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Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019


Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019


Bye bye February! It was a blast....sort of maybe..OK maybe not. February was a really topsy-turvy kind of month for me. It all started with one of my beloved fur-babies getting diagnosed with diabetes. Wow....what a change to my schedule and to my non-existent social life that having to give her insulin injections every 12 hours has meant. I don't know which one of us was more stressed out by the injections either! (p.s. it was me!!!!) To make February a bit less exciting the hubinator and I did a gut re-boot diet which involved a lot of salad and no treats. Valentines Day was a chocolate free affair. Then to top it off the last week of February turned unseasonably warm with highs of 17C (62F). While you were shoveling snow I was putting away my winter coat. With all this happening I still managed to finish a few books. Let me tell you all about them.


Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019
Up first is 5th instalment of Bec McMaster's London Steampunk: Blue Blood Conspiracy series - Dukes are Forever. This one starts just a few months after the Company of Rogues rescue their leader Malloryn from Russia. Back in London Malloryn is trying to adjust to life after he was kidnapped and tortured at the hands of Balfour's dhampyrs. Malloryn sees his nemesis Balfour at every turn and starts to suspect his wife Adele of being a spy for him. Determined that she won't get the upper hand he decides to seduce her and discovers all her secrets before she learns his. Adele is determined that Malloryn will not get the upper hand or her heart. Its a battle of wills while the Company of Rogues battle to save the Queen and London. Who will win? Your turn to find out for yourself.

I was a bit surprised that McMaster released this instalment so quickly after book 4 - To Catch a Rogue - which was published in October 2018. Although, it became quite clear how it was possible to release the book so quickly....it was quite disappointing. Adele and Malloryn's romance was a little lackluster especially given that it has been building across multiple books. The whole thing felt quite rushed and there really wasn't enough 'meat' to the plot. It will be interesting to see if McMaster has said goodbye to Steampunk London or whether there will be additional stories set in that world.


Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019
I listened to, rather than read the next book I have to tell you about - The Outlaw and the Upstart King by Rod Duncan. This is the second book in Duncan's The Map of Unknown Things series which is the follow on series from his Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire series. This story starts from the POV of a new character, Elias. He is out for revenge, revenge for the people that cut off his thumbs and made him an outlaw. He has returned to his native Newfoundland in search of justice. However, he meets Elizabeth a mysterious barmaid who is much more than just a barmaid. It's not long before the story switches to Elizabeth, who along with her friends, crashed onto the unforgiving Newfoundland coast. They are desperate to leave and Elias might be the only way to escape.

I have to admit I had no clue what was going on for the first few chapters. It had been awhile since I read The Queen of All Crows (The Map of Unknown Things 1) and I had to jog my memory of what that book was about it. It didn't take long however before was completely gripped. I couldn't figure out how on earth that Elizabeth was going to avoid becoming a slave or worse at the hands of the main antagonist, Jago. Elias seemed incapable of helping himself let alone anyone else so I was flummoxed as to how she would escape. I would definitely describe this as a slow burn plot but it is well worth a read. Duncan creates such interesting characters and then places them in situations where you can't imagine how they are going to survive. I really like the narrator and thought she did an excellent job with both male and female characters. Well done Duncan. It is hard to follow the books from The Fall of the Gas-lit Empire with another terrific series.


Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019
My final book is is a short story. The Test by Sylvain Neuvel (one of my all time fave authors for his The Themis Files) is set in England with Idir about to take the British citizenship test. A simple multiple choice test has turned into a game of life or death and Idir gets to decide.

I had to take the British citizenship test so this story resonated with me and boy I am lucky my test wasn't this harrowing. This short story is a real page turner and rather tragic so be prepared. I don't want to say too much as I don't want to ruin the surprise. Don't miss out and get it on your TBR.



Well that is all for me folks. I hope you have had a less challenging February than I had. I am looking forward to smoother sailing in March and watching my daffodils come out. Until next month...Happy Reading!





Bec McMaster

Dukes Are Forever
London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy 5
Lochaber Press, February 12, 2019
eBook

Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019
A compromising situation forced him into marriage. But has his wife been working for the enemy all along?

In a steam-fuelled world where vampires once ruled the aristocracy, a dangerous conspiracy threatens to topple the queen, and the Duke of Malloryn knows his nemesis has finally returned to enact his plans of revenge.

