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What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23


This is the twenty-third in this new series of updates about formerly featured Debut Author Challenge authors and their works published since their last update. The year in parentheses after the author's name is the year that author was featured in the Debut Author Challenge.



Part 1 here Part 11 here Part 21 here Part 31 here Part 41 here
Part 2 here Part 12 here Part 22 here Part 32 here Part 42 here
Part 3 here Part 13 here Part 23 here Part 33 here Part 43 here
Part 4 here Part 14 here Part 24 here Part 34 here Part 44 here
Part 5 here Part 15 here Part 25 here Part 35 here Part 45 here
Part 6 here Part 16 here Part 26 here Part 36 here Part 46 here
Part 7 here Part 17 here Part 27 here Part 37 here Part 47 here
Part 8 here Part 18 here Part 28 here Part 38 here Part 48 here
Part 9 here Part 19 here Part 29 here Part 39 here Part 49 here
Part 10 here Part 20 here Part 30 here Part 40 here Part 50 here



Will McIntosh (2011)

Faller
Tor Books, October 25, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23
Faller is a new gripping standalone, science fiction thriller by Hugo Award-winning author Will McIntosh.

Day One: No one can remember anything—who they are, family and friends, or even how to read. Reality has fragmented and Earth consists of an islands of rock floating in an endless sky. Food, water, electricity—gone, except for what people can find, and they can't find much.

Faller's pockets contain tantalizing clues: a photo of himself and a woman he can't remember, a toy solider with a parachute, and a mysterious map drawn in blood. With only these materials as a guide, he makes a leap of faith from the edge of the world to find the woman and set things right.

He encounters other floating islands, impossible replicas of himself and others, and learns that one man hates him enough to take revenge for actions Faller can't even remember.



Burning Midnight
Ember, January 31, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23
For fans of The Maze Runner and The Fifth Wave,this debut YA novel from Hugo Award winner Will McIntosh pits four underprivileged teens against an evil billionaire in the race of a lifetime.

No one knows where the brilliant-colored spheres came from. One day they were just there, hidden all over the earth like huge gemstones. Burn a pair and they make you a little better: an inch taller, skilled at math, better-looking. The rarer the sphere, the greater the improvement—and the more expensive the sphere.

Sully is a sphere dealer at a flea market. It doesn’t pay much—Alex Holliday’s stores have muscled out most of the independent sellers—but it helps him and his mom make the rent. When Sully meets Hunter, a girl with a natural talent for finding spheres, the two start searching together. One day they find a Gold—a color no one has ever seen. There’s no question the Gold is priceless, but what does it actually do? None of them is aware of it yet, but the fate of the world rests on this little golden orb. Because all the world fights over the spheres, but no one knows where they come from, what their powers are, or why they’re here.





K. M. McKinley  (2015)

The City of Ice
The Gates of the World 2
Solaris, December 27, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23
An ancient city. A wondrous invention. A perilous journey.

The epic sequel to the incredible debut novel The Iron Ship.

Deep in the polar south stands a city like no other, a city built aeons ago by a civilisation mighty and wise.

The City of Ice promises the secrets of the ancients to whomever can reach it first. It may prove too little knowledge too late, for the closest approach of the Twin in 4000 years draws near, an event that has heralded terrible destruction in past ages.

As the Kressind siblings pursue their fortunes, the world stands upon the dawn of a new era, but it may yet be consumed by a darkness from the past.

Industry and magic, gods and steampower collide in the captivating sequel to The Iron Ship.





Peter McLean (2016)

Dominion
A Burned Man Novel 2
Angry Robot, November 1, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23
In the tunnels deep under London, the Earth Elementals are dying.

Hunted by something they know only as the Rotman, the Elementals have no one trustworthy they can turn to. Enter Don Drake, drunken diabolist and semi-reformed hitman, and an almost-fallen angel called Trixie.

When Don learns that Rotman is actually the archdemon Bianakith, he knows this is going to be a tough job. The fiend is the foretold spirit of disease and decay whose aura corrupts everything it comes near, and even the most ancient foundations of London will crumble eventually. Now Don, Trixie and his ever-annoying patron the Burned Man have to hatch a plan to keep Bianakith from wiping out the Elementals and bringing down the city. But the Burned Man has other plans and those may have dire consequences for everyone.

The past never stays buried, and old sins must be atoned for. Judgement is coming, and its name is Dominion.

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ The Devil You Knew / Deeped & Down / Great Irresponsibility / London’s Burning ]


Damnation
A Burned Man Novel 3
Angry Robot, May 2, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23
Don Drake is living rough in a sink estate on the outskirts of Edinburgh, doing cheap spells for even cheaper customers while fending off the local lowlifes. Six months ago, Don fled from London to Glasgow to track down his old girlfriend Debbie the alchemist.

With the Burned Man gradually driving him mad, Don meets with an ancient and mysterious tramp-slash-magician, with disastrous consequences. Now his old accomplices must step in to save Don from himself, before he damns himself for good this time.

File Under: Urban Fantasy





Bec McMaster (2012)

The Many Lives of Hadley Monroe
Lochaber Press, April 4, 2016
eBook, 52 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23
When the clock stops ticking, and the storm rolls in, Hadley Monroe knows exactly what’s going on. Forty years ago her grandfather made a pact with Death, and now Death has come calling again.

Forced to make her own deal with the reaper, Hadley has only three weeks to answer his question, or he’ll take her grandmother too. The problem is, there’s no way to answer it, and three weeks is not long enough with the reaper who’s beginning to steal her heart…

Warning: This short story has been previously published in the Mammoth Book Of Southern Gothic Romance.


Shadowbound
The Dark Arts Trilogy, Book 1
Lochaber Press Pty Ltd, May 8, 2016
     eBook, 377 pages
Lochaber Press Pty Ltd, May 27, 2016
     Trade Paperback, 454 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23
When a powerful relic goes missing from a secret society that dabbles in the occult, Miss Ianthe Martin is charged with finding it at all costs. She needs help, but all clues point to someone on the inside being the thief. The only sorcerer she knows that can't possibly be involved, is the very man she saw locked in Bedlam a year ago...

The mad, bad, dangerous Earl of Rathbourne.

When the seductive Miss Martin appears in his Bedlam cell, Rathbourne fears he's finally lost his mind. The devilish sorceress played a hand in his incarceration, and now she comes asking for help? Perhaps she should begin by begging for mercy...

But Ianthe's offer of freedom is one he can't refuse, although he has a clause of his own to add. She may bind him with her power–the only way to still the demons haunting him–but for every day spent under her command, the nights will be his... to wreak delicious revenge on her willing flesh.



Nobody's Hero
The Burned Lands 1
Lochaber Press Pty. Ltd, May 22, 2016
     eBook, 281 pages
Lochaber Press Pty Ltd, July 25, 2016
     Trade Paperback, 370 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23
First rule of surviving the Wastelands: don't be caught out after the sun sets...

After her father was killed in a warg attack, Riley Kincaid was forced to stand on her own two feet in the brutal Wastelands she calls home. She knows how to survive, but when a lapse in judgment leaves her out after dark, Riley realizes she's in trouble. The sun has set, the monsters are out to play, and there's a band of reivers heading straight for her settlement. Riley needs to warn her people, but that's before she runs a handsome stranger down in her jeep. A stranger who might not be a man after all...

