Monday, June 10, 2013

Armored Hearts Blog Tour: Book Review & Tea with Jessamine

Good Morning! Today I have a lovely lady by the name of Jessamine over for tea. Jessamine is the heroine of Armored Hearts, a new indie steampunk adventurous romance by Melissa Turner Lee and Pauline Creeden. She has graciously consented to answer a few questions, which I will follow with my thoughts on the book.

Dear Jessamine, thank you so much for coming to visit Songs & Stories! Please make
yourself comfortable and try the scones. How do you take your tea?
Sweet and iced. I’m a southern girl.  

Could you tell us your side of the story of how you first met Gareth?

How I first met him was…I cannot say. I’ve never told a living soul about that. I knew it was the way he wanted and I am nothing if not loyal.

What was your first reaction upon seeing him again as an adult?

I know many before me found him difficult and only saw his wheelchair and what he could not do. I saw what he was capable of and chose to love the man he was meant to be until he came to be it. He too is loyal. I mean look at his commitment to Tabitha. He would do anything in the world for her. Not many easy-tempered men would be willing to sacrifice so much.

What was your childhood like in the wilds of America?

Well my father mostly raised me. My mom is quite the genius and is given to obsession when it comes to her work. I grew up in boy’s trousers playing with the local Cherokee boys learning to throw knives, wading through streams and climbing trees. I was fearless.

Would you please tell us a little bit about the bonnet making club of which you are a
member, it sounds most intriguing!

Well, in my time, women are not regarded as smart. The medical books even say extensive reading and study will hurt the female mind, resulting in sterility. Have you ever heard anything so ridiculous? They misuse Bible quotes too to make it seem we should be ashamed of being smart. What kind of God would give an idiot as an assistant? The president doesn’t want an idiot running mate. We have the bonnet club as a place where women with a mind for mechanical innovation can gather and be themselves. Their efforts will be applauded and not ridiculed.

Are you working on any new 'bonnets'?

Why yes, I am. Tabitha and I are trying to fit Gareth with braces to possibly make walking possible for him. So far every prototype falls apart as soon as he tries them. Thompton swears it’s the curse. You cannot get rid of a curse with technology, he says.

If you could collaborate with any inventor, who would it be?

The Wright Brothers have a special place in my heart, for obvious reasons. So probably them.

Thank you so much for coming! I hope to see you again one day.


Armored Hearts
Armored Hearts
by Melissa Turner Lee & Pauline Creeden

Genre: Indie / Steampunk / Romance / Adventure / Fantasy

Ages: 15 and up

I received an e-copy of this book from The Experience Tours as part of a blog tour in exchange for a fair and honest review.


When a crippled young lord rescues a girl falling from a tree, it reveals a secret about himself and his mother's side of the family that could put him at the center of a war with beings he thought only existed in fairy tales.

Tristan Gareth Smyth lived his entire life stuck at home at Waverly Park and left behind while his Grandfather makes trips to London, all because of his blasted wheelchair.

Then an American heiress falls in his lap, literally, and he must find a way to keep her at a distance to protect not only his secret, but everyone around him from an assassin sent to kill him.

My Thoughts:

I love steampunk, and I love romance, so this book jumped out at me as one to try. The idea of a wheelchair-bound hero made it sound even more interesting. Despite the promising premise, it took me a little while to warm up to the book.

Tristan Gareth Smyth, called Gareth, is a very prickly character. Isolated and lonely, he's developed a thick barrier between his heart and the world. The only one he lets in is his several-years-younger aunt, Tabitha, who is like a little sister to him. It was much easier to warm up to Tabitha than to Gareth.

It wasn't until Jessamine arrived on the scene that something in the story clicked for me. Her mix of stubborn optimism and cheerful scheming was just fun. She knew exactly what she wanted and went for it, never taking no for an answer - and she wanted Gareth. I won't say anything more except that I laughed out loud at a couple of...interesting conversations.

Ah, and since it's steampunk, I must mention the gadgets! The gadgets are pretty good in this story, particularly the one about 3/4 through the book. An important part of the story is that Tabitha and Jessamine are members of a secret 'bonnet making club', which is a code for a ladies' inventing society. I laughed a few more times when I met them.

All in all, I didn't enjoy this book as much as I had hoped, but it did have several good points. I thought the romance was a little awkward and Gareth was really hard to like, but other than that the story was fun. I liked the second half of the story a lot more than the first and the sequel has great potential, so I'll definitely be back for book 2.

1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

I give it a 2.10 for mild exclamations and some name-calling.

I give it a 3.10 for some sensuality and innuendos.

I rate it a 5.10 for suicide, attempted murder and other violence, including a large quantity of blood.

                                     Lieder Madchen

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