I really have to thank a friend for this recommendation. I totally love this steampunk series! I love the blend of the historical and paranormal elements in this sub-genre. The cover is totally deceiving however, it makes me think of a woman who is fighting vampires at night or investigating mysterious murders, but the novel's heroine is like nothing the image on the cover conjures. At least, for me.

Series: London Steampunk, #1 
My Rating: 4 ❀'s
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Add to Goodreads

The heroine, Honoria, is practically killing herself trying to eke out a living that will help support her family, which consists of her sister and ailing brother. They are practically destitute as the money they make hardly covers the essentials of rent and food, and then there is the doctor's bills to add in. Honoria however, is too proud to become a blood slave, even when it becomes apparent that Blade might not give her much of a choice.

I loved Blade. He was a real gentleman, but there was also roughness to him, and he let everyone see that roughness by flinging his cockney speech in their faces. Or rather, in Honoria's. I liked the blend of his character, the hard edges and the good heart and noble intentions. He seemed bigger than life and very dominating, yet he was down to earth and likable. I have to admit, both he and Honoria are hard to describe. There are so many layers to them.

There would be layers to characters who live in this world. It's a dark, gritty London filled with Drainers, blue bloods and vampires. The society is based upon the upper class of England, but is different since all the aristocrats are blue bloods, which means they'll eventually be vampires. And vampires are very bad, very vile things. Honoria is struggling to hide herself from the blue bloods, and Blade is the only one who can offer her protection--as his blood slave.

The novel is perfectly paced, drawing you immediately. You want to know more about Honoria, you want to know more about the world, and soon enough you're totally immersed in this society, especially since Blade and Honoria heat up the pages even before they heat up the pages. They clash, they confide in one another, they flirt, and they fight. It makes for perfect romance. Plus there's action so the novel is one is that always keeps you turning the pages.

I'm curious about the rest of this series.I hope to read more from this author soon.

Happy Reading,
Jewels
I decided recently it was time to return to Gansett Island. This series has provided me with easy to read sweet romance and so far I've not been too disappointed with the novels. The story features the romance of yet another McCarthy brother and the heat level did not disappoint. Nor did the hero, who was known to shun relationships and wanted nothing to do with relationships.

Series: Gansett Island, #5 
My Rating: 3.5 ❀'s
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Add to Goodreads

I'm going to be totally honest and say that while I enjoyed this story, it was a little light and fluffy for me. The couple are great together, and Grant is clearly a charmer, and he certainly charmed me as well as the heroine, Grace. But I think a lot more could have been explored in this novel and simply wasn't.

For instance, Grace had been a "fat"girl all her life and had chosen to under go lap band surgery to help her change her entirely. I was at first anticipating that the story would involve a lot of uncertainty because of this history, and possibly doubt in regards to the romance with a knockout looker McCarthy. I thought there was potential for good, raw emotion but the story didn't really pivot around this, which is fine. I just think a huge opportunity was missed in regards to exploring body image and what it means to be beautiful.

I suppose the second thing that made this novel fall a little short for me was there was no real bump in the road for this couple. They come together quite naturally, the sizzle builds, each of them is willing for this to be a fling of sorts, but each falls more and more in love until there is no way that they can't be together, even in spite of some minor obstacles in their way, which are quickly resolved. I felt as though they needed to earn the HEA a little more. A little more drama was needed to made this really devastating.

However, overall the novel is quite polished, the pace is good, the heat level zings and the characters are all well formed and likable. We see some of the other couples and their lives now, and get more set up for later books. A sweet romance, some teasing about Laura and Owen and Tiffany and a hot cop, and the novel is wrapped up with a HEA that will likely leave you smiling. A perfect summer read, so do give this novel a read.

Happy Reading,
Jewels
Love historicals? Well, you probably know that I do! I recently read The Daring Duke, the first in its series, and I have to say, I loved it! Historicals are easy for me to love, but this was different from a lot of historicals I've read.

Series: 1797 Club, #1
My Rating: 4 ❀'s
Genre: Historical Romance
Add to Goodreads

I like a heroine who is a wallflower, as it's not only the outgoing, sassy ladies who deserved a HEA. And I really loved Emma. She came from such appalling parents and yet had integrity and goodness. She was content to be herself and live more simply if necessary instead of turning herself into a gold digger. She didn't really want to be interested in the Duke of Abernathe, James, but she couldn't help herself. And  yet, she didn't reach for him either.