Kidnapping her was the worst mistake he ever made.

Dangerous outlaw, Lucius Wade, lives only for revenge. But when he kidnaps Riley in order to lure an old friend into a trap, suddenly the tables are turned. Riley has no intentions of being bait, and she tempts him in ways he hasn't felt for a long time. He's never played the hero, but suddenly a part of him wants to. Even as he knows there's no point.

When dangerous secrets are revealed, and Luc realizes an old enemy is on his trail, he's forced to change his plans. The hunter is suddenly the hunted, and the only allies he has... is a stubborn blonde who thinks there should be more to live for than revenge, and the ex-friend who shoved a knife in his back ten years ago.


Mission: Improper
London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy 1
Lochaber Press Pty. Ltd, August 11, 2016
     eBook, 360 pages
Lochaber Press Pty. Ltd, October 5, 2016
     Trade Paperback, 432 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23
Three years ago, London society changed forever, with a revolution placing the widowed Queen firmly on the throne her blue blood husband tried to take from her. Humans, verwulfen and mechs are no longer considered the lesser classes, but not everybody is happy with the new order...

Entire families have gone missing in the East End. When Caleb Byrnes receives an invitation to join the Company of Rogues as an undercover agent pledged to protect the crown, he jumps at the chance to find out who, or what, is behind the disappearances. Hunting criminals is what the darkly driven blue blood does best, and though he prefers to work alone, the opportunity is too good to resist.

The problem? He's partnered with Ingrid Miller, the fiery and passionate verwulfen woman who won a private bet against him a year ago. Byrnes has a score to settle, but one stolen kiss and suddenly the killer is not the only thing Byrnes is interested in hunting.

Soon they're chasing whispered rumours of a secret project gone wrong, and a monster that just might be more dangerous than either of them combined. The only way to find out more is to go undercover among the blue blood elite... But when their hunt uncovers a mysterious conspiracy, Byrnes and Ingrid must set aside their age-old rivalry if they have any chance at surviving a treacherous plot.


Hexbound
The Dark Arts 2
Lochaber Press Pty. Ltd, October 18, 2016
eBook, 356 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23
It should have been an easy task…

Verity Hastings has a little trick: she can find anything, no matter where it’s hidden. It’s a skill that’s kept her safe and fed all the way from the orphanages and workhouses of her youth. But when she steals a mysterious item for a masked man, she knows the con is on her this time.

In order to protect herself from his associates, she can turn to only one person: Adrian Bishop, the sorcerer she stole the relic from.

Scarred recluse Adrian Bishop is rarely surprised anymore. But when a rather enticing little handful turns up on his doorstep, claiming to be his mysterious thief, he doesn’t know what to think. He needs the relic back, no matter the cost, and he’s not above using Verity to find it. But as Verity begins to sneak under his guard, for the first time in years there’s a ray of light in his dark world. He will do anything to protect her – anything – but can Verity ever love him once she learns the truth of his dark talents? And will he be able to protect her from the trap he sent her into himself?





Holly Messinger  (2015)

Curious Weather
A Jacob Tracy Novel 2
Thomas Dunne Books, November 14, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors, Part 23
On the heels of her starred Publisher’s Weekly debut, The Curse of Jacob Tracy, Messinger delivers another remarkably original novel where she deftly recreates the tumultuous post-Civil war era and clashes the natural with the supernatural.

When Jacob Tracy—Civil War veteran, ex-seminarian, and reluctant psychic—agrees to move into Miss Fairweather’s St. Louis mansion and study magic with her, he has one purpose in mind: to hunt down and destroy the necromancer Mereck, a predatory madman who has twice tried to make a meal of Trace and trapped Trace’s partner Boz in a monstrous half-life.

Sabine Fairweather has her own grievance with Mereck, though Trace doesn’t know the details and doesn’t particularly want to. The woman may be a brilliant scientist and a powerful witch in her own right, but there is darkness in her and bitter secrets that threaten the tenuous faith Trace has in her.

With Mereck’s minions circling ever closer, and old allies posing unexpected threats, Trace knows he and Sabine have no choice but to trust each other. But for that to happen, he will have to lay bare all the deepest secrets of her soul…and quite possibly her heart.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 23, 2016


Melanie's Week in Review - October 23, 2016


Hello everyone! I would have amazed you with my book reading abilities with 3 separate reviews but alas, I needed some comfort reading on Monday, part of Friday and for a half hour or so on Saturday and did a bit of a mini re-read of Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews. As I have already reviewed this for you I won't do it again (still loved it!). I did however manage to finish 2 books. So what did I read (besides Magic Binds)?


Melanie's Week in Review - October 23, 2016
It was a nice surprise when Hexbound by Bec McMaster popped onto my Kindle. I have forgotten I pre-ordered it so what a treat. Normally I leave this to the end of my reviews but check out the cover!  You all know what a cover snob I am and I think this one is gorgeous. I even didn't mind that the models were a tad older looking than what the lead characters, Verity and Adrian were supposed to be (see, I am cover fussy!). As I just told my husband when he mocked my admiration of the cover (currently in my bad books for that one) I love the swirling, twirling colours in the background.

Anyway, I digress. Hexbound is the second instalment in McMaster's Dark Arts series and starts not long after the events of book 1. Adrian Bishop, one of the Prime's sons and part of a doomsday prophecy, is woken up one night when a talented young thief breaks into his house. The thief steals the Chalice which he had sworn to protect and which is one of 3 instruments needed to summon a demon. No one is more surprised than Adrian that the very same thief, the same one he discovers, is a an enticing young lady turns up on his doorstep three days later grievously injured. Verity is part of a gang of thieves who had been raised on the streets since she was a young girl (picture Verity as the female version of Oliver Twist). Her easy gig turns into something much more sinister than expected and she agrees to help Adrian in order to save her own life. Adrian has to fight his attraction to Verity, as well as, fight his particular type of magic which gives him strength and pleasure when he kills. Verity and Adrian are determined to retrieve the Chalice to stop London being destroyed by a malevolent power while fighting their growing attraction to one another.

All the baddies are back for this one including Morgana who everyone (but the reader) thinks died when her son Sebastian (and the 3rd son in the prophecy) brings the house down on her head at the end of book 1. Morgana should win an award for being the meanest Mom ever and you spend most of the booking waiting for her to get her comeuppance. I quite enjoyed this instalment. I thought that while Verity was a bit of a stereotype, I enjoyed reading about the dark and broody Adrian. I appreciated that the sexy bits didn't come in the way of the plot line....not to say that there weren't any but Adrian and Verity weren't getting frisky when they were supposed to be finding the Chalice or trying not to get killed. Overall, a nice little magical, romance dalliance to make the daily commute feel all that much more shorter.


Melanie's Week in Review - October 23, 2016
For book 2 I returned to something I started back in July - The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin. This is the third and final instalment of The Passage series. I have to say straight off I really struggled to finish this book. I forced myself to read about 40% back in July/August and almost abandoned it but the hubinator said to persevere so decided to press on through and finish it. The story starts about 20-30 years after the end of book 2 where the virals were killed when Amy sacrifices herself to kill off The Twelve original virals. Well we think Amy has died but has she really? Most of the main characters from book 2 are back and enjoying life with a bit more normality but something more sinister, much more evil is lurking in the shadows and ready to tear away humanity one last time.

