Here There Be Monsters (Iron Seas, #0.5) By Meljean Brook

This is a novella, and a pretty complete story despite the length. The world is a very original, steampunk London with some historical references but an undefined time frame. The characters were interesting and had as much depth as time would allow. This is a romance story, make no mistake. That being said- Laurel K Hamilton can eat her heart out. I listened to the audio version of this on my iPod, which I plug into my car. Some of the steamier scenes were so very steamy, that I turned the volume down at intersections, just in case anyone could hear! Romance is definitely not the first shelf I walk to in the bookstore, and even though Here There Be Monsters can easily be categorized as such, it is also an extremely interesting world with nanobots and hordes and automatons and machine prosthetics and krackens and pirates... I will be picking up other books in the line Romance I am so enraptured of the Iron Seas series right now. Meljean Brook could write about a gentle Kraken trying to reconcile with his Kraken wife while dealing with the stresses of his day job and I'd be all WOOT! MOAR IRON SEAS!

Okay. Maybe that wasn't the best scenario, but YOU GET THE POINT.

This world. SO GOOD. I'm all flaily hands and crazy eyes about it. It's kinda an awesome feeling.

This time around, we're given a pirate and a blacksmith. Both of them have their secrets and I ADORED watching their story unfold. I mean, I wasn't a huge fan of what Lady Corsair did, BUT I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND AT THE SAME TIME.

Bonus: Ivy's way of bolstering Mad's reputation CRACKED ME UP. Gotta love a girl with spirit!

Bottom line -- I'm in love with this entire series and WANT MOAR!

-Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal
Romance Loved this novella. Love the characters Meljean Brook creates, the Iron Seas world, and the great adventures and stories she writes. Meljean Brook is a master at unique H/h's and the slow burn. Yum. The narration was good also, definitely adding to the story for me. Romance A short story set in the dangerous Iron Seas world, starring Ivy, a talented blacksmith, and Eben Mad Machen, a notorious pirate captain.

After bailing on an agreement between the two of them, Ivy spent two years afraid of the moment Mad Machen would find her again as he'd promised. She had known it was coming, but, after all the terrible rumors she had been hearing about him over the years, she is far from ready for it.

She is even less ready for the crazy task he has for her while she is on his ship - building a monster.

The two start out as adversaries, with Ivy trying to resist giving in to the attraction between them, while Eben is patiently chipping away at her defenses, while Ivy works on her project and slowly discovers that a lot of what she believed about him was wrong.

An engaging story in a fully Steampunk world, with a well suited couple and a satisfying happy ending.

The series continues with another short story, The Hook.

Previous book reviews:
✦ The Blushing Bounder (Iron Seas, #0.4) ~ ★★★★ (12/07/2017)
Romance It's been a couple of years since the people of Britain were able to liberate themselves from the Horde, who controlled their bodies for years through nanoagents in their blood. Ivy Blacksmith had been one of their slaves, so she's terrified when she wakes one night unable to move, just as when her body was controlled by the Horde, while men search the room where she sleeps.

When they leave and she can move again, Ivy knows she needs to leave London as fast as possible. She has barely any money, but she has her skills making and repairing any sort of mechanical machinery. In her job she has come into contact with Eben Mad Machen, a notorious and very scary pirate who helped defeat the Horde. What Ivy has seen of him makes her think he might be a reasonable man, so she goes to him to request passage on his ship.

But his price, a demand that she sleep in his bed during the voyage, isn't reasonable at all. When another way to escape presents itself almost immediately, Ivy reneges on her deal and disappears. But Mad Machen is not someone you can escape from, and a couple of years later, he finds Ivy again. And still insists she honour their deal.

The romance was just perfect. Ivy is vulnerable but brave, and Eben is a really endearing hero. It's not a spoiler to reveal that he's not an evil scary rapist out to rid Ivy of her virginity, but a shy and somewhat socially awkward man who has worshipped Ivy from a far for ages and who finds himself hobbled by the tough image he needs to maintain in order to keep control of his ship. When Ivy comes to him originally, he's been gearing up to starting courting her, but her sudden appearance throws him and then nothing he says comes out right. Seeing Ivy start to realise who this man really is was just lovely.


Free download ô eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB ì Meljean Brook

Two years ago, blacksmith Ivy, desperate to flee London, purchased her overseas passage by agreeing to spend the voyage in the bed of the pirate captain, Mad Machen. Saved at the last minute by his rival, Ivy scraped out a new life in Fool’s Cove…until Mad Machen finds her, forces her to accept a job that will create a monster, and reminds her that she still owes him the price of a journey… Here There Be Monsters (Iron Seas, #0.5)

4.25 Stars

This is the 2nd time I've read this story and it can be found in the Burning Up.

