Daring You To Read… The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

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This week, I’m daring you to read a book I’ve recently discovered myself. THE GIRL IN THE STEEL CORSET by Kady Cross is without a doubt an interesting book that can’t be overlooked. As the first book of the Steampunk Chronicles, it starts off with quite a bang. Even thought this is the first full book of the series, a prequel called THE STRANGE CASE OF FINLEY JANE is also available and should probably be read first.

I’m not sure what I liked the most about the series but one thing’s for sure, both the characters and the steampunk setting are impressive. Finley Jane is such a great protagonist. Despite her mysterious abilities, she’s not overly confident. On the contrary, she’s simply trying to fit into a society that expects young women to be pretty, dull and submissive. However, when she gets the strange urges to use her abilities (superstrength and speed among them), she does the complete opposite of what society might expect—like punch a sleazy lord in the face. Since puberty, she’s been dealing with her ever increasing abilities and until the beginning of THE GIRL IN THE STEEL CORSET, she thought she was the only one with strange abilities. So when she meets a gang a misfits that have their own special talents, the real adventures begins.

London 1897 is the setting of the book but it’s unlike the London we know today or back then. Automatons are everywhere, clockwork gadgets are being created daily and most importantly, the steampunk fashion is not to be missed.

If you’re a fan of the genre, this book will surely please. The only thing is, I feel guilty for recommending this series even if I haven’t read past book 1. However, since I enjoyed both the prequel and the first book so much, I’m sure the rest of the series is as entertaining as these two.

Here’s a bit more about THE GIRL IN THE STEEL CORSET:

kady cross 1In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the "thing" inside her.When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no "normal" Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch….

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she’s special, says she’s one of "them." The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.

Griffin’s investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help–and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.

But The Machinist wants to tear Griff’s little company of strays apart, and it isn’t long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she’s on—even if it seems no one believes her.

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

The series in order, so far:

kady cross 0,5 kady cross 1 The Girl in the Clockwork Collar kady cross 2.5 kady cross 3

Daring You To Read is a weekly feature here on Tynga’s Reviews where we dare you to read some of our favorite older releases (at least 6 months old). All the books/series we choose to feature are titles we adored and think you should give them a shot! We think it’s a super awesome way to discover that special book who might have slipped off your radar!

You’ve already read the book? Let’s us know what you thought!
You are accepting the dare? We’d love to know!
Have a dare of your own? Leave a comment ^^

What do you think? Have you read this series?

Emilie and the Hollow World by Martha Wells

<Emilie and the Hollow WorldEmilie and the Hollow World

Book stats:
Reading Level: Young Adult
ARC: 287 pages
Genre: Sci-fi/Steampunk
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Release date: April 2, 2013

Series: Emilie #1

Source: From Publisher for Review

Reviewed by: Lili

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

While running away from home for reasons that are eminently defensible, Emilie’s plans to stow away on the steamship Merry Bell and reach her cousin in the big city go awry, landing her on the wrong ship and at the beginning of a fantastic adventure.

Taken under the protection of Lady Marlende, Emilie learns that the crew hopes to use the aether currents and an experimental engine, and with the assistance of Lord Engal, journey to the interior of the planet in search of Marlende’s missing father.

With the ship damaged on arrival, they attempt to traverse the strange lands on their quest. But when evidence points to sabotage and they encounter the treacherous Lord Ivers, along with the strange race of the sea-lands, Emilie has to make some challenging decisions and take daring action if they are ever to reach the surface world again.

It’s very hard to put my thoughts into words regarding this one because as enjoyable as it was, it was not what I expected. Wells has the tendency to oversimplify concepts in this novel, which makes it read much differently than the average young adult novel. In reality, I felt as if I was reading a middle grade level novel. And while this novel was not enjoyable, I think that this aspect of the writing style will hinder many from enjoying it. With that being said, there was nothing bad about it because of the lower level writing and ideals, so this would be a good book for kids.

What I liked the most about this novel was the attention to detail. I don’t want to give anything away, but the detail exhibited in the descriptions of the Hollow World were superb. I mean, it’s a hidden second world in the center of Earth, how much more awesome can it get? Half submerged under the sea with strange, unknown creatures and unique findings were all incredibly imaginative.

