Novel Review: Wild & Steamy (Anthology)

Mind Games by Carolyn Crane (see review here) was one of my favorite reads of 2010. I believe I only had 3 books in 2010 which hit my favorite reads that year. Well, when I saw this anthology, I snagged it. I feel like I’ve had it on my to-read list forever, but it’s only been out since August 2011. Before we get to the review, the blurbs from Goodreads:

The Blushing Bounder by Meljean Brook – An Iron Seas novella of 15,000 words: The search for a killer puts Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth’s life in danger and her assistant, Constable Newberry, in the line of fire. But Newberry faces a danger of another kind: to his heart, by the woman forced to marry him. What will it take for this prudish bounder to convince his wife to stay?

Vixen by Jill Myles – A shifter novella of 15,000 words: Miko’s denied her were-fox nature for far too long and turned her back on her vixen heritage. But when she meets two very sexy cat-shifters, she has to decide if she truly wants to give up on her frisky side, or embrace it. Because the were-fox in her doesn’t want to choose between both men…it wants them both. 

Kitten-tiger & the Monk by Carolyn Crane – A Disillusionists novella of 20,000 words: Sophia Sidway, Midcity’s most dangerous memory revisionist, seeks out the mysterious Monk in the wasteland beneath the Tangle turnpike, hoping for redemption…but it turns out that the Monk is not all that pious, and the turnpike is no turnpike at all.

This anthology was quick enough, I was able to knock it out in a day. Definitely what I needed at the end of 2011. I might make my Goodreads Challenge yet!

The Blushing Bounder by Meljean Brook ~ My first introduction to a Brook’s work was in the Burning Up anthology. Brook’s work was entitled Here There Be Monsters (see review here). I totally loved her writing style. Later I picked up The Iron Duke (see review here). Though I’m not a fan of detective stories, her writing was still A+.

Once again, Ms. Brooks does an excellent job with bringing her Iron Sea world to life in The Blushing Bounder. Brooks definitely has style when it comes to writing. My biggest gripe with this work was it seemed incomplete. The romance was cold then hot. It really lacked any sort of build up. One moment the heroine was standoffish and completely uninterested. Next thing I knew, she was in love. In my prior experience with Ms. Brook, she presented herself as a STRONG mystery writer. In this story, the mystery lacked substance and was only solved on a basic level. What was the motive?

Vixen by Jill Myles ~ If I’m not mistaken, this was my first encounter with a Jill Myles work. It wasn’t bad and I may or may not look for more of her works. One thing for certain, paranormal romances are a tough sell these days. It seems like everything’s been done. That’s the issue I faced with Ms. Myles’ story. Like I said, it wasn’t a bad read, and still entertaining, but the story lacked freshness and was quite predictable. Still, the sex scene was quite steamy.

One item which has me all twisted is the idea of wild cats with a fox… odd to say the least. I wonder if her other books mix and match like that.

Kitten-tiger & the Monk by Carolyn Crane ~ Of the three stories, Ms. Crane’s work was the weakest. I was actually rather bummed, because she was the main reason I purchased this anthology. Majority of this story was backstory… I wouldn’t be surprised if 75% of it was backstory with the remaining working on the relationship between Kitten-Tiger and the Monk. Even the relationship portion was highly predictable.

One interesting item about this work is it’s in past tense. I remember Mind Games throwing me for a loop when I first started reading it. I don’t recall ever reading a book in present tense before Mind Games. It took some major adapting for me. After reading Kitten-Tiger and the Monk, I kind of wished Ms. Crane had stayed in the present tense. It might have discouraged her from loading the work with backstory.

I’m not sure if Wild & Steamy was a free read when I picked it up, but it might be now. I know it was last week.

 

Sunday Showcase #13

Welcome to this edition of the Sunday Showcase. This was a big week for me in terms of purchases. Didn’t spend too much, but gathered quite a few books.

The Blushing Bounder by Meljean Brook – An Iron Seas novella of 15,000 words: The search for a killer puts Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth’s life in danger and her assistant, Constable Newberry, in the line of fire. But Newberry faces a danger of another kind: to his heart, by the woman forced to marry him. What will it take for this prudish bounder to convince his wife to stay?

Vixen by Jill Myles – A shifter novella of 15,000 words: Miko’s denied her were-fox nature for far too long and turned her back on her vixen heritage. But when she meets two very sexy cat-shifters, she has to decide if she truly wants to give up on her frisky side, or embrace it. Because the were-fox in her doesn’t want to choose between both men…it wants them both.

Kitten-tiger & the Monk by Carolyn Crane – A Disillusionists novella of 20,000 words: Sophia Sidway, Midcity’s most dangerous memory revisionist, seeks out the mysterious Monk in the wasteland beneath the Tangle turnpike, hoping for redemption…but it turns out that the Monk is not all that pious, and the turnpike is no turnpike at all.

