Thursday, April 11, 2013

Book Tour for Jessie's War by Meggan Connors (Review & GIVEAWAY)


Fans of the steampunk genre will find today's author and her new release, Jessie's War, one that will entertain them.  So keep reading to discover more about this book and the steampunk genre and don't forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a lovely prize.....

The Explosion of Steampunk:
First, I’d like to thank The Scarf Princess for having me here today. It sure is an honor!
In any case, I was asked to talk a little bit about the explosion of the steampunk genre.
Everywhere you look, you see another steampunk story, a woman in an outfit that is a crazy mash up of Victorian and modern, or a dog in a top hat. Or maybe that’s just my social media.
I think steampunk has become so popular because of a renewed fascination with the Victorian period. Not unlike today, the Victorian age experienced a revolution of science and industry. It was an age that saw an explosion of steamships, the first transcontinental railroad, Darwinism, and the first recorded instance of acid rain (in 1852). It was also an age that saw the rise of new religious sects, and a renewed interest of mysticism and the occult.
The Victorians offer us a glimpse of the age-old struggle between religion/mysticism and science. It was an age that saw the end of slavery, new theories of our origins, and the transition from the first industrial revolution to the second. Robber barons were giving rise to modern capitalism, while, at the same time, Marx was espousing socialist ideals. Society was evolving, and social mores were shifting. There is a lot of conflict inherent in the age.
It’s that conflict that spoke to me as both a reader and a writer.
Steampunk, to me, is a story set in a society based on Victorian principals. To be a true steampunk, I feel that the book should feel distinctly Victorian, regardless of setting, whether it’s in the Old West, Victorian England, or in outer space.
Working with that assumption, the rise of steampunk is based on the conflict that was inherent in the time period. It has less to do with either magic or science fiction than it does with the conflict of the society. It was an age attempting to embrace science and traditional religion, but also looking for something in mysticism and the occult. Conflict drives all stories, and the Victorian era was rife with it. Not only that, but it’s far enough removed that modern readers will be able to plunge themselves into fantasy, but close enough to feel familiar.
It’s the combination of the familiar and the exotic that makes steampunk so much fun, as both a reader and a writer!
I enjoyed being here, and discussing steampunk! I hope to be back soon!

She's about to become a pawn in a brutal game between nations...
The American Civil War has raged for more than ten years. The outcast daughter of a famous inventor, Jessica White has struggled to salvage what little remains of her life. Then, one cold winter night, the lover she'd given up for dead returns, claiming the Union Army bought the plans for her father's last invention. But he's not the only one who lays claim to the device, for the Confederacy wants the invention as well. Both sides will kill to have it.
...And only he can save her.
As an agent for the Union Army, Luke Bradshaw is a man who will use whomever and whatever is at his disposal in order to complete his mission. An attack by Confederate soldiers ensures that Jessie will turn to him for help, but Luke can't help but wonder about the secrets she keeps--and if those secrets will ultimately prove fatal.

EXCERPT:

Someone knocked, and Muha’s tentative barking turned hysterical.
Taking her revolving shotgun back down, she crept to the lever that would pull down the shutters and arm the Gatling gun mounted to the rooftop.
“Go home, sheriff. Not talking to you today.”
“It’s not the sheriff.”
Her hand froze and the shotgun clattered to the floor. Gooseflesh dotted her arms and her pulse quickened, a frantic rat-a-tat-tat like a hail of bullets, as her body recognized what her logical mind denied.
The room went quiet. Muha sat with her ears pricked up, her tail thumping cautiously against the worn pine floor. The wolf recognized the gravelly voice, too.
The knock became more insistent, sharper. “Please open the door, Jessie.”
It was a dead man’s voice.
She struggled to fill her lungs with air as the pine door shook beneath her visitor’s heavy fists. Those hands would be big and strong and ridged with calluses. Her heart twisted painfully in her chest, and she tried not to think about them. Or their owner.
She’d gotten over his loss just like she’d gotten over all the others.
With trembling hands, Jessie picked up her shotgun and rested it against the wall. Her legs leaden, she walked to the door and put her hand on the knob, but hesitated.
She’d dreamed of this moment for years, of this man walking back into her life.
Now she couldn’t bring herself to let him in.
“Please. It’s freezing out here.”
She turned the knob, and Luke Bradshaw stood in her doorway, the brim of his hat heavy with snow, and small flakes clung to the dark lashes fringing his silver eyes.
He was as tall as she remembered, towering over her as he stood on her sagging front porch, bringing with him the scent of smoke and sulfur and snow. A black slouch hat covered his head and rested low over his eyes, and a black duster swirled around his bright-spurred boots. The silver six-shooter on his left hip glittered in the low light, and a large, black satchel was strapped to his broad back.
Muha pushed her head past the door.
Luke gave her a lopsided smile and took off his hat. “Hi, Jess.” A scar she didn’t remember ran through his right eyebrow, and another creased his chin. He held his hand out to Muha and scratched behind her grizzled ears, the way he always used to greet her. He handed her a piece of jerky, and despite the long years, a friendship was immediately rekindled. “There’s a girl.”
“Luke.” Jessie reached out to touch his cheek. The stubble of his unshaven jaw was rough beneath her palm, and his skin was cold. Her fingers trembled as she traced his lips, his breath warm against them.
He kissed her fingertips.
Dead men didn’t breathe or kiss a girl’s fingers. Dead men didn’t leave as boys and come back as men. Dead men didn’t come home with new scars or shiver with cold.
“You’re alive,” she whispered.
“Yep.”
His sweet, boyish smile melted her heart, and something inside her, denied for far too long, splintered and howled in despair.
She slapped him.
The crack echoed in the empty, snow-lit darkness behind him. Jessie stepped back to slam the door on this would-be ghost who had the gall to walk back into her life and act as if he’d never left.

MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:

I've not read many steampunk stories but found this one immensely engaging due to its very likable characters and vivid depictions of the blending of the future with the past that defines the steampunk genre.  This story is full of action-packed sequences with bits of mysticism that profoundly affects the outcome of the story.  Throw in a memorable cast of secondary characters that point to an exciting future for this series and you end up with an entertaining read.

Jessie has loved Luke since she was young and was devastated when she thought him dead.  Along with the loss of her brother and father she's now alone and having to fend for herself against those who hate her for her Indian heritage.  There's soon other men after her for the secrets only her father knew and Luke returns from the dead to protect her.  She's no wilting flower and resents him for his help while fighting her attraction for him that never stopped.  As they fight side by side to uncover long held secrets their journey towards a HEA takes unexpected rocky twists and turns that constantly put their lives in jeopardy.  After a gutwrenching event, their long awaited HEA is made even more satisfying.

Luke went off to war and ended up working for the government.  He has the scars and mechanical leg as a remembrance, along with his undying love for Jessie.  He knows he broke her heart and spends the rest of the story trying to make his betrayal up to her.  As they travel cross country he slowly wins over her family as they put her welfare in his hands.  As he comes near death numerous times she realizes she can't live without him any longer which makes an event that happens late in the story even more heartbreaking.

They're an entertaining couple equal in their physical strengths so both can count on the other in times of danger.  There's lots of witty verbal banter between them that's playful and belies their sexual tension.  Their trek cross country was a bit too drawn out and made the story feel draggy after a fast-paced beginning.  After a tragic event late in the story, things were a bit too drawn out as well followed by a hastily wrapped denouement.  All in all this was a good story with memorable characters that I'd love to revisit.

My rating for this is a B.

*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

BUY LINK:  AMAZON

AUTHOR INFO:

Meggan Connors is a wife, mother, teacher and award-winning author who writes primarily historical and steampunk romances. As a history buff with a love of all things historical, she enjoys visiting both major and obscure museums, and reading the histories of the Old West and the British Isles. She makes her home in the Wild West with her lawman husband, two children, and a menagerie of pets. When she's not writing, she can usually be found hiking in the mountains, playing in the snow, or with her nose in a book. Favorite vacation destinations include the sun-kissed hills of California, any place with a castle or a ghost (and both is perfect!), and the windswept Oregon coast.

Website: www.megganconnors.com
Twitter: @megganconnors

**********GIVEAWAY**********

Meggan will be awarding a silver pocket watch pendant and a cameo choker, and a signed paperback copy of The Marker, her historical romance to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. (US/CANADA ONLY)



-To be entered, leave a comment, along with your email addy.
-Winner will be chosen randomly from all comments made throughout the tour, so the more you comment the greater your chances of winning.  A list of all participating blogs can be found here.
-Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM CST on 4/26.

13 comments:

  1. Thank you for having me here today!

    --Meggan

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  2. Great post, I enjoyed reading about steampunk.

    Kit3247(at)aol(dot)com

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  3. Thank you, Ingeborg!

    --Meggan

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  4. Thanks for the review

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  5. Thank you for the chance!!

    Kassandra
    sionedkla@gmail.com

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  6. Thank you for coming by bn and Kassandra

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  7. GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR BOOK AND I WOULD LIKE TO READ IT. THANKS FOR THE GIVAWAY YOUR ITEMS ARE COOL! SHELLEY S. calicolady60@hotmail.com

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  8. I totally agree about the explosion of Steampunk! The Victorian age certainly has similarities to today! I actually took a class recently in Victorian Literature and really enjoyed it and how it can apply to steampunk! Thanks for sharing :) I'm really enjoying following the tour !

    andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! It's fun seeing you here, Andra.

      When I was a lit major, I read a lot of Victorian era philosophy and literature, from Mark Twain (his essays are hysterical) and William James to Yeats and Tennyson.

      It's good stuff, and fun to incorporate a story!

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  9. What an interesting book! Enjoyed the post and excerpt. Learned a lot about steampunk, which is a new genre for me.
    Thanks for sharing and for the great giveaway.
    bhometchko(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  10. Thanks, Booklady!

    I really like steampunk for it's diversity. I've read purely science fiction steampunks, ones in a magical society, and some that are a combination. I've read several that have vampires and zombies.

    It makes it fun!

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