It also helps that the main character was easily likable and respectable because she possesses all the qualities a good young adult main character should possess. At the young age of 15 she became this decisive woman who does whatever she wants with her life. She took the bull by the horns and rolled with it. She’s curious, intelligent, driven, brave, and so many other things. And what I really like about her is that all of these amazing character points are fueled by her desire to explore the world. This, in truth, is something that I personally can relate to. I liked how, for once, I came across a main character that loves culture and learning as opposed to boys and kissing.

This book is good for those looking for a unique journey and an adventurous heroine. It is a quick read that is easily enjoyable for younger readers of any gender. I think that this novel may be a little too simple for the average young adult reader, but a parent can certainly find ways to appreciate this one. A cute science fiction story, I don’t regret reading this one, but I am in no hurry to read book two.

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Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger (Finishing School the First)

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Book stats:
Reading level: Young adult
Trade paperback: 320 pages
Genre: Steampunk
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release date: February 5, 2013

Series: Finishing School #1

Source: Personal shelf

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but the also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.

Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail’s legions of fans have come to adore.

“No one said learning etiquette and espionage would be easy, my dear.”
– Lady Linette (p. 128)

As the first book in Gail Carriger’s new young adult Finishing School series, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I adore Carriger’s adult Parasol Protectorate books with a most unladylike passion and so I had high hopes for ETIQUTTE & ESPIONAGE, even though I have a mixed relationship with YA books. Thankfully, just like one of my other favourite authors, Jennifer Estep, Carriger makes a seamless transition to young adult and ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE is just as delightful as any of the Parasol Protectorate books. In fact, in some ways, I was even more tickled by ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE because fans of the adult series get glimpses of some familiar characters and all readers, old and new, get to meet the irrepressible Sophronia Angelina Temminnick, our fearless fourteen-year-old protagonist. I loved Soprhonia from the moment she stepped onto the page (and into the dumbwaiter) and I’m really looking forward to following her through her Finishing School adventures.

Finishing School Series tumblr

As always in a Carriger novel, the writing is top-notch. The narration is witty, in keeping with the period, and utterly delightful. The story is tightly paced and plotted and will satisfy readers young and not-so-young, since it’s smart but not so complex that it would scare off the target audience. My biggest complaint about YA books generally is that I find the plots too simplistic for an adult reader and I was pleased as punch to discover that ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE was just as satisfying as Carriger’s other works.

As an aside, the marketing team for Little, Brown has created all sorts of neat images on the series website, including some with quotations from ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE, like the one above. I’d strongly urge you to check out the website since it will give you a really good feel for the book and the world of the Parasol Protectorate.

Getting back to things, however, we need to talk about Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. It’s a finishing school like no other since it teaches all of the techniques necessary to be a successful intelligencer or assassin. Most of the students come from families that know about the true nature of Miss Geraldine’s school but Sophronia is a covert recruit, so she doesn’t realize how different this school is. Her first clues: the school floats thanks to some fancy technology and her ride to school was more than a little unorthodox. It’s a great setting because there are lots of opportunities to showcase amazing steampunk gadgetry and because we get to meet a wonderful cast of characters. Carriger has assembled a motley crew for Sophronia, consisting of Dimity, a lovely young lady who faints at the sight of blood; Soap, a sootie from the bottom of the ship that befriends Sophronia; Sidheag Maccon, a familiar name for fans of the Parasol Protectorate; and, of course, dear Bumbersnoot, the mechanimal that Sophronia finds and adopts. All of the characters have their own voices and quirks and I can’t wait to spend more time with them. There are some other familiar faces but I don’t want to ruin the surprise so I’ll let you discover which Parasol Protectorate characters make an appearance in the Finishing School series. I will say that it’s great fun since we get to see them in their younger days, since the Finishing School books are set slightly earlier than the Parasol Protectorate.

ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE is a fantastic YA debut for Carriger and it more than meets the high standards I have, based on the wonder that is the Parasol Protectorate. I’m so happy that this is the beginning of a series because I’m sure there are bigger and better things ahead for Sophronia and her friends. I can’t wait to see what happens next, in CURTSIES & CONSPIRACIES!

Read an excerpt

Jenn

A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz

A Conspiracy of Alchemists (The Chronicle of Light and Shadow, #1)A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz

Book stats:
Reading Level: YA appropriate
Genre: Steampunk
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Del Rey
Release date: March 5, 2013

Series:The Chronicles of Light and Shadow #1

Source: NetGalley

Reviewed by: Tynga

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

LEAVE IT TO CHANCE. Eleanor “Elle” Chance, that is—the intrepid heroine of this edgy new series that transforms elements of urban fantasy, historical adventure, and paranormal romance into pure storytelling gold.

In a Golden Age where spark reactors power the airways, and creatures of Light and Shadow walk openly among us, a deadly game of Alchemists and Warlocks has begun.

When an unusual cargo drags airship-pilot Elle Chance into the affairs of the mysterious Mr. Marsh, she must confront her destiny and do everything in her power to stop the Alchemists from unleashing a magical apocalypse.

Eleanor has never quite fit in Society. She refuses to be a lady and insist on piloting an airship, to her aunt’s dismay. Her passion for flying isn’t the only thing setting her apart though. She has an hidden destiny, and it’ll be revealed in due time by mysterious – and handsome- Lord Greychester. A routine flight from Paris to England will change her life, for better or worst, and she will have to be strong if she wants to survive what’s to come.

I truly liked A Conspiracy of Alchemists, but I would lie if I said I was hooked from the beginning. In fact, I almost stopped reading altogether. See, I love books set in the early 1900s and enjoy steampunk elements, but those very elements were so monopolizing that it impaired my enjoyment of the other elements. The machines were minutely described, as well as their functioning, especially at the beginning of the novel, and while it probably appeals to fan of the genre, it was just too much for me. Thankfully, as the story progressed, the plot and characters were foregrounded, though the spark technology was still present. I really started to enjoy myself at about 25% of the book, and I’m glad I did because I was ready to give up and it would’ve been my loss!

Liesel Schwarz created a very unique open world for her readers. Paranormal creatures the likes of werewolves, fairies, alchemists, vampires and warlocks are out of the closest and the plot is centered around the last three, fighting for control over what little magic there is left in the world. All those paranormal creatures are said to be of Shadow and as Light (science) gains power, Shadow looses ground. As interesting as the concept is, it took me a lot of time to figure it out and I wish Liesel laid down the rules earlier in the novel. Even though both Vampires/Alchemist and Warlock are all Shadow, the former are mostly bad guys and the later the good guys. I particularly like the symbol system warlock used to find one another. It was a great idea!

Lord Greychester a.k.a Mr. Marsh was my favourite character hands down. He is fabulous, but more precisely he is a man of honour even though he has to deceive Elle for what he thinks is the greater good. He also has this graceful way of speech, with an easy smile and a great sense of humour. There is a great magnetism around him and if I were a fictional character, I know I’d be all over him lol Elle was an highly likeable character. I appreciated her guts and her determination. Being a little less pig-headed would make things so much easier for her but I liked that she was genuine. We were also blessed with a great range of secondary characters and while I liked some, there are some I trusted only as far as I could throw ‘em, which made for a great mix. Elle will be deceived by more than one man, and I have to confess I didn’t see the betrayals coming. 

With a slow build-up, the plot didn’t hook me from the beginning, but by the middle of the book I could barely peel my eyes off my kindle. The end is worthy of  a big Hollywood production, I could totally picture the huge explosions with flames and smoke. The epilogue totally stunned me and I’m really curious about all the behind the scene stuff miss Schwarz hid from us.

I don’t think I’ll buy a copy for keep, but I truly enjoyed this novel and strongly suggest it to Steampunk fans. I’m convinced A Conspiracy of Alchemists will rock your world! Schwarz obviously did a lot of research while writing her book and I think it paid off.