Malloryn can trust no one, and when incriminating photographs surface—of an enemy agent stealing a kiss from his wife—he is forced to question just why his wife, Adele, trapped him into marriage.

Is she an innocent pawn caught up in a madman's games, or is she a double agent working against him?

The only way to discover the truth is to seduce her himself...

Adele Hamilton may have agreed to a loveless marriage in order to protect herself, but that doesn't stop her heart from yearning for more.

Her husband promised her a cold marriage bed. He swore he'd never touch her. But suddenly he's engaged in a campaign of seduction—and the only way to keep her wits about her is to fight fire with fire.

The ruthless beauty has locked her heart away, but can she deny the passion that flares between them? And when the truth emerges, will she be the only thing that can save Malloryn's life?

Or the weapon his enemy will wield against him?

Join Bec McMaster in this ultimate showdown, as the Blue Blood Conspiracy reaches its final, thrilling conclusion. From glittering ballrooms to blood-soaked gaming hells, the Duke of Malloryn must battle his most dangerous opponent yet.... The woman who just might steal his heart.

Don’t miss any of the London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy books!

Book 1: Mission: Improper
Book 2: The Mech Who Loved Me
Book 3: You Only Love Twice
Book 4: To Catch A Rogue
Book 5: Dukes Are Forever


Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019
Book 1
Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019
Book 2
Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019
Book 3
Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019
Book 4





Rod Duncan

The Outlaw and the Upstart King
The Map of Unknown Things 2
Angry Robot, January 8, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019
Elizabeth Barnabus returns, to uncover the secrets and mysteries of the Gas-Lit Empire, in the startling sequel to The Queen of All Crows.

As it is inked, so shall your oaths and bindings be.

Tattoos are the only law on the Island of the Free, and there can never be a king. Every clan agrees on that. But a returning exile has smuggled something across the water that could send the old ways up in flames. Elias wants revenge on the men who severed his oaths and made him an outlaw. But, if his wealth and honour are to be restored, he’ll need help from the most unlikely quarter – a mysterious woman, landed unwontedly on Newfoundland’s rocky shore.

File Under: Fantasy [ Indelible Promise | The End Begins | Heart on Sleeve | Castaway ]


Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019
Book 1





Sylvain Neuvel

The Test
Tor.com, February 12, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 112 Pages

Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019
Award-winning author Sylvain Neuvel explores an immigration dystopia in The Test

Britain, the not-too-distant future.
Idir is sitting the British Citizenship Test.
He wants his family to belong.
Twenty-five questions to determine their fate. Twenty-five chances to impress.
When the test takes an unexpected and tragic turn, Idir is handed the power of life and death.
How do you value a life when all you have is multiple choice?

Melanie's Month in Review - December 2018


Melanie's Month in Review - December 2018


I can't believe December has come and gone and we are now in 2019. I think time is flying at warp 9! Pretty soon it will be time to tell you what I read in January. I am a bit tardy with this post as too much merriment over the holidays meant that I didn't have time to write this when I thought I would.  I did however, manage to read a couple of good books so lets get to it!


Melanie's Month in Review - December 2018
First up is Genevieve Cogman's The Mortal Word which is the 5th instalment in her Invisible Library series. Irene is enjoying her new life - stealing books for the Library, helping her friend - the great detective Peregrine Vale and enjoying the company of her former apprentice/hunky dragon prince Kai. After almost dying at the hands of the evil Alberich things are looking up...well almost.

After centuries of fighting the Fae and the Dragons are going to make peace and the Library have been asked to mediate the summit where the historial peace treaty is due to be signed. When one of the Dragon delegation is found murdered Irene and the Great Detective are brought in to steal a book and solve the case. Sounds easy? It never is. Irene and friends are in a race against time to find the book, identify the murderer, get the treaty signed and not get killed in the process.

