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?
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.
Despite 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.
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.