Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Legacy of the Clockwork Key by Kristin Bailey


This book caught my attention on Edelweiss because of the title. I have a thing for keys and am just naturally drawn to them. I’m glad that my obsession brought me to this whimsical book by Kristin Bailey who is also from my neck of the woods.  Legacy of the Clockwork Key has a lot of elements that will be sure to capture many readers. Readers who enjoy historical romance, steampunk and adventures like Sherlock Holmes with a little surprise science fiction will become a fan of this series; this book has it all. Oh and so sorry for not explaining the science fiction part of this book, it would just spoil it. I can easily compare this book to Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard. I know a lot of readers fell head over heals for Dennard’s mix of genres and feel theses readers specifically should check out Legacy of the Clockwork Key.

Kristin Bailey has a unique writing style that is very graceful. She can make a simple task as making a bed seem elegant. Meg captured me on the very first page. Her circumstances have changed abruptly and Bailey weaves Meg’s past and present situation neatly, which is what kept me glued to her story. The storytelling of Meg’s background is never jolting. I would say it’s more intimate and cozy. But Bailey does know when to light the powder keg and does it constantly during the many adventures that take place in this book. In a London Victorian setting I visited secret chambers, a dusty doll shop, rode in a mechanical carriage, sailed a ship and even took a stroll in a labyrinth. I mean come on people that’s a lot of adventure packed into a single book, and I didn’t even include everything. Plus, it’s set for a sequel so you have to read Legacy of the Clockwork Key now.    

CLICK ON COVER FOR MORE AUTHOR INFO
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER OR LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE FOR
MY SONG PICK FOR THIS BOOK

Summary:

A teen girl unravels the mysteries of a secret society and their most dangerous invention in this adventure-swept romance set in Victorian London.

When a fire consumes Meg’s home, killing her parents and destroying both her fortune and her future, all she has left is the tarnished pocket watch she rescued from the ashes. But this is no ordinary timepiece. The clock turns out to be a mechanical key—a key that only Meg can use—that unlocks a series of deadly secrets and intricate clues that Meg is compelled to follow.

Meg has uncovered evidence of an elite secret society and a dangerous invention that some will stop at nothing to protect—and that Meg alone can destroy. Together with the handsome stable hand she barely knows but hopes she can trust, Meg is swept into a hidden world of deception, betrayal, and revenge. The clockwork key has unlocked her destiny in this captivating start to a trilogy.


This review will a bit longer than others because I fell in love with all the characters and settings. I have never highlighted so many favorite parts of a book before. So let’s get down to Meg. She is an intuitively smart young lady. She misses her family and is left alone with only memories to comfort her. These memories are what will get her through her adventure to seek out the truth. Her stature prior to her housemaid status is what makes her funny at times. She is very respectful and when in the presence of Will the groom who lives in the carriage house, she becomes a bit fluttered and timid by his dismissal of such things as his bracers (suspenders) not being on his shoulders properly. Meg goes from a proper young lady to a lady with bite when her key takes her on a journey to discover the secrets of her family. I thought that it was sweet when Meg realizes what the key actually is and how important she was to her grandfather.

Will survives on nothing but his wits. He has a tragic story that I don’t entirely believe is finished. I may just be hoping that it is included somehow in the sequel. He is similar to Meg in a lot of ways but the loss of family and being alone is the most prominent. Meg sees him as a mystery at first only because she isn’t sure if he can be trusted. He is very loyal to their superior who lives in the house they both work in. Will is sort of the innocent in this journey. Everyone has a reason to search for answers but I suppose his reason is Meg. After he develops feelings for Meg he feels he isn’t good enough for her because of his lack of stature, and it broke my heart when he tells Meg, “I would ruin you, Meg.”  Kristin Bailey gives him very memorable dialogue.

Oliver and Lucinda are like the Han Solo and Leia of this book. They are two adults who have been friends since childhood. Oliver and Lucinda provide romantic tension because of their history. Oliver is a man of privilege who serves as a guide for Meg in her adventure. He does not look down on others and always takes an opportunity to flirt with Lucinda who does not exactly welcome it. Lucinda is a wonderful friend to Meg and is much like a big sister to her. I enjoyed her because of the fire Bailey gives her.