What I really didn't like about this book was the level of detail that Cronin went into to describe the life of the very first victim of virus - Fanning. His life was described in minute detail and I felt like Cronin was going to start to tell us how many times Fanning brushed his teeth or hair by one point. Also, the manner in which the story is told - mainly through a dream or hallucination - means I had practically no clue what is going on for most of the first half of the book. The plot doesn't really start to get interesting until you are almost 70% into the book. Considering it is over 600 pages long that is quite an investment of time to be both confused and bored. I also it a struggle to remember who was who as there were so many characters and that it has been a few years since I read The Twelve. As both books are quite long I didn't really want to go back an re-read so overall it was a real struggle to pick back up on the relationships between characters. In my humble opinion if I was going to read this book I would read the first few chapters and then skip to about a quarter from the end as you are unlikely to miss any salient parts of the plot by missing out on the Fanning past life chapters.


That is it for me this week.  I hope you have a great week ahead and wish me luck on getting through some more on my TBR. Happy Reading!





Hexbound
The Dark Arts 2
Lochaber Press Pty. Ltd, October 18, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 356 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October 23, 2016
It should have been an easy task…

Verity Hastings has a little trick: she can find anything, no matter where it’s hidden. It’s a skill that’s kept her safe and fed all the way from the orphanages and workhouses of her youth. But when she steals a mysterious item for a masked man, she knows the con is on her this time.

In order to protect herself from his associates, she can turn to only one person: Adrian Bishop, the sorcerer she stole the relic from.

Scarred recluse Adrian Bishop is rarely surprised anymore. But when a rather enticing little handful turns up on his doorstep, claiming to be his mysterious thief, he doesn’t know what to think. He needs the relic back, no matter the cost, and he’s not above using Verity to find it. But as Verity begins to sneak under his guard, for the first time in years there’s a ray of light in his dark world. He will do anything to protect her – anything – but can Verity ever love him once she learns the truth of his dark talents? And will he be able to protect her from the trap he sent her into himself?





The City of Mirrors
The Passage Trilogy 3
Ballantine Books, May 24, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 624 pages
Trade Paperback, May 16, 2017

Melanie's Week in Review - October 23, 2016
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A thrilling finale to a trilogy that will stand as one of the great achievements in American fantasy fiction.”—Stephen King

You followed The Passage. You faced The Twelve. Now enter The City of Mirrors for the final reckoning. As the bestselling epic races to its breathtaking finale, Justin Cronin’s band of hardened survivors await the second coming of unspeakable darkness.

The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place?

The Twelve have been destroyed and the terrifying hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew—and daring to dream of a hopeful future.

But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy—humanity’s only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him.

One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 16, 2016


Melanie's Week in Review - October 16, 2016


It's a big happy milestone birthday to my sister Lauranne who introduced me to fantasy not so many years ago. I am missing the party and the cake but if I wasn't, you would be missing my post! It was a week of shorts rather than a short week. So what did I read?


Melanie's Week in Review - October 16, 2016
Amazon keeps popping up Grace Draven's short story Wyvern at me whenever I browse for books so I thought it was time I give it a go. In this story Elsbeth makes a brave deal with the wyvern that has been terrorising her community. Elsbeth has offered to entertain the wyvern by playing her fiddle in order to save her grandfather for getting lynched. Elsbeth soon finds herself drawn the large beast that reminds her lost but not forgotten love. What Elsbeth has yet to realise is that the wyvern is none other than Alaric the bard she lost her heart to years before. Can Alaric convince her he is more than the fearsome beast who has put her beloved grandfather in danger?

I thought this short story was OK. I wasn't wowed but I wasn't completely bored either. The song 'The Devil Went Down to Georgia' kept running through my head when I came to the parts where Elsbeth was making the deal with Alaric to play her fiddle to save her grandfather. I thought it was mediocre in comparison to some of Draven's other works.


Melanie's Week in Review - October 16, 2016
Amazon also recommended Bec McMaster's short story The Many Lives of Hadley Monroe. In this tale Hadley actually makes a deal with Death to give her more time with her dying grandmother. She has a month to answer Death's question and in the process of trying to find the answer she comes to realise there is more to Death than a black cloak and a scythe.

This was a very short story indeed. I think it took me no more than a half hour to read. Again, I was a bit disappointed. I am not sure whether it was the super short length of this story that bothered me or the fact that Hadley very quickly started to make 'swoony' eyes at the grim reaper.


Melanie's Week in Review - October 16, 2016
Still on the short story theme and this time from NetGalley I received Shadowed Souls. This is a anthology of short stories by various authors including Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Tanya Huff, and Rob Thurman. The anthology is edited by Jim Butcher and Kerrie L. Hughes. Butcher wrote the foreword and describes how a pack of coyotes are circling his house, waiting in anticipation for his elderly pet dog to come outside. He scares them off in defence of his beloved pet but acknowledges that they aren't evil just predators who are doing what is instinctual. This sets the theme of this anthology - predators who aren't evil but do bad things.

I won't tell you about every story but what I can say that I liked some better than others. Notably, Jim Butcher's which was set in the Harry Dresden world and told from Molly's POV. This was a chilling tale indeed and very good. I also loved Tanya Huff's short from the Vicky Nelson series. I loved that series and it was great to find out what Vicki has been up to since the end of the series. I also thought Rob Thurman's contribution was very tense as was Kristine Kathryn Rusch's. I haven't read anything from Rusch before and I liked her tale of the grief stricken Kaylee. I think I will be checking out more from this author. I didn't feel that all of the shorts lived up to the 'predator' label especially Seanan McGuire's. I have to say that her predator the succubus Elsie wasn't very predatory at all. Overall, I enjoyed this anthology and found a couple of authors I am going to investigate further.


That is it for me this week...short and sweet (tee hee). Until next week Happy Reading!





Wyvern
A Dragon Shifter Novella
Grace Draven, September 5, 2016
eBook, 88 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October 16, 2016
Eight years earlier the talented fiddler, Elsbeth Weaver, gave up the man she loved to care for her ailing grandfather. Now, she must risk her life to save her grandfather from a lynching by playing for the wyvern terrorizing the countryside. When she comes face-to-face with the beast at the haunted cliffs of Maldoza, she is both frightened and fascinated. Something about the creature reminds her of the bard who once stole her heart, something more than just a shared name.

Alaric has never stopped loving the human woman he left behind in a dusty village almost a decade before. When he meets her again at Maldoza, wearing old dragon armor and playing her fiddle as if her heart would break, he is overjoyed. Elsbeth doesn’t know her erstwhile lover is only an illusion for the wyvern, and Alaric must convince her that the heart of the beast is no less devoted than the heart of the man.

~Second edition. Originally published by Amber Quill Press in 2007~

Note: Some scenes contain graphic descriptions of physical intimacy.





The Many Lives of Hadley Monroe
Lochaber Press, April 4, 2016
eBook, 52 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October 16, 2016
When the clock stops ticking, and the storm rolls in, Hadley Monroe knows exactly what’s going on. Forty years ago her grandfather made a pact with Death, and now Death has come calling again.

