Cover Shot! Cold Copper by Devon Monk

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café.  I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share.  More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents.  There is an allure to a beautiful cover.  Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

Oh. My!  I love this cover!  The dude is hot and look at how fierce his expression is!  This is on the wish list!  In stores July 2013  (gives me time to catch up on the series!)

 

 

 

Not available

Excerpt: Nights of Steel by Nico Rosso and Giveaway!

 

Nico Rosso’s latest release, Night of Steel, is in stores now.  This is the 4th book in the Ether Chronicles, which is a collaboration with Zoe Archer.  I have an excerpt to share, as well as a chance for you to win a copy of the first 3 books in the series.

Excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE

The remote hills south of Thornville, California.

“The only good place for a man is on the other end of my gun.” Anna Blue cocked the hammer of her .45, keeping the green dot of her prismatic sight hovering over “Dirty” Danny Malone’s heart. His partner in crime, Ron “Rat” Welles, stood on the other side of their little dead campfire. Anna had heard Malone was fast, but she had no doubt she could put a bullet in him before he reached the pistol on his hip. And he knew it, too.

Instead, Malone shot off his mouth again. “You ain’t too plain. Wash some of that trail dust off and you could be a pretty little flower.”

She kept her gun steady. The sun was high, but her tinted spectacles kept the glare down, as well as letting her see the green dot of her pistol’s sight. “I know you boys are stupid, but do you really think you’re the first to try to use what’s in your breeches to distract me from taking you in?”

Malone spoke up, thumbs casually hitched in his belt, but ready to draw if he had to. “Might want to reconsider that, sweetheart. A lot of things a man can do for you. A man like me.”

She laughed, but it didn’t break the tension in her body. She’d done this a hundred times—more, even. No one was better than she was at running down bounties. The image of a man with intense eyes, broad shoulders, and a two-gun rig flashed through her mind. Maybe one man was as good as she was.

“That’s right.” Welles’s nasal voice seemed to rattle in the pine needles around the campsite. “Laugh a little. Live a little. Got a bottle of corn liquor we could all share.”

“You boys could never earn the right to drink with me.” She hadn’t had a drink with a man in years. Something like that, sharing the heat of whiskey, the calm it soaked into her nerves, was more intimate than the tumbles she’d had with strangers.

Malone sucked a breath, shaking his head in disappointment. “Never met a more ornery woman.”

“That’s your problem,” she said. “Gotta stop thinking of me as a woman and start realizing I’m the bounty hunter who’s bringing your sorry hide in.”

Malone’s eyes narrowed. She saw the tendons twitch on the back of his hand. Welles shifted his feet in the dirt. Now they were serious. Even the horses that were tied on the edge of the campsite had the sense to paw at the ground and nicker nervously.

She kept the green dot on Dirty Danny’s chest. “What’s your play, Malone? Boxed yourselves in. You can’t run north. Up that way is Thornville, and everyone knows the law doesn’t even let mosquitos bite in that town. The ocean’s to the west, hunting parties to the east, coming up from New Mexico where they really want you dead.” Malone glanced in all the directions she mentioned, a tic developing at the side of his eye. She didn’t let up. “I imagine you wanted to run south, but I’m standing here.”

Welles’s nickname of “Rat” became abundantly clear when he showed his sharp front teeth in a mean sneer. “Not for long.”

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Interview with Bec McMaster, Author of Kiss of Steel and Giveaway!

 

Bec McMaster is the author of Kiss of Steel, a sexy steampunk romp that blazes with action and romance.  Bec dropped by the virtual offices to chat about her book, and she brought along a copy for one of you to win! Check out what she has to say, and then enter for your chance to win a copy of Kiss of Steel!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Bec McMaster] Dreamer, adventurer, glass half-full kind of gal with an addiction to paranormal romance, steampunk and alpha heroes. Wannabe world traveler.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Kiss of Steel?

[Bec McMaster] Kiss of Steel is set in a steam-fuelled London where the aristocratic Echelon rule with an iron fist and crush any and all who oppose them. With their puppet queen, blood taxes and automaton army, the only man they don’t dare touch is Blade, the notorious Devil of Whitechapel – and one of their own.

Fleeing from the Duke of Vickers with a secret he’d kill for, Honoria Todd is forced to accept Blade’s protection. Infected with the craving virus that makes the Echelon what they are, Blade has his own vendetta against the duke. When Honoria comes into his life she could be the key to bringing down his old enemy – or the very salvation he never dared dream of.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Bec McMaster] I’ve always had this idea about an aristocratic race – almost like a corruption of the ton – that rule a dark and dangerous world. Then this image sprang to mind of the steamy surrounds of Whitechapel and a desperate woman hurrying through the crowds, glancing over her shoulder. Watching her from the shadows was a dangerous man with his own intentions and secrets. I couldn’t wait to find out who they were.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Honoria?

