Thursday, October 11, 2012

Neither One Prepared

Published: October 2012
Moonlight & Mechanicals (The Gaslight Chronicles # 4)
By: Cindy Spencer Pape
Carina Press

London, 1859

Engineer Winifred "Wink" Hadrian has been in love with Inspector Liam McCullough for years, but is beginning to lose hope when he swears to be a lifelong bachelor. Faced with a proposal from a Knight of the Round Table and one of her closest friends, Wink reluctantly agrees to consider him instead.

Because of his dark werewolf past, Liam tries to keep his distance, but can't say no when Wink asks him to help find her friend's missing son. They soon discover that London's poorest are disappearing at an alarming rate, after encounters with mysterious "mechanical" men. Even more alarming is the connection the missing people may have with a conspiracy against the Queen.

Fighting against time—and their escalating feelings for each other—Wink and Liam must work together to find the missing people and save the monarchy before it's too late...


     Wink has been head over heels for Liam McCullough ever since she was a teenager and he helped save her from a bunch of vampires.  But he is determined that after his parents' disastrous marriage he will be a bachelor forever.  Than one of her childhood friends, Connor, proposes marriage to her.  Wink decides to try and fall in love with him, but every time she does her mind fills up with Liam and it becomes useless.  But there are more important things to worry about than romance - someone is abducting people from London's shadier district for some nefarious plot involving revenge for the younger sons of nobility.  They are being conscripted for a cause almost too chilling to think about - to serve as mindless soldiers inside mechanical suits, with literally no control over anything they do.  Can Wink, her wayward adopted brothers and Liam come together in time to figure out who is behind the scheme?  Or will something devastating get in the way?  I saw this on NetGalley, not realizing that is was fourth in a series of novellas.  But I decided that I would read it because the summary intrigued me - and it sounded like a good romance.  I'm not usually a fan of steampunk, but this seemed like the lite version of it so I took the plunge.  I am SO glad that I did!  Wink was a wonderful heroine, perfectly capable of taking care of herself, mechanically inclined and not afraid to show it.  She used to be an orphan on the streets and so did four of her other 'siblings' until they were adopted by a Knight and his wife.  She still acts like a normal person, even with privilege, which is a joy for me as a reader.  I loved Liam, even though his stubborn refusal to try a relationship with Wink at first because of his werewolf condition made my teeth clench.  But I couldn't stay mad at him because of his fumblingly, inept attempts to point her in Connor's direction.  He really managed to amuse me.  The mystery of who is behind the abductions and mechanical army wasn't that surprising - the reason why was VERY surprising (which was a nice change from some of the stuff I've read lately, that treat readers like toddlers).    My favorite character though, was the mechanical dog George who acts and seems to think like a real dog.  Such a sweet companion to the Hadrian family.  Overall between the family relationships, the romance, the friendships, and the sneakily good world-building I'd have to call this my favorite Carina Press novella so far.  Very good and I highly recommend it.

VERDICT:  4.25/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book was published October 2012.*

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