There are so many reasons why I loved The Legacy of the Clockwork Key. I will certainly be attached to this book for a while. The adventures are something that a reader wouldn’t normally tie together. A world filled with beautifully detailed machines of brass that are invented to ride over ground, on sea, and in air still float in my mind because I want to see them. I wanted to see the drawings and the plans for them as Bailey described them. I also wanted to see the automaton’s that come to life and the smirk Will gives Meg when discovering them. The scene on the ship reminded me of movies like The Goonies and Pirates of the Caribbean with a sprinkle of Stardust.

Can you tell how in love with this book I am? I will definitely have to own a physical copy of this book because I found the story so beautiful and hopefully one day will add it to my growing signed collection. I highly recommend this book and encourage people to share it with teachers, librarians, and any other readers you can think of. 


Kristin Bailey is currently on a Blog Tour promoting The Legacy of the Clockwork Key. Click HERE for a list of her stops. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Crushed by Dawn Rae Miller


I have to commend author Dawn Rae Miller for writing such a jaw dropper book. Because of the sexual situations I would classify this in the NA category even though the book takes place in a boarding school of young adults. With little parental presence the teens get into serious mischief. I have never attended or know anyone who has ever attended a boarding school, so I don’t have much of a reference of how close to reality the book is. But Fletch Colson who is referred to as a ‘man whore’ gets himself into lot of situations that get very real. Miller maintains honest dialogue for all of her characters that will definitely make your eyes bulge. I found Crushed to be extremely funny, risky and a definite success because I wanted more at the end, plus it offers a great possibility for a second book.  

Crushed was a book that interested me because it’s a love story written from the male POV. And not just any male POV, one that readers may not like in the beginning of the story, which opens with a HUGE bang in the jaw dropping department, HUGE. I’m just saying that readers will need to prepare themselves for some explicit detail and drug use.

CLICK ON COVER FOR MORE AUTHOR INFO
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER OR LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE
FOR MY SONG PICK FOR THIS BOOK

Summary:

For seventeen-year-old serial womanizer Fletch Colson, life is a game and if he plays by the rules, he’ll win it all: his dream college, his parents’ money, and a hot (if a little vapid) girl on his arm. Really, it couldn’t be easier. All he has to do is get good grades, live a privileged boarding school life, and try not to mess up too much.

However, when he accepts the seemingly impossible bet to change his ways and be “just friends” with smart, beautiful, tempting Ellie Jacobs – a girl who seems hell bent on confusing him - Fletch’s whole world is turned upside down.

Suddenly, what seemed simple and clear, no longer feels right and Fletch must decide if winning it all is worth losing a piece of himself.


Let’s get down to Fletch. He is an egotistical, over confident sex maniac. He has iron layers that get torn down gradually and has a massive revelation within his immediate family. Readers will want to hate him in the beginning but will be surprised by him. Fletch is surrounded by people similar to him and his lifestyle so he is constantly being tempted to throw the bet. When he realizes his parents have been keeping a secret from him, he starts to examine his life and has to make a decision on how he wants to live it. His dad has high standards that Fletch has no problem living up to, but it’s the course his father pretty much designed for him he has issues with. Ellie, his friend helps him in a big way with this.

Ellie brings along a presence that has you glued to the book. She’s like a time bomb when it comes to Fletch because she is attracted to him and has no clue about the bet. This makes things more difficult in regards to the bet, and great reading. I liked Ellie a lot and am sure readers will like her too. In the beginning I always felt the need to protect her from Fletch, but towards the end you want Fletch to listen to her more.

Miller offers additional story lines from Fletch’s circle of friends. Brady is hilarious but often dangerous for Fletch because he heavily influences him. Paige and Reid are seen as the power couple. I enjoyed them a lot because they have a unique issue to get over in their relationship. Then there is Cal who was written so well that I can’t even discuss her because I don’t want to spoil the book. Her story plays a major part in Fletch’s.  