Read an excerpt

tynsig

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Book stats:

Reading level: Young Adult
ARC: 318 pages
Genre: Steampunk, Sci-fi, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release date: September 1, 2012

Series: n/a

Source: Borrowed from a friend

Reviewed by: Lili

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

A spine-tingling tale of steampunk and spies, intrigue and heart-racing romance!

When Katharine Tulman’s inheritance is called into question by the rumor that her eccentric uncle is squandering away the family fortune, she is sent to his estate to have him committed to an asylum. But instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of rules, who employs a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London.

Katharine is now torn between protecting her own inheritance and preserving the peculiar community she grows to care for deeply. And her choices are made even more complicated by a handsome apprentice, a secretive student, and fears for her own sanity.

As the mysteries of the estate begin to unravel, it is clear that not only is her uncle’s world at stake, but also the state of England as Katharine knows it. With twists and turns at every corner, this heart-racing adventure will captivate readers with its intrigue, thrills, and romance.

This book can only be described as insane. The characters, the mystery, the convoluted thought process…they’re all insane. But in a good way. However, since it took so long to rap my head around things and it would be hard to explain this book without giving things away or sounding insane myself, this is going to be a rather short review.

This book was initially hard to get into. The beginning was slow because it had to set up the Keep, explain Katharine’s background, and everything else. It dragged, to put it simply, but once Katharine finally got off of her high horse and agreed to spend a month analyzing the estate, the book got much better. Adjusting to the way the characters acted took a little bit of time, but I found Mr. Tully’s insanity to be endearing. As insane as he truly was, he was a genius all the same, a regular Albert Einsteen–and he is what made the book. His characterization was superb… a little old man acting like a child with toys, but his toys were steampunk inventions that would have rocked the world of technology during the time period that this book to place.

There was also a slight romance. It was barely there, but it was certainly there. It was slow-going and took a while to develop, but it was sweet. And the very end of the book gave me hope because when someone leaves, they always return. Also, the historical setting of this book will make history buff’s happy. It mentions many tensions between the French and the English, as well as many other markers of time. It made everything seem even realer and helped us to remember the turmoil that the world was experiencing at this time.

All in all, I wouldn’t recommend this book for everyone despite how much I enjoyed it. The characters in this one are lovably but unbelievable eccentric and won’t connect with everyone. If you are the type of reader that likes unique characters that are imaginative, inventive, and incomprehensibly odd, then this is for you. If you can’t deal with oddities, slight mysteries, and childish behavior in an entertaining manner, than this is not for you. Because really, the entire book is about determining lunacy, so you’d have to be a lunatic to love it.

Read an Excerpt

Nights of Steel by Nico Rosso + giveaway!

Nights of Steel by Nico Rosso Nights of Steel by Nico Rosso

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
eBook: 977 KB
Genre: Steampunk romance
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Release date: November 6, 2012

Series: Ether Chronicles #4

Source: eARC from Avon

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon

Return to The Ether Chronicles, where the skies above the American West are about to get wilder than ever…

Bounty hunter Anna Blue always finds her fugitive. But her latest mission is filled with mystery: a high price for an eccentric inventor. And her biggest rival, Jack Hawkins—a startlingly handsome, entirely unsettling man whose abilities match her own—is hunting the same bounty. Neither will back down.

When a rogue Man O’ War flies his airship into the California skies, guns blazing, Anna and Jack are forced to team up or die. But it isn’t the danger that has them ready to flare like gunpowder. They’ve circled each other for years as competitors only. Fighters and outsiders, they never thought they’d find a kindred soul. As hot passion and raw need draw them together, can they survive this mission long enough to track the most elusive fugitives… their hearts?

This is the first time I’ve read something by Nico Rosso and also the first time I’ve encountered the Ether Chronicles, a series he writes with his wife Zoe Archer. It’s a really neat concept. They’re a writing team but they write separate books in the same world. They’re four books in with NIGHTS OF STEEL so it seems like it’s a successful formula.

The worldbuilding in this book is pretty standard. It’s a steampunk set in America’s West, with most of the action taking place in California. There’s not a lot of time spent telling the reader about the world, I guess because it’s the fourth book in the series, but I still had a good sense of some of the interesting technologies and some of the settings. I generally prefer mythologies that feel more fully fleshed out but I didn’t actually mind the sparser descriptions of the universe since the immediate settings were quite vivid.