Why I Picked It up: I’ve been following Carolyn Crane’s Disillusionist series, so yeah… had to get this one. Plus it has Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas work. I’m all for seeing what Inspector Mina is up to with her iron heart.

So I had $7 in cash when I set out to find birthday presents for my husband on Friday. Not much, but enough to make stopping at the local used book store worth it. 🙂 These were my finds.

National Geographic on Indians of the Americas a color-illustrated Record

Why I Picked It up: I’m fascinated with early Native Americans… before Europeans pushed them onto reservations and such. It’ll be interesting to sift through this one. Cost me a whopping $2. Sorry. This book is an ancient one, and I could find a decent picture. I will say that it looks a bit like an encyclopedia.

Twilight tempted the imagination. New Moon made readers thirsty for more. Eclipseturned the saga into a worldwide phenomenon. And now, the book that everyone has been waiting for…Breaking Dawn, the final book in the #1 bestselling Twilight Saga, will take your breath away.

Why I Picked It up: Mostly for my daughter. She read the first two books. This was cheap ($1), so figured I’d pick it up for her. Now I’ll have to keep a look out for book #3. The other two books I also picked up from the used book store, by the way.

Available at: The Book Depository and Anne Rice returns to the mesmerizing storytelling that has captivated readers for more than three decades in a tale of unceasing suspense set in time past—a metaphysical thriller about angels and assassins.

The novel opens in the present. At its center: Toby O’Dare—a contract killer of underground fame on assignment to kill once again. A soulless soul, a dead man walking, he lives under a series of aliases—just now: Lucky the Fox—and takes his orders from “The Right Man.”

Into O’Dare’s nightmarish world of lone and lethal missions comes a mysterious stranger, a seraph, who offers him a chance to save rather than destroy lives. O’Dare, who long ago dreamt of being a priest but instead came to embody danger and violence, seizes his chance. Now he is carried back through the ages to thirteenth-century England, to dark realms where accusations of ritual murder have been made against Jews, where children suddenly die or disappear . . . In this primitive setting, O’Dare begins his perilous quest for salvation, a journey of danger and flight, loyalty and betrayal, selflessness and love.

Why I Picked It up: I’ve wanted to read this for quite some time. I’m not a huge fan of Anne Rice’s works since she let the vampire and witches series go, but I continue to remain curious about what she writes. Hoping this one is interesting.

Available at: The Book Depository and Barnes & Nobles

Nora Grey’s life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn’t pleasant, but at least she got a guardian angel out of it: a mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But, despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angelic. He’s more elusive than ever and even worse, he’s started spending time with Nora’s arch-enemy, Marcie Millar.

Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Patch hadnt been acting so distant. Even with Scott’s totally infuriating attitude Nora finds herself drawn to him – despite her lingering feeling that he’s hiding something.

Haunted by images of her murdered father, and questioning whether her nephilim bloodline has anything to do with his death, Nora puts herself increasingly in dangerous situations as she desperately searches for answers. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything – and everyone – she trusts.

Why I Picked It up: Last time I went to Walden, I picked up Hush, Hush. When I found this one on the bargain shelf, I was so pumped. Hopefully Hush, Hush and leave me highly motivated to dig into this one.

Available at: The Book Depository and Barnes & Nobles

It should be the best time of half-vampire Cat Crawfield’s life. With her undead lover Bones at her side, she’s successfully protected mortals from the rogue undead. But though Cat’s worn disguise after disguise to keep her true identity a secret from the brazen bloodsuckers, her cover’s finally been blown, placing her in terrible danger.

As if that wasn’t enough, a woman from Bones’s past is determined to bury him once and for all. Caught in the crosshairs of a vengeful vamp, yet determined to help Bones stop a lethal magic from being unleashed, Cat’s about to learn the true meaning of bad blood. And the tricks she’s learned as a special agent won’t help her. She will need to fully embrace her vampire instincts in order to save herself—and Bones—from a fate worse than the grave.

Why I Picked It up: I’ve actually been keeping an eye out for TBD to offer book #2 in paperback. I saw these two available for 1/2 price at Walden and decided to pick them up in anticipation. A bit bummed I couldn’t find book #2. Oh well.

Available at: The Book Depository and Barnes & Nobles

Since half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her undead lover Bones met six years ago, they’ve fought against the rogue undead, battled a vengeful Master vampire, and pledged their devotion with a blood bond. Now it’s time for a vacation. But their hopes for a perfect Paris holiday are dashed when Cat awakes one night in terror. She’s having visions of a vampire named Gregor who’s more powerful than Bones and has ties to her past that even Cat herself didn’t know about.