Naturally that means he was seeking her out. James never intended to marry out of spite for his own father's awful treatment. I'm not sure I've encountered a heroine and hero who have both had such awful parents, but their backgrounds connected Emma and James. James was drawn to Emma, a woman who seemed uninterested in him and yet spoke her mind instead of simpering like all the other women in his experience. In an effort to better Emma's marketability as a bride, and to throw the husband hunt off his trail, James begins a flirtation with Emma. Once that ends up quiet sensuality.

Yeah, these two can burn up the pages. And that's always good. I love the way Jess Michaels blends erotic scenes with such sizzle as well. The more these two flirt and indulge in one another, the more they are drawn together until circumstances require they become engaged. I loved the plot twist that necessitated this as it threw James into the role of the white knight, and I love that Emma yields to the plan and to other activities, even though she is afraid of what their future might look like.

Which is happy, as you might guess. I can totally recommend this as a read you'll burn through, and that will burn you up.

I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 
Happy Reading,
Jewels
It occured to me that it has been too long since I did a Feature Favourite around here. I'm always so focused on getting book reviews up that other features suffer as a result. My apologies. And it only makes sense that today's feature should be Anne of Green Gables, given that the new Anne television series has become hugely popular. I've been a long time fan of this wonderful Canadian author and have adored each of her novels that I read.

The cover from my youth

Anne of Green Gables
Author: Lucy Maud Montogmery

Lucy Maud Montgomery is best known for her Anne series and the character and novels are beloved all over the world. I have long been a fan, since the minute I was first old enough to read one of these novels and make connections to them and their world. They made me laugh, they made me cry and I felt as though Anne was a kindred spirit of mine. She is sensitive and passionate and imaginative after all, and I saw myself in her in many ways. But other than simply being able to relate to Anne, the reason I love the series so much is that the writing is so beautiful. Places and people are brought to life by this gifted author and she teaches you kindness and acceptance through her stories. Lessons that are still valuable today.

Anne of Green Gables is filled with funny mishaps, each a learning experience for one character or another--usually Anne, and the story of a girl who finally learns what it is to belong.

I will take a moment to say that while the new television series departs somewhat from the novel, I think it represents the heart of Anne clearly. Lucy Maud Montogomery often wrote stories about children that were orphaned or whose family circumstances were not traditional, and the CBC series depicts what I think the theme of these stories is, not to judge, to be kind and have courage. Each of Montgomery's orphan characters has courage and thrives thanks to their empathy and ability to hope in the face of sadness.

Happy Reading,
Jewels
The Others series by Anne Bishop is simply fantastic and I really loved this latest book. It's going to be very interesting to see where the series goes from here. But I guess I have to wait a while to find out, though this series is worth the wait.

Series: The Others, #5
My Rating: 5 ❀'s
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Add to Goodreads

I had no idea where the story might go or what the world would look like after the fall of the Humans First and Last movement and the destruction of so much human by the Elders. I certainly wasn't expecting everything to become so localized in a way. All attention was fixed on the Courtyard and the humans and terra indigene there, how they interact, what pack was, how much human to keep. And the Elders themselves were in the Courtyard, watching, learning, assessing. It was very interesting to learn that even these ancient and deadly forms of the Others had qualities similar to the Wolfgard and Crowgard and the forms of terra indigene we were already familiar with; qualities like curiosity,  patience, humor.

The story largely pivots around the lack of food and Lt. Montgomery's brother, Cyrus, who is a good for nothing, selfish, greedy, arrogant bad bad man. He disgusted me. Everyone recognized him for trouble, but the Elders wanted to observe him, how he could affect the human pack. They didn't understand what kind of trouble he would bring, or how he could affect not just those around him, that his actions and trouble could have long reaching repercussions. I was fascinated to see this form of terra indigene and to get to know them a little better. It seemed easy before to dismiss the dominant species as a simply powerful predator, one that was alien and therefore, difficult or even impossible to fully understand. But the Elders in this novel demonstrated that it's also their intelligence and willingness to learn that is also the reason why they dominant. I'm very curious to see what more we might learn about the Elders in the next book.

I'm also curious to see where Meg and Simon's relationship goes, as it progressed significantly in this novel. I wasn't quite expecting that, but this will be another layer to this ever evolving world.

This series is not to be missed. I mean that, it's thought provoking, entertaining and so very human.

Happy Reading,
Jewels