The two main characters in this book are quite interesting. Jack Hawkins and Anna Blue are two of the best bounty hunters in the area but they’ve never really met until NIGHTS OF STEEL, when they’re both recruited to track down an inventor by the name of Dr. Song. They’re initially very wary of each other and view the other as competition but they eventually team up, leading to sparks flying. Jack and Anna have interesting histories and I enjoyed getting to know them and watching them learn to be emotionally intimate. (There’s a lot of steamy sex, too, for those of you who might be curious.) I also thought their romance was nice, especially since it’s an interracial romance, something we don’t see all that frequently in the literature.

I have to say, though, I thought the action was more engaging than the romance. What looks like a simple bounty hunt to capture Dr. Song turns into something much more complicated and the action scenes are amazing. I was really hooked on Anna and Jack’s mission and there were some nice twists and turns and reveals throughout, even though the book is short.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It’s a nice read with some great action and interesting characters. I’d never heard of the series until I got an email about the blog tour but I’m very happy I gave it a shot. I’m definitely going to look for the rest of the Ether Chronicles so that I can see where the series began!

Read an excerpt (scroll down)

P.S. My post today is part of the NIGHTS OF STEEL blog tour so I’d like to give a shout out to Iris of Paranormal Cravings for putting this together! 😀 You can click on the button below to see some of the other stops and stick around to the end of the post to enter the tour-wide giveaway.

Nights of Steel blog tour

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giveaway

There’s a tour-wide giveaway: one (1) lucky person will win the three books leading up to this one in the Ether Chronicles series by Nico Rosso and Zoe Archer (NIGHT OF FIRE, SKIES OF STEEL, and SKIES OF FIRE)!

To enter the giveaway, obey the Rafflecopter!

US only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jenn

Moonlight & Mechanicals blog tour: Guest post by Cindy Spencer Pape

Moonlight & Mechanicals blog tour

I’m absolutely delighted to be welcoming today’s guest back to the blog. I’m a huge fan of Cindy Spencer Pape and can’t talk her up enough! She’s visiting us today as part of her blog tour in celebration of the fourth book in her Gaslight Chronicles series from Carina Press. She’s stopped by today to talk about reviews and how she feels about them. Enjoy!

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The Dreaded Review

Cindy Spencer Pape I have to admit, after 48 or so publications, reviews still make me nervous. They’re a dicey thing, after all. Authors love them and dread them. A few even have the backbone to utterly ignore them, but not most of us. I’ll let you in on a little secret here. A lot of authors are pretty insecure about their work. A bad review can send us scurrying back into our cave, wondering if we should ever write again. A good one has us dancing on air. Most of us find them more than a little scary.

Can a good review help a book sell? Undoubtedly. Can a poor review keep a book from selling? Maybe. Certainly a bunch of bad reviews will make a reader think twice about spending her hard-earned dollars. So reviews can be important. They’re not just there to stroke or crush our fragile egos. Ultimately, they are not the be-all and end-all of a writer’s existence, but they do have an impact.

One of the first things an aspiring author is told is to develop a thick skin. This is not a business for the faint of heart. We all face rejections from editors and agents. We’ll all, sooner or later, get bad reviews. It’s all part of the business of writing. Creative people, though, tend to be very emotional sorts. We put a lot of our own emotions into the product—especially if you’re writing the kind of novels that are about emotions, such as romance. That makes it awfully hard when someone tells you it stinks. Even if they say so in a kind, professional manner.

So what can we do? We all know the answers. We can learn from our mistakes. If one reviewer dislikes a book, it may just be a matter of taste. If two or more say the same thing, it’s a good indication that there may be a problem. It lets us know what we can work on to do better with the next book. Mostly, though, we have to smile, thank the reviewer for taking the time and effort to read our books, and deal with it. Yeah—it hurts. The difference between a professional and an amateur is the ability to cope with the hurt and get over it.

And sometimes we have to write blogs. Even if we’re much more comfortable penning fiction.