Forced to make her own deal with the reaper, Hadley has only three weeks to answer his question, or he’ll take her grandmother too. The problem is, there’s no way to answer it, and three weeks is not long enough with the reaper who’s beginning to steal her heart…

Warning: This short story has been previously published in the Mammoth Book Of Southern Gothic Romance.





Shadowed Souls
Roc, November 1, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October 16, 2016
In this dark and gritty collection—featuring short stories from Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Kevin J. Anderson, and Rob Thurman—nothing is as simple as black and white, light and dark, good and evil..

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what makes it so easy to cross the line.


In #1 New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher’s Cold Case, Molly Carpenter—Harry Dresden’s apprentice-turned-Winter Lady—must collect a tribute from a remote Fae colony and discovers that even if you’re a good girl, sometimes you have to be bad…

New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire’s Sleepover finds half-succubus Elsie Harrington kidnapped by a group of desperate teenage boys. Not for anything “weird.” They just need her to rescue a little girl from the boogeyman. No biggie.

In New York Times bestselling Kevin J. Anderson’s Eye of Newt, Zombie P.I. Dan Shamble’s latest client is a panicky lizard missing an eye who thinks someone wants him dead. But the truth is that someone only wants him for a very special dinner…

And New York Times bestselling author Rob Thurman’s infernally heroic Caliban Leandros takes a trip down memory lane as he deals wih some overdue—and nightmarish—vengeance involving some quite nasty Impossible Monsters.

ALSO INCLUDES STORIES BY
Tanya Huff * Kat Richardson * Jim C. Hines * Anton Strout * Lucy A. Snyder * Kristine Kathryn Rusch * Erik Scott de Bie *

Melanie's Week in Review - September 18, 2016


Melanie's Week in Review - September 18, 2016


Hello everyone! Sorry, I have been away for so long. If you read this weekly (normally) post you would know I have been away and then I was really naughty the week I came back and didn't read anything. This week however, was an improvement but not much. I won't give you any excuses but rather I will tell you what I have been up to on the reading front.


Melanie's Week in Review - September 18, 2016
I discovered that Bec McMaster has started a new series which is set in the same world as her London Steampunk series. In fact the new series includes a number of the same characters.

Mission: Improper is the first novel in London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy series and takes place three years after the events of Silk and Steam (London Steampunk 5) where the Prince Consort was overthrown and now humans, mechs and werewolves have equal standing with the Echelon. Not surprisingly not everyone is very happy with the change in social standing of the former lower classes. When entire families start to go missing a covert group of agents are recruited to try to solve the mystery but what they find is a monster so dangerous that they may not survive to save the day.

The first to be recruited is Caleb Bryne the tall, dark and handsome Nighthawk who jumps at the opportunity to solve the case. However, when he discovers that he is going to be partnered with the fiery verwulfen Ingrid, he starts to regret his decision. Caleb and Ingrid have a past and are determined to dislike each other. However, the closer they have to work together the more their attraction grows. Ingrid and Caleb are the original odd couple and their romance may be as dangerous as their mission.

I was a bit surprised that McMaster decided to set another series in the same world especially with some of the same characters from the first series. It has been a while since I read any of the books from the London Steampunk series so it took me a while to remember who some of the crossover characters were and their relationships to the characters in this new series. This meant I had to do a mini re-read of endings of the final two novels. It didn't take long for it to all to come back to me. I like the new plot arc for this series and am looking forward to finding out what happens next but I hope that McMaster doesn't just repeat the romance plots from the previous novels.


The other new book on my reading radar this week was the second book in The First Empire series by Michael J. Sullivan, Age of Swords. I have been super lucky to be selected as a beta reader again by Sullivan and am really enjoying this new novel in the series. I can't tell you much about it at the moment but stay tuned for my review in a few months. Until then keep your fingers crossed I get through a few more books so I have more to tell you about next week. Happy Reading!





Mission: Improper
London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy 1
Lochaber Press Pty. Ltd, August 16, 2016
eBook, 360 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - September 18, 2016
Three years ago, London society changed forever, with a revolution placing the widowed Queen firmly on the throne her blue blood husband tried to take from her. Humans, verwulfen and mechs are no longer considered the lesser classes, but not everybody is happy with the new order...

Entire families have gone missing in the East End. When Caleb Byrnes receives an invitation to join the Company of Rogues as an undercover agent pledged to protect the crown, he jumps at the chance to find out who, or what, is behind the disappearances. Hunting criminals is what the darkly driven blue blood does best, and though he prefers to work alone, the opportunity is too good to resist.

The problem? He's partnered with Ingrid Miller, the fiery and passionate verwulfen woman who won a private bet against him a year ago. Byrnes has a score to settle, but one stolen kiss and suddenly the killer is not the only thing Byrnes is interested in hunting.

Soon they're chasing whispered rumours of a secret project gone wrong, and a monster that just might be more dangerous than either of them combined. The only way to find out more is to go undercover among the blue blood elite... But when their hunt uncovers a mysterious conspiracy, Byrnes and Ingrid must set aside their age-old rivalry if they have any chance at surviving a treacherous plot.





London Steampunk


Melanie's Week in Review - September 18, 2016
Kiss of Steel
London Steampunk 1
Sourcebooks Casablanca, September 4, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

Honoria Todd has more secrets than most people and she's hiding them in Whitechapel. Blade is the master of the rookeries and agrees to protect her, but at what price?

Most people avoid the dreaded Whitechapel district. For Honoria Todd, it's the last safe haven as she hides from the Blue Blood aristocracy that rules London through power and fear.

Blade rules 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.




Melanie's Week in Review - September 18, 2016
Tarnished Knight
London Steampunk 1.5
Bec McMaster, April 1, 2013
eNovella, 162 pages

In the steam-fuelled world of Victorian London, vampires, werewolves and slasher gangs stalk the night and a man made partly of metal is about to discover just how far he’ll go to protect the woman he loves…

After a vicious vampire attack left him struggling to leash the dark urges of the craving virus, John ‘Rip’ Doolan, thinks he’s finally starting to master the darkness within. The only thing that threatens to shatter his hard-won control is Esme, his closest friend and the only woman he’s ever wanted. If the stubborn beauty ever realised precisely what was going through his mind, their friendship would be ruined…

For six months Esme has waited for Rip to recover and take her as his thrall, not daring to hope for more. Too afraid to put her heart on the line, she’s devastated when Rip reveals that he never had any intentions of making her his.

But when a savage gang of Slashers start causing havoc in Whitechapel, Rip and Esme have no choice. They must face up to the depth of the passion that burns between them and forge a new relationship… or risk losing each other forever.




Melanie's Week in Review - September 18, 2016
Heart of Iron
London Steampunk 2
Sourcebooks Casablanca, May 7, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

In Victorian London, if you're not a blue blood of the Echelon then you're nothing at all. The Great Houses rule the city with an iron fist, imposing their strict "blood taxes' on the nation, and the Queen is merely a puppet on a string...

Lena Todd makes the perfect spy. Nobody suspects the flirtatious debutante could be a sympathizer for the humanist movement haunting London's vicious blue blood elite. Not even the ruthless Will Carver, the one man she can't twist around her little finger, and the one man whose kiss she can't forget...