There are some incredible scenes in Crushed. My favorite was probably the trip to Napa the group takes. You’ll get a glimpse into Fletch’s lifestyle and those iron layers I spoke of will start to wilt here. Ellie steps out a bit more too, and will surprise readers in doing so. 

There are a lot of different battles within Crushed. Fletch has to battle his dad about his future. Then he has to battle Cas and what is expected of him along with himself who he doesn’t trust too much. Dawn Rae Miller provides a book with sincere life lessons that offers readers an untypical male lead to root for. You’ll hate him, be outraged at him, and love him, then shocked that you are sympathetic with him.    


Find Rae Dawn Miller here:


 

Amazon

Goodreads

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Song of The Week: A Memorable Beatles Cover

Anyone that knows me personally knows that I am a huge fan of The Voice. So I had to include this cover because it’s the one that sold me on the artist Juliet Simms. If I could sing I would want a voice hands down like hers. She sang ‘Oh! Darling’ for her audition and Adam Levine’s reaction to her singing was hysterical but I honestly felt the same way when I heard her singing this song. If I listen to a song and the vocalist has tiny imperfections that cause it to break and sound gritty I will listen to it over and over again. I wait for those little heartbreaking moments in the song. Like in the song ‘The Story’ by Brandi Carlile when her voice breaks at 2 minutes 52 seconds into the song, (yeah I know the exact time) I anticipate those moments when listening to a song like this. Don’t get me wrong I love The Beatles original ‘Oh! Darling’ and love both versions in different ways but I want to get up and sing Juliet Simms’ version.


This is the full clip so you can stop the video at 1:50.



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Prophecy Girl by Faith McKay


I agreed to review Prophecy Girl because there were so many questions to answer from the summary alone. Author Faith McKay has a lot of plotting going on with her characters that will offer readers an entertaining experience. Prophecy Girl has a strong sister element with Sam and Victoria who have to live with a mother who can be seen as scary. Sam is extremely protective of her little sister because of her gift. She also finds a confidant in Nick who seems to already know her deepest secrets and only want to help Sam. This couple is very sweet and readers will surely find their dialogue fun and witty.



CLICK ON COVER FOR MORE AUTHOR INFO.
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER OR LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE FOR MY SONG PICK FOR THIS BOOK.




Summary:

Ever since Samantha Winthrop's mother moved them to Lacuna Valley, supposedly in search of better weather, the list of strange questions she has no answers for has been growing out of control.

Does her little sister, Violet, have the ability to make things happen just by "praying" for them? Are Sam's dreams really predicting the future? Is she destined to marry the boy she just met, and what is the mysterious orb that he's guarding? Why does she get the impression that there are dangerous creatures watching from the woods?

While Sam should be focusing on answering those questions, there is one other that makes them seem almost irrelevant: Is her mother planning on killing her and Violet? 


Sam is a loving young girl who wants to protect her little sister Violet. Violet will captivate readers immediately and in doing so will allow readers to sympathize with Sam when she is battling it out with their horrid mother. One thing that Sam hates is to not be given an explanation. She wants her answers ASAP and I was frustrated along with her when dealing with Nick early in the story. Nick will provide the element of mystery that Sam must solve no matter what because he really holds all of the secrets.

Nick is an evolving mystery throughout Prophecy Girl. He has a definite sense of duty and I really felt sorry for his predicament. He has a huge obligation to stay in Lacuna Valley and this may be why he and Sam are so connected. They both have responsibilities and people counting on them. Nick isn’t always too serious though. He is very humorous when need be and the female audience will find him adorable and sarcastically fun. Plus the predictions about his relationship with Sam doesn’t seem to scare him off, if anything it only makes him more curious about Sam.

The Pace was good throughout the book but at times it seemed like I was reading two stories. One is about a boy meeting a girl, which was excellent and then, another that involves a mythical mystery about creatures in the woods. Plus the writing seemed a bit jumpy at times. The content was entertaining with great characters but I found that I had to reread some portions again to clarify the direction of the story, sometimes. 

