Monday, March 12, 2012

Review: A Clockwork Christmas anthology

We Wish You a Steampunk Christmas
Changed forever after tragedy, a woman must draw strength from her husband’s love. A man learns that love isn’t always what you expect. A thief steals the heart of a vengeful professor. And an American inventor finds love Down Under. Enjoy Victorian Christmas with a clockwork twist in these four steampunk novellas.

Anthology includes:
Crime Wave in a Corset by Stacy Gail
This Winter Heart by PG Forte
Wanted: One Scoundrel by Jenny Schwartz
Far From Broken by JK Coi

You can buy A Clockwork Christmas as an EPUB or for your Kindle.


A Christmas title in March? Not really. This is simply a steampunk themed book that was released near the holidays, so don't let the title fool you. Having only read one of the featured authors before I was looking forward to finding new authors, and no kidding, each one was a treat and I will be searching for other titles.

I enjoyed each novella in the book for a variety of reasons but for the purposes of the review I will state that Crime Wave in a Corset by Stacy Gail was the standout for me. I loved how this couple verbally spar throughout the story, and when the Professor starts with the scientific endearing and sexy at the same time. I had a half smile the entire time I was reading because Roderick (of the ridiculous name) was so charming, and quite frankly, I'm surprised Cornelia resisted him at all. And she did.

Cornelia's need to protect herself and her feelings, while understandable, actually created a burden of loneliness that she didn't even recognize until the Prof. shook her up. Her heart had always been true, and despite the criminal dealings she is a good person, one that was brought up in horrible circumstances. Roderick and Cornelia make a lovely couple. He helps her to break free and see her own self worth, while she helps him to recover from the grief of losing his sister, at the same time that she teaches him to be open to all things.

There were scenes in this story that felt unbearable sad, and worried me that it would end without any sort of happy ending. When you feel such a strong attachment it shows just how well written the characters are, because as a reader you can invest and care on such a real level. It's a good sign when the characters stay with you after you finish reading. The steampunk elements that figure heavily into the story are interesting, unique, and fun...loved the setting and worldbuilding.

Wanted: One Scoundrel was another excellent story from Jenny Schwartz, and I can always count on her writing to bring something new and creative to the page. Esme and Jed were so much fun, but then again, how can you not have fun reading about a suffragette that hires what she thinks is a scoundrel to act as her voice in a tight knit men only community? Add in blackmail, a kidnapping, some cool inventions, and a Gaston-like villain and you get a fun-filled adventure with a gooey romantic center. Loved it!

Far From Broken felt heavier to me, probably because of the artificial limbs, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a good story. Jasper is faced with an impossible choice when his wife is kidnapped and left for dead all because of his job as a spy for the government. He sends her to be put back together, literally, and then heads off to seek revenge against the men responsible. Callie used to be a ballerina, so dealing with artificial limbs is a huge hurdle, especially when she faces doing it alone. When Jasper comes back into the picture she doesn't forgive him easily. They face many challenges and what makes this story work is that they have to fight to get there, nothing is easy.

In This Winter Heart we are introduced to Ophelia and Dario, a more complicated married couple you will never meet. Ophelia has a HUGE secret and when Dario learns what it is he casts her out of his life. The story is further complicated by a child that Dario does not believe can be his. I actually had a difficult time with this story because of this secret (totally freaked me out) and it really made me think about how I would respond. I could sympathize with the couple as they struggled to put their family back together, and could understand the conflict of Dario's attraction and emotional pull towards Ophelia. While I had a hard time going along with events it doesn't detract from the well written and cohesive writing style.

*Reviewed by Anna Dougherty
*This book was downloaded from NetGalley for review purposes.

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