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review 2015-03-11 01:23
MINI-REVIEW: “Evernight” by Kristen Callihan
Evernight - Kristen Callihan


GENRE:  PNR; Steampunk

LENGTH:  432 (MMP pgs)

HEAT LEVEL (content):  sexy-hot (m/f vanilla; frank but not overly explicit/extended)

PUBLISHER/pub date:  Forever (GCP/Hachette); August 2014

SERIES INFO (timeline):  Darkest London #5 (@ 1yr after end of #4)

FORMAT (source):  MMP (own); Audio (borrow)



Once the night comes...

Will Thorne is living a nightmare, his sanity slowly being drained away by a force he can’t control. His talents have made him the perfect assassin for hire. But as he loses his grip on reality, there is no calming him—until he finds his next target: the mysterious Holly Evernight.


Love must cast aside the shadows...

Holly cannot fathom who would put a contract on her life, yet the moment she touches Will, the connection between them is elemental, undeniable—and she’s the only one who can tame his bouts of madness. But other assassins are coming for Holly. Will must transform from killer to protector and find the man who wants Holly dead...or his only chance for redemption will be lost.

(spoiler show)




Still captivated by the narrating skills of Moira Quirk, I barely touched my DTB copy & continued with this series via audio.  Thus, 4-star rating is influenced by my listening experience.  If I were to rate the story on its own, it would be more 3-3.5 stars.


Overall, I did enjoy this installment of the Darkest London series but it fell a bit flat, especially after a 5-star reading (listening) of the previous book, Shadowdance.  Unlike in earlier books, I found some diversions from the main storyline to be more disruptive than necessary.  And plot-wise, there were more than a few weak and/or unaddressed points (some due to minor instances of deus ex machina).  This resulted in a vague feeling of dissatisfaction with the dénouement of both the action/mystery and the romance. And the final (tiny) nail in coffin was a personal pet peeve: even with certain open items, the epilogue dealt with the next book/couple, as opposed to wrapping up things re: Will and Holly. :/


Nonetheless, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book (and entire series) to PNR/steampunk fans.  And despite loss of some momentum re: series, I already got & listened to the next book, Soulbound, which was released on 24-Feb-2015.

Source: karmabites.booklikes.com/post/1124229/mini-review-evernight-by-kristen-callihan
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review 2014-05-01 11:11
REVIEW: “Domestic Affairs” by Scarlett Vora
Domestic Affairs - Scarlett Vora

GENRE:  Erotic Sci-Fi Romance

LENGTH:  109 (Kindle pgs)

HEAT LEVEL (content):  Erotic (see FYI below)

PUBLISHER (pub date):  self (19 March 2014)




Kit Sawyer works for the government. It’s a sweet deal: easy work, good pay. Enough money to buy the drugs she needs to forget how much she hates having sex with good-for-nothing jerks.


Wait. Yeah. Maybe it’s not so sweet after all.


Kit lives on a remote planet, a wasteland colonized by intergalactic mining conglomerates. It’s an awful place, and nobody wants to be there. That’s where the Department of Domestic Affairs comes in. Employees sent to undesirable locations get a nice perk out of the deal: a live-in willing body.


Kit goes where she’s told. Does what she has to. But she has a bad attitude, and it lands her in hot water. She’s sent to a problem client. A real creep, though he’s filthy rich. One of the elite. And she discovers, to her surprise, that even the high and mighty need a little companionship

(spoiler show)




Unexpectedly more :)


* Review copy provided by the author.


What a surprise! Initially expected a quick, enjoyable erotic romp, but by the ending, got a story with greater depth & emotions―with a (presumed) HEA to boot. IDK why but this book reminded me of the movie, Pretty Woman. As with the movie, I wouldn't mind seeing a sequel to see how Kit & Pike fare. :)


Interesting concept of sex trade turned corporate, with licensed 'companions' getting assignment contracts & pay, as well as bonuses for consenting to extra duties. Light world-building, just enough to maintain sci-fi feel. Diverse mix of characters/clients, with plenty of sex scenes (altho some more for plot movement whilst others definitely for arousal).


I liked how Kit's attitude & character slowly changed due to her new assignment. I only wish that I knew how/why she became the way she was in the beginning. As for Pike, I liked him immediately & could relate to his caution.


Also loved Ms. Vora's writing in this one―overall, very well-written, with some sections being almost poetic. Example:

... A breeze ruffled her hair, bearing the sharp scent of greenery, the perfume of live flowers. Real sunlight warmed her cheeks, the backs of her hands.


And everywhere she looked, she found something to delight her eyes. Pike's fabulous complex. The trees and towers and shining windows of nearby residences. Parks and fountains and mother-of-pearl paths that glittered from afar.


