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A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious (Steam Guardian Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Mary Wine
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Beneath the Surface of Victorian Life Lies a Very Different World...

Hated and feared by the upper classes, the Illuminists guard their secrets with their lives. Janette Aston's insatiable quest for answers brings her to their locked golden doors, where she encounters the most formidable man she's ever met.

Darius Lawley's job is to eliminate would–be infiltrators, but even he may be no match for Janette's cunning and charm...

Praise for Highland Heat:

"Dramatic and vivid...Scorching love scenes threaten to set the sheets aflame."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"[The characters] fight just as passionately as they love while intrigue abounds and readers turn the pages faster and faster!"—RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 474 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (1 Aug. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008B8A7C4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #52,193 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Promising start to a new series. 7 Aug. 2012
By Kate Phillips TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
*I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for a review*

I have been looking for a good adult steampunk romance ever since I read The Iron Duke earlier this year, and for the most part A Lady can Never Be too Curious fit the bill.

I really liked Janette. She was not meek or silly; she was a fighter and saw no reason why she could not be an intellectually equal to a man. She was not easily frightened and instead was naturally inquisitive, a trait I liked in her. I loved her interaction with Darius, there was plenty of humour and banter between them and a bucket load of sexual tension. The romance was great, it built agonizingly slowly and when the sex scenes came they were really, really great.

The only issue I had with the romance was Darius. I liked him but he was constantly doubting Janette and warning her away from him. It was ok for a while but it stretched the whole book and got really repetitive.

I liked the story line and enjoyed the level of the steampunk element; it was neither over nor under-done. I felt like there were times where there was a bit too much dialogue and not enough action which caused my attention to drift occasionally.

This book is not perfect but it didn't matter too much, I still found it very entertaining.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great intro to steampunk and this series 20 Mar. 2013
By nabalie
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Janette is bright, curious and adventurous. All admirable traits in anyone but not suited to a young woman of the Victorian Age who's sole focus should be to just be a good wife and mother.

The Illuminists are a secret order exploring Science and the world but is closed to all but members. Their society holds knowledge and freedom, both things which are forbidden to Janette and one day the curiosity becomes too much and Janette enters the imposing doors to quench her thirst for more.

Darius is the head of security for the Illuminists and has taken and oath to protect their order at all costs after being a dedicated member for all his life. He certainly didn't expect to see a beautiful young woman who challenges his authority walk into his building and make him feel.

The pair awaken something in the other that neither want to ignore and for Janette once she embarks on this journey there's no turning back.

Janette's a great heroine with all the personality traits that make you admire her and her zeal. Really liked the little details such as her clothing as it really puts a good image in your mind.

Darius could be quite tedious with his "i want you" "I don't want you" but when he gets over internal dilemma he jumps into their relationship with both feet. He's a gentleman and a rogue when needed making him the perfect lead male.

There were plenty of twists and turns to keep you entertained and the details really set the scene. Never read anything steampunk before but i'm already looking forward to the sequel
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good read. 25 April 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
My wife is reading this book at the moment. She said it is a very good read and would recommend to a reader that
likes a bit of spice in their reading.
Thank you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 10 Oct. 2014
By Daveeth
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
fascinating world created here can wait to read more
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Steampunk-Romance 29 Aug. 2012
By Chrystina Williams - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I really liked this book! It had really likable characters, awesome world building, and the romance between the main characters was hot! Even the supporting characters were interesting and well-developed. I read it straight through and loved every minute of it.

Janette has spent her whole life trying to be the good little girl her father wants her to be, well at least she let's him think she is. She's been secretly reading scientific articles and has been tutored behind his back *gasp*! A love of logic and learning have come to define her, at least secretly. After sneaking into the Illuminist Society's building she finds out that she is a rare pure soul, who can handle the rare deep earth crystals without harm. She can also sense them when they are nearby, putting her in danger from the Illuminist's enemies, the Helikeians. Janette's character grows a lot throughout the book. She has to find the confidence to be an Illuminist, which goes completely against her high-society upbringing.

Darius Lawley is a Guardian in the Illuminist Society. He questions Janette after she is caught trespassing, and they have some great chemistry right from the start. They have one of those passionate, or should I say argumentative, relationships and it was great fun to watch it play out.

One of my favorite things about this book is that it has such an amazing world. The Illuminists rely on science and rare earth crystals to power their whole world. Lamps, automatic doors, noiseless carriages, and showers are all used to make their lives easier. Their society treats women as equals and they aren't held to any different standards than men. The larger part of society has shunned the Illuminists for their beliefs, and they tend to keep themselves separate. It was really interesting and I hope to learn even more about it in the next book.

The only thing I didn't like was the fact that Darius Lawley's past isn't explored more. It's alluded to in the book that Janette should be scared of him, but I don't think that it is was explained well enough. Honestly though, that was only a minor detail. It didn't really take away from my enjoyment of the book, I really liked it! I hope to find out even more in the next book, and I can't wait to read it!

4 1/2 Stars

***Review copy provided by NetGalley for an honest review***
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Exciting Premise, boring execution. 17 Aug. 2012
By @Julia_ATUF - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.

After struggling with The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series all week, I am coming to the realization that I like steampunk more as a flavor added to other story lines than as a genre all on its lonesome. Gail Carringer's gorgeous Parasol Protectorate series mixes steampunk with fantasy and regency romance, Meljean Brook's Iron Seas series is almost indefinable with the gritty mix of apocalypse, technology, and history, and my expectations were high as A LADY CAN NEVER BE TOO CURIOUS started out as light, fun, historical romance with familiar class boundaries being drawn along fanciful technological lines.

Wine piqued my interest by reframing the tension between aristocrats and working class from a steampunk perspective (with scientists as social outcasts), and I really wanted to like Janette for her ability to defy convention and social pressures. It quickly became apparent, however, that the romantic elements of A LADY CAN NEVER BE TOO CURIOUS were very "old-school". As characters, Janette and Darius don't deviate from their roles of "plucky heroine" and "dominating hero" when interacting with each other, and that dynamic quickly became rather boring. And with a heroine named "Janette", the hero can't keep saying, "Damn it!" without it getting very distracting. But those moments of humor were appreciated, more so than the endless refrain of warnings and defiance batted back and forth between the hero and heroine.

I'm willing to sacrifice deep characters for chemistry, but that element of A LADY CAN NEVER BE TOO CURIOUS didn't work for me at all. The first sex scene was a flop, mainly due to some word choice issues (which is nit picky, I admit). But in the second sex scene Darius crossed from alpha to alphole, which killed my interest in the romance once and for all.

With the characters that didn't hold any surprises, sexual chemistry that fizzled, and a rather simplistic steampunk world of magic rocks fueling warm showers and cars, A LADY CAN NEVER BE TOO CURIOUS didn't meet my expectations. Still, it was well written enough that fans of old-school romance may enjoy this lighter side of steampunk.

Sexual Content: Sex scenes.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Curiouser and Curiouser 2 Aug. 2012
By akb--bookworm - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm a fan of Mary Wine's Highlander books. She always writes such strong characters and great storylines. When I saw this book, I jumped on it without really reading the summary. The world she created reminded me of Zoe Archer's Blades of the Rose series The Blades of the Rose Bundle: Warrior, Scoundrel, Rebel, & Stranger, a slightly more polished series than this one but still highly enjoyable.

In Victorian England, the Illuminist society guard their secrets and are feared and hated by the upper class...even if England does reap benefits from the Illuminist's inventions. To feed her insatiable mind, Janette Aston buys their scientific circulars despite her father's orders to be a docile and vacant young lady of breeding. When Janette's curiosity takes her inside the Illuminist's doors, she encounters unknown truths and the most formidable man she's ever met. Darius Lawley's takes his job as head Guardian very seriously, which putts Janette right in his responsibility as she has unknown powers that both the Illuminists want as well has their ancient enemies.

LADY CAN NEVER BE TOO CURIOUS was a very exciting and engrossing read. I really had a hard time putting it down, and when I did my mind would reel with information and try to figure out what would come next. The storyline moved smoothly along even with the changes in POV.

Janette has always chaffed at the restraints of society, and looks longingly at the freedoms the Illuminist lady's enjoy. To be a man's equal! Her mother made sure she had an excellent education, even sneaking in special tutors her father would have disapproved of. She is highly intelligent and can deduce consequences and scenarios instead of blindly following others. Even with her keen intelligence, she still felt like a Victorian Lady.

Darius is HAWT! He is honorable but no gentleman. I loved him...but we never got to know his backstory and what made him into the man he was. He was brooding for a lot of the story and had very strong beliefs that a high-society lady would never want him. Some of his reasons for these actions/beliefs were alluded to but never explained. I would have loved to hear his story. The banter between Darius and Janette really showcased their personalities and the development of their relationship. Very well done.

Although highly entertaining, this story isn't without its flaws. Most notably is the fact that several plot points/storylines went missing at the end. One character full out acts as a traitor, but never is called out for it even when all know he jumped ship. When this character is asked why is still allowed there even though he is a traitor no answer is forthcoming. Also, the storyline with Janette's mother gets dropped as well. I can see the author already pairing up characters for future stories and can see where a sequel storyline will go, but to leave some of these things so open, especially when they are essential to THIS storyline, wasn't well done.

Even with that gaffe, I really am anticipating more stories in this world Ms. Wine has created. As this book came to a close I found myself searching her website looking for clues on when the next book would be released and just how long I was going to have to wait.

Can't wait for the next book.

*8/3/12 Update
Mary Wine has commented that the next book will be
A Captain and a Corset--May 2013
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Start of A Great Series! 24 Sept. 2012
By L. J. Engelke - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Full steam ahead! Mary Wine's first venture into the ever-popular steampunk genre is an absolute success! Fans looking for that gutsy historical with extraordinary twists will love A LADY CAN NEVER BE TOO CURIOUS.

Lady Janette Aston has been told all her life what she can and can't do. Frustrated by all the pleasures of the world she has been denied, Janette's curiosity always has her grasping for whatever knowledge she can find. One day she stumbles upon a secret society, the Illuminists, where it is discovered she is a Pure Spirit and more valuable than she could ever imagine. Darius Lawley, an Illuminist Guardian, does his best to warn her away from his dangerous world, but fate has other plans. When Janette's father sends her to an asylum to rid her of these Illuminist ideals, Darius is there to rescue her from the hands of the enemy. Now he has to do everything to protect her, but after a few stolen kisses, his heart may need the most protection.

Mary Wine, known best for her historicals featuring handsome highlanders, creates a rebellious new world that will draw you in with its magnificent splendor. A delicious couple centers this novel and takes you on an all too intriguing journey. This steampunk novel has plenty of merit, but it's the steam between the characters that will drive readers wild. Janette is a force of nature, but so is Darius. Together they form a couple that can take your breath away. They both have a strong independent spirit that makes them both courageous and unbeatable. The love scenes between the two were very spicy and emotionally charged. There is also a short segment about Janette's education into the world of physical intimacy that I thought was absolutely adorable.

A LADY CAN NEVER BE TOO CURIOUS is a well-developed story. The steampunk genre gives way for many story details to be complete chaotic and virtually unapologetic, yet Ms Wine throws it all in there and makes it seem perfectly plausible. The warring classes of society, the Illuminists as the `outcasts,' the new inventions...everything, as if it came right out of a history novel. It just demonstrates how easily Mary Wine can make the true fantasy of the novel come alive. The excitement enthralls you until you can't imagine the journey coming to an end.

Janette, tired of others always controlling her life is looking to experience the world. To say she a spirited young woman would be an understatement. An intelligent mind and an overwhelming well of knowledge were her weapons. I adored the fact that even if she didn't know the answer she always had a quick retort to explain. She was never lacking 'ammunition' in any battle she fought. For a lady of this time period, I found that it was a trait very easy to admire. Early on, you saw she was a proper young lady always playing it safe, but soon you realized she was a fiery young lady looking for adventure. The Illuminists were accustomed to their new technology, so it is through Janettte's eye that you get to experience the wonder of this new world.

Darius! Oh Darius, how I love thee. Not one for flowery sentiments, he was aggressive and stoic, always keeping the ever so intelligent Miss Aston on her toes. He rarely lets the carefree side of himself show, even around Janette. He bases his life on duty and his duty falls to being Guardian of the Illuminists. You see early on how important his position is, and as the story progresses, Janette's importance in his life begins to grow. It's subtle, but that is when the story really begins to shine. Like I said before, he is not overly romantic, but his gestures suggest so much. They say more than his words ever could. But when he did use words, he certainly used the right ones.

He was on his way out of the door when she sputtered a retort.

"You certainly do enjoy telling me what to do."

His gaze slipped over her, and his lips curved roguishly, "That is not the thing I enjoy doing most with you."

Mary Wine has taken a risk with her first steampunk novel and it has certainly paid more ways than one. Fans will be glad to know she has an imagination that stretches far beyond a sexy highlander and knows how to use it! A LADY CAN NEVER BE TOO CURIOUS is a dramatic and thrilling ride with a romance that is just as fantastically unique as the story. Strong characters with a dynamic connection really bring this story together. This novel is the start of a great series and I am anxiously awaiting the next installment!

Lisa Jo @ The Romance Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Steampunk romance 25 Aug. 2012
By Blodeuedd - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was a bit of early steampunk. Dealing with crystals and a secret society that most look down upon. So they are not secret in that sense but they do not let people in.

The heroine Jeanette wants more from life, society is strict. She wants to try and wear pants, study and just be free. The Illuminsts are everything she should not want to be. She was a free spirit and I liked her courage.

Darius is a guardian and looks after his fellow Illuminists. I was a bit on the fence about him. He clearly wanted her, but he did not trust Jeanette and still he did little Darius do the thinking and it just did not feel right to me. So even though he wanted her..I dunno, I did just not warm up. He was so not trusting her and there was one thing he said that just made me angry. He should have known better. But Jeanette at least liked him so I can forgive.

I most also mention that there were these two side characters that I liked together so I hope they get a book and if so then it will be thrilling. That one I could like more.

I did feel there could have been, well more of things. But as it was it was a good book. The crystals were cool butI would have liked to learn more.

There is action, romance, passion, creepy bad guys and wonders to see.
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