Stricken with the loupe and considered little more than a slave-without-a-collar to the blue bloods, Will wants nothing to do with the Echelon or the dangerous beauty who drives him to the very edge of control. But when he finds a coded letter on Lena-a code that matches one he saw on a fire-bombing suspect-he realizes she's in trouble. To protect her, he must seduce the truth from her.

With London on the brink of revolution, Lena and Will must race against time-and an automaton army-to stop the humanist plot before it's too late. But as they fight to save a city, the greatest danger might just be to their hearts...




Melanie's Week in Review - September 18, 2016
My Lady Quicksilver
London Steampunk 3
Sourcebooks Casablanca, October 1, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

Determined to destroy the Echelon she despises, Rosalind Fairchild is on seemingly easy mission. Get in. Uncover the secrets of her brother's disappearance. And get out.

In order to infiltrate the Nighthawks and find their leader, Blue Blooded Sir Jasper Lynch, Rosalind will pose as their secretary. A dangerous mission, but Rosalind is also the elusive Mercury, a leader in the humanist movement.

But she doesn't count on Lynch being such a dangerously charismatic man, challenging her at every turn, forcing her to re-evaluate everything she knows about the enemy. He could be her most dangerous nemesis—or the ally she never dreamed existed.




Melanie's Week in Review - September 18, 2016
The Curious Case of the Clockwork Menace
London Steampunk 3.5
Bec McMaster, August 14, 2014
eNovella, 151 pages

Friends, partners, and professionals. So just why is this case coming between them?

In a Victorian London ruled by the blood-drinking elite, Perry Lowell is a logical and accomplished Nighthawk: a rogue blue blood who tracks murderers and thieves for the Guild. So when she and her charming-but-reckless partner, Garrett, are charged with finding a missing theatre starlet, it should be a simple solve.

But with an entire theatre of suspects, including a flirtatious understudy and whispers of a Clockwork Menace haunting the place, tension is brewing between the pair of them. Can they come together to solve the case - or will it be too late, when the murderer turns his gaze on Perry herself?

Warning: This is not a complete HEA. It's a pre-romance novella featuring the couple who will find their HEA in Forged By Desire (available Sept 2014). Heads will butt, tempers will flare - and perhaps one of them might come to realise just what the other truly means to them?




Melanie's Week in Review - September 18, 2016
Forged by Desire
London Steampunk 4
Sourcebooks Casablanca, September 2, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

A FEAR SHE CAN’T ESCAPE

Ten years ago, Perry fled her thrall contract to find sanctuary among the Nighthawks. In that time, she’s become a respected woman of the Guard, and she’s wanted Garrett Reed for as long as she can remember. But when a new case takes a chillingly familiar turn, Perry finds herself once again in the path of a madman…only this time, there’s nowhere left to run.

A DESIRE THAT CAN’T BE TEMPERED

Out of their depth and racing against time, Perry and Garrett must learn to trust the desire sparking between them…or risk losing themselves forever to the darkness stalking London’s streets.




Melanie's Week in Review - September 18, 2016
Of Silk and Steam
London Steampunk 5
Sourcebooks Casablanca, March 3, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

ENEMIES. ALLIES. LOVERS.

When her beloved father was assassinated, Lady Aramina swore revenge. The man responsible is well beyond her grasp, but his dangerously seductive heir, Leo Barrons, is fair game. When Mina obtains evidence proving that Leo is illegitimate, she has the means to destroy both the killer and his son, a man who troubles her heart and tempts her body.

A woman of mystery, Mina’s long driven Leo crazy with glimpses of a fiery passion that lurks beneath her icy veneer. He knows she’s hiding something, and he’s determined to unravel her layer by silken layer. He just doesn’t expect the beautiful liar to be the key to overthrowing the corrupt prince consort…or to saving his own carefully walled-off heart.

Bec McMaster lives in a small town in Victoria, Australia and grew up with her nose in a book. A member of RWA, RWA (Australia) and RWNZ, 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.


Melanie's Week in Review - June 19, 2016


Melanie's Week in Review - June 19, 2016


Hello readers.  I hope you didn't miss me too much since my last WIR post on the 5th June! I did leave you with a review of Stiletto by Daniel O'Malley last week so hopefully that was a suitable replacement.  I haven't been doing as much travelling recently so my ability to read has dwindled a bit but I have plans to pick up the pace over the next few weeks. Enough of the excuses. What did I read?


Melanie's Week in Review - June 19, 2016
Amazon very helpfully suggested a new series for me - The Dark Arts by Bec McMaster. Shadowbound, book number 1 in the series, has been released and as I have been reading her London Steampunk series I thought I would give this new one a go.

Shadowbound is described as a Victoriana paranormal romance but for at least the first half it verged more into erotica than romance. The story starts when the lovely Miss Ianthe Martin gains the release of the equally handsome Lucien,  Earl of Rathborne, from Bedlam. She needs his help and his magical abilities to track down a magical relic that has the power to wreak death and destruction across London. Lucien isn't that inclined to help Ianthe as she was the person who put him in Bedlam the year before, after he summoned a demon that killed his father and seriously injured the Prime (head of their magical order). In order to gain his help Ianthe and Lucien make a blood pact that he will help her during the day and he will help himself to Ianthe during the night. This makes for a steamy start to the novel which leads them on the quest for the relic before everything and everyone they loved are victims of its power when in the wrong hands.

I thought that Shadowbound was OK. Despite the fact I have read McMaster's London Steampunk series which has quite a bit of sex in it there is usually some form of 'stop it I love it' that happens first. I think the sex happened way too early in the story to give the later romance much credibility. Ianthe was supposed to be strong and upstanding yet she allows herself to be treated like an object for Lucien's revenge. I thought that as the story progressed that their relationship improved and as a result they became more two dimensional. The story ends on a cliffhanger with a teaser epilogue which felt rushed to me as what happens to two of the characters doesn't make sense. I can't say more without giving the plot away so you will have to read the book to see if you agree with me.


Melanie's Week in Review - June 19, 2016
The Qwillery is very honoured to be part of Mark Lawrence's Self Published Fantasy Blog Off 2016 and I have been reading through some of the entries. I am going to tell you about Aneeka Richins' The Wanted Child. This is the first instalment of the Chaos Gods series which tells the story of the fifteen year old Ki who in order to save her parents becomes a servant of the fallen god Tavk. She has to complete all of his missions and the final one may well and truly be her final one. She is sent to be a the trainer for De, the handsome 18 year old who is fated to be the Hero of the gods. He is also fated to kill 'the wanted child' who is none other than Ki. Caught by her pledge to save her parents Ki is signing her own death warrant by training De.

The Wanted Child is definitely written for the younger reader and I normally enjoy youth fiction as I have read a number of great books in this genre before. I didn't however, enjoy reading Richins' tale of Ki and the fallen gods.  It was almost 50% of the way into the book that we learn anything about the fallen lands, any of the other lands and why Ki's parents need protection. This made it very difficult to get into the story and understand why Ki was in the situation she was in. I never really understood why Ki was the only one who could save her parents and why as fifteen year old she was the only one who could attempt it. She didn't come across as being a credible heroine (or anti-heroine) and De was portrayed as very immature and innocent. The dialogue and characterisation really reminded me of a video game by Bioware called The Jade Empire. It was one of the first RPGs that Bioware developed and the plot-line was very linear, the characters one dimensional and the dialogue fairly basic. I quit playing part way through as it was just a bit boring after playing some of their more developed and sophisticated games. Perhaps if I was a teenager I would have appreciated Ki as a character a bit better but as an adult she just wasn't well written enough to keep my interest and helped me to engage with her struggle to win her parents freedom.