Gregor believes Cat is his and he won’t stop until he has her. As the battle begins between the vamp who haunts her nightmares and the one who holds her heart, only Cat can break Gregor’s hold over her. She’ll need all the power she can summon in order to bring down the baddest bloodsucker she’s ever faced . . . even if getting that power will result in an early grave.

Why I Picked It up: Same reason I picked up book #3. 🙂

Available at: The Book Depository and Barnes & Nobles

So what about you? Have you taken advantage of any going out of business sales this year?

Novel Review: The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook

Welcome to another episode of Reena come lately. I picked up The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook after reading her novella Here There Be Monsters in the Burning Up Anthology (review here). If you’re too lazy to read the review, I will say it was an excellent Novella. I certainly was looking forward to reading the Iron Duke. 🙂 So the blurb from Ms. Brook’s website:

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.

Mina can’t afford his interest, however. Horde blood runs through her veins, and despite the nanotech enhancing her body, she barely scratches out a living in London society. Becoming Rhys’s lover would destroy both her career and her family, yet the investigation prevents her from avoiding him…and the Iron Duke’s ruthless pursuit makes him difficult to resist.

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.

First off, I have to say, Ms. Brook is an EXCELLENT writer in my opinion. I love her style. She’s one of those writers I don’t even get a chance to go into critique mode. Bravo!

On to the characters. 🙂 Majority of this story was told from Mina’s POV, so I really got a sense of her personality. I rather liked her. She had a hard outer shell and a soft interior. For the most part, well-balanced and acted true to her character. She was a woman I could admire. Rhys, I had a love-hate relationship with him, or rather I didn’t understand him very well in the beginning. He seemed to suffer from the same syndrome as Eben–lustful but without any particular reason… at least not at first. His determination to possess Mina made me think of a rapist at times. The guy just didn’t seem to respect the “no.” For a guy who seemed so honorable, I didn’t get that aspect of him.

Other characters I quite liked were Yasmeen (a side character from Here there be Monsters) and Scotsdale. According to Ms. Brook’s website, Yasmeen’s story is next along with the mysterious Archimedes Fox. Exciting! Can’t wait to read their stories.

One group who played a huge indirect role in all this was the Horde. I still feel like I’m in the dark about these folks. I understood what they did, but I didn’t understand why. Also, what was so different about them physically? I think at one time they might have been mentioned as Mongols?

As for the plot, it was well paced–quite a twisted web. I’d call this one a mystery, which really isn’t my preferred genre. I imagine that’s why it took me more time than usual to get through this work. Cause when I add things up, we’ve got great writing and interesting characters, I should have loved, Loved, LOVED it. But then we add the genre mystery. 🙂 Oh well. Since I’m not so familiar with the genre, I can only guess it’d make a hit with mystery lovers.

Ms. Brook went a bit heavier with the steampunk this round, and I loved it! The gadgets added a great touch. She didn’t go into extreme details about the way the goodies worked, which was excellent for my non-mechanical little mind. Plus I got a better understanding of the nanoagents. I’m quite excited to read about the future of the little buggers.

I can see myself becoming a huge fan of Meljean Brook. However, it depends heavily on if her works have strong mystery elements, cause really she is a kickass writer. My preferences just don’t lean toward mystery. 🙂

The Iron Duke by Meljean Brooks is Available at Barnes & Nobles || Amazon || The Book Depository|| Kobo || iTunes

No Review: The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook

This will probably be the first week since I started reviewing books that I actually won’t have one. Honestly, I just haven’t been pu to reading lately. I just recently found my motivation to write after letting the bombardment of emails sink me. 🙂 Not that you folks are worried, but I’m back on track again with my writing and making excellent progress. Since I’ve failed to give you a review today, I thought it’d be nice to share what I’m reading anyway. The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook.

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.

Mina can’t afford his interest, however. Horde blood runs through her veins, and despite the nanotech enhancing her body, she barely scratches out a living in London society. Becoming Rhys’s lover would destroy both her career and her family, yet the investigation prevents her from avoiding him…and the Iron Duke’s ruthless pursuit makes him difficult to resist.

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.

As of this post, I’m on page 82. So far so good. My questions so far are:

Who exactly are the Horde? I understand what they did, but I don’t understand why. Also, what is so different about them physically? When I think of horde, I think World of Warcraft and Everquest. Are they trolls, ogres, and goblins?

And what’s the Duke’s problem? He comes on a little strong, and I can’t understand why he’s so insistent. It might just be Brook’s style since I had a hard time understanding Machen’s motivation in “Here There Be Monsters” (review here) also.

Anyway, I’m enjoying the book so far. 🙂

The Iron Duke by Meljean Brooks is Available at Barnes & Nobles || Amazon || The Book Depository|| Kobo || iTunes