Tag: Meljean Brook

Retro Review: Demon Moon by Meljean Brook

Posted November 1, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 8 Comments

Retro Review: Demon Moon by Meljean BrookReviewer: Holly
Demon Moon by Meljean Brook
Series: The Guardians #2
Also in this series: Demon Night, Demon Bound, Demon Forged, Guardian Demon, Demon Angel
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: June 5th 2007
Pages: 480
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

No one would call vampire Colin Ames-Beaumont kind, but they would call him unnaturally beautiful. For two centuries his tainted blood has kept him isolated from other vampires, sustained only by his beauty and vanity—bitter comforts, since a curse has erased his mirror reflection, replacing it with a terrifying glimpse of Chaos.

Savi Murray's insatiable curiosity had gotten her into trouble before, but she'd always escaped unscathed. Then came Colin. In the midst of Heaven, he gave her a taste of ecstasy—and of Chaos. Deadly creatures from that realm herald the return of an imprisoned nosferatu horde, and Colin and Savi’s bond is their only protection—and their only passion…

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This review was originally posted on April 27, 2007.

Side Note: There’s no way I can review this book without including spoilers from the first one, Demon Angel. If you haven’t read DA yet, you may want to skip this review. I’ll try to keep the spoilers for this one to a minimum. :End Side Note

As I’ve mentioned several times now, I won an ARC of this on Sybil‘s blog. I was really excited to read it, especially after Demon Angel (and who doesn’t love free ARC’s?).

Although I enjoyed DA, my biggest issue with it was the pacing. It seemed bogged down with info dumps and was often so slow going I felt like banging my head against the wall. Although it took me ages to read this, it wasn’t because of the pacing. It was just my own busy life intruding on my reading time. The pacing issues were totally cleared up. Way to go, Meljean.

When I heard Colin the Vampire was set to be the hero of this book, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Though I truly enjoyed his character in Demon Angel, I thought he seemed shallow and vain and…almost immature? But MB did an amazing job of showing us the different sides of him. Yes, he was shallow and vain about some things, but the truth is, he was just as tortured as Hugh. Watching him struggle to battle his personal demons and his attraction to Savi was just..amazing.

As for Savi, well, I loved her. Plain and simple. Like, I totally have a girl-crush on her. Where Lilith was in-your-face strong, Savi’s strength was more internal, but no less amazing. I think she was a more personable heroine. The kind you’d like to be friends with. I loved her wit and humor and her general approach to life.

We saw the same characters. Michael and Selah, the Guardians. Lilith and Hugh. Auntie. Sir Pup. And we were introduced to several new characters. Mostly vampires. But they stayed in the background and the main focus was on Colin and Savi. We learned more about their time together in Caelum, Colin’s past and his link to Chaos, Savi’s family and just who they were period. In DA I often felt like, just when the exchanges between Hugh and Lilith were getting intense, the focus would shift to something else. It didn’t feel that way at all in this novel.

Although there are other things going on around them. A rogue demon, a cult of vampires and pressure for Colin to lead the vampire community. I love the world she’s created. This isn’t your typical vampire story. There’s still the battle for good vs. evil and the different realms. Plus, Chaos. That was creepy. And different.

The conflict between Savi and Colin, and the major thing that threatens their HEA was perfectly done. I don’t want to spoil it, but it was very believable. A lot of times authors don’t create a credible reason for why the H/H may not end up together. I was on the edge of my seat with this one. And the end? Awesome. I even cried a little.

I think the only issue I had with the book was…the sexual tension. Normally I lurve me some sexual tension, but this went on WAY too long. I mean, come one. Every single time they were about to get it on, something would happen. I was about to pull my hair out. Luckily once they finally get to doing the dirty it makes up for all the previous tension. But I have to tell you, I was hurting there for awhile. g

One last thing. On her blog, Meljean mentioned someone else reading this book and saying it could standalone. I completely disagree. I think had I not read Demon Angel first, I’d have been completely lost. As it was, there were several times I had to go back to DA to reference something. IMO, they should be read together.