That is all for me this week. I plan to be able to tell you a bit more about the books from SPFBO 2016 next week. Until then Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - February 22, 2015


Melanie's Week in Review - February 22, 2015


I decided to not let February get me down and fought back the SAD with some lovely books that I had been looking forward to reading. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - February 22, 2015
A big thank you goes out the lovely people at Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for approving my NetGalley request for Soulbound by Kristen Callihan. I was looking forward to finding out what was going to happen after the events of book 5  - Evernight. This is the sixth in the Darkest London series which finds the king of the GIM, Adam in the hands of Mab after failing to win his soul mate - Eliza May's heart. Eliza May however, had been enjoying the creature comforts of her aunt Mab's court until she discovered that the tables have turned on her former captor Adam who is now Mab's prisoner. Can Eliza May forgive Adam for what he did or will she leave him to Mab's less than caring hands? While Adam is imprisoned the spell that allows the GIM to survive is weakening causing many to die. Two of the series favourite GIM - Mary and Daisy are suffering due to what is happening to Adam and may not survive. A lot relies on Adam's survival but can Eliza May forgive what he did to her? Well you will have to read to find out.

Callihan uses Soulbound to effectively fill in the gaps of the history of the GIM and to describe how Adam created them. Through the emerging romance between Eliza May and Adam we learn what happened to him centuries earlier to earn Mab's wrath and become the king of the dead. Throughout the series Adam is described as the ultimate heart throb, however I didn't find his romance with Eliza May that steamy. Maybe Callihan used up all her smolder on Will Thorne and Holly Evernight. I did think however, that Callihan was very clever in using the weakening of the GIM to involve the main characters from her other novels. She did it such a way that it didn't sound contrived. Callihan also teases us with some glimpses of what could happen in the next book specifically with the character St. John aka Sin who has up until now has been on the periphery of the other stories. This wasn't my favourite of the series as I felt a little let down by the lack of chemistry of the two lead characters but I thought there were some excellent 'reveals' and I can hardly wait to find out what Callihan has in store for poor Sin.


Melanie's Week in Review - February 22, 2015Despite the fact I had several books on my TBR I ended up perusing my Amazon recommendations. Prince of Hearts by Margaret Foxe has been staring at me for months and I finally relented and bought it. This is the first in the Elders and Welders series. Miss Aline Finch is sick of being taken advantage of by her employer, Professor Romanov. She is determined to quit and marry her more staid (albeit boring) finance but Romanov isn't having it. Not only has he discovered he quite fancies his bespectacled, gambling addict of a personal secretary but someone is out to hurt him by hurting her. Can he save her and win her heart?

I starting this book thinking it was going to be quite amusing. Aline was very prickly and this combined with her love of betting made for some humorous scenes. However, the plot was pretty linear and I had guessed who the ultimate baddy was before I was midway through the book. I wouldn't say it was a waste of time but I don't think I will be continuing with the series.


Melanie's Week in Review - February 22, 2015
Next up was Of Silk and Steam by Bec McMaster which is the 5th in the London Steampunk series. You could be convinced by reading the book summary that this was just another HEA romance set McMaster's steampunky London. There is so much more to this story than just the hot and steamy that the lovely Duchess Aramina and the handsome Leo Barrons get up to. I will admit there is a lot of heat and steam between these two but its the culmination of the plot arc that started back earlier in the series that takes plot from some fairly standard PNR to nail biting tenseness. Of course, the lovely Duchess hates Barron as she blames his family for the death of her beloved father. She tries to keep Barrons at arms length but Leo is too persistent and determined to gain her heart. McMaster develops and resolves the plot of the evil Prince Consort with a nail biting battle in which all our favourite characters from previous books fight for their lives and their freedom. One of my favourites characters of the series  - Blade is back and dropping his 'hs' all over London as the cockney blueblood fights to keep the Echelon out of Whitechapel.

I believe this is the final book of the series as it certainly read like it was. McMaster wraps up all the sub-plots with a lovely bow for the reader and I got to spend some time with all the characters I have enjoyed reading about in the last 4 books. I liked this book and not just because I got to read more about Blade. I had forgotten about Leo Barrons, the blueblood half brother of Honoria and Lena from books 1 and 2 and so it took me a few chapters to remind myself what happened in the earlier books. I quite liked the Duchess as an ass kicking heroine. McMaster knows how to create strong and defiant female characters who can still fight a good fight while wearing an bullet proof corset and bustle. Not an easy task! Great ending to an enjoyable series.


That is it for my steampunky week in review. I hope you have a great week ahead and Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - January 11, 2015



Melanie's Week in Review - January 11, 2015


First week back to work and back to big long commutes. While all memory of my nice long break is over I did manage to read a couple of excellent books. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - January 11, 2015
I started the week with a present from my friend Richard - The Masked Empire by Patrick Weekes. This is one of a series of books based on the Dragon Age series (video game). This particular book is set in the Kingdom of Orlais in the court of Empress Celene. Orlais is a country of wealth where the nobles wear masks and play deadly political games. Celene has ruled the kingdom since she was a young girl and her constant companion (and lover) is the elf Briala. When an elven uprising threatens the peace  in Orlais Celene rides in with her guards to administer swift justice. What she doesn't realise is that the Grand Duke Gaspard has set a very careful trap for Celene so that he can gain the throne himself. The game is afoot!

While this story is set within the world of the Dragon Age series this book is self contained and would be suitable even for those who aren't familiar with either the characters or the environment. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and thought the plot was well crafted and didn't rely on previous knowledge of Orlais or its history/politics.

Melanie's Week in Review - January 11, 2015My second book this week was one I received from the lovely people at Solaris via NetGalley - Cannonbridge by Jonathan Barnes. Dr. Toby Judd's life is about the change whether he wants it to or not. Judd decides to make a stand and declare that the prodigious author Matthew Cannonbridge is a fake. This declaration, so close to the bicentenary celebration of Cannonbridge's most famous works sets off a deadly chain of events. The story moves quickly between Toby in present day and Cannonbridge's life as he meets almost every famous literary character from Byron and Shelley, to Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde. Cannonbridge is a mystery indeed as the saviour to some and the downfall of others, he never changes and never grows old. Can Toby discover the truth before its too late?

Cannonbridge is an excellent book. I have to warn you though that housework or homework won't get done the minute you start this book. It definitely falls into the 'can't put down' category. I was never quite sure what was going to happen and couldn't help but cheer Toby on even though he was rather pathetic. Cannonbridge was a complete mystery and darkness personified. This book will be released by Solaris on the February 10th and I can't urge you enough to pre-order it now.

Melanie's Week in Review - January 11, 2015
I discovered via Facebook that there was a new of Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences anthology - Ministry Protocol.  Needless to say I quickly downloaded it.. I have only read a few short stories so far as you can only have so much fun at once! I particularly enjoyed the contribution by Karina Cooper. More to come over the next few weeks.