It really was too good to last. Too beautiful, too pleasurable, too perfect. ...


Definitely recommend this for anyone looking for a hot, erotic read with varied sex content. If one were to classify this as 'dark erotica', then I would consider it to be on the 'lighter' side, meaning more grey than black.  But do check to see if anything in the content FYI poses a problem. ;-)



Content FYI: 

drug use by h in beginning; multiple partners due to occupation/companion work policies; a client into humiliation; m/f, m/f/f, orgy at party; rough/hint of dubcon sex; attempted rape; mild BDSM themes/scenes

(spoiler show)


Source: karmabites.booklikes.com/post/870444/review-domestic-affairs-by-scarlett-vora
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review 2014-04-20 01:49
MINI-REVIEW: “Mina Wentworth and the Invisible City” by Meljean Brook
Mina Wentworth and the Invisible City - Meljean Brook

GENRE:  Steampunk; Romance

LENGTH:  104 (Kindle pgs)

HEAT LEVEL (content):  Sexy-Hot (m/f vanilla; frank but not overly explicit/graphic)

PUB INFO:  Berkley (Penguin); 7 Aug 2012

SERIES INFO:  Iron Seas 1.5



Eight months after the events of The Iron Duke, can Rhys and Mina's marriage survive a new threat?


When newly-married Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth is called to investigate a bounder's murder, she doesn't expect the mysterious machine she finds...or the danger that leads back to her husband.

(spoiler show)




Can't get enough of Rhys & Mina
(and Newberry!)


Re-read 4-2014 (along with The Iron Duke)


4 stars b/c I always crave that extra bit via epilogue after a particularly good read, and Ms. Brook provides that & more via this novella.


Some may find it overly lovey-dovey (and in truth, I wouldn't fault them) but I enjoyed seeing Rhys & Mina post-wedding―both re: their contentment and their separate nagging worries 8 months into the marriage.  Also, I can never get enough of Newberry, especially when Mina teases so to get him to blush. ;-)


But oh, what shall happen re: Scarsdale?  *frets*

Source: karmabites.booklikes.com/post/858772/mini-review-mina-wentworth-and-the-invisible-city-by-meljean-brook
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review 2014-04-15 21:58
REVIEW: “The Kraken King, Part II” by Meljean Brook
The Kraken King Part II: The Kraken King and the Abominable Worm - Meljean Brook

The Kraken King, Part II:
The Kraken King and the Abominable Worm


GENRE:  Steampunk; Romance

LENGTH:  @ 70pgs (PDF converted to Kindle)

HEAT LEVEL (content):  n/a for Part II

PUBLISHER (pub date):  InterMix/Penguin (Apr 22, 2014)

SERIES INFO:  Iron Seas 4.20



As they continue their expedition across Australia, Ariq is determined to stay close to Zenobia and figure out what kind of game she’s playing—even as his admiration for the enigmatic woman starts to override his suspicion.


For Zenobia, revealing her identity to a man who once made his living outside of the law is out of the question—even though Ariq’s dashing looks and blunt manner are distractingly appealing.


But before anyone’s secrets or desires can be exposed, an unexpected attack threatens to destroy them all…

(spoiler show)




*** ARC provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley ***


The Kraken King, Part II: The Kraken King and the Abominable Worm consists of Chapters 4-8 of book #4 in the Iron Seas series. I enjoyed this installment even more, simply because the earlier chapters worked mainly as introduction and set-up. But with Part II, the adventure really begins as our pair sets off across the harsh Australian inlands to reach the smugglers’ dens further south.


Zenobia, hiding her hurt and even more protective of her true identity, is determined to resume travel to the Red City and thereby reunite her friend with her husband as quickly as possible. Ariq, disappointed by Zenobia’s abrupt change and cool rebuff, focuses on finding clues to who or what is behind the repeated attacks by marauders before the Nipponese Empire is roused to action. Fortunately, their seemingly separate goals point in the same direction.


Part II of The Kraken King continues to build the UST between Zenobia and Ariq via innuendos, teasing banter, and growing mutual admiration. (Oh yeah, verbal foreplay is seriously going on. *grins*) But Part II also serves to better connect the reader to other characters as well. More of the personal histories of Ariq and his brother, Taka, are revealed—and in turn, that of their mother who had been executed five years earlier for spying on the Nipponese. (Should be interesting to see how/if Ariq’s parentage plays out at some point.) In addition, the glimpses here and there of Zenobia’s married mercenary guards make them highly sympathetic and highlight Zenobia’s secret longing for what they share.


