A MelanieM Review: Precious Metals by L.A. Witt

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Precious MetalsAs a provision inspector below the Chilkoot Pass during the Klondike Gold Rush, Constable Paul Benson of the North-West Mounted Police has seen it all. The monotony, the fights, starvation and even death that has come with the miners rushing to make their fortune in gold. But even as the masses of humanity crowd into camps, Paul has been able to keep himself emotionally separated from the madness and madmen around him.  Until the arrival of Joseph Starling in his life.

Joseph Starling appears in camp, practically dead.  Joseph and his two brothers had been among those mining gold up north but there the brothers met a familiar fate.  They were robbed, one brother killed and the youngest still in the clutches of the men who attacked them.  Now Joseph is on his way to find his brother and bring him safely home.

It’s to Paul that Joseph is brought to and its Paul’s plan Joseph will use to catch up to the robbers.  Only Paul never counted on going with Joseph on a journey that will change them both in ways they never expected.  From eight-legged mechs with minds of their own to crash-prone airships, this is a trip with no guarantees, for success and even coming out alive.

Just the cover and the title alone is enough to recall the wonderful steampunk universe L.A. Witt has created for this remarkable series.  The first novel, Noble Metals, firmly established a steampunk world where the Klondike Gold Rush includes steam driven 8-legged brass mechs, mechanical beasts of burden instead of horses or sleds, where the North-West Mounted Police patroled the borders and camps instead of the Royal Canadian Mounties, but the human frailties, greed, and despair remain firmly entrenched by the pursuit of gold.  I loved that story.  It was inventive, believable, and a terrific romance to boot.

Now comes Precious Metals and that treacherous, amazing world comes alive once more.  Using the same format of alternating points of view,  L.A. Witt takes the reader from perspective to perspective easily without jumbling her narrative.  The story opens with Paul Benson looking over the teeming mass of miners gathered to get permits and head north into the Yukon.  Immediately we realize that being a Mountie is not the passion for Paul that one would think, an aspect of this story both unusual and telling. Into his line of vision comes a tattered group of miners walking beside a worn mech, lying on top is Joseph.  From the minute Joseph wakes up in the make shift infirmary, his heartbreaking portion of the story unfolds and Precious Metals takes flight.

Joseph Starling stole my heart immediately.  There are so many facets to this character, loving and loyal brother, ingenious engineer, and courageous, intrepid explorer and that doesn’t even begin to cover it.  There is another surprise in store for the readers concerning Joseph that the cover happily does not give away.But this element of Joseph’s character and its part in the story adds not only depth but heart to this amazing journey. It’s Paul that I had to warm up to.  Paul Benson has his own decisions to make and he tends to need a lot of internal prodding to get moving forward.  But once he does, then the reader is sure to embrace his character as much as we do Joseph’s.

Oh, the descriptions of the arduous trail north that L. A. Witt treats us to!  Heavy snowfalls, avalanches, bone chilling, death causing temperatures, and always, always something worse waiting to happen just around the bend.  And the vivid, wonderful passages make us feel every exhausting, frozen, torturous inch of the trail north.  And did I mention that there are airships afloat as unreliable and crash prone as the mechs themselves?  By the end of the story I found it hard to believe that the journey itself only unfolds in a short time frame because we were in the trenches with Paul and Joseph,  For them, as well as us, the heightened danger and close proximity brings an understanding, though not love, that feels as real as the journey itself.

For unlike the couple in Noble Metals, here the attachment forms quickly, yet realistically.  Is it a case of instant love?  I think not, but certainly a romance with a future if the men have any say.  Yes, this is a HFN that is satisfying in a book that I loved perhaps more than the last.   I highly recommend Precious Metals and its predessor, Noble Metals.  Pick them both up today and begin your passage to Chilkoot Pass , the Klondike Gold Rush and the men who find themselves and love along the way!