Melanie's Week in Review - January 11, 2015
Continuing on the short story/novella theme I downloaded the The Curious Case of the Clockwork Menace by Bec McMaster. This is a mini mystery from the London Steampunk series. The Nighthawks Gareth and Perry are involved in the case of the missing actress. This story is set immediately before these two characters full length novel Forged by Desire and is a bit of a teaser for the romance to come. I thought the story was OK but McMaster made a big point about one of the plot items and then seemed to forget about it towards the end. I also thought the cover, including the model, was too similar to the latest books in Karina Cooper's Cherry St. Croix series but that is just me being a book cover snob.

That is it for me for this week. I have been buying books recently so I hope to have a few more updates to tell about next week. Until then Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - September 7, 2014


Melanie's Week in Review - September 7, 2014



*** BUMPER WEEK IN REVIEW ***

Yes folks I have a bumper crop of books to tell you about. I finished 5 books and mid-way though a 6th. So no messing around. What did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - September 7, 2014
Melanie's Week in Review - September 7, 2014If you read my WIR last week you will remember that I read Evernight (Darkest London 5) by Kristen Callihan and was a tad ashamed to say I couldn't remember the series or the characters. I decided to go back and read a few of the books. I started back at the beginning with Firelight, moved quickly onto Moonglow and ended my re-read with Winterblaze. I have discussed these books before so I won't bore with the details again. The first time I read the books I had the biggest issue with Moonglow  and while I still thought the explanation of the GIM (Ghost in the Machine) was flawed there was something else that bothered me this time I read it. I thought I would explain this in the form of a quiz.

Imagine you are arriving back at your lycan lover's stately home and are involved in a serious case of heavy petting in the back of the carriage (tee hee...petting your werewolf boyfriend....tee hee) when your most beloved sister arrives to inform you that your brother-in-law has been mortally wounded in a werewolf attack.  Do you ....

a)  ignore your sister and continue with the hot and steamy with your furry honey;
b)  go with your sister to the bedside of your brother-in-law only to leave your shell-shocked sister alone to go back to your love interest's home for some 'tupping';
c)  pop down to the local pub for a nice lunch as all the excitement makes you hungry;

or

d)  all of the above.

Well which do you think the heroine of Moonglow chose to do? Please let me know! I decided not to bother with book 4, Shadow Dance, as everything had come back to me and I had other books to read.

Melanie's Week in Review - September 7, 2014
I was quite excited to discover that not 1 but 2 books I had pre-ordered on Amazon had popped down onto my Kindle. I started with Knight's Honor by Thea Harrison which is the 7th in the Elder Races series. This book is a bit of a departure from the previous books and doesn't centre on Dragos, Pia or one of the Sentinels. This time it tells the story of the mousey, shy, computer geek Tess who finds herself as a human attendant in the dangerous vampire, Xavier. Tess is on the run and trying to hide from a revengeful Djinn. Tess has got everything and nothing to lose by working for the hunky vamp, except maybe her heart...of course (this is PNR after all).

I like the fact that Harrison chose to write a book in the Elder Races world but not about Dragos or Pia (or friends). I also like the fact it was set back at the same time as the Sentinel Wars so before book 6 - Kinked. However, I think the characters are a bit bland and far too goody good for my liking. Tess is quite dull which is disappointing as I think Harrison missed a trick by not exploiting her humanity and computer genius skills. Xavier is a former priest/assassin/spy who quotes poetry to his lady love and tries to teach her to waltz. Not very gritty. Even still it is a quick read and quite good on a long tube journey.

Melanie's Week in Review - September 7, 2014Book number 5 on my reading list for the week was Forged by Desire* by Bec McMaster. This is the 4th book in the London Steampunk series and tells the love story of Captain Garrett Reed and his fellow Nighthawk Perry. Reed never noticed the mannish Perry until she displayed her assets in a lovely ball gown while in disguise in The Curious Case of the Clockwork Menace (a novella). Reed is suffering from the ill effects of the vampire disease and there is only a matter of time before he turns into a violent killer. In the meantime Perry is confronting a secret from her past while investigating the murder of two innocent girls. Can Perry and Garrett get together before her past comes back to haunt her or before Garrett succumbs to the disease?  Well I won't tell you. This is a gritty tale and Perry's past is a deep, dark secret indeed. Some of my favourite characters from the previous books appeared including Blade. You will be glad to know that Honoria still hasn't given him those elocution lessons!

Melanie's Week in Review - September 7, 2014
My final book for this week is Our Broken Sky by Sarah Harian. This is a novella in the Chaos Theory series. I have only just started this so not much to tell. Well that is it for me. I am super impressed with my book reading accomplishments this week. Fingers crossed I don't revert back to my previous poor performance. Until next week Happy Reading.








* You may read an excerpt of Forged by Desire here and see a list of all the books and novellas in this series.


Excerpt from Forged by Desire by Bec McMaster - September 4, 2014

Please welcome Bec McMaster to The Qwillery with an excerpt from Forged by Desire, the 4th novel in the London Steampunk series.



Excerpt from Forged by Desire by Bec McMaster - September 4, 2014




It all starts with a dare.

Garrett Reed, Master of the Nighthawks Guild of thief-catchers, has always equated his partner, Perry, with breeches. For a man who knows women through-and-through, he rarely thinks of her as feminine. And when a case requires Perry to go undercover in a gorgeous red dress, Garrett cannot even imagine his friend pulling it off. Perry? In a dress? The idea is utterly ludicrous.

For Perry, who's been half in love with him for years, Garrett's laughter is like a red flag to a bull. She'll show him - and then the joke will be on him. The problem is, she never expected it to change matters between them forever...

Here's a little excerpt from Forged By Desire, following that life-changing mission:

       Garrett closed the black lacquered door to the steam carriage as he stepped down. Perry had swept her driving goggles up on top of her head, the glossy black strands of her hair tumbling in disarray. Cursing under her breath, she pulled the lever that shut off the oxygen valve to the boilers and waited for the steam carriage to hiss itself into a whispered death. Little half-moons of soot stained her cheeks, a sight that almost brought a smile to his face.
       She didn’t look at him. She hadn’t in over a month, not directly. As though looking at him meant she too would have to confront what had happened at the opera. The turning point in both their lives.
       A sudden reckless frustration swept through him. “Here,” he said, stepping forward and offering her his arm to help her down.
       “You’ve never helped me down before,” Perry said with a sudden scowl. “I know you’re struggling to reconcile the fact that I’m actually female, but that doesn’t suddenly make me useless. Just because I wore a dress, it doesn’t change anything.”
       Swinging her legs off the driver’s seat, she slid down into the spare few inches between his body and the carriage. For a moment Garrett was tempted to step back, give her space.
       Instead he stilled.
       Perry realized only too late, freezing in place as she brushed her gloves off against her tight leather breeches. Slowly she lifted her head, gaslight catching the gleaming gray of her eyes. There was an inch between them at most. A single tantalizing inch that he was too aware of.
       “It’s difficult to stop picturing you in that dress,” he replied, forcing his voice to stay soft. He could almost feel the heat of the hunger swimming through his eyes, threatening to drop him over the edge. “Considering how much of you it flaunted.”
       “You can’t help yourself, can you? I never should have worn the dratted thing.”
       Reaching up, his gloved fingers swept at the sooty rings her goggles had left on her cheeks. The motion soothed some part of him. Maybe this was what he needed. Something to ground him. “I said that you could never pass as a female and you wanted to throw my words back in my face. You succeeded. Admirably.”
       Twirling at the bottom of the stairs, the red skirts sweeping around her and the thick, luscious curls of her wig trailing over her shoulder as she shot him such a direct look he could hardly breathe all of a sudden… “Well?” she’d challenged.
       That moment. The moment it all changed. Like some enormous hand reached out and closed its fingers around his heart and lungs, squeezing, forcing the breath out of him.
       Garrett didn’t know how to react now. Perry had recovered flawlessly, resuming her aloof, taciturn persona as though nothing remotely unusual had occurred that night. Gone was the practiced flirtation, the smiles that lit her from within… But he couldn’t forget them. How did you forget something like that? Pretend it had never happened? Pretend that his eye wasn’t drawn to her now, in a way that was distinctly masculine and not at all friend-like?
       The problem was that he now knew a sensual woman existed beneath her logical, focused exterior. If she were any other woman, he would have pursued her relentlessly until he had what he wanted. But this was Perry. Someone he admired, respected, someone he’d give his life for. To cross that line meant their entire friendship - which was evolving, admittedly - would change. And then? He didn’t have a bloody clue what that would mean. But he knew it meant more than sex, more than friendship. Perry deserved nothing less - he just wasn’t certain he could give her what she wanted.
       “You enjoyed making me act like a fool,” Garrett murmured. “Don’t even try to deny it. And now you have to deal with the consequences.”
       Her eyes suddenly gleamed. “You’re right. I did enjoy making a fool of you. The problem is, that I only ever intended for you to act a fool for one night. Not this whole bleeding month.”
       Sliding past him, leaving behind the ghostly fragrance she washed her clothes in, Perry strode toward the factory.



Forged by Desire
London Steampunk 4
Sourcebooks Casablanca, September 2, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

Excerpt from Forged by Desire by Bec McMaster - September 4, 2014
A FEAR SHE CAN’T ESCAPE
Ten years ago, Perry fled her thrall contract to find sanctuary among the Nighthawks. In that time, she’s become a respected woman of the Guard, and she’s wanted Garrett Reed for as long as she can remember. But when a new case takes a chillingly familiar turn, Perry finds herself once again in the path of a madman…only this time, there’s nowhere left to run.

A DESIRE THAT CAN’T BE TEMPERED
Out of their depth and racing against time, Perry and Garrett must learn to trust the desire sparking between them…or risk losing themselves forever to the darkness stalking London’s streets.



And there is a prequel novella to Forged by Desire. It's free until the end of September!

The Curious Case of the Clockwork Menace
London Steampunk 3.5
Bec McMaster, August 14, 2014
eNovella

Excerpt from Forged by Desire by Bec McMaster - September 4, 2014
Friends, partners, and professionals. So just why is this case coming between them?

In a Victorian London ruled by the blood-drinking elite, Perry Lowell is a logical and accomplished Nighthawk: a rogue blue blood who tracks murderers and thieves for the Guild. So when she and her charming-but-reckless partner, Garrett, are charged with finding a missing theatre starlet, it should be a simple solve.

But with an entire theatre of suspects, including a flirtatious understudy and whispers of a Clockwork Menace haunting the place, tension is brewing between the pair of them. Can they come together to solve the case - or will it be too late, when the murderer turns his gaze on Perry herself?

Warning: This is not a complete HEA. It's a pre-romance novella featuring the couple who will find their HEA in Forged By Desire (available Sept 2014). Heads will butt, tempers will flare - and perhaps one of them might come to realise just what the other truly means to them?





Previously in the Darkest London series

My Lady Quicksilver
London Steampunk 3
Sourcebooks Casablanca, October 1, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

Excerpt from Forged by Desire by Bec McMaster - September 4, 2014
In the mist-shrouded streets of a steam-fueled London, a clockwork army is on the rise, vampire blue bloods rule the streets, and war is brewing...

I Will Come For You...

He will find her no matter what. As a blue-blooded captain of the Nighthawk Guard, his senses are keener than most. Some think he's indestructible. But once he finds the elusive Mercury, what will he do with her?

It's his duty to turn her in—she's a notorious spy and traitor. But after one stolen moment, he can't forget the feel of her in his arms, the taste of her, or the sharp sting of betrayal as she slipped off into the night. Little does Mercury know, no one hunts better than the Nighthawk. And his greatest revenge will be to leave her begging for his touch...



Heart of Iron
London Steampunk 2
Sourcebooks Casablanca, May 7, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

Excerpt from Forged by Desire by Bec McMaster - September 4, 2014
In the mist-shrouded streets of London’s dreaded Whitechapel district, werewolves, vampires and a clockwork army are one step away from battle…

No One to Trust

Dangerous. Unpredictable. That's how people know the hulking Will Carver. And those who don't like pretty words just call him The Beat. No matter how hard Will works to suppress his werewulfen side, certain things drive him beyond all control. And saucy Miss Lena Todd tops the list.

Lena makes the perfect spy against the ruling Echelon blue bloods. No one suspects that under the appearance of flirtatious debutante lies a heart of iron. Not even the ruthless Will Carver, the one man she can't wrap around her finger and the one man whose kiss she can never forget. He's supposed to be protecting her, but he might just be her biggest threat yet...



Tarnished Knight
London Steampunk 1.5
Bec McMasster, April 1, 2013
eNovella, 162 pages

Excerpt from Forged by Desire by Bec McMaster - September 4, 2014
In the steam-fuelled world of Victorian London, vampires, werewolves and slasher gangs stalk the night and a man made partly of metal is about to discover just how far he’ll go to protect the woman he loves…

After a vicious vampire attack left him struggling to leash the dark urges of the craving virus, John ‘Rip’ Doolan, thinks he’s finally starting to master the darkness within. The only thing that threatens to shatter his hard-won control is Esme, his closest friend and the only woman he’s ever wanted. If the stubborn beauty ever realised precisely what was going through his mind, their friendship would be ruined…

For six months Esme has waited for Rip to recover and take her as his thrall, not daring to hope for more. Too afraid to put her heart on the line, she’s devastated when Rip reveals that he never had any intentions of making her his.

But when a savage gang of Slashers start causing havoc in Whitechapel, Rip and Esme have no choice. They must face up to the depth of the passion that burns between them and forge a new relationship… or risk losing each other forever.



Kiss of Steel
London Steampunk 1
Sourcebooks Casablanca, September 4, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

Excerpt from Forged by Desire by Bec McMaster - September 4, 2014
He craves her like no other…

Honoria Todd has no choice. Only in the dreaded Whitechapel district can she escape the long reach of the Duke of Vickers. But seeking refuge there will put her straight into the hands of Blade, legendary master of the rookeries. No one would dare cross him, but what price would he demand to keep her safe?

Ever since Vickers infected him with the craving, Blade has been quicker, stronger, almost immortal—and terrified of losing control of the monster within. Honoria could be his perfect revenge against the duke…or the salvation he never dared to dream of.





About Bec

Excerpt from Forged by Desire by Bec McMaster - September 4, 2014
Award-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. Read more about her at www.becmcmaster.com or follow her on Twitter, @BecMcMaster.











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