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Thanks for visiting us, Cindy!

Want more Cindy? You can find her online at her website or on Facebook, or Twitter. You can also sign up for her newsletter.

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More about MOONLIGHT & MECHANICALS:

Moonlight & Mechanicals by Cindy Spencer PapeLondon, 1859

Engineer Winifred “Wink” Hadrian has been in love with Inspector Liam McCullough for years, but is beginning to lose hope when he swears to be a lifelong bachelor. Faced with a proposal from a Knight of the Round Table and one of her closest friends, Wink reluctantly agrees to consider him instead.

Because of his dark werewolf past, Liam tries to keep his distance, but can’t say no when Wink asks him to help find her friend’s missing son. They soon discover that London’s poorest are disappearing at an alarming rate, after encounters with mysterious “mechanical” men. Even more alarming is the connection the missing people may have with a conspiracy against the Queen.

Fighting against time—and their escalating feelings for each other—Wink and Liam must work together to find the missing people and save the monarchy before it’s too late…

Jenn’s thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon

Jenn

Moonlight & Mechanicals by Cindy Spencer Pape

Moonlight & Mechanicals by Cindy Spencer Pape Moonlight & Mechanicals by Cindy Spencer Pape

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
E-book: 368 KB
Genre: Steampunk romance
Publisher: Carina
Release date: October 22, 2012

Series: Gaslight Chronicles #4

Source: Review copy from Carina Press

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon

London, 1859

Engineer Winifred “Wink” Hadrian has been in love with Inspector Liam McCullough for years, but is beginning to lose hope when he swears to be a lifelong bachelor. Faced with a proposal from a Knight of the Round Table and one of her closest friends, Wink reluctantly agrees to consider him instead.

Because of his dark werewolf past, Liam tries to keep his distance, but can’t say no when Wink asks him to help find her friend’s missing son. They soon discover that London’s poorest are disappearing at an alarming rate, after encounters with mysterious “mechanical” men. Even more alarming is the connection the missing people may have with a conspiracy against the Queen.

Fighting against time—and their escalating feelings for each other—Wink and Liam must work together to find the missing people and save the monarchy before it’s too late…

I’ve been hooked on Cindy Spencer Pape for quite some time. I first discovered her through her paranormal romance series, Urban Arcana, which is set primarily in Detroit, but I’m over the moon about the Gaslight Chronicles, her steampunk romance set in mid-1800’s England. In fact, the Gaslight Chronicles just might be my favourite steampunk romance series right now! Needless to say, I’m excited to be writing about the fourth story in this series, MOONLIGHT & MECHANICALS.

A quick primer on the Gaslight Chronicles: King Arthur’s Order of the Round Table never actually disbanded. Instead, the descendants of these knights remain active, fighting the paranormal in a steampunked 1850s London. Some of the stories in the series are novels, some novellas, but they all feature characters who are involved with the Order in some fashion. The first book, STEAM & SORCERY, introduces us to the world and also to the Hadrian clan and Liam McCullough, who are once again featured in MOONLIGHT & MECHANICALS, much to my delight. In STEAM & SORCERY, the focus is on Caroline and Merrick Hadrian; now, we’re focussed on one of their adopted children, Wink, a former street kid with an eerie gift for the mechanical, and the object of her affection, Liam McCullough, an inspector with the London Constabulary who also happens to be a werewolf.

Wink won me over from the moment she set foot ont the page in STEAM & SORCERY so I was delighted when I heard that she’d be the star of MOONLIGHT & MECHANICALS. She’s a very modern woman — she’s an engineer, she defies convention, and she knows her heart belongs to Liam, even though he’s doing his best to push her into the arms of a mutual friend. Liam, for his part, thinks he’s not good enough for Wink and wants to get her married off so he’ll stop wanting her. It’s a classic trope for a romance but it feels fresh and fun in Cindy Spencer Pape’s hands. Watching Wink and Liam realizes that their feelings are requited was exciting and lovely and I whizzed through the novel thanks to smart writing, a fast-paced plot, and wonderful characters.