I’m anxious to read the Wild Thing anthology, which contains Selah’s story. If you’re interested, Gwen from over at Sybil’s blog reviewed it. It sounds great.

Overall this book was amazing. Savi and Colin were wonderful characters and I can’t wait for the next installment.

4.5 out of 5

This book is out June 5, so be sure to bump it up to the top of your wish list. In the meantime? Go visit Meljean’s site. I really like it. And BONUS! She has excerpts up. 😉

four-half-stars


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Retro Review: Demon Angel by Meljean Brook

Posted February 8, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Retro Review: Demon Angel by Meljean BrookReviewer: Holly
Demon Angel by Meljean Brook
Series: The Guardians #1
Also in this series: Demon Night, Demon Bound, Demon Forged, Guardian Demon, Demon Moon
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: January 2nd 2007
Pages: 432
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

For two thousand years, Lilith wrought vengeance upon the evil and the damned, gathering souls for her father's armies Below and proving her fealty to her Underworld liege. Bound by a bargain with the devil and forbidden to feel pleasure, she draws upon her dark powers and serpentine grace to lead men into temptation. That is, until she faces her greatest temptation—Heaven's own Sir Hugh Castleford...

Once a knight and now a Guardian, Hugh spent centuries battling demons—and the cursed, blood-drinking nosferatu. His purpose has always been to thwart the demon Lilith, even as he battles his treacherous hunger for her. But when a deadly alliance unleashes a threat to both humans and Guardians in modern-day San Francisco, angel and demon must fight together against unholy evil—and against a desire that has been too long denied...

 ******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.
Man, I miss Meljean Brook. Per her website, she’s still writing, but things are going slooow. We haven’t had a new release from her in way too long. Demon Angel isn’t my favorite Brook novel, but it sets up this world so beautifully I had to repost this review. I feel a series re-read coming on.
This review was originally published July 15, 2013

The world building was imaginative, sensual and amazing. I was pleasantly surprised by the way Brook drew me into her fierce battle for souls and the fight between good and evil. I was also drawn in by the two lead characters, Lilith and Hugh. Though they came from two different worlds (literally) and were on opposite sides of an eternal battle, their connection to one another came across as not just sexual, but very emotional as well, which made their constant conflict all the more believable.

I also enjoyed the secondary characters and the relationships they had with Lilith and Hugh. Colin, the vampire they both befriended despite themselves; Sir Pup, Lilith’s hellhound; Savi, Hugh’s roommate and even Auntie, the woman who once took Hugh in, were fabulous characters, and while they played a large part in the overall story, they in no way intruded on the focus of the main story.

There were too many questions left unanswered, I think. Part of the appeal of this book is it really makes you think. Nothing is tied up in a nice, neat little bow, there are questions left unanswered and things you have to figure out on your own. Which was good and bad. I felt there were a few too many things left unexplained. However, because this is the first book of a series, I’m willing to wait for the next book before passing judgment.

I really struggled with the pacing. As much as I enjoyed this book, it was very slow moving. At times, the pace would pick up and I’d be sucked in, unable to set it down, and then it would get bogged down again and I’d have a hard time giving it my full attention. I understand that a lot of the information imparted was important for the story and the basis of the world Brook created, but at times there was Too Much Information. I think, in all honesty, the story could have been 100 pages shorter and been better for it.

Overall, I adored the storyline, the world building and the characters. I can’t wait for Demon Moon. I do hope, however, that the pacing will work better than it did in this one.

I think I’m going to give this one a solid:

4 out of 5

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This book is available from Berkley Sensation. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

*This review was first published at Sanctuary’s Finest.

four-stars


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Guest Review: The Kraken King by Meljean Brook

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

The Kraken King by Meljean BrookJen’s review of The Kraken King (Iron Seas #4) by Meljean Brook

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…

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

This book is available from Berkley. You can purchase it here or here in e-format.  This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Review: Here There Be Monsters by Meljean Brook

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

here there be monsters
Rowena’s review of Here there Be Monsters (Iron Seas #.5) by Meljean Brook.

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.

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

This book is available from Berkley. You can purchase it here or here in e-format.


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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
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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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