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    GRIM Blog Tour: Micro Reviews of THE PINK & SELL OUT + Giveaway

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    I am super excited to be a part of this amazing tour for the recently released GRIM anthology. The classic fairytales were my most favorite stories growing up and I am so excited that a number of my favorite authors today have decided to put their own spin – sometimes a darker spin – on these already grim tales. (Pun intended.)

    For my stop today I get to share my thoughts on Amanda Hocking’s THE PINK: A Grimm Story and Jackson Pearce’s SELL OUT. I am also going to ramble just a little bit about My Grimm Childhood.

    While I haven’t yet read all of the stories in this anthology, I do plan on reading each and every one, along with the original. But the ones I have read so far have been absolutely delightful. And by delightful I mean dark and twisty and different and enchanting. They are the perfect short bites to read when I have a spare moment.

    And although some have been quite different from the original tales, they bring back fond memories of my childhood. Which was also often dark and twisty and different and enchanting.

    Anyway… if you haven’t yet had a chance to take a peek at this anthology, the details are below. And if you’d like to read THE KEY by Rachel Hawkins and THE BROTHERS PIGGETT Julie Kagawa, they are currently available for free download at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Harlequin Teen created a wonderful trailer for this anthology. Be sure to check it out if you have a moment.

    And if you’d like the chance to win a copy of the book and be entered into the grand prize giveaway drawing, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter. Then be sure to visit all stops on the tour for additional chances to win GRIM.

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    About the Book

    GRIM-BY-CHRISTINE-JOHNSON

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    Release date: February 25, 2014
    Publisher: Harlequin Teen
    Editor: Christine Johnson
    Pages: 480
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    Inspired by classic fairy tales, but with a dark and sinister twist, Grim contains short stories from some of the best voices in young adult literature today.

    The Stories & Authors

    1. THE KEY by Rachel Hawkins

    2. FIGMENT by Jeri Smith-Ready

    3. THE TWELTH GIRL by Malinda Lo

    4. THE RAVEN PRINCESS by Jon Skovron

    5. THINNER THAN WATER by Saundra Mitchell

    6. BEFORE THE ROSE BLOOMED: A Retelling of the Snow Queen by Ellen Hopkins

    7. BEAST/BEAST by Tessa Gratton

    8. THE BROTHERS PIGGETT by Julie Kagawa

    9. UNTETHERED by Sonia Gensler

    10. BETTER by Shaun David Hutchinson

    11. LIGHT IT UP by Kimberly Derting

    12. SHARPER THAN A SERPENT’S TONGUE by Christine Johnson

    13. A REAL BOY by Claudia Gray

    14. SKIN TRADE by Myra McEntire

    15. BEAUTY AND THE CHAD by Sarah Rees Brennan

    16. THE PINK: A Grimm Story by Amanda Hocking

    17. SELL OUT by Jackson Pearce

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | INDIEBOUND | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | GOODREADS

    The Trailer


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    The Micro Reviews

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    I really enjoyed reading Amanda Hocking’s version of THE PINK. It’s one of the shorter, more obscure of the Grimm’s stories, but it’s actually one I remember rather well. It involves a young prince who can make wishes come true, a queen who is framed for his death, and a young girl who puts her own life at risk to save another.

    Instead of revamping the story, the author opted to stay somewhat true to its original setting and voice. It reads like a fairytale. But as the original was so quick and lacking in much detail, this author chose to expand upon it, fleshing out the story and characters a bit more, adding in her own creative and imaginative elements.

    Amanda Hocking’s THE PINK retains much of the essence of the original story but is far more enchanting than the original and even a bit less grim. By giving the characters a voice, taking away some of the antiquated notions about women, and taking religion out of this tale, the author has made this modern adaptation a charming, sweet and absolutely delightful read.

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    SellOut

    SELL OUT is the first story I’ve read by author Jackson Pearce and it definitely won’t be my last. It is loosely based on the classic Snow White story, but with quite a few nods to the original. And as this is such a popular fairytale I don’t think I need to refresh anyone’s memory, but just in case…. It involves an envious queen, a huntsman who chooses to defy his orders, a bunch of rather greedy dwarves, a tightly-laced bodice, a poison apple, a state of suspended animation, a kiss and a happily ever after.

    Jackson Pearce’s SELL OUT mixes things up a bit and adds its own grim twist. It’s a modern interpretation involving a character who can revive the dead with a kiss. There is a “wicked” stepmother, or at least a greedy one. The huntsman and the prince are combined into one character, Emmett, who is not quite as altruistic. Snow White, a.k.a. Elise Snow, isn’t nearly as innocent as she was in the original tale. But the “dwarves” in this story – free-spirited creative types – are much more kindly than their counterparts in the Brothers Grimm’s version, treating Elise more like family than like a servant.

    SELL OUT is a super quick read, a lot of fun and is definitely a unique modernization of the classic. The grim twist to this story – in which no young boars were harmed (and no, taxidermy does not count) – is provided by Emmett’s job. It’s definitely worth the read and will likely leave you wondering about happily ever afters. This short story is one that I would love to see expanded into a full-length novel.

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    My Grimm Childhood

    I loved reading fairytales when I was a child, and my most favorite stories were those by the Brothers Grimm. Many of those fairytales, like many in this anthology, were rather grim. I still can’t get the images of what happened to Cinderella’s step-sisters, and what they were willing to do to catch a prince, out of my head. I suppose gruesome is a more befitting word.

    I was given The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales when I was eight or nine. It was just over 850 pages and I devoured it cover to cover so many times that the spine first bent, then broke, then tore into sections. And still I continued to read it. I loved the magic of these stories and was fascinated by their darkness. It wasn’t until later on in life that I learned a bit more about German fairytales and bedtime stories and what their true purpose often was.

    Of course I didn’t recognize how sexist these stories were, how quick to judge and punish the kings and princes were, how only the most wholesome of girls was rewarded, and how innocence and beauty went hand-in-hand. And I didn’t understand how delousing a man was not something particularly enjoyable. I was blinded to all of that by these stories that transported me to imaginary lands where happy endings were real and evil was punished.

    These stories provided me an escape that was much needed and I cherished them dearly. No matter how much a few of the elements in them should offend my sensibilities, I can’t seem to get upset with them or stop loving them. They were written in a time that is so very different from today.

    But I’m really excited that children today have an alternative to Hollywood’s overly cheery version of a fairytale, or ones that are filled with concepts that are a bit outdated, with such modernized versions as those offered in the GRIM anthology. And it’s absolutely wonderful to see today’s spinners of tales pay homage to their predecessors in these most beloved stories.

    I’m certain that I would have happily exchanged my GRIMM Childhood for a GRIM one.

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    The Giveaway

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    There are a number of amazing giveaways on this tour so be sure to visit all the stops for additional chances to win!

    – A copy of GRIM to ONE WINNER at each tour stop

    – A GRAND PRIZE PACKAGE including the following Harlequin Teen titles: 2 copies of GRIM, a copy of WHITE HOT KISS by Jennifer L. Armentrout, THE SECRET DIAMOND SISTERS by Michelle Madow, THE QUEEN’S CHOICE by Cayla Kluver and an