I do love this series, as who doesn't want to work for an invisible library that has portals to alternative worlds? Also, Irene is a great female lead and barely ever needs Kai or Vale to rescue her. However, I was a bit hesitant about reading book 5 as I didn't love book 4 - The Lost Plot. In my opinion, The Mortal Word is a stronger book than its predecessor as I felt the plot picked up elements of the 'Alberich' plot arc and used them effectively. Alberich has a small part to play in the nefarious happenings at the peace summit that both develop Irene as a character and highlight the changes in the Library since he tried to destroy it back in book 3 - The Burning Page. Through the plot we get to learn more about the background and society of the Fae and Dragon races and of the Librarians which makes Cogman's world (or worlds) much more rich and interesting. The ending does feel like it is the actual ending of the story but I believe Cogman will be publishing more books in this series so more opportunities for Irene to get into trouble. Overall, this book was very entertaining as it had just about everything you need for a satisfying read - great characters, a good murder mystery (I only guess quite near the end who 'dunnit'), the right amount of action, and some humour.


Melanie's Month in Review - December 2018
I discovered in my trawl through Kindle recommendations that the next instalment of Bec McMaster's London Steampunk: The Blueblood Conspiracy  - To Catch a Rogue had been released. With their leader captured by the ultimate baddy - Balfour the Company of Rogues find themselves in the Crimson Court all the way in Russia. Joining them on this dangerous mission is Lark who we meet in the original London Steampunk series. She has been brought onto the mission by the Rogues' youngest member Charlie who broke her teenage heart and who was responsible for the death of her beloved caretaker - TinMan. Lark also has a few secrets to hide herself and the Crimson Court is the last place that she wants to be. Can she keep her secrets and help to save the Duke before it's too late?

You can't beat one of McMaster's London Steampunk series if you need something quick to read that has a distinct formula so know what to expect. The Company are down to their nearly final member to get teamed up in a 'I used to hate you now I love you' romance. This time it was Charlie who needed to be paired up with some romantic entanglements and the only other teenager who fit the bill was Lark. While Lark's secret past had some depth to it the romance with Charlie was a bit lacking. Both characters are in their late teens so all the 'heaving and throbbing' was a out of place with these virginal teens. If I was the Duke I wouldn't have been too happy that my captivity at the hands of my arch enemy was lengthened because Charlie and Lark had some serious flirting to do.  One of my fave characters from the previous series plays a part but I won't let it slip who that is. This is a bit of a filler story and I wonder if this is down, in part, to how many books McMaster releases in a single year. The story felt bitty and rushed. I hope that she spends more time with book 5 and impassive Duke Malloryn.


Melanie's Month in Review - December 2018
The final book I have to tell  you about is Todd McAulty's The Robots of Gotham. This has been sitting on my TBR for some time and I thought I needed to give it some space between it and the last book I read about robots taking over the world - Sea of Rust. These two books are nothing alike, luckily!

In McAulty's world sentient robots have taken over much of the world forming governments in some countries and as dictators in others. The US has been torn apart by the war of the machines with Manhattan annexed into a robot monarchy and other parts are under foreign rule. Barry Simcoe is in occupied Chicago when a rogue machine almost kills him and many others. This attack set of a chain of events that will change Barry forever. During the drama that unfolds following the robot attack Barry befriends a Russian medic in the Venezuelan military and a damaged robot 19 Black Winter. Barry unwittingly discovers a robot conspiracy to kill off the rest of humanity by releasing a deadly plague. Barry and his two new friends need to work together to stop this from happening and to try to uncover who is behind it all. It's an epic race against time for not just Barry but the rest of the humanity as well.

I am still a bit tired out from reading The Robots of Gotham as there is so much action and intrigue that I couldn't put it down. The chapters are rather long and filled with action and plot developments so it isn't an easy book to read while commuting. I would often find myself reading while walking down the street so I could get to a natural break in the plot....not easy especially when you are walking down busy London streets!

I loved Barry as a character and he is supported by a great cast of both human and robot companions. 19 Black Winter was hardly your typical robot so prepare yourself for his caustic sense of humor and witty responses to some of Barry's questions. Apart from Barry, I thought it was the non-human characters in this story that are the most interesting. Even though you know who the ultimate baddy is McAulty keeps you guessing until the very last pages to find out if Barry will save the day. It's tense! You have been warned. This was a great book and bit of a surprise how much I liked it. Looking forward reading more about Barry and hopefully 19 Black Winter.


That is all for me for 2018. I hope you enjoyed this post and the new format to my mini-reviews. Until the end of January, Happy Reading!