[Bec McMaster] Uptight, fierce, protective.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Blade would never have in his pocket?

[Bec McMaster] 1. A plain white cotton handkerchief. It would be silk and most likely something garish, like red, or gold.

2. A book. Raised in the rookeries, he’s never had the time to learn to read.

3. A pistol. He prefers something that will get him up close and personal in a fight – like brass knuckles or a cut-throat razor.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Blade’s single most prized possession?

[Bec McMaster] Blade doesn’t really care about material things, but his most prized possession would be his home – and the adopted family of strays he’s gathered over the years. He never really had a home growing up, and he lost his sister at a young age, so the instinct to create his own family and to protect them is a strong one. He’ll fight to the death to keep it all.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Bec McMaster] My grandfather used to read to me every time I stayed at his place, and they would be wonderful, exciting stories that let my imagination roam as a child. He was the one who made me fascinated with reading and all of the amazing worlds out there in books.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Bec McMaster] 1. Tea and copious amounts of it. Preferably English Breakfast.

2. My ugg boots to keep my feet warm – and because writing is such a glamorous job.

3. Two cushions to prop me up nice and straight and keep my back comfortable.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Bec McMaster] Wicked as They Come by Delilah S. Dawson. I finished it last week and it was such pure steampunky-fun with blud-bunnies, an interesting take on the vampire mythos and a charming hero who has spent years waiting for his love to come to him.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Bec McMaster] Wow, this is really tough. As I said above, my grandfather read to me from a really early age (I can’t ever remember not reading or being read to), so it’s hard to know what grabbed my attention the most. A quick list of my favorite childhood books includes Brer Rabbit, Nicky and his Forest Friends, Hiawatha, the Children of Cherry Tree Farm, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Hobbit. I could go on. I obviously liked talking animal stories. And witches.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Bec McMaster] As any writer will probably tell you, this doesn’t happen very often. I love to read, though I need to make more opportunity for this (my TBR shelves groan in agreement), I love cooking, walking the dog, going to the gym, playing netball, hanging with my boyfriend, reading travel brochures and plotting my next trip.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Bec McMaster] At my website at www.becmcmaster.com, @BecMcMaster on Twitter and Facebook www.facebook.com/BecMcMaster. I love to hear from readers!

Thank you so much for having me!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

GIVEAWAY TIME!!

Thanks to Sourcebooks, I have a copy of Kiss of Steel to give to one of you! Just fill out the widget to enter! Earn extra entries for following.  US and Canadian mailing addresses only, please.

 

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Didn’t win? You can purchase Kiss of Steel from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below. Available in both print and digital.

 

KISS OF STEEL BY BEC MCMASTER – IN STORES SEPTEMBER 2012

A brilliantly creative debut where vampires, werewolves, and clockwork creatures roam the mist–shrouded streets of London…

When Nowhere is Safe

Most people avoid the dreaded Whitechapel district. For Honoria Todd, it’s the last safe haven. But at what price?

Blade is known as the master of the rookeries—no one dares cross him. It’s been said he faced down the Echelon’s army single–handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood–craving he’s been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal.

When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She’s so…innocent. He doesn’t see her backbone of steel—or that she could be the very salvation he’s been seeking.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Award-winning author Bec McMaster lives in a small town in Australia and grew up with her nose in a book. A member of RWA, 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. For more information, please visit http://www.becmcmaster.com/ or follow her on Twitter, @BecMcMaster.

Under the Sea Giveaway Hop! Win Cuttlefish by Dave Freer!

 

Welcome to my  Under the Sea Giveaway,  hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and The Musings of ALMYBNENR.  This hop runs from September 14th to September 20, and you can win lots of new reads.  Click here for a complete list of blogs participating in the hop.

I am giving away a finished copy of Cuttlefish by Dave Freer.  I enjoyed this seafaring adventure, and I think you will, too!

The smallest thing can change the path of history.

The year is 1976, and the British Empire still spans the globe. Coal drives the world, and the smog of it hangs thick over the canals of London.

Clara Calland is on the run. Hunted, along with her scientist mother, by Menshevik spies and Imperial soldiers, they flee Ireland for London. They must escape airships, treachery and capture. Under flooded London’s canals they join the rebels who live in the dank tunnels there.

Tim Barnabas is one of the underpeople, born to the secret town of drowned London, place of anti-imperialist republicans and Irish rebels, part of the Liberty – the people who would see a return to older values and free elections. Seeing no further than his next meal, Tim has hired on as a submariner on the Cuttlefish, a coal fired submarine that runs smuggled cargoes beneath the steamship patrols, to the fortress America and beyond.