Cover artist April Lee’s drawing is both lively and a little rough, a bluntness about it that adds to its charm in my opinion.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing       All Romance eBooks        amazon           Precious Metals

Book Details:

ebook, 150 pages
Published October 27th 2014 by Riptide Publishing
original titlePrecious Metals
ISBN139781626491748
edition languageEnglish

Book in the Metals steampunk universe can be read as stand alone novels:

Noble Metals

Previous Metals

It’s Whistle Stop Time On the Riptide/L.A. Witt Noble Metals Book Tour (contest)

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Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/L. A. Witt blog tour for Noble Metals! Thank you to Scattered Words and Roque Thoughts for hosting me.

Contest: Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of two eBooks off my backlist (excluding Noble Metals) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern Time, on July 19th, and winners will be announced on July 20th. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. 

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L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer currently living in the glamorous and ultra-futuristic metropolis of Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two cats, and a disembodied penguin brain that communicates with her telepathically. In addition to writing smut and disturbing the locals, L.A. is said to be working with the US government to perfect a genetic modification that will allow humans to survive indefinitely on Corn Pops and beef jerky. This is all a cover, though, as her primary leisure activity is hunting down her arch nemesis, erotica author Lauren Gallagher, who is also said to be lurking somewhere in Omaha.

L. A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her website, blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt).

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NOBLE METALS Blurb:
NobleMetals_500x750Ever since Robert Belton gambled away the money to stake his claim in the Klondike gold fields, he’s been stranded in Seattle working as a prostitute. When an attractive customer needs help hauling provisions to the frozen north, Robert eagerly volunteers.
Dr. John Fauth is only searching for one thing, and it isn’t gold. He needs platinum for the prototypes of his revolutionary inventions, and if he doesn’t find it in the Klondike, his university career—and his research—is over.
Getting to the Klondike is a grueling, dangerous journey, and just hours after leaving Seattle, John and Robert find themselves in over their heads. John is carrying an invaluable device that his competitors will do anything to get their hands on. And as the cold nights and mutual desire pull John and Robert closer together, they discover that they have much more to lose than gold or platinum.

(Publisher’s Note: This book was previously published by a different press; it has since been edited extensively and expanded by over 10,000 words.)

Noble Metals is available July 7th from Riptide Publishing. Precious Metals, a novel set in the same steampunk/Klondike Gold Rush world, comes out this fall.

 

NobleMetals_150x300(2)Visit here for all the Noble Metals Tour dates and websites.

Buy here at Riptide Publishing

Book Details:

Author: L.A. Witt
eBook ISBN: 978-1-62649-143-4
eBook release: Jul 14, 2014
eBook Formats: pdf, mobi, html, epub
Print ISBN: 978-1-62649-144-1
Print release: Jul 14, 2014
Word count: 52,500
Page count: 204
Type: Standalone
Cover by: April Lee

This title is part of the Metals universe.
– See more at: http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/noble-metals#sthash.ISolyTFN.dpuf

 

Review: Noble Metals by L.A. Witt

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

NobleMetals_500x750When  Robert Belton and his brothers left home  to make their fortune in the Klondike gold fields, they never imagined where their gold fever and poor judgement would take them.  Amid betrayals and gambling debts, only Robert is left to survive in Seattle and he does so by becoming a prostitute.  Robert hopes to save enough money to make it over the Chilkoot Trail into the Yukon and join the hunt for gold.

Dr. John Fauth is on sabbatical from his teaching post at the university in Chicago.  Dr. Fauth carries a precious machine with him to Seattle, one he developed and built himself.  With it, John hopes to find the platinum deposits he needs to further his experiments.  But first he needs to hire someone to help him make the journey into the Yukon, for where there is gold, there is also platinum.

When the only room available in Seattle happens to come with an attractive young man attached to it, John hires Robert for the evening and finds more than he expected.  In the morning, he offers Robert a job.  One man cannot haul the equipment needed for mining by himself, so when John offers Robert a job to join him on the trail going north, Robert eagerly accepts.

Even in ordinary conditions, the gold trail into the Yukon and Canada is fraught with dangers.  But John’s machine and the purpose for which it was built is drawing predators of its own.   The long nights, tough journey, and common enemies bring John and Robert together in passion and friendship.  As the danger mounts, both must decide what is more important to them…noble metals or love.