The Mortal Word
An Invisible Library Novel 5
Ace, November 27, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - December 2018
In the latest novel in Genevieve Cogman’s historical fantasy series, the fate of worlds lies in the balance. When a dragon is murdered at a peace conference, time-travelling Librarian spy Irene must solve the case to keep the balance between order, chaos…and the Library.

When Irene returns to London after a relatively straightforward book theft in Vienna, Bradamant informs her that there is a top secret dragon-Fae peace conference in progress that the Library is mediating, but that the second-in-command dragon has been stabbed to death. Tasked with solving the case, Vale and Irene immediately go to 1890s Paris.

Once they arrive, it seems that the murder victim had uncovered evidence suggesting that he may have found proof of treachery by one or more Librarians. But to ensure the peace of the conference, some Librarians are already hostages in the dragon and Fae courts. To save the captives, including her parents, Irene must get to the bottom of this murder – but was it dragon, Fae, or even a Librarian who committed the crime?”





To Catch a Rouge
London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy 4
Lochaber Press, October 30, 2018
eBook, 409 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - December 2018
An impossible heist. A thief and a rogue. But will she steal his heart, instead?

The Company of Rogues finally knows the identity of the mastermind behind a plot against the queen—but their enemy is still one step ahead of them. When he kidnaps one of theirs, the Rogues plan a daring rescue mission that will lead them into the heart of the bloodthirsty Crimson Court.

It's a job for a master thief, and there's nothing Charlie Todd likes more than a challenge. To pull off the impossible, Charlie needs a crew, including the only thief who's ever been able to outfox him.

He broke her heart. But now she must risk it all to save his life...

Lark's spent years trying to forget her past, but the one thing she can't ignore is the way a single smile from Charlie still sets her heart on fire. When he proposes they work together again, it feels just like old times, but she has one rule: this is strictly business.

It's Charlie's last chance to prove he can be trusted with her heart. But Lark's keeping a deadly secret. And as passions are stirred and the stakes mount, it might be the kind of secret that could destroy them all...





The Robots of Gotham
John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, June 19, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 688 pages
Trade Paperback, June 4, 2019

Melanie's Month in Review - December 2018
A thrilling adventure in a world one step away from total subjugation by machines.

After long years of war, the United States has sued for peace, yielding to a brutal coalition of nations ruled by fascist machines. One quarter of the country is under foreign occupation. Manhattan has been annexed by a weird robot monarchy, and in Tennessee, a permanent peace is being delicately negotiated between the battered remnants of the U.S. government and an envoy of implacable machines.

Canadian businessman Barry Simcoe arrives in occupied Chicago days before his hotel is attacked by a rogue war machine. In the aftermath, he meets a dedicated Russian medic with the occupying army, and 19 Black Winter, a badly damaged robot. Together they stumble on a machine conspiracy to unleash a horrific plague—and learn that the fabled American resistance is not as extinct as everyone believes. Simcoe races against time to prevent the extermination of all life on the continent . . . and uncover a secret that America’s machine conquerors are desperate to keep hidden.

Melanie's Week in Review - July 9, 2017


Melanie's Week in Review - July 9, 2017

Well hello summer! We have had another week of lovely summer weather. It was super scorchio on Friday which was nice despite having to go to work. To make up for it I spent most of Saturday sitting in the shade watching Glow on Netflix (which is a great show, I might add) and reading my newest book (a recipe book!). Don't worry I have read other things then cake recipes! So without further adieu......


Melanie's Week in Review - July 9, 2017
Starting my week of romance was Bec McMaster's The Mech Who Loved Me which was the second in the London Steampunk Blue Blood Conspiracy. This series centres on Company of Rogues who are the good guys trying to stop the baddies - the Sons of Gilead - from breaking the peace between the different races within this steampunk version of London. The love interests in this instalment are Ava, the virginal scientist who is tired of being treated like a glass doll by the rest of the Company, and the part mech - Kincaid. This is definitely the case of opposites attract as the lovely Ava is also a blueblood which the former blueblood killer Kincaid has learned to hate. There was a 'frisson' between the pair in book 1 and things heat up to thermo nuclear levels. Ava is determined to lose her virginity and has set her sights on Kincaid to do the honours. When a terrible poison that is targeted at bluebloods starts to take hold in London, Ava and Kincaid are teamed up to solve the mystery of who is responsible and put a stop to it. The more they work together the closer they become and despite trying to avoid Ava, the ladies men mech finds he is drawn to innocent scientist.

This instalment is pretty standard PNR. The hot and steamy starts from the very start and keeps going all the way through to the end. The plot arc of the Sons of Gilead was almost secondary to the frisson between the pair. The real action didn't really start until near the end as earlier chapters were about developing the sexual relationship between Kincaid and Ava. I think I want to like this series more than I actually do. The opposites attract plotline is wearing a bit thin as it was a similar pairing in the first book, as well as, the original London Steampunk series. I will continue with the series as the plot for book 3 sounds much more exciting.


Melanie's Week in Review - July 9, 2017
My second book 'of love' was Thea Harrison's Spellbinder which continues the Moonshadow series. This instalment tells the story of one of the baddies from book 1 - Morgan le Fae, the enforcer of Queen Isabeau's hounds. Le Fae has been enslaved by the Queen of the Light Fae for centuries and forced to do terrible things in her name. When the very human and very famous musician Sidonie Martel is kidnapped, tortured and left to rot in Isabeau's dungeon Morgan is drawn to saving the human from his cruel master. Can Morgan overcome Isabeau's spell to save Sidonie or will it be a human in a supernatural world who will be Morgan's saviour? I will leave it to you to find out.

I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this book. I thought Harrison was quite clever in her version of the Arthurian legend - Morgan le Fae. I did think that Sidonie had a little bit Stockholm syndrome by falling for Morgan despite the fact he was the reason for the trauma she endures. She was quite a strong female character and could stick up for herself which isn't always the case in this genre. It will be interesting to see if Morgan joins the fight against 'the light side' guys in future books or whether Harrison leaves him in peace. Rather looking forward to seeing what happens next.


That is all from me this week. You will find me in the sunshine! See you next week and until then Happy Reading.





The Mech Who Loved Me
London Steampunk The Blue Blood Conspiracy 2
Lochaber Press Pty. Ltd, June 27, 2017
eBook, 396 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - July 9, 2017
Ava McLaren is tired of being both a virgin, and a mere laboratory assistant for the Company of Rogues. When a baffling mystery rears its head, it presents her with the opportunity to work a real case... and perhaps get a taste of the passion that eludes her.

Blue bloods are dying from a mysterious disease, which should be impossible. Ava suspects there's more to the case than meets the eye and wants a chance to prove herself. There’s just one catch—she’s ordered to partner with the sexy mech, Kincaid, who's a constant thorn in her side. Kincaid thinks the only good blue blood is a dead one. He's also the very last man she would ever give her heart to… which makes him the perfect candidate for an affair.

The only rule? It ends when the case does.

But when an attempt on her life proves that Ava might be onto something, the only one who can protect her is Kincaid. Suddenly the greatest risk is not to their hearts, but whether they can survive a diabolical plot that threatens to destroy every blue blood in London—including Ava.





Spellbinder
Moonshadow 2
Teddy Harrison LLC, July 18, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 512 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - July 9, 2017
From author Thea Harrison comes the latest story in the New York Times bestselling Moonshadow trilogy….

Kidnapped while on tour, musician Sidonie Martel is transported to the mystical land of Avalon. A human without magical ability, she is completely vulnerable to the deadly forces surrounding her.

When she defies her captors and refuses to share her music, an act of violent cruelty leaves her broken, her ability to play silenced, maybe forever. Her only hope is a whisper in the dark, gentle hands that offer healing, and a man who refuses to show her his face yet who offers advice she dare not ignore.

One of the most feared and powerful sorcerers in history, Morgan le Fae serves a Queen he despises, Isabeau of the Light Court. Once a famous bard and an advisor to kings, Morgan has been enslaved to Isabeau for hundreds of years, acting as enforcer and the commander of her deadly Hounds.

Sidonie’s music touches Morgan in places he had abandoned centuries ago, and her fiery spirit resurrects feelings he had believed long dead. For Sidonie, trapped in captivity, passion offers a comfort she cannot resist.

But Isabeau holds Morgan bound in magical chains that only Death can break. And in the court of a cruel, jealous Queen, the only thing that burns hotter than love is revenge…

Melanie's Month in Review - February 2019Melanie's Month in Review - December 2018Melanie's Week in Review - July 9, 2017

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