Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Nefertiti's Heart and Hatshepsut's Collar (Artifact Hunters #1 and #2) by A.W. Exley


Is not the first time when CCAM wants me to help her with a review and I wake up with a book (or two in this case) in my arms. And as every time when it happens, she gives me the book only a few days ahead of schedule, and I find myself in a relay race with the handed baton, at the final lap. This is the way women are, they know how to manipulate us, and if you love them ... My only fear, and I think all boys feel alike, was not to wake up with a romantic book, for as you know we, guys, prefer more the adventure than the handkerchiefs soaked up in tears.

It seems that I was lucky because in the Artifact Hunters series written by A.W. Exley, you will get romance, but also smashed heads and fists thrown to the left and right, so everyone will be happy. From this point of view the author has gambled and, in my opinion, she won because the series is not just romance and adventure. The books are a melange of genres: adventure, romance, steampunk, detective, fantasy, mystery, science fiction, thriller. What do you think? Is there something not to like? Furthermore, at times the thriller tends to be something more, and the romance gets some strong sensual notes even explicit sex. There are two stories that take place in a Victorian era filled with steampunk elements, but the action is triggered and led by some ancient mysteries.

The first book, Nefertiti's Heart, is built on the frame of a mystery story which is well-run, with characters shaped in overlapped tones that can easily pass at any moment (or leave the impression that they can easily pass) from light to darkness, from good to bad, leaving to the reader no chance to label the characters from the beginning as positive or negative. An interesting action set placed in the XIX mid-century London, where the fantastic entwines with reality, where the assembly is viewed as through a stained glass. Behind this blurred image anything is possible and all it is in the eye of the beholder. Everything can go hand in hand: normal people and bearers of dark secrets, victims and executioners, aristocrats and people from the underworld, a crucible in which are mixed lives, mysteries, actions and their aftermaths. But all it is only to the readers’ satisfaction and delight. The book is well kept on tracks by the author, and the unexpected ending of the action will successfully conclude a story that deserves to be read.

The second one, Hatshepsut's Collar is a race against time to save the British Empire from self-destruction. The main characters are the same, but all the mystery that enveloped them in the first novel will dissipate. Everything is crisp and clear; the fantastic and the action will come first, not the mystery. Except the main female character which will remain the same untamed feline, a sort of Lara Croft of the XIX century, the male characters lose some of their luster by the disappearance of the mystery that was surrounding them in the first volume. There is not a minus, but in first novel there was an exoticism about them that you will not found again. Maybe it's just my personal opinion, but first novel is my favorite from the two of them.

As a conclusion, you will get a reading that will intrigue you and will make you live intensely the Artifact Hunters stories along with your favorite characters. Maybe, who knows, new adventures of Cara and Nate will come soon.

Happy Reading!

The blinds drawn over the carriage windows concealed the occupant. She stared at the open door, debating her course of action. This development wasn't unexpected; in fact, she invited it. But his timing was annoying. She had things to do and no desire to be in London any longer than necessary. Picking up the corner of her skirts, she stepped into the carriage and took the bench seat facing backward. The Villainous Viscount, known in society as Nathaniel Trent, Viscount Lyons, occupied the opposite side.

Cara guessed him to be approaching thirty, young for his position in the underworld, but he had spent ten years ruthlessly climbing to the top. He was reputed to be the head underworld figure in London and beyond. His family had no fortune to match their titles, so he set about acquiring one. With a formidable head for business, he established an airship cargo company. It generated a healthy income stream on its own, plus had the added benefit of providing an excellent front for his illegal activities, and extended his reach far beyond London. He simultaneously repulsed and attracted society. He was titled, rich, bad to know, and deadly to cross.

And he's handsome.

He was tall, his legs taking up an inordinate amount of room in the plush carriage. Her eyes ran up over highly polished, black boots and muscular thighs. Heading farther north, she took in his powerful torso in a formfitting, grey frock coat. He wore his black hair short and his sideburns narrow and long, emphasising his strong face and square jaw. A shiver ran down her spine as she met his steel-blue gaze.

"You shot my men."

At least he got straight to the point, no inane social niceties. She would never have to worry about inviting him over for tea, crumpets, and chitchat.

"They were trespassing in my house and tried to rob me." She undid the buttons on her jacket. The interior of the carriage constricted around her; the heat from his dominating presence caused the temperature to rise.

"I've killed men for doing less." His tone was well modulated, with no change in inflection nor any hint of anger; they could have been discussing the weather.

"So have I." She held his gaze. She could play his pissing contest all day if he wanted. He wasn't getting his hands on her father's notebook. Lord Devon sold her into slavery and nearly beat her to death when she escaped. Her father owed her a large debt, and with his notebook secure, she intended to collect a small portion of her due. She was going to enjoy breaking up his valuable collection of antiquities as much as she enjoyed smashing his stupid, precious clock.

"Keep your men out of my house, unless you want to lose them permanently." She shifted on the seat. Her jacket fell open to reveal the shoulder holster with the gun nestled close to her chest. A custom Smith and Wesson with a carved ivory handle, the delicacy of the bone co-ordinated with the cream silk lining of her jacket. She made her threat without blinking. Let him discover she was no blushing English rose. She had thorns.

About the author:
Books and writing have always been an enormous part of A.W. Exley’s life.

She survived school by hiding out in the library, with several thousand fictional characters for company. At university, she overcame the boredom of studying accountancy by squeezing in Egyptology papers and learning to read hieroglyphics.

Today, Anita writes steampunk novels with a sexy edge and an Egyptian twist. She lives in rural New Zealand surrounded by an assortment of weird and wonderful equines, felines, canine and homicidal chickens.

Author's Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway


michie2003 said...

Thanks for the chance.

ilookfamous said...

Adventure between the covers! These books sound so exciting; the review given seems more relevant to a movie trailer rather than a written series. Great job in the mixing of the genres, I can't wait to get to them on my TBR :)


Mikky said...

This seems like an exciting read! C:

Susan T. said...

This series sounds absolutely amazing! I can't wait to get my hands on them!

Kai said...

I love reading about Egyptian artifacts and the Regency period. Add those two together, I'm sold. Thanks for the giveaway.

Anonymous said...

I've added them to Goodreads and look forward to reading

Unknown said...

I absolutely love steampunk and this one sounds really good. I have heard great things about it and the covers are really beautiful. Definitely added to my to read list.

Candace said...

Thanks so much for hosting a tour stop! I think you're right, these are good for men and women. The second has more sex and 'feelings' so men might enjoy the first more. I actually think I might have liked the first a tad more, but they were both so brilliant! Nice to get a man's POV! Thanks for hosting a tour stop and sharing your thoughts!

Anonymous said...

I love reading about Egyptian artifacts! Thank you so much for the chance to win in this great giveaway! ^_^

Joseph Hawkshaw said...

Love the cover of the book and book looks like a very good read.