If you haven’t tried Cindy’s Gaslight Chronicles, now’s the time to start! You could pick up MOONLIGHT & MECHANICALS and be okay since the author’s done a wonderful job of laying out the necessary backstory but I think you’d enjoy the book even more if you go back to the beginning and give STEAM & SORCERY a try. The books are available only in electronic format since they’re from Carina Press, Harlequin’s e-only imprint, so go and download your copy now!

Read an excerpt

Jenn

Kiss of Steel blog tour: Interview with Bec McMaster + giveaway!

We have an exciting visitor today: debut author Bec McMaster! She’s the mind behind a new steampunk romance series; the first book, KISS OF STEEL, was released at the start of the month. She’s stopped by Tynga’s Reviews to chat about KISS OF STEEL and her publishers have graciously offered up a giveaway copy for one lucky reader.

Keep reading to get to know Bec and the world of her London Steampunk series!

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Hi, Bec, and welcome to Tynga’s Reviews! To start, can you tell us a little bit about the world you’ve created for your London Steampunk series?

Bec McMaster Kiss of SteelHi! And thank you for the welcome!

Kiss of Steel is set in a world where the Echelon rules London; blue bloods who are afflicted with a virus that makes them crave human blood. Faster, almost immortal and terribly dangerous. Humans are considered a lesser class, existing only to serve and below them are the mechs – those forced by circumstance to take a metal limb or organ and considered less than human. Into this world comes Honoria Todd, with a secret that could change the very social structure of London. On the run from a duke who would kill to get his hands on her secret, the only one she can turn to is Blade, the notorious Devil of Whitechapel – and one of the very creatures she despises.

So far, we’ve met blue bloods (who can eventually turn into vampires) and verwulfen. Are there other supernatural beings in the London Steampunk world? Can we expect to encounter different beings or creatures in future installments?

There will be creatures, but whether they are supernatural, mechanical or human is something I might keep to myself. There is so much to explore in the blue blood and verwulfen worlds that I doubt I will delve too deeply into other supernatural tropes, but that’s not to say never. I know where the main arc is going, but my best writing occurs when I let surprises pop up.

Did you do any research for Blade’s accent? Was it challenging to write in dialect?

The funny thing is, Blade came to me almost fully formed and that was simply how he spoke. I could almost hear him in my ear, whispering in that distinctive dialect. Of course, there was a lot of slang I researched, but the majority of it was simply Blade. I didn’t find it challenging at all, though a few of the other characters speak the same dialect and I had to work at them a little bit more.

One of the ideas you introduce in KISS OF STEEL is the possibility of a vaccine that saves people from being infected with the virus that turns them into blue bloods. Will we see more of this science in future novels?

Yes. Though the effects of it won’t be felt for a little while. Blade’s not about to let it become common knowledge – for protective reasons – and it’s the sort of thing that might change the entire structure of the world.

If you only had seven words to describe KISS OF STEEL, what would you say?

Dangerous dukes, devilish rogues and blue-stocking heroine.

What inspired you to write steampunk and paranormal romance?

I love it. Pure and simple. But the main inspiration was this world where there was an entire aristocratic class comprised of blood-drinkers, almost like the ton, but paler. And far more dangerous. For any writer, most ideas are sparked by asking questions about that hint of inspiration. How could this ruling class hold their power? What is the history behind it? And what does the future hold for them? From this, the steampunk elements sprang up.

What are your favourite aspects of steampunk fashion?

Honestly, I spend far too much time trawling the internet for Victorian fashions. I do love corsets though. I’ve always had a fascination with them, and there are some amazing examples out there. Something in leather… with brass buttons. That’s the type of steampunk fashion I adore. Or maybe parasols. Especially lacy ones.

Why do you think steampunk (specifically steampunk romance) has exploded in recent years?

I hesitate to call steampunk a genre on its own, as I think it “corrupts” a lot of other genres and that is the appeal. For example, most readers will find strong paranormal romance elements in Kiss of Steel, and it can appeal to readers of historical romance as well. Also, it’s so much fun. It’s sexy and it’s unique. For those who are fed up with the same-old, it’s a breath of fresh air.

Thanks very much for visiting us as part of your blog tour, Bec!

