Full Steam Ahead by Nathalie Gray is billed as a Steampunk Spicy Romance, though it read more like a regular Pirate story to me than a Steampunk adventure.
The story starts off with the heroine, Laurel Benson-Desmarais, involved in a yacht race. She's thrown into an alternate world by a storm and meets up with the hero, Phineas Hamilton, captain of an airship.
Ms. Gray came close but I just didn't get the Steampunk feel from the story. I was strongly reminded of Pirates of the Caribbean in places, not necessarily a bad thing but I would have liked to see more Victoriana. The romance was okay but I'd have liked it to be a bit steamier, pun intended. I'll give this one a 3.5.
Genre: Steampunk Romance with erotic scenes (explicit sex, exhibitionism)
Length: 206 pages
This is a race against time. Against oneself. This is the Vendée Globe, the most grueling race around the world. Singlehanded. No stopovers. On board is Laurel Benson-Desmarais, a thirty-six-year-old racer from a family of sailors. Five foot and a quarter inch of pure adrenaline junkie. One hundred and forty-seven pounds of thrill-seeking, motor-mouth, caffeine-addict of a woman who redefines the word “stubborn determination”.
Laurel’s venture starts admirably. Day one of the race sees her well in advance. Until the meteorological forecasts start messing with her patience. The mother of all storms is gathering speed. Heading straight for the race. For the first time in its history, theVendée Globe is annulled due to bad weather. She’s worked years for this but has to turn the boat around. She’s not fast enough. The storm catches up with her, tosses the 60-foot sloop as if it were a bit of cork. Electricity crackles in the air. Spray hits her like rocks. Then as she pitches into a mountain-size wave, everything changes. The water, the very air. As if she crossed over to another world. Crazy.
Phineas Hamilton, captain of the brigantine the Brass Baron, never thought he would one day run into a woman who physically looks like the enemy, with pale hair and eyes, but yet is not one of them. The exotic prisoner is also the most obstinate, argumentative, confrontational…and fascinating woman he has ever met. He does not really care where she hails from and what brought her to his ship—no one speaks to him that way. And certainly not on his own damn ship! A lesson in manners is most definitely in order. But for now, he must make sure his crew and ship survives the latest enemy attack. They all depend on him. Another link to the long chain he carries.
To My Readers: Dashing pirates, odious villains and mouthy heroines fight for survival in this momentous steampunk story. I pulled out all the stops for this one. For those unfamiliar with this awesome genre, steampunk is a delightful mix of Victorian aesthetics and oh-so-shiny fantastical machines. If you enjoy a good historical romance mixed with an action ride that never stops, or a romance that will sweep you into a fantasy world of petticoats and steam pistols, armored dirigibles and floating fortresses, then STEAM PIRATES is for you. Strap on your brass goggles, my lovelies, we’re weighing the anchor and hoisting the mizzen. Ahoy!