives a decidedly non-adventurous life. The only excitement comes when she is repeatedly kidnapped and held for ransom by people trying to extract money from the wealthy Archimedes. The rest of the time, she lives in virtual isolation with body guards. When a childhood friend asks Zenobia to accompany her to Australia to rejoin her husband, Zenobia jumps at the chance. She gets more than she bargained for when their airship is attacked by marauders, and they end up stranded in an Australian village, Krakentown, run by Ariq, the Kraken King. Ariq is suspicious of Zenobia and wonders whether she was the marauders’ real target. He’s attracted to her, though, and sees no reason why he can’t share his bed with her while he works to protect her and his town. When his quest to stop the marauders and Zenobia’s efforts to help her friend coincide, they end up traveling together and both getting embroiled in political machinations they never expected.

I love so much about this book. The plot is exciting, and it provides more insight into the Iron Seas world. I don’t think you need to have read all the many books to enjoy this story. Brook provides enough explanation to bring newer readers up to date, though you’ll certainly get the most out of it if you have at least some background knowledge. One thing I really enjoy about this series is the way it exists in the same universe but explores many different perspectives, geographies, nationalities, objectives, etc. I love seeing the unique viewpoints and voices each book brings.

While the plot kept me interested, my favorite part of the book is the romance. Zenobia and Ariq are wonderfully matched and equally fascinating. I love that Zenobia is very, very clever, and while she hasn’t had much life experience she adapts easily and can take care of herself. Her life has not been easy, and there have been very few people worthy of her trust. It’s meant she needed high walls around herself just to survive, and it’s meant she’s spent much of her lifetime hiding her true self from everyone. Ariq recognizes this and is patient and understanding about why Zenobia wouldn’t trust him. He takes time to make her comfortable and make her feel safe. Ariq is an almost mythical hero; he’s physically huge and almost unnaturally strong. He is an exceptionally kind and conscientious leader, too. His primary goal is to protect those he loves, and he believes it is a leader’s duty to watch out for innocents.

Together, these two are magical. Ariq provides Zenobia the security and unconditional love she’s been craving so desperately. Zenobia helps Ariq learn to compromise and share burdens. Neither is accustomed to collaborating with anyone, but for each other they want to try. They negotiate disagreements, each presenting their side and each weighing the others’ opinion fairly. But that equality never felt forced or didactic–it felt natural and an outcome of their personalities, their strengths, and their love. Fairly early on Ariq realizes he wants Zenobia for more than just her body. I adore when the big, strong warrior falls first! Zenobia is much more realistic. She has trust issues, but more than that she’s immensely practical and I thought it was completely right for her character to want more time to get to know Ariq before committing. Once she does, though, she is all in, and that’s when the two are really unstoppable.

The characters and setting swept me up and carried me away on a tide of good sighs and squeals of joy, and as soon as I finished I was ready to assign a 5 and call it a day. Once I took a breath and looked back more critically, though, I had to acknowledge a few flaws. First, the misunderstandings and suspicions between Ariq and Zenobia felt like they were drawn out just a smidge too long. Not egregiously so, but given that Ariq and Zenobia are both practical people, I felt like they should have had a good heart to heart earlier on and cleared up the misunderstandings. There were also too many parts of the book that dragged. Honestly, I think much of this is due to the serial format. I wish my favorite authors would stop writing serials! I can’t stand reading installments, but once the series is finally published as a novel things often feel too far stretched. I also wanted to see a little more of Zenobia coming into her own. She can’t fight like Ariq, and she has no political standing so she can’t be involved in the negotiations and political process. She does have one moment where she sets about rescuing herself, but then Ariq shows up and finishes the job. I’m glad she wasn’t just sitting back waiting, but I was a little sorry we didn’t get to see her actually save herself. I wanted more of her participation in the plot. I am also sort of conflicted about Zenobia’s relationship with her friend, Helene. Helene seems to be kind of vapid and shallow at first. I appreciated that she does show more complexity than that, but I didn’t really like the way Zenobia treated her, and I didn’t enjoy the way things ended between the friends. I wanted the two to acknowledge each other’s shortcomings but still offer unconditional support. I felt like Zenobia needed another support outside of the men (her brother and later Ariq) in her life.

Don’t get me wrong: I loved this book. It is a fantastic story, with a lovely romance at it’s heart. Any Iron Seas fans should absolutely read it, and I think if you’re like me and don’t mind missing some back story you might even be able to jump into this book as a newbie. I don’t think it’s the pinnacle of the series, but it’s a fantastic universe in which to lose yourself for a while.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Iron Seas Series

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

four-half-stars


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Review: Here There Be Monsters by Meljean Brook

Posted January 12, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 12 Comments

Review: Here There Be Monsters by Meljean BrookReviewer: Rowena
Here There Be Monsters (Iron Seas, #0.5) by Meljean Brook
Series: The Iron Seas #0.5
Also in this series: The Iron Duke (Iron Seas, #1), Fire and Frost, Tethered (Novella), The Kraken King Part I, The Kraken King (Iron Seas, #4), Heart of Steel (Iron Seas, #2)
Published by Berkley (Penguin Group USA)
Publication Date: October 1st 2013
Genres: Steampunk
Pages: 125
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Two years ago, blacksmith Ivy, desperate to flee London, purchased her overseas passage by agreeing to spend the voyage in the bed of the pirate captain, Mad Machen. Saved at the last minute by his rival, Ivy scraped out a new life in Fool’s Cove…until Mad Machen finds her, forces her to accept a job that will create a monster, and reminds her that she still owes him the price of a journey…

This companion novella is the introduction to the Iron Seas series and was previously published in the 2010 anthology, Burning Up.

