Requested ARC Review: Darke London by Coleen Kwan

Format: E-bookdarkelondon
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Steampunk Romance
Series: Uncanny Chronicles, #1
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Hero: Nellie Barchester
Heroine: Julian Darke
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 10, 2013
Started On: September 2, 2013
Finished On: September 5, 2013

When Coleen Kwan approached me with a request to review her newest release Darke London, I was a bit apprehensive to say the least because Steampunk is not my favorite brand of romance and I usually tend to shy away from romances of that sub genre. But from page one of Darke London, I was pleasantly surprised with just how much I enjoyed and came to love the romance that unfurled between the protagonists.

24 year old Julian Darke is tormented by the need to seek out the truth about his mother and why he was left on the doorstep of the man who brought him up. Though Julian has never wanted for anything while growing up, he cannot help but yearn with everything inside of him to seek out the truth, even when it brings danger into his life of the variety that just might mean he end up losing everything that he holds dear to him.

When Julian comes to the rescue of Nellie Barchester at the hands of a mad man hellbent on murdering her, he has no inkling of just how much he would come to crave the woman whose mystery and allure only increases with the scars left behind from the injuries subjected to her body. Nellie wakes up from one nightmare to fall into another; to find out that she would always shock people with her appearance. Her need to keep her past and what she aims to do when she gets better a secret is purely a survival instinct, something that doesn’t help matters when her body and heart starts yearning for that of her rescuer who seems to become as much smitten with her as she is with him.

Add in a villain who would practically stop at nothing to have his way and the mystery behind the “murder” of Nellie, Darke London served to be a delectable read. Julian proved to a refreshingly delicious and appealing hero of the variety that had me sighing over his character every now and then. Nellie was just as an appealing heroine, someone who isn’t afraid to go after what she wants and never afraid to fight for the man she wants. That in my opinion is what a heroine should be and Nellie proved herself a worthy one in every aspect. I’d love to know whether Julian’s closest friend Gareth Derringer who looks like he would have a very interesting tale to tell.

Recommended to fans of historical romantic suspense with a dash of steampunk in it.

Final Verdict: Excellent appetite wetter for the rest of the books to follow in the Uncanny Chronicles series.

Favorite Quotes

The sight of Julian’s naked sweaty chest incited a hornets’ nest of illicit desire in her. Heat flared low and heavy in her abdomen. Dampness sprang out on the back of her neck, between her breasts, and even—heaven help her—beneath her drawers. As Julian wrestled with his friend, his trousers stretched tight around his thighs, drawing her attention to his flagrantly virile thews. Nellie swallowed hard as erotic sensations surged over her, followed quickly by hot, hedonistic and deeply disturbing imaginings of Julian gloriously naked and rampant, bending over an equally naked and impassioned woman— herself.

She made a tiny gasp, and he feared she would pull away, but then her lips softened and yielded against his, and it felt as though the blazing summer sun had burst through. The honey of her kiss poured out like hot lava through him, surging to every region. It was as if he’d been frozen for eons, and now the heat of her mouth was flooding his body, dissolving all the ice.

“I am a shameless wanton,” she whispered back. As her hands moved feverishly over his chest, her spurs unsheathed and caught in the soft fabric of his shirt, tearing a rent at his collar. She sucked in a breath, then bent her head and licked at the patch of bare skin exposed.
Julian inhaled as the warm moist tip of her tongue swirled over his skin. “Sweet Jesus, don’t stop.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Samhain


Requested ARC Review: When Harriet Came Home by Coleen Kwan

Format: E-bookwhenharrietcamehome
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Adam Blackstone
Heroine: Harriet Brown
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 24, 2011
Started On: October 19, 2011
Finished On: October 20, 2011

When Harriet Came Home By Coleen Kwan is set to release from Carina Press on the 24th of this month. Set in the small town of Wilmot in Australia, When Harriet Came Home tells the story of Harriet Brown who comes back home after a period of ten years upon receiving the news that her father had been involved in an accident.