When the Imperial soldiery comes ravening, Clara and her mother are forced to flee aboard the Cuttlefish. Hunted like beasts, the submarine and her crew must undertake a desperate voyage across the world, from the Faeroes to the Caribbean and finally across the Pacific to find safety. But only Clara and Tim Barnabas can steer them past treachery and disaster, to freedom in Westralia. Carried with them—a lost scientific secret that threatens the very heart of Imperial power.

 

Sounds good, doesn’t it?  Just fill in the widget below for your chance to win.  Earn extra entries by following.  US shipping addresses only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

New and Notable Releases: Week of September 3 Part One

Here are new adult releases for the week. It’s a monster list, with quite a few titles from my wish list.  I think I am most excited for Her Amish Man because it looks wonderfully cheesy, and  Not Proper Enough.  Are there any must haves from your list? Check back tomorrow for new and notable Young Adult releases.

Click the titles for the Amazon product page.

 

Alone Time: Visits to Petal, Part 1  by Lauren Dane (Sep 4, 2012)

Guardian (Berkley Sensation) by Catherine Mann (Sep 4, 2012)

Her Amish Man by Erin Bates (Sep 4, 2012)

 

In Rides Trouble: Black Knights Inc. . by Julie Ann Walker (Sep 4, 2012)

The Reluctant Amazon by Sandy James (Sep 3, 2012) 

Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster (Sep 1, 2012)

 

A Lady and Her Magic by Tammy Falkner (Sep 1, 2012)

The Last Renegade (Berkley Sensation) by Jo Goodman (Sep 4, 2012)

Not Proper Enough (A Reforming the Scoundrels Romance) (Berkley Sensation) by Carolyn Jewel (Sep 4, 2012)

Playing to Win by Jaci Burton (Sep 4, 2012)

Ruined By Moonlight: A Whispers of Scandal Novel by Emma Wildes (Sep 4, 2012)

A Season for Sin by Vicky Dreiling (Sep 4, 2012)

When You Give a Duke a Diamond (The Fallen Ladies) by Shana Galen (Sep 1, 2012)  

Witch Born by Amber Argyle (Sep 5, 2012)

Dragon’s Moon (A Children of the Moon Novel) by Lucy Monroe (Sep 4, 2012)

 

How to Drive a Dragon Crazy (Dragon Kin) by G.A. Aiken (Sep 4, 2012)

In a Fix by Linda Grimes (Sep 4, 2012)

The Kingmakers (Vampire Empire, Book 3) by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith (Sep 4, 2012)

The Lost Night (A Rainshadow Novel) ) by Jayne Castle (Sep 4, 2012)

The Map of the Sky: A Novel by Felix J Palma (Sep 4, 2012)

Primal Possession: A Moon Shifter Novel by Katie Reus (Sep 4, 2012)

Ravenous (Clare Point Vampires) by V. K. Forrest (Sep 4, 2012)

Riveted (A Novel of the Iron Seas) by Meljean Brook (Sep 4, 2012)

The Skybound Sea (The Aeons’ Gate Book Three)) by Sam Sykes (Sep 4, 2012)

A Tale of Two Vampires: A Dark Ones Novel by Katie MacAlister (Sep 4, 2012)

This Case Is Gonna Kill Me by Phillipa Bornikova (Sep 4, 2012)

Two Ravens and One Crow: An Iron Druid Chronicles Novella  by Kevin Hearne (Sep 4, 2012) (Novella)

The Wild Road: Book Three of Karavans by Jennifer Roberson (Sep 4, 2012)

Are any of these on your must have list?

Waiting on Wednesday–The Steam Mole by Dave Freer

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

I finished Cuttlefish by Dave Freer not long ago, and was thrilled to discover that there will be another book featuring Clara and Tim.  There is no plot synopsis yet.  The Steam Mole is high on my wish list anyway.  In stores December 2012.

 

 

Order it here:  The Steam Mole

What are you waiting on?

Cover Shot! The Lazarus Machine by Paul Crilley

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

The cover for The Lazarus Machine by Paul Crilley is so cool.  I love the colors and the flashes of lightning, and the creepy masked guys in the background – they are really creepy!  The world-building seems interesting, what with the automatons powered by human souls.  Human souls. Really?  I’m am very intrigued by this book!

In stores November 2012.

  

An alternate 1895… a world where Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace perfected the Difference engine. Where steam and tesla-powered computers are everywhere. Where automatons powered by human souls venture out into the sprawling London streets. Where the Ministry, a secretive government agency, seeks to control everything in the name of the Queen.

It is in this claustrophobic, paranoid city that seventeen-year-old Sebastian Tweed and his conman father struggle to eke out a living.

But all is not well…

A murderous, masked gang has moved into London, spreading terror through the criminal ranks as they take over the underworld. as the gang carves up more and more of the city, a single name comes to be uttered in fearful whispers.

Professor Moriarty.