Here there Be Monsters by Meljean Brook is a prequel to Iron Seas series.

I’m a huge chicken when it comes to trying things outside of my comfort zone. I’m more of the go with what you know you’ll like instead of trying something new. I’m a lover of contemporary romances and that’s what I read. I know that I’ll either love it or like it and if I hate it, I have go to authors that help me forget. But 2015 is the year that I’m trying to step out and try new sub-genres. It’s the year that I get those paranormals that everyone loves read. It’s the year that I branch out and see if I’ll like steampunk and urban fantasy. So when Holly told me to try this novella out, I was game to give it a try.

I’m so glad that I did.

This book follows Ivy Blacksmith and Eben, the guy known as Mad Machen. The story opens with Ivy, on the run to the only guy that she knows who has the power to help her in the world that they live in. That guy is Mad Machen. Her life is threatened and she needs to get out because she does not want to stick around so when she shows up at Eben’s room, he’s surprised. He’s going to help her, of course. But before they can take off, Ivy gets another offer to get away and she takes it, leaving Mad Machen behind.

Two years later, Mad Machen finds the girl that got away and Ivy is scared out of her pants but when Eben forces her to accept a job she doesn’t want, she forgets to be scared and she just gets pissed.

This was a really short story so it didn’t take much time to get it read. I won’t lie and say that it was an easy read for me because I’m new to all of the steampunk romance business so a lot of the kraken talk and the metal skin stuff took some getting used to but when I finished the story, I was glad to have read it. I liked it. I liked that Mad Machen had a thing for Ivy before she got to his room that night. I liked that he never gave up on looking for her and I really liked seeing him fumble his way through each and every single conversation they had on the ship. He was the captain of the ship but he kept slipping every time he talked to Ivy. I thought it was adorable.

I liked seeing Ivy and Eben grow closer and closer with each passing day. I liked seeing Ivy struggle with what she was feeling for Eben, her confusion and seeing her come into her feelings for him. What I didn’t like? How short it was. But, that’s just me being greedy.

Ivy was a good heroine though there were times when I wanted to give her a good shake but she was strong and I liked how she made a life for herself in the town that she settled in.

Eben was a great hero. I loved how patient he was with Ivy. He waited a long time to be with this woman and every time she bought her freedom from hooking up with him each night, I groaned because he just kept right on waiting to get his hands on her. Poor guy but he cracked me up when he told her, “If courting didn’t work, abduction was next.” LOL.

I thought this was the perfect introduction into the steampunk romance genre and I’m looking forward to digging into this series even further.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: The Kraken King Part VIII: The Kraken King and The Greatest Adventure by Meljean Brook (+a Giveaway!)

Posted June 3, 2014 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Kraken King Part VIII: The Kraken King and The Greatest Adventure by Meljean Brook (+a Giveaway!)Reviewer: Tracy
The Kraken King Part VIII by Meljean Brook
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: June 3rd 2014
Pages: 82
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
five-stars

Arriving in Krakentown with their enemies in hot pursuit, Zenobia doesn’t know how they can even hope to win. Being terrified brings forth an undeniable truth: she loves Ariq and will do whatever it takes to stand by him.

But as their adversaries appear on the horizon, they realize that not all is lost. Drawing on the power of the terrible war machine, Ariq, Zenobia, and the entire town must put their lives on the line to protect what they love…

Includes a bonus excerpt of Meljean Brook’s “Here There Be Monsters.”
Praise for the novels of the Iron Seas:
“A stunning blend of steampunk setting and poignant romance.”—Ilona Andrews, New York Times bestselling author
“Every glimpse of this alternate history leaves me fascinated and hungry for more.”—All Things Urban Fantasy
“Meljean Brook has brilliantly defined the new genre of steampunk romance.”—Jayne Ann Krentz, New York Times bestselling author
Meljean Brook lives in Oregon with her family. She is the author of the Guardian paranormal romance and Iron Seas steampunk series.

Everything that Ariq and Zenobia have been crazy.  They are now back in Krakentown and they have 3 different enemies to work through – the Empress being the one that could really make or break the town.  Ariq didn’t want to actually use the Skybreaker but he soon realizes that he has no choice and must do what he can to save his town. He uses all of his resources as well as the assistance of friends old and new and sets out to show that him and his town aren’t threats.
The final installment in the Kraken King was so very good.  Yes, it’s the conclusion to the story but it was almost non stop action and I loved it.
At the heart of Brooks’s stories we have romance.  This was shown so clearly and so wonderfully in Part VIII.  Zenobia and Ariq are so awesome together.  They are intellectually perfect for each other and I adore how much they love each other.  They finally have the faith in the other that their love is true and lasting.  It made my heart happy to read such a touching story.
Rating: 5 out of 5


Meljean Brook
The series:
I highly recommend this serial novel.  It’s much larger than a regular novel and is worth every penny imho. From word one I couldn’t get enough of The Kraken King and that excitement stayed with me throughout the series.
If you haven’t started it then you should. Now.  Go on, I’ll wait.  *twiddles thumbs* Okay you’re taking way too long.  Why don’t I help you along?  I’ll give away the first two parts to one lucky winner.  Believe me, you won’t want to stop reading.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

five-stars


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