Thank you so much for having me!

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More about KISS OF STEEL:

Bec McMaster Kiss of SteelA brilliantly creative debut where vampires, werewolves, and clockwork creatures roam the mist–shrouded streets of London…

When Nowhere is Safe…

Most people avoid the dreaded Whitecapel district. For Honoria Todd, it’s the last safe haven. But at what price?

Blade is known as the master of the rookeries—no one dares cross him. It’s been said he faced down the Echelon’s army single–handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood–craving he’s been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal.

When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She’s so…innocent. He doesn’t see her backbone of steel—or that she could be the very salvation he’s been seeking.

Jenn’s thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

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Bec McMasterAward-winning author Bec McMaster lives in a small town in Australia and grew up with her nose in a book. A member of RWA, she writes sexy, dark paranormals and steampunk romance. When not writing, reading, or poring over travel brochures, she loves spending time with her very own hero or daydreaming about new worlds.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Jenn

Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster

Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster

Book stats:
Reading level: Adult
Mass market paperback: 448 pages
Genre: Steampunk
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Release date: September 1, 2012

Series: London Steampunk #1

Source: Personal shelf

Reviewed by: Jenn

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

A brilliantly creative debut where vampires, werewolves, and clockwork creatures roam the mist–shrouded streets of London…

When Nowhere is Safe…

Most people avoid the dreaded Whitecapel district. For Honoria Todd, it’s the last safe haven. But at what price?

Blade is known as the master of the rookeries—no one dares cross him. It’s been said he faced down the Echelon’s army single–handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood–craving he’s been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal.

When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She’s so…innocent. He doesn’t see her backbone of steel—or that she could be the very salvation he’s been seeking.

I’ve been looking forward to this book for quite some time. The cover is absolutely gorgeous, even if the lady’s outfit is far too scandalous for the period. Between the amazing cover and the cover copy, I knew that I had to pre-order KISS OF STEEL! And once it arrived, I dived right in.

I really like the world that Bec McMaster has created. In fact, it’s probably my favourite part of the novel! The author brings a different take on the supernatural, with many of the upper class (the Echelon) being infected with a virus that makes them crave human blood. These blue bloods are faster than humans and nearly immortal. If their counts get too high, however, they succumb to their bloodlust and becoming rampaging killing machines. The blue bloods tend to be choosy about who they infect but sometimes non-nobles get infected, like Blade, the Devil of Whitechapel and the male romantic lead in KISS OF STEEL. Honoria Todd, our heroine, has only recently entered Blade’s domain, after her father, a man of science, was murdered by a blue blood, who hunts for Honoria and her two siblings. This world is also inhabited by verwulfen and mechs, who have metal parts and are considered the lowest class, making KISS OF STEEL a very engaging read. I love books that blend genre elements and KISS OF STEEL has a little bit of everything: there’s steampunk, paranormal romance, mystery, and more!

Honoria was a great main character. I empathized with her from the start and was really rooting for her. She has a lot of adversity but she makes the most of her situation. I also liked that she’s smart and tries to figure out the best way to survive her situation. I’m not a fan of helpless heroines who wait for people to take care of them and Honoria is very independent, even in a setting where keeping her independence is a challenge, particularly in a Victorian era.

In contrast, I wasn’t as keen on Blade. He’s got an interesting history and I really enjoyed his relationship with Honoria but I couldn’t get behind him 100% because of the fact that his speech is written in dialect. The author’s done a nice job of it, and uses the presence or absence of Blade’s Cockney accent to tell you whether he’s in control of himself or not (which was a great device), but the linguist in me always gets nervous when people decide to write in dialect, especially when it’s not their native variety. For me, it’s distracting. I don’t know if other people have the same problem but it’s just one of those things that I’m hyperaware of, no matter how well it’s done.

On the whole, however, I very much enjoyed KISS OF STEEL. The romance is steamy, the world really captured my imagination, and Bec McMaster has me desperate for more! There are ideas that were left unresolved and I hope they’ll be discussed in the next book, which features secondary characters from KISS OF STEEL.

Read an excerpt

Jenn