I refuse to acknowledge how behind I am on my reading and just plunge forward in the hope that it all sorts itself out in the end. For those counting, this is book # 11 and movie #12, out of 50.
Book: The Iron Duke, by Meljean Brook
Goodness, is it hot in here to you? *Searches for a fan*. Ah, that’s better. I just finished reading this steampunk romance. Literally, I just read the last word and couldn’t wait to tell you about it. I started reading it because it was the pick of the month for the Vaginal Fantasy Hangout. I’ve never read steampunk before, so I approached with trepidation. The first chapter didn’t do the genre any favors. It felt description heavy, and I found myself impatient for something to happen.
That something is a dead body landing on the steps of a house belonging to The Iron Duke. Baby, does the story take off from there! I couldn’t put the book down. I stayed up way past my bedtime and the only reason I went to bed at all was the battery died on my Kindle.
I am now eagerly looking forward to my next foray into the steampunk genre. If you like romance, alpha males, and kick-ass, strong female protagonists…and if you like a little smut thrown in (as in, sex scenes described in a really fun way), then this book is for you. If you haven’t read steampunk before, then have patience with the world building at the beginning. Once you get past the initial set up, this is a murder mystery with a lot of twists, turns, plots, some politics, pirates, swords, little wind up mechanical things, and did I mention kick ass female characters?
First Line: Mina hadn’t predicted that sugar would wreck the Marchioness of Hartington’s ball; she’d thought the dancing would. Their hostess’s good humor had weathered them through the discovery that fewer than forty of her guests knew the steps, however, and they’d survived the first quadrilles. But as the room grew warmer, the laughter louder, and the gossiping more vigorous, the refreshment table set the First Annual Victory Ball on a course for disaster. Which meant Mina was enjoying the event far more than she’d expected to.”
My first impressions formed by this opening were lukewarm. I loved the voice, and I liked Mina right away with her reaction to the ball. I wondered why sugar was a big deal, and pictured the guests running around in sugar induced highs all night like children (later I found out that even the presence of treats made with real sugar is a problem in this society). But another couple of paragraphs in I realized the entire opening was nothing more than backstory. It was world building, and a bit heavy handed at that. That said, the world Brook created is rich, full of detail, and enticingly complex.
The way romance and sexual tension is woven into the plot is masterfully done. This is not a three-pages-and-they’re-in-bed romance. It’s a slow, steady, steamy build to a climax. No pun intended. Well. OK, yes pun intended. The smut is well written, not gratuitous, and kicked in after I was so in love with all the characters that I was as eager for it as they were. (Whew, it IS warm in here, isn’t it?)
So to Brook, I give hearty applause, a resounding cheer, and a thank you, for making my first adventure in steampunk so much fun.
Movie: The Lincoln Lawyer, Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei and Ryan Phillippe
I remember when this movie was in the theaters. I wanted to go see it, because it had Matthew McConaughey and you just can’t go wrong with him. Somehow I never got around to seeing it, so I was happy to get to stream this one.
On the surface, it’s a typical legal mystery/suspense. The case has twists and turns in all the right places and a suitably evil bad guy. I think what made this great was the protagonist Mickey Haller. He grows from being just a typical anything-for-a-buck lawyer to a man questioning his own ethics and morals and once questioned, he’s unable to go back to the way it was. He has to act, he has to change and he has to make sure the bad guy really does get what’s coming. I really liked him for that. I also liked that although he’s divorced, they didn’t turn it into an adversarial relationship. The ex-es actually got along for the most part, and have a good relationship with their daughter. It’s sad that such a thing seems like a refreshing change of pace.
I was completely hooked by the story. I’m not the world’s greatest detective, so I worked alongside Mickey to solve the mystery and was enthralled with each new twist and turn. I did not see the twist near the end coming, at all. But I didn’t feel like it was out of left field…the clues were there. I just didn’t realize what they meant.
Great acting, casting, directing, and no funny camera work…I had no complaints. As a mystery/suspense, this is satisfying and great for a Saturday night, and makes for a fun discussion over desert or even breakfast the next morning. It’s not much on romance, which is a plus if you are tired of those.
Ha ha! Love your review. I think that book cover would make me stop and take pause. My! *Fans self*
I also wanted to see the Lincoln Lawyer. I’ll have to add that to my Netflix.
I know, right?! Although I think the UK cover is even more…interesting. The UK shows a guy more like I pictured in my head for the male lead. Check it out: http://meljeanbrook.com/
Your evaluation of the Iron Duke pretty much echoed mine – waaaaayyy too much world building – I mean, how many times do we need to see “bounder” and “bugger” explained? But once you get past that, it’s a really good story, in a really fascinating world!
I also had a slight issue with the use of the word “shag”. I know it’s supposed to be British but every time I saw it, I jumped right out of the time period and into modern day. Did they really say it like that back then? No idea. I like to think they didn’t though lol.