Book Review

ARC Book Review: Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts (Steampunk Proper Romance #4) by Nancy Campbell Allen

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Steampunk Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Nancy Campbell Allen
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release Date: October 6th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


A steampunk retelling of Cinderella.

Emmeline O’Shea is determined to save the world—single-handedly, if necessary. A strong voice for societal reform, she is the natural choice to deliver a key speech at the end of the International Shifter Rights Organization’s week-long Summit in Scotland.

But when a death threat arrives at Emme’s home, she is immediately placed into protective custody, watched over by none other than her personal nemesis, Detective-Inspector Oliver Reed. The two have crossed paths many times, with disastrous results, but now they will have to work together in order to reach the Summit before midnight of the last day in order to ensure legislation is passed to protect the Shifter community.

As unseen enemies close in around Emme and Oliver, they struggle to reach Edinburgh by any means necessary, only to find Emme’s vindictive stepsister, Oliver’s vampire brother, and a dangerous political minefield awaiting them in Scotland.

Even more difficult is their own refusal to admit that the fiery animosity that once burned between them might be turning into the heat of romantic passion. Could a straitlaced policeman determined to uphold the law and an outspoken activist willing to break the rules ever find true love? Or will all their dreams shatter like glass when the clock strikes midnight?

Thank you to the publisher, Shadow Mountain, for the ARC. All opinions are my own!


Before we dive in, I have NOT read the other books in this series. I don’t feel like I was lost on anything. I recognized what were the previous couples from books, but since I didn’t know their story it didn’t phase me one way or the other! I think this can be read as a standalone if you wanted to!

This was a charming read! It’s been awhile since I’ve read anything steampunk and it was fun to read in this sub-genre again. I liked the world that was built and the mechanisms that were used to fit the theme.

Emme was a stubborn and brave heroine. I thought her match-up with Oliver was fantastic. His more firm, yet relaxed personality connected well with hers. Even though things seemed sped-up (which is occasionally hard for me to get behind), I thought the speed here worked well. I felt the chemistry between them and love some tender endearments between characters. And their banter made me smile too!

I can’t say it was a heavy Cinderella retelling. You really noticed it at the end, but that was about it. This didn’t have any affect on my rating, just something I noticed. I do think some of the action that happened was too easily solved. There wasn’t ever a time where I was legitimately concerned for a character.

This was a good, quick proper romance. After reading this I am interested in going back to read the other books in this series!

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical / Steampunk Proper Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical, kidnapping, paranormal creature attacks

Author Bio:

Nancy Campbell Allen is the author of seventeen published novels and numerous novellas, which span genres from contemporary romantic suspense to historical fiction. In 2005, her work won the Utah Best of State award, and she received a Whitney Award for My Fair Gentleman. She has presented at numerous writing conferences and events since her first book was released in 1999. Nancy received a BS in Elementary Education from Weber State University. She loves to read, write, travel, and research, and enjoys spending time laughing with family and friends. She is married and the mother of three children.

Visit her at, on Instagram @authornancycampbellallen, on Facebook at nancycampbellallen, or on Twitter @necallen.

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Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: September 2020

I have big goals to hit 200 books this year.

Which may have lead to a wild amount of books read to make sure I’m on target. I hit 177 and 200 is in sight y’all.

Favorite reads: Blood & Honey, A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire, Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows, and the Wayfair Witches series

Least favorite: The Last House Guest, Bone Crier’s Moon, A Kingdom of Ash and Briars, and The Princess Will Save You

  • He Started It by Samantha Downing – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda – (☆☆)
  • Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove #2) by Shelby Mahurin – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • [ARC] Float Plan by Trish Doller – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Silent Kingdom by Rachel L. Schade – (☆☆☆)
  • Majesty (American Royals #2) by Katharine McGee – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle #1) by Rosaria Munda – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Blood and Ash #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Bone Crier’s Moon (Bone Grace #1) by Kathryn Purdie – (☆☆☆)
  • The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Bottling It (Wayfair Witches #1) by A.A. Albright – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Enemy (It Happened in Charleston #2) by Sarah Adams – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Poison Study (Study #1) by Maria V. Snyder – (☆☆☆☆)
  • [Reread] Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • City of Ghosts (Cassidy Blake #1) by Victoria Schwab – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Kingdom of Ash and Briars (The Nissera Chronicles #1) by Hannah West – (☆☆)
  • Bricking It (Wayfair Witches #2) by A.A. Albright – (☆☆☆☆)
  • [Reread] Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] The Bitterwine Oath by Hannah West – (☆☆☆)
  • Room-maid by Sariah Wilson – (☆☆☆☆)
  • A Trick for a Treat (Wayfair Witches #3) by A.A. Albright – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Forgotten Kingdom (The Lost Queen Trilogy #2) by Signe Pike – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Princess Will Save You (Kingdoms of the Sand and Sky #1) by Sarah Henning – (☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Magic Study (Poison Study #2) Maria V. Snyder – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Winging It (Wayfair Witches #4) by A.A. Albright – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Wrapping Up (Wayfair Witches #5) by A.A. Albright – (☆☆☆☆)
  • [Novella] Of Sun & Sandstorms (Swift Shadows #2.5) by M.L. Greye – (☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Georgana’s Secret by Arlem Hawks – (☆☆☆☆)
  • A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1) by Amanda Bouchet – (☆☆☆☆)

How was your reading this month? Any favorites? Did we read any of the same books? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

Book Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 353 pages
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 5th, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


When Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she’d been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it’s not the real Bradley she’s thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn’t even know. But tracking him down doesn’t mean they’re done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend’s graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.


Oh man. This book made me nervous. I wasn’t sure if I could handle Gia. Some characters can really turn you off of a book and make them harder to read. This definitely started out that way. I am so glad I kept going because her character progression was on point.

Her friends made me roll my eyes and get angry more than once. I really couldn’t stand the way any of them were treating each other. I know this can definitely be realistic in high school and I appreciate that we got to see Gia move on from that kind of unnecessary drama.

Totally, absolutely smitten with the romance. The fake-relationship trope is a favorite of mine and this was written beautifully. I like how they found ways back to each other, while helping them work through their own life issues. Gia really won me over with how she learned to have friendships with others she normally wouldn’t. Once again, just happy to see her grow as a person over the book. Bradley and Gia made me melt. I thought Bradley was adorable and he constantly made me smile.

This is a favorite for Kasie West books.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses

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Book Review

Book Review: Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Point
Release Date: May 29th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Talking to other people isn’t Kate Bailey’s favorite activity. She’d much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school’s podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she’ll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.

But to Kate’s surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend … until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.

Kasie West’s adorable story of secrets, love, and friendship is sure to win over hearts everywhere.


Found myself another charming Kasie West read. Definitely would put it up higher on my list of my favorites of hers.

I thought the romance was super cute. It did take some time for me to get on board with the relationship because I saw it going in a totally different direction (and that was just me choosing the wrong guy haha). But, once I saw how well they worked together they were utterly adorable. I like how the feelings developed and interactions. It was everything I’m looking for when I read a rom-com by West.

The podcast story line was fun. I’ve read one other book that has a radio theme and found that to be such a bust. This worked out well and allowed for growth in the main character, Kate. I thought her changes over the book were positive and I was really able to see that she was growing up. I love seeing these story lines in high school books. There’s so much to work through during those years!

The family and friend dynamic brought another good level for this book. I love when there’s an interesting family (this one all living on the same property). Added plenty of high-jinks and giving more layers to the characters.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses

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