Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts (Steampunk Proper Romance, #4) by Nancy Campbell Allen – Review

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About Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts by Nancy Campbell Allen

Emmeline O’Shea is determined to save the world—single-handedly, if necessary. A strong voice for societal reform, she is the natural choice to deliver a key speech at the end of the International Shifter Rights Organization’s week-long Summit in Scotland.

But when a death threat arrives at Emme’s home, she is immediately placed into protective custody, watched over by none other than her personal nemesis, Detective-Inspector Oliver Reed. The two have crossed paths many times, with disastrous results, but now they will have to work together in order to reach the Summit before midnight of the last day in order to ensure legislation is passed to protect the Shifter community.

As unseen enemies close in around Emme and Oliver, they struggle to reach Edinburgh by any means necessary, only to find Emme’s vindictive stepsister, Oliver’s vampire brother, and a dangerous political minefield awaiting them in Scotland.

Even more difficult is their own refusal to admit that the fiery animosity that once burned between them might be turning into the heat of romantic passion. Could a straitlaced policeman determined to uphold the law and an outspoken activist willing to break the rules ever find true love? Or will all their dreams shatter like glass when the clock strikes midnight?

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Review of Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts

You know the story, don’t you?  The evil stepmother and stepsisters try to keep Cinderella from happiness but their plot is foiled by a fairy godmother.

In this steampunk retelling of Cinderella, the role of the prince is played by a policeman, Oliver, and Cinderella is played by a social activist, Emme.  In this case, Emme’s mother remarried so there is a stepfather and two stepsisters.  Yes, the role of the fairy godmother is filled too, and there is a carriage and a ridiculous pair of shoes.

I loved this story.  Mainly, I enjoyed the relationship between Oliver and Cinderella.  What starts out as contentious becomes friendly and then affectionate and then so much more.  With just a little ongoing contentiousness to keep things real.  These two characters are good for each other and great for the story!  Many people contrive to keep Emme from reaching the International Shifter Rights Summit.  The dangerous adventures of Emme and Oliver make for a suspenseful story and a thrilling reading experience.

Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts is the fourth book in Nancy Campbell Allen’s Steampunk Proper Romance series. I’ve enjoyed the entire series so I can tell you that each book stands alone, though successive books do reference events and characters of previous books. Read one, or read them all!

Through Netgalley, the publisher provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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A Highlander is Coming to Town (Highland Georgia, #3) by Laura Trentham – Review

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About A Highlander is Coming to Town by Laura Trentham

You better watch out. . .

Holt Pierson is dreading Christmas. His parents absconded to Florida for the season and left him to handle the family farm which will be his one day―whether he wants it or not. Driven by duty, Holt has always followed the path expected of him. But lately, he’s been questioning what he wants and where he belongs. Will assuming the responsibility of the Pierson farm make him happy or is there something―or someone―else out in the wider world calling to him?

To Claire Smythe, the Scottish lead singer of a touring band, Highland, Georgia, is the perfect place to hide . . .until a very handsome and deeply curious Holt begins to ask all the questions Claire doesn’t want to answer. As Holt draws Claire out from under and into the fabric of small-town life, can Claire put the past behind her and embrace the unexpected gifts of the season―including the new and lasting love?

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Review of A Highlander is Coming to Town

Just to be clear – the Highlander in this book is Claire.  Not the guy on the cover.  In a switch from the first two books in the series, the woman is the person with the sexy Scots accent.  Claire Smythe landed in Highland for a gig with the band she used to sing with.  Now she is hanging out, biding her time until…  Until what is not clear until later in the book.  In the meantime, Claire keeps to herself.  Well, she tries to keep to herself.

Holt Pierson was the rejected love interest in a previous book in this series, so I was pleased to see him get is own story this time.  Holt is just what the reclusive Claire needs to help her make a decision that will set the course for her life.  Holt, is the nice guy, the boy next door, the man that needs his own happy ending.

Characters from previous books have small but important roles to play in this story.  Mainly, when Holt and Claire are tripping over their own relationship feet, Ian and Anna help, providing both distraction and guidance.

The Highland Georgia series is charming.  Down-to-earth characters, a small town setting, a little bit of humor and a delightful romance make A Highlander is Coming to Town an enchanting read.

Through Netgalley, the publisher provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Subversive (Clandestine Magic, #1) by Colleen Cowley – Review

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About Subversive by Colleen Cowley

A wizard. An unwilling assistant. An explosive secret.

In an America controlled by wizards and 100 years behind on women’s rights, Beatrix Harper counts herself among the resistance—the Women’s League for the Prohibition of Magic. Then Peter Blackwell, the only wizard her town has ever produced, unexpectedly returns home and makes her work for him.

Beatrix fears he wants to undermine the League. His real purpose is far more dangerous for them both.

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Review of Subversive

100 years after the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote in the United States, comes a book that imagines history a bit differently.  In Subversive, male magicians have taken over as lawmakers and women were never granted voting rights.  Not much has changed in the last 100 years, so women are still expected to marry, have children and leave the good jobs to the men.

Beatrix finds this situation to be quite unsatisfactory.

After the death of their parents leaves Beatrix and her sister Lydia with no means of support, Beatrix must forget her dreams of going to college and instead, take a job as a store clerk to earn money to send Lydia to school. When Omnimancer Peter Blackwell arrives in Ellicot Mills, little changes, except now Beatrix must work for Blackwell.  Or so it would seem.

There is a lot going on in this story.  Lydia is an active social reformer.  Beatrix works to support Lydia, but is secretly interested in magic.  Blackwell has a secret project that takes a lot of time, so he gets Beatrix to do much of his work.  Another omnimancer shows up to spy on Blackwell by courting Beatrix.  Lydia’s League group has a spy.  There is sabotage and attempted murder.  All the while bonds, magical or otherwise, are drawing Beatrix and Blackwell together.

Because of all these elements, it takes a while for the story to warm up.  But once it does, the danger is real, the adventure is exciting and the romance is, well, frustrating.  But the discoveries along the way for Beatrix, Peter and Lydia lead to a satisfying (if temporary) conclusion.  Expect to experience a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of this book.  It’s not terrible, but it is slightly annoying for someone who doesn’t like cliffhangers.

According to the author the entire series is to be released this fall.  So, with any luck, my cliffhanger frustration will soon be alleviated.

One of the interesting aspects of the story is the struggle for women’s rights.  Whether they want to vote, go to college, get a good job or just control their own destiny, the truth of the matter is that in Ellicot Mills, as in any town where women and men live, it is difficult to change minds and expectations.  It seems Lydia and Beatrix have an uphill battle ahead of them.

Many thanks to the author provided a copy of her book in exchange for my honest review.

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