L.A. Witt takes a gripping period in history and gives it a steampunk twist in Noble Metals.  Just the mention of gold rush brings all manner of images and references to mind.  A huge human migration built on greed, adventure, and the hope of a quick fortune to be made saw towns and small cities spring up around the locations near to the mines or close to the heads of the trails into the gold fields.  Those towns quickly filled with  the unfortunate, the desperate, the opportunists, dreamers, the predators that fed on them, and everything in between.  L.A. Witt brings that Seattle to life here in Noble Metals.

Seattle is the center of the mining explosion.  A port bringing in supplies, hardened men and the unwary, people are arriving by boat, horse and carriage and airship if you have the money to afford it.  Yes, airship as in blimp.  For in this universe, its the blimp or zeppelin or airship that is the highest mode of transportation.  Electricity is still largely undiscovered with Edison, Tesla, and Fruth in the race to develop semi conductor technology.  Until that happens, everything mechanical runs on steam.

I love the ingenious twists and inventions that L.A. Witt brought into her Steampunk Gold Rush.  The Golden Staircase, the fifteen hundred steps carved into the ice from Chilkoot’s base to its peak, a treacherous ice stairway that all and their provisions had to climb if they wanted to reach Dawson City and the Yukon.  Vivid descriptions of the biting cold, sliding mechs, and a slow climb upwards in pain, fortitude, and numbness makes this trail feel like the hell it would have been to all those that attempted it.  Right down to the cannibalized structures of abandoned, broken down machinery that littered the landscape around the Golden Staircase, Witt’s scenes immediately bring to mind the litter and dead bodies left on Mt. Everest, making the connection to each climb clear.

Ah, the mechs.  Steam powered, eight legged, mechanical beasts of burden.  What a great contraption for L.A. Witt to invent for her story!  A new fangled piece of equipment used to convey supplies needed by the miners to dig for gold, they are a quixotic wonder.  Here is L.A. Witt’s description of the beasts:

“…mech, a spidery brass machine that would carry the ton or more of gear over the rugged terrain…I watched an empty mech limp past us. The valves on the front-mounted engine coughed little puffs of steam out the top, and the whole thing rattled as one leg landed badly with every step. I couldn’t tell if the leg was bent or if one of its joints was damaged, but something was definitely wrong.”

Amazingly, lives depended on such a strange walking machine.  And the fight to get it to function and walk properly is as nearly entertaining and fraught with peril as is the rest of Robert and John’s journey.  I really loved those mechs and could picture them quite clearly in my mind as I read.

Then there is the romance between Robert and John.  It found them endearing and their relationship moving.  While unequal in social status, John recognizes a kindred mind in Robert’s.  John values Robert’s intelligence and honesty as much as Robert’s good looks.  They bond over books, and the cold solitude of their tent along the trail on the slow journey to Dawson City.  Nary a case of instant love in sight, I loved how slowly their feelings for each other grew. Not only do they question their feelings for each other but what future, if any, was possible for them.  Great job by the author on making this element feel as real as the situation they find themselves in.

The story is told from Robert’s point of view but John’s side of the story is inserted here as well via journal entries in the diary John is keeping.  I loved seeing Robert and the trail from John’s perspective.  It also widened our view of the universe the author created by getting glimpses of John’s life in Chicago and the world in general.

My only wish was that the journey had gone further and the story continued on longer.  I’ll say no more.  But the world that L.A. Witt build with its tent city at the border, filled with miners, mechs and run efficiently by the North West Mounties (instead of the Royal Canadian Mounties today), along with the rough and tough city of Seattle made me want more of the stories of the people passing through and what if any fortunes they found along the way.

I love Nobel Metals and highly recommend it to all lovers of steampunk, m/m romance and adventure.

Cover art by April Lee.  Love this cover, perfection in every way and one of the best of the year.

Buy Links for Noble Metals:               Riptide Publishing                     ARe (All Romance)                Amazon      Noble Metals

 

Bool Details:

ebook, 1st Edtion
Published January 2nd 2012 by Carnal Passions
ISBN139781926996752
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.loriawitt.com/Books_by_L.html#nobleanchor

Publisher’s Note: This book was previously published by a different press; it has since been edited extensively and expanded by over 10,000 words.)