Five Stars, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Moderate Violence, Nancy Campbell Allen

Dream

Nancy Campbell Allen is a master of comic relief. Though I don’t often pick the more intense books too read, I love hers because of how well she balances the tense moments with the often dry, spot on, humor.
She gave the Rapunzel story a genius twist while pulling in all the great concepts we love from various originals.
The family connection she develops in the book was brilliant. The ability she had to develop both of their characters through Hazel was great writing. I love how the two girls balanced each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
The romance was beautifully written, a wonderful slow burn that leaves you anxious for more.
Loved this story! The author always does a great job of teasing the next characters so you are anxiously waiting the next book.

51yxPN577RL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

Hazel Hughes has spent her life believing she is a Medium—someone who can talk to ghosts. But as of yet, that skill has remained frustratingly elusive. She is also suffering from a reoccurring childhood dream of someone who looks almost exactly like Hazel, but this dream version of herself is slowly going mad.

Sam MacInnes is a talented surgeon who runs in the highest social circles thanks to his family’s position and history. When Sam hires Hazel to assist him with his medical practice, he is immediately drawn to her intelligence, wit, and beauty. Their potential relationship is derailed one evening when a mysterious count arrives in London and reveals to Hazel the truth about her past: she was abducted at birth and her twin sister has fallen dangerously ill.

Hazel agrees to travel to Romania with Count Petrescu in order to save her sister, and Sam insists on accompanying her. The count has secrets, though, and the journey grows more sinister with every mile that draws Hazel closer to her homeland. Even as her feelings for Sam become deeper and more complicated, she fears she might not survive the quest to save her sister with her heart intact, not to mention her life. She must learn to draw on gifts she doesn’t know she has if they are going to ever return home again.

Hazel and Sam must fight their way past dark magic, clockwork beasts, and their own insecurities as they try to reach her sister in the impenetrable Coppergate Tower before time runs out.

Advertisements
Five Stars, Low Language, Moderate Romance, Moderate Violence, Nancy Campbell Allen

One More

I’ve always loved the Sleeping Beauty story because of it’s underlying symbols of good verses evil and truth defeating darkness. I must confess however, Aurora is more damsel in distress than fearless heroine. She’s kind of a wuss. In Nancy Campbell Allen‘s spin of Sleeping Beauty that was released today, Kiss of the Spindle, Isla Cooper her resident Briar Rose, is anything but a wuss.

Kiss of the Spindle (Proper Romance Steampunk) by [Allen, Nancy Campbell]

Doctor Isla Cooper is cursed. Literally. Each night, at the stroke of midnight she falls into a death-like sleep from which she cannot be awakened for six hours. To make it worse, the curse has an expiration date–after a year, it becomes permanent. And the year is almost up.

In a desperate attempt to find Malette–the witch who cursed her–Isla blackmails her way onto Daniel Pickett’s private airship bound for the Caribbean, only to discover she’s traveling with three illegal shapeshifters and the despicable Nigel Crowe, a government official determined to hunt down and exterminate every shapeshifter in England. Isla and Daniel must work together to keep the identities of the shapeshifters hidden while coming to terms with their own hidden secrets, and their blossoming attraction to each other.”

As a fan of the Sleeping Beauty story I have to give Nancy props for how expertly she gave subtle nods to the original story. Crow and the dragon were too of my favorite, genius!

Isla is not just an internally strong character, she literally carries multiple weapons and fights evil. Nancy has a gift for writing two personalities that are paired so well that you  are thrilled to watch the couple come together. The romance in her stories are always a perfect blend of tenderness and passion.

This novel wasn’t just a romance though, it had mystery, suspense and the perfect comic relief. Samson really made this story amazing for me. Nancy perfectly timed his comments at just the right time to make me bust a gut on multiple occasions.

Balance that with the fact that I really couldn’t figure out who the enemy exactly was until she spelled it out for me, made for superb writing.

She also threaded through her story deeper emotions. With Daniel’s PTSD and Isla’s realization that “everybody on board dealt with hard things…it’s what defines us” made for a truly fascinating story. I am now completely on board with the steampunk fairy tale world she’s created and am secretly trying to figure out how I can come up with an opportunity to wear a steampunk costume, Halloween is just too far away…

Five Stars, Low Violence, Moderate Religion, Moderate Violence, Nancy Campbell Allen

Tale as Old as *Time*

Confession: I’ve never actually been to a haunted house. Seriously, never. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t do scary.  How did I find myself reading a steampunk version of Beauty and the Beast with vampires and werewolves and ghosts and loving it? I’m glad you asked…

I’d previously read Nancy Campbell Allen‘s book My Fair Gentleman and liked it. I’ve read many of the other books in the Proper Romance Series and enjoyed them. I’m a huge fan of Beauty and the Beast and fairy tale spins in general. So, I picked up a book by an author that I’d liked about a fairy tale I love and found myself enjoyably ‘punked’.
Beauty and the Clockwork Beast (Steampunk Proper Romance) by [Allen, Nancy Campbell]When Lucy Pickett arrives at Blackwell Manor to tend to her ailing cousin, Kate, she finds more than she bargained for. A restless ghost roams the hallways, werewolves have been reported in the area, and vampires lurk across the Scottish border.

Lord Miles himself is clearly hiding a secret. He is brash and inhospitable and does not take kindly to visitors—even one as smart and attractive as Miss Pickett. He is unsettled by the mysterious deaths of his new wife, Clara, and his sister, Marie. Could Miles himself be to blame for the deaths?

Working together, Miles and Lucy attempt to restore peace to Blackwell Manor. But can Lucy solve the mystery of Miles? Can she love the man—beast and all?

I admit, due to my complete lack of steampunk knowledge (the only thing I previously knew was they wore really cool clothes and accessories) it took me a couple chapters and a little bit of research of the genre to get into the lingo and background. However, the characters were so compelling and the story line so intriguing for the rest of the book the unfamiliar world became familiar.

I was completely charmed by both main characters, and enchanted by their developing relationship. Nancy wove their backgrounds, desires and purposes together masterfully.

While I enjoyed her book “My Fair Gentleman” it didn’t stand out among the vast array of regency books available currently. The world she’s created in this novel however, is nothing short of remarkable. It’s like she’s found her own unique voice, and it’s beautiful.

I particularly appreciated how the more mystical elements of the story were creatively used as plot enhancing details. Instead of a book meant to scare my pants off, it was a delightful mystery that kept me sleuthing right up to the ‘who done it’ reveal.

PS- Kiss of a Spindle the next in the series follows Lucy’s brother Daniel and comes out July 3rd, you really should preorder it now, it’s awesome! Look for our review around that time.