Harriet had been an overweight and shy child which had earned continuous ridicule from her peers. But what had really driven her out of her hometown had been her involvement in bringing to light the damning photos of Warwick Blackstone, the Lord Mayor of Wilmot, receiving a bribe from a property developer which had forced the long-time mayor to resign. Rather than be thanked and applauded for her role in the matter, Harriet had felt more and more alienated until she had finally left home and carved a life for herself as a caterer in Sydney.

When Harriet comes back, the last thing she expects is to run into Adam Blackstone, the only child of Warwick Blackstone, who seems to have grown out of his smooth boyish good looks into a virile and rugged looking man who makes all her senses come alive. And the one thing that Harriet learns even from the very first encounter with Adam is that her hopeless infatuation with Adam when she had been the chubby outcast and he the golden boy of town is stronger than ever, and this time she might just lose her heart for good if she ain’t too careful about it.

Harriet’s well-meaning father who wants her to bury her regrets once and for all pushes Adam and Harriet together, the preparation for the Harvest Ball supposed to be Harriet’s way of making amends and Adam’s quest in bringing back the good name which had belonged to his family for decades. Though Harriet is wary of her attraction towards Adam which she thinks will only lead to more heartache, she finds herself saying yes to the answering need which flares to life in Adam’s eyes whenever they are together. Its a difficult road that these two take towards happily ever after, not because of external influences but rather due to Harriet’s own insecurities which she doesn’t seem to get rid of until towards the very end of the novel.

When Harriet Came Home starts off on a pretty good note. I loved the setting, the way Coleen Kwan seemed to bring her characters to life and of course the sizzle between the sexy Adam and Harriet which is a constant whenever they are thrown together. I loved Adam’s character, the way he had grown up into a man so different from whom he had been 10 years back, a man forced to make a name & place for himself when everything he had loved and coveted had been taken away from him. Though at first he is pretty much antagonistic towards Harriet which is understandable, Adam thaws pretty quickly, not wanting to hold a grudge against Harriet when all he can think about is kissing her senseless and having his way with her. I loved how Adam could see the good in people and the fact that he has an abundance of patience when it come to dealing with Harriet who never seemed to be able to make up her mind.

For me, Harriet’s character was the one that I couldn’t get fully on board with. At the beginning, I liked her well enough, the insecurities that she was feeling pretty much expected when one returns home to a lukewarm welcome at best from the town folk. But what made me dislike Harriet was how she seemed to judge other people when she herself had been on the receiving end of such treatment in her childhood. Harriet who should have understood never seemed to be able to look beyond the surface unlike Adam who seemed to able to see the good in people. I especially found myself irked by the way Harriet seems to be so judgmental when it comes to Adam, again never seeing anything below the surface, never accepting & believing in her heart just how much Adam had changed for the better.

If Harriet had truly being in love with Adam as she professes to be, she would have been able to see the good inside of him and accept him for who he is, and in my opinion Adam makes for one fine hero! If Harriet’s character had stayed true to what she started out like at the beginning of the story, I would have enjoyed the story much better all around.

Though I didn’t turn out to love Harriet’s character, I would still rate this as a good read, recommended for contemporary romance fans who love a sexy reformed hero who wears a tool-belt on occasion. *winks*

Favorite Quotes

He wore jeans and a thin white singlet which clung to his broad chest. His tanned biceps bunched as he hammered away, and his skin glowed with perspiration under the warm sun. Harriet’s mouth went bone-dry. A rush of heat boiled over her, licking her skin, surging inside her breasts, her thighs. Her response was instantaneous. She had no control over it. One look at Adam’s body and desire ignited in her.

She sucked in a breath as their gazes clashed and his face altered. She could see the sweat beading the line of his close-cropped dark hair, could feel the heat radiating off his bulky shoulders, and smell the tang of hard work rising from his chest. A work belt clung to his hips. A smattering of hair flecked his gleaming pectorals above the singlet. With his chiselled face, his impressive biceps and long legs, he could have been a pin-up for one of those beefcake calendars. Mr November, with those grey Scorpio eyes watching her every move.