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Review: A Riveting Affair (anthology)

A Riveting Affair Anthology by Candace Havens, Lily Lang, & Patricia Eimer
Steampunk, Romance, Anthology
Ebook $2.99 (249 pages, EVER AFTER)
Beauty and the Clockwork Beast
Rose Verney wants to fulfill her father’s dying request: to complete construction of the teleportation device he designed. Knowing just who can help her succeed, she seeks out Sebastian Cavendish, her father’s brilliant former student.
Sebastian hasn’t left his home since he returned from the Civil War. He's a broken man, his prosthetics a reminder of the terrible destruction his inventions brought to the battlefield. He wants nothing to do with Rose and her father's masterpiece, but when she barges into his abandoned lab and begins construction, it’s everything he can do to resist getting involved. Especially when she charms her way into his monstrous heart.
Demon Express
Professor Maisy Clark, professional demon hunter, is on the trail of an evil scientist responsible for the deaths of hundreds. Julian is worse than the monsters he creates, but he's also obsessed with Maisy and willing to kill anyone who gets too close to her.
Just when she thinks she has Julian cornered, the sexy marshall Jake Calloway insists the investigation is his, and everything goes to hell. Maisy came to Texas to corner the scientist whose macabre experiments have taken so many lives, and Calloway is just another distraction she doesn’t need. Julian is her responsibility, one she’s not about to share. Even if Calloway can help, Julian will know Maisy is falling for the marshall, and she's not willing to risk his life.
The Clockwork Bride
When engineer Aida Mulvaney attends a masquerade ball at the home of a staunch Luddite earl with a personal vendetta against her father’s company, she doesn’t expect to end the night married to the earl’s son Julian Capshaw, a brilliant engineer in his own right. The marriage will allow both of them to pursue their love of science, without interfering parents and ridiculous social stigmas. Though they escape to the Continent to start new lives, Julian’s father will have none of his heir’s disobedience. Before long, a marriage begun for the sake of convenience becomes a union of passion, but will it survive the machinations of an earl determined to destroy everything they love?

Pretty good starter stories for Steampunk Romance newbies... (4 stars)

As a pretty avid reader of steampunk romances I was very excited to see what this anthology from Entangled Publishing's Ever After imprint had to offer. Having previously read both Havens and Eimer I was pretty sure I would love it. Each story has a pretty unique premise and blends both steampunk elements and a romance well.

[DEMON EXPRESS by Candace Havens], was definitely not my favorite of the bunch. I just couldn't quite feel this mesh of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, steampunk-ish (I admit the tech didn't quite feel truly steampunk), Frankenstein, and wild west coming together. It had a very choppy feel and I didn't care for either the hero or heroine. There's definite potential but I think this could have fleshed better in a longer format where there was more time to understand the villain's origins. Not horrid, but one of those short stories that just falls short of its potential. (3 stars)

[THE CLOCKWORK BRIDE by Patricia Eimer], an Irish engineer and a wealthy earl from opposing families join forces in a marriage of convenience. Great premise! It's a little sexy, kinda funny, and plenty adventurous. This is the first story I've read from Eimer outside of her LUCK OF THE DEVIL series and while not as hysterically funny it's a great stretch of her talent as a writer. I really enjoyed Aida and Julian's banter but especially seeing their marriage of convenience go from friendly admiration to something more. If you love this classic trope and want to try steampunk this is a great one to start with! (4 stars)

[BEAUTY AND THE CLOCKWORK BEAST by Lily Lang], I had never heard of Lang before picking this anthology up and her offering was my favorite of the collection. A wounded hero and a heroine desperate to grant her father's last wish. They make for a dashing pair and my inner nerd just loved the science-y stuff. This is a great example of steampunk romance, one of the best short stories I've seen in the genre in regard to making the two mesh flawlessly. Tinkering and automatons, tea and kisses... yep, this one hit all my favorite parts of the genre nicely. One I also highly recommend for those who are new to the genre but even more so for those who already love it. (5 stars)

On the whole, it's a nice starting place for readers looking for a taste of romance in their steampunk or vice versa. I would love to see Entangled Ever Afters put out another anthology of this sort!

Notes: Review copy received via publisher.

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