When Tweed’s father is kidnapped by Moriarty, he is forced to team up with information broker Octavia Nightingale to track him down. But he soon realizes that his father’s disappearance is just a tiny piece of a political conspiracy that could destroy the British Empire and plunge the world into a horrific war.

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Review: Cuttlefish by Dave Freer

 

Title:  Cuttlefish

Author: Dave Freer

Publisher:  Pyr

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

The smallest thing can change the path of history.

The year is 1976, and the British Empire still spans the globe. Coal drives the world, and the smog of it hangs thick over the canals of London.

Clara Calland is on the run. Hunted, along with her scientist mother, by Menshevik spies and Imperial soldiers, they flee Ireland for London. They must escape airships, treachery, and capture. Under flooded London’s canals, they join the rebels who live in the dank tunnels there.

Tim Barnabas is one of the underpeople, born to the secret town of drowned London, place of anti-imperialist republicans and Irish rebels, part of the Liberty—the people who would see a return to older values and free elections. Seeing no farther than his next meal, Tim has hired on as a submariner on the Cuttlefish, a coal-fired submarine that runs smuggled cargoes beneath the steamship patrols, to the fortress America and beyond.

When the Imperial soldiery comes ravening, Clara and her mother are forced to flee aboard the Cuttlefish. Hunted like beasts, the submarine and her crew must undertake a desperate voyage across the world, from the Faeroes to the Caribbean and finally across the Pacific to find safety. But only Clara and Tim Barnabas can steer them past treachery and disaster, to freedom in Westralia. Carried with them—a lost scientific secret that threatens the very heart of Imperial power.

Review:

Cuttlefish has been on my radar since I first saw the cover on Amazon.  When I received a review copy, I could hardly wait to start reading it.  Between the covers, I found a compelling adventure, one that was enhanced by the two extremely likable protagonists.  Tim and Clara made the book for me, and it was on the strength of their personalities that I eagerly journeyed to the end.  The pacing could be a little slow as the Cuttlefish journeyed across the ocean, and without these protagonists, who demand that you pay attention to them, I don’t know if I would have found the book as enjoyable.  Sometimes the journey holds your attention, and sometimes, it’s your companions who make the trip worth taking.

Clara is the daughter of a chemist, and when her mother arrives at her school, frantically demanding that Clara follow her with no questions asked, the girl is bewildered.  What is going on?  Why are these scary guys chasing after them?  Clara is a clever girl, and after overcoming her initial fear, she quickly starts to question everything that’s going on around her.  The Russians are determined to capture them, as are the British, all to gain possession of her mother’s research.  And here Clara thought her mother was dull and boring, and overly engrossed in her research!  In reality, she’s the object of a dangerous manhunt that will take them all over the world!

The two end up on the Cuttlefish, a submarine at smuggles goods from around the world back to London.  In the years after the Big Melt, life is difficult for all.  There isn’t enough food being harvested, nations are bickering over limited resources, and the super powers are battling for control of shipping lanes, overland trade routes, and mining facilities.  Once it’s suspected that Clara’s mother’s research could tip the balance of power, everyone is after them, with orders to capture them, or barring that, kill them so that the research doesn’t fall into another nation’s hands.   Yikes!  These guys aren’t playing around, but Clara’s resourcefulness and courage proves to be quite a match for all of the bad guys.

On board the sub, Clara meets Tim.  Tim was raised in the tunnels under drowned London, and there is no love lost between them at first.  Confused, Tim wonders why the women are on the sub.  He also suspects, at first, that Clara is over-privileged and over-indulged.  As they share one dangerous adventure after another, Tim slowly learns how wrong he is about his new friend.  Clara’s honest and open friendship makes him question how he perceives the world, and makes him re-evaluate his plans for the future.  I loved how their growing friendship brought out the best in both of them.  Where Clara is weak, Tim is strong, and visa versa.  While Tim is more laid-back and more of a thinker, Clara is impulsive, jumping into any situation without hesitation.  They manage to get each other into, and back out of, several hair-raising scrapes, by learning to trust and rely on each other.  I loved their relationship.

The pacing was a little sluggish near the end, but the last 50 pages were frantically urgent, keeping me on the edge of my seat.  I couldn’t put the book down, even though it was far past my bedtime.  I was so engaged in the survival of the Cuttlefish that I couldn’t set the book aside.  The thought of being chased across the Pacific, trapped in a crippled submarine, actually kept me up after I finished.  The tension was almost unbearable, and I marveled at the steadiness and calm efficiency of the captain and crew.  I quickly decided that I could never join the Navy, because I would have gone off my rocker if anything like that had ever happened to me!

The strength of Cuttlefish is the likability of the young protagonists, as well as the strong action sequences, especially the huge, heart-pounding near disaster at the end.  I loved the characters, and I can hardly wait to have another adventure with them.  The Steam Mole will be out in December; it’s already on my wish list.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

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