Prophecy Girl provides a great story of friendship, loyalty and romance. Readers will support characters Sam and Nick because of the clear definition that Faith McKay gives them. I really do love books with a mass amount of characters. I like to pick my favorites and dissect them. I feel if you are someone who gets completely vested in characters then this might be a good pick.

Author Bio:

Faith McKay writes stories about characters with real world struggles in otherworldly settings. She is the author of PROPHECY GIRL, a story where characters struggle with the idea of having a destiny. In comparison, she feels really lucky that her destiny was to struggle with comma placement and be that awkward lady who points out puns at parties.

Other things to know about Faith… She wears two different colored shoes. She is a survivor of child abuse. She has lived with chronic illness for over a decade. A lot of people don't like her because she laughs too much. It's also the reason a lot of other people do like her, so go figure. She listens to more music than people are probably supposed to. She's a nomad. The word sounds really cool, so a lot of people say it, but she actually lives in an RV with her husband and their pet bunny rabbit, Dorian Gray.

PURCHASE PROPHECY GIRL BELOW

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Taken by Erin Bowman Promises Thrilling Levels of Conspiracy.


I may sound like Chris Traeger from Parks and Recreation but I LITerally just finished Taken by Erin Bowman. I downloaded an ARC from Edelweiss and noticed another blogger loved it and decided this would be my next read. This is definitely a ‘down the rabbit hole’ adventure with a massive punch in the face, Gray style. I almost never do this, writing a review immediately after finishing, but I must get my thoughts out now. Taken has so many intricate thrilling spins that after reading I couldn’t believe how far Gray, the leading character came from the first page. I kept thinking throughout the book that it would make a fantastic television show because of the detail involved.

I am making my husband read this book, because it is right up his alley. Taken would please any conspiracy theorist and have audiences constantly surprised by Erin Bowman’s craftiness. I would constantly imagine Erin Bowman writing her book twirling her pretend moustache has she laid out her breadcrumb plot piece by piece.     

CLICK ON COVER FOR MORE AUTHOR INFO
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER OR LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE
FOR MY SONG PICK FOR THIS BOOK.

Summary:

There are no men in Claysoot.

There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends . . . and he's gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby's eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he's prepared to meet his fate—until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he's been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets, the Heist itself, and what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot—a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken—or risk everything on the hope of the other side?


Gray is excellent! So many pieces to him and Bowman did a fine job of developing him at a great pace. He was always in step with me as a reader, asking the same questions and wanting to react the same way when in danger. So many stories are thrown his way and he has to trust his gut in deciphering them. He always has to worry which story to believe and if the person telling him these stories is to be trusted. The story is obviously told from Gray’s perspective and his thoughts are always concise and endearing. He is exposed to a lot of sacrifice that allows him to see what needs to be done to protect what is important.

The ladies of the story are amazing as well. I loved Bree and her determination. She is very loyal to the rebels and is always a mystery. I enjoy characters that can reveal just enough of themselves but always maintain the mystery. It keeps readers on their toes and will hopefully offer surprises for the sequel. Emma is a character from Claysoot who has high walls up in the beginning but once Gray makes his intentions clear she develops more and has similar questions like Gray does about The Wall. She’s more of a rule follower who on occasion knows when to break them.


The scenes are written extremely well providing great tension, and shocking scenarios. When Gray has to make the decision on whether or not to kill someone who is VERY important was agonizing. I didn’t expect what ended up happening and found it original. Another pivotal moment that made my jaw drop was Gray’s encounter with Emma during a mission. I was so proud of Gray when he had to live without her and then that little bomb blew up in my face. 

Plots, plots, plots, so many plots. There are tons of great mini stories within Gray’s world, a lot of interesting and memorable characters. Bozo was probably the most unique and tantalizing to read. Can’t wait to read more about him. I think that Erin Bowman tied up the ending to Taken nicely, with a few pretty long edges to still grab onto. The ending promises so many great possibilities for a second book. The group of characters that we see in the last couple of pages will definitely bring the drama. Sorry I couldn’t include more detail in this review, but I can’t without giving anything away. Taken has so many secrets to reveal to you so I advise that you preorder your copy now. It will be available on April 16th.