Another excellent mix of humour, action and romance by Meljean Brook and another solid recommend. This hit all of my good buttons and I gobbled it up so fast that I re-read it later that day.


But dammit, the ending!! IDK whether to thank or shake my fists at the InterMix folks for unexpectedly including Part II in the ARC to Part I. I could’ve handled waiting after Part I but after the ending to Part II? No. So wrong.


*sigh* Excuse me as I go off into a corner for a bout of self-castigation whilst figuring out if that’s the Orloj on this cover. :/



(FYI, The Kraken King, Part III: The Kraken King and the Fox’s Den is scheduled for release on April 29, 2014.)

Source: karmabites.booklikes.com/post/854230/review-the-kraken-king-part-ii-by-meljean-brook
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review 2014-04-13 05:37
REVIEW: “The Kraken King, Part I” by Meljean Brook
The Kraken King, Part I: The Kraken King and the Scribbling Spinster (Iron Seas, #4.1) - Meljean Brook


The Kraken King, Part I:
The Kraken King and the Scribbling Spinster


GENRE:  Steampunk; Romance

LENGTH:  @ 76pgs (PDF converted to Kindle)

HEAT LEVEL (content):  n/a for Part I

PUBLISHER (pub date):  InterMix/Penguin (Apr 15, 2014)

SERIES INFO:  Iron Seas 4.10



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…

(spoiler show)





Meljean Brook feeds my creative & literary soul


*** ARC provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley ***


With the latest addition to the Iron Seas series, Meljean Brook proves once again why she is an auto-buy for me, as well as a go-to author when I hit a book slump. If The Kraken King, Part I: The Kraken King and the Scribbling Spinster (‘The Scribbling Spinster’) is any indication, then the whole of The Kraken King promises to be another 5-star delicious romp. Based on my read of Part I (and II), I most definitely recommend The Kraken King to fans of steampunk and/or those who enjoy a well-written storyline with equal parts adventure and romance.


I briefly thought to title this review as ‘Meljean Brook once again delivers the complete package’. But then I realised that it might be an overstretch (and somewhat premature) given that The Scribbling Spinster is only the first installment of eight. *grins* I admit that my heart sank when I learned that the next Iron Seas book would be a serial but consoled myself with the notion that Ms. Brook decided on this format as a nod to the heroine, who is a writer of serial adventures. (Inkslinger... *snicker*)


As with past Iron Seas books, The Scribbling Spinster easily met all of my expectations. Meljean Brook’s vivid and imaginative world-building and interesting characters (both primary and secondary) captivated my creative soul whilst her witty dialogue and teasing innuendos tickled my funny bone. And then, her narrative writing and imagery satisfied my literary soul with lines such as this:

The heated air wavered around them. As the miles passed, they veered west, until the sea shimmered on the right. … In the east, green hills lay against the horizon like an exhausted woman.

The Scribbling Spinster consists of Chapters 1-3 (converted to roughly @ 76pgs on my Kindle) but I already love the main characters. Zenobia Fox, Archimedes’s sister who is oft-mentioned in earlier Iron Seas books, reveals her stalwart nature from the get-go as the airship on which she is traveling is attacked. She is a bundle of contradictions—adventurous in spirit if not necessarily in body, fanciful yet pragmatic, shadowed by her childhood and private fears yet seemingly a strong presence to others. Whilst not as dashing or (in)famous as her sister-in-law, Yasmeen (aka Captain Corsair), Zenobia possesses intelligence and a quiet strength which, I imagine, will be tested in future installments.


Ariq (aka the Kraken King) promises to be a swoon-worthy hero, early impressions aside. I mean, I get insta-lust and directness but “On the flyer, I liked the feel of you against me. Now I’d like to feel you beneath me” within hours of meeting under frightening circumstances? Dude! Really?! LOL… Good thing that Ariq has got more than a few positive attributes to offset that one. *wink*


Alas, the mutual attraction and Ariq’s very tempting offer are derailed by sharp ears and a misconstrued conversation. Thus, the UST between Zenobia and Ariq must simmer a bit longer as they leave the relative safety of Krakentown for the unknown in The Kraken King, Part II: The Kraken King and the Abominable Worm, scheduled for release on April 22, 2014.


Until the next installment, I’m gonna resume my self-inflicted grumbling and gnashing of teeth. Yeah, colour me masochist. :)



P.S… In anticipation of possible ‘Wha—? You, reading an incomplete serial, Karma?’, I pre-emptively assert a woman’s prerogative to change her mind. And if that doesn’t sway, then I have only this: It’s Meljean Brook; how could I not? ;-)

Source: karmabites.booklikes.com/post/852434/review-the-kraken-king-part-i-by-meljean-brook
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