Other than this and one other in this series, I've never read Steampunk that I can remember. I've looked into it before but nearly everything I found had no adult intimate scenes. This is completely different and one of the reasons I decided to try it. The other reason I tried this is due to her series she wrote as Milla Vane. The 'A Gathering of Dragons Series' which starts with The Beast of Blackmoor. I loved her writing of that series so much that I started searching for other books of hers and ran into this.

The flow and pace was Very Good. The intimate scenes were great. There is only a couple that go 'All The Way' and are fiery hot, but the build up to those were steamy and truly intimate.
The mc's, Ivy the blacksmith & the pirate captain Mad Machen were awesome. I loved them both.

There is a couple of typos in the story, but they didn't hinder my enjoyment at all.
The hardest part for me was/is understanding some of the 'Steampunk Lingo'. As I read, those things became more clear. I'm sure as I continue the series I will run into this situation as this 'Subgenre' is so new to me. But the way that this author writes, you easily understand this lingo better as you read.

I'm very much looking forward to my New Adventure into this world.
So far, it's been fun. Romance 3.5

A deftly plotted novella that reminded me a little of Courtney Milan's The Governess Affair with respect to the bartering for sexual favors and the hero's investment in the heroine's sexual agency. I found the romance quite well constructed, though I have to admit that emotionally I did not feel too engaged. The author writes in a somewhat overwrought style for my liking, with lots of heat and emotion that lends itself to everyone in the story existing in a heightened state of excitement nearly all the time. I wished at times for a bit more subtlety.

To that end, the hero is constructed too much as an alpha he-man for my tastes. His burning eyes, huge hulking body, near constant state of lust for the heroine, and tendency to transition from amusement to palpable rage in the blink of an eye isn't appealing to me. Also, grabbing the heroine, rubbing up against her, kissing her against her stated objections, forcing her to share his bed - even just for sleep -, ordering her to do work for him, abducting her - none of that is romantic to me. In the end Ebon is a good guy and desperately loves Ivy; it's just the desperately part that I wanted to distance myself from a bit.

I read The Iron Duke years ago but forgot much of the specific world-building rules to this steampunk narrative, and so I though going back to the prequel would help. It turns out it didn't that much because I felt lost in some of the events discussed here. I don't know why Ivy has missing body parts or is on the run at the start of the novel, or from whom! I think Ivy and Ebon have a past but I'm missing still the history between them. I didn't ever really know what a Meg was though I'm guessing it's a sea monster. I felt though that I was missing an important story about a possible war between humans and the massive sharks. I don't know.

I should respect my own limitations when it comes to enjoying paranormal or steampunk fiction. I put my toe in the water now and then, but in the end, they are not really subgenres that call out to me. Romance It's (a) an adventure on the high seas! No, it's (b) a kidnapped by pirates romance! No, (c) it's Shark Week goes Steampunk! Well, whatever it is, it's awesome. And (d) it has kraken!

Please note that I didn't actually get the audio version, but it's the only story I read in Burning Up so I'm pretending I acquired a stand alone. Plus now all the cover pics for the series will look the same.

(a) The author again dips into her Iron Seas world from a very different angle. More serious than the Indiana Jones meets Pirates of the Caribbean blend in Heart of Steel but less gritty than The Iron Duke, this novella explores some of the grim realities of their world (poverty, slavery, piracy, etc) through the eyes of two main characters who know how fragile life & what they've found with each other could be. It's not depressing by any means but shows a perspective on this world we haven't seen yet.

(b) The author uses some of the same romance tropes from The Iron Duke but with far better results . Ivy blossoms as she is exposed to the wider world and becomes stronger & more confident while Eben's layers are revealed in appropriate moments that feel real and unforced... it is absolutely believable that she would forgive him enough to love him and that he would love her enough to let her go. There's even that moment of liking each other before everything goes wrong that lays the foundation of a relationship later, instead of having us believe that hot sex cures instant hatred. Oh, the sex is hot, no need to worry. Woof.

(c) Shark Week goes Steampunk? Cue deep male voice-over reading these lines as the camera pans from the dirigible passing overhead down to - and then plunging into - the dark waters below: “and in the fall, the herring spawned in the fjord that drained into the cove drew young megalodons who churned the waters in a season-long feeding frenzy.”

(d) Kraken! Romance 2020 Fall Bingo (#fallintorombingo🍁): ‪STEM Heroine

Guess I can’t claim to hate steampunk anymore. Romance Here There Be Monsters is a companion novella (#0.5) that introduces readers to Meljean Brook's Iron Seas series. It's super sexy and contains all the amazing elements steampunk has to offer. The characters are great: fragile but extremely intelligent women, people with functioning mechanical limbs, ruthless pirates...there's a man-made kraken and a romance that blew my socks off. I may just keep a particular kiss scene bookmarked for life. If you have any interest in this series, then make sure to include this little story. Approximately 100 pages or 3 hours via audio, it's an easy read. Enjoy!

My favorite quote:
Families aren't always blood. You make your own. Romance