Of Silk and Steam by Bec McMaster #Review #Giveaway #Excerpt

Of Silk and Steam by Bec McMaster #Review #Giveaway #ExcerptOf Silk and Steam by Bec McMaster

Series: #5 London Steampunk
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Steampunk Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on March 3, 2015
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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four-half-stars  

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.

After building and building to this finally confrontation, I was psyched to get this one. Leo Barons has been an exciting and pivotal secondary character since the very first book. Secrets and danger surrounds him as does the guilt of not protecting his true family all in the name of his reputation and rank in society. In his story, the threat of the Prince Consort comes to fruition and he is determined to crush the alliance of humans, mechs, verwolfen and rogue blue bloods once and for all. Leo is forced to partner with a woman that holds his secrets and can break him if she wishes too.

Aramina is a rare blue blood female and the only Duchess on the Council. She has to present herself as strong, cold and without weakness. After the death of her family, the ice princess persona is not that difficult to build. Only one annoying man would even try to get past her high, thick emotional walls and he is the son of the man who killed her father and upon whom she is set to bring down for revenge. Leo pops up everywhere she is and he sees everything it seems. She can’t figure him out and that is not good because she has some strong secrets that she must protect at all costs even if it means exposing Leo’s secrets to take him out of the picture. So why does she hesitate when she has the power to destroy him? And what if he’s telling the truth about his motives with her and about his activities against the Prince Consort? For the first time in her life can she put her trust in someone else?

This story gets off to a smashing start and barely slows down whether it is the sparks flying between Leo and Mina, the political intrigue of the Prince Consort, the Queen and the Council, or the gritty war waging on the streets of London. Leo is the catalyst it seems and he is sensitive to this dubious honor. Leo, unlike many, doesn’t covet power even though that is what people in his own class think he is after. His desires are for the homey happiness his sisters have found with their husbands. He is determined to have a better home than he grew up in with the calculating man who was thought his father and the real father who rejected him. He sets his sights on the unattainable in Mina and it was fun to watch them circle each other warily- particularly Mina who has no idea that Leo really does just want a relationship and she is terrified of such a thing. The plot also includes those delicious twists and reveals that I have come to enjoy about this series. Secrets come out. Trust and betrayal become a huge issue. There is a huge explosive climax at the end that just had me on pins and needles.

I love it when I dive into a story and end up just enjoying it. No plot issues, no frustrations with the romance and no annoying characters. This was sheer pleasure from cover to cover. Leo is vulnerable, but this guy is one in a million. He was scared for Mina, but not once did he try to hold her back. She is all prickles and suspicion, but he is honest about his feelings and opens himself up for her rejection time and again. Mina is a broken doll in ways. She lost her parents and her brother and she is a freak amongst her peers. It is dangerous to be different or weak in her society so she becomes what she needs to be and does what she needs to do. She has been at it for so long that Leo freaks her out with his honest desire for her and to be with her. Loved watching them work things out.

What if you have one chance…and you never take it?”

The words were a blistering realization. Mina glanced over her shoulder helplessly.

“You need to trust in yourself- in all of us.”

Loc. 3157 Leo to Mina in Of Silk and Steam

As to the genre blend elements, the worldbuilding is established and nothing new comes out as to races though a few more blue blood secrets are revealed.

Away in the Rookeries where Blade reigns- rogue bluebloods, mechs, humans and verwolfens all blend together into one tight family. I loved seeing the updates with characters from previous books including seeing Blade as an expectant daddy.

The steampunk was present and really cool without being overpowering. It plays a strong role with new inventions, secret weapons and a way for the underdogs to have a chance in the war.

This one is thought to be the end of the series and does end a series story arc, but I did see a few potential leads to maybe starting a whole new series in the London Steampunk world so I’m crossing my finger that it will happen.

All in all, this was a fantastic finale leaving me with all the right feelings for the end of a book. The humor, dialogue, intrigue, passion and excitement were off the hook. Those who enjoy genre blends particularly historical paranormal romance need to get on the stick and try these.

My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

EXCERPT

 

Barrons looked at her. “Do you trust me?”

“No.” His father would have cut her down without thinking, but Barrons was an enigma. If he were a different man, she would have enjoyed his attentions, but a part of her couldn’t help wondering if his pursuit of her was just a way to get closer, to slip the knife in when she least expected it…

Could she trust that he meant her no harm?

His hand tightened around hers, dark heat sweeping through his irises. He focused on her so intently that she could almost feel it on her skin. “Then let us call a temporary truce for tonight. I shall help you escape. In return…”

“Yes?”

His voice roughened. “I want a kiss.”

A kiss. Tension slid sinuously along her limbs, each muscle clenching. Those motives she could certainly understand. It didn’t mean she had to like them.

Wariness spread through her as he lifted his hand and slowly, carefully brushed the back of his fingers against her lips. She didn’t flinch. Instead she tipped her chin up and glared him down. “Help me escape and I shall grant you such a liberty.” What harm could a single kiss do? “Until then”—she took a step back, her skirts swishing around her ankles—“I’ll thank you to keep your hands to yourself.”

His hand dropped but the ghostly sensation of that touch lingered, reminding her that it had been a long time since she’d been touched in any way intimately, and never like this. Never…soft. Full of gentleness, as if the very sensation of her skin beneath his was a pleasure in itself, not merely a step to greater satisfaction.

He was far more dangerous than she’d ever suspected, and she’d known, since the first moment she’d met him, that he was dangerous indeed. He was the only man who had ever managed to make her feel something.

 

Romance Roundabout #101 SP

Historical Romance #27

Cliché Klatch #36 ‘thin veneer of civility’

Literary Pickers #102 Beard

 

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About Bec McMaster

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.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • “Sheer pleasure” sounds really good, especially when it’s already book #5 in the series, a series that I long to read ! Great review 😉

    • Oh yes, this was decadence after my disappointment in the last book which wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t up to par with the others IMO. Hope you get the chance, Iza!

  • Ahhhh! I recognize this one! And I’m so glad you enjoyed the book, Sophia! I saw it on NetGalley a while back, and was curious, but didn’t give it a shot. Perhaps I should have.

    I’ll be entering this giveaway! Thank you – and excellent review!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • I think you might have a shot at liking this series, Alyssa. The first book is perhaps the darkest in the scary department, but it introduces a fascinating historical paranormal world that relies on Steampunk tech.
      Good luck! On the giveaway. Watch Amazon for book one b/c occasionally it gets reduced down to $.99 which is what got me started on the series.

      • Will do, Sophia! I do love those sales 😀

        And I realized I didn’t actually look at the comment requirement – I have sooooo many favorite romance heroines, by Khamsin from The Winter King is probably a favorite! Or one of them 🙂

        • Good one, thanks for the heads up on that sale so I can read about Khamsin now.

  • I was recommended this series a while ago, and I haven’t started it! Good to know this was a wonderful read for you. Gosh, I can’t pick one favorite romance heroine, since there are too many, but Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson is a huge favorite of mine.

    • Oh yes, Charley is one of my favs too. In this series, its a toss up. This heroine would definitely be in the running.

  • I am so glad that you were able to enjoy this one so much!! I haven’t read this author yet, but I do love this trope, and I love those books that are easy to love.

    • Oh you must try these, Renee! These were definitely easy books or me to love.

  • I love the pacing. I am ashamed to admit I have book one in my tbr pile and haven’t started it yet..I love all of the elements and I’m sure I will love this series.

    • I think you’ll love them too, Kimberly, just by what I see from your reviews. Oh, and I have so many good ones just begging for my attention too.

  • Ahhh Sophia! I swear you and Braine and Melissa need to just take away all my books until I read these. I so want to but you know…time…tbr pile…have to sleep at some point. lol

    • Haha, yeah, I’ve got a few series like this. I keep telling myself that they’re not going anywhere, but then I see the next one release and groan. 😉