Monday, March 2, 2015

Of Silk and Steam by Bec McMaster


Today, I'm participating in the spotlight post blitzing for Of Silk and Steam by Bec McMaster. The book comes out tomorrow, March 3rd, from Sourcebooks Casablanca!

When I was given the opportunity to participate, I was so thrilled because while I haven't read all the books in the series, I've really enjoyed the ones that I have. So much so, that I'm going to have to invest in the entire series in paperback so I can enjoy all the gorgeous covers sitting on my bookshelf.

This steampunk-paranormal romance series has intrigue, action, great love stories, great scheming, lots at stake and is absolutely on my list of favourite romance series. I am sad that Of Silk and Steam is the last book in the series only because it means moving on to new stories (though I'm hoping there's a glimmer of possibility in a second series featuring a younger generation? Maybe? Please?). As it stands, I think this is one of the most satisfying final books of any series that I've read lately. It pulled together all sorts of machinations and plots put into place by earlier books and... well... I've actually got a full review of the book below, so check it out!

Stick with me today because after hitting you with lots of information about the very awesome Of Silk and Steam (including an excerpt) and author Bec McMaster (who I assume is also very awesome because she's written these lovely books), I'm also sharing a giveaway and, care of the publisher, I'll let you know which London Steampunk heroine I would be (based on a cool little quiz they had bloggers take).

The Basics:
Of Silk and Steam by Bec McMaster
Sourcebooks Casablanca
Historical Romance, Steampunk
Book Five in the London Steampunk series
Published March 3, 2015
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Kobo Goodreads Apple BAM B&N Chapters Indiebound

Why I picked up this book:

I'm a sucker for steampunk and I really enjoyed earlier books in the series, including Forged by Desire.


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.


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.


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…”
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.

My thoughts:

I loved Of Silk and Steam. Loved it. 

The last book in the London Steampunk series, this book had a lot of expectations to fulfill. Much plotting against the increasingly erratic and insane prince consort has happened since book one (or so I assume, I haven't actually read the first book in this series yet). We've seen new alliances forged with each new book and new romantic relationship. We've seen different resources built up and turned towards a common purpose - whether it be the Nighthawks, the inhabitants of the rookeries, the mechs or humanists. So many different groups of people who want to rally against the prince consort's oppressive policies. This put a lot of pressure on this last book to bring everyone together, to harness all of that potential and finally give us the big battle. 

Often the last book in a series stumbles, unable to live up to all of the expectations built up in earlier books. Romance series tend to be a little more forgiving because they tend to be connected by characters rather than by some overarching plot. Not so in the London Steampunk series. I've read three of the five now, and completely out of order, and they were satisfying as independent stories, but this last book quite obviously brings them all together in a very exciting and fulfilling way.

Mina and Leo are the perfect couple for this book. Not only have they also been dancing around each other for years, culminating in the potential for a very intense relationship, but they're also both perfectly positioned to unite the movements against the prince consort. I loved Leo's fascination with Mina, and her concern about his motives. She doesn't drop her guard just because she's attracted to him and *wants* to be kissed, no, Mina is smart enough to be wary, to wonder about what angle he's playing. 

Intimacy between Mina and Leo is explosive - these two face so much pressure with the plots that are coming to fruition around them, and all that tension has to go somewhere. While there's tenderness here, there's also plenty of lust. Considering that these two have been dancing around each other for years, I was very satisfied by how the book handles their romance.

So, so, so good. I cannot emphasize this enough.

I always enjoy steampunk - there's something about intricate clockwork devices and dirigibles and mechanized soldiers mixed with proper manners and Victorian fashion that excites me. Throw in the blue bloods (a step more civilized than a vampire) to provide a solid dollop of paranormal and I am obviously on board. This series really plays to my preferences, so it shouldn't be surprising at all that I enjoyed Of Silk and Steam. I loved that all of these details that could have been simply atmosphere and colour were actually really integral to the story. There's not much in the way of fluff here - all the details matter, which is all kinds of awesome.

Bottom line:

I really want to rave about Of Silk and Steam. It had everything - action, scheming coming to fruition, sexual tension, romance, heartbreak - and brings the London Steampunk series to a spectacular close. Cannot recommend enough and I really think you should read the *entire* series for the full punch. This one would make good reading binge material!

5 stars
For fans of steampunk, historical romance, paranormal romance


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And now, just in case you were curious, I received the following in response to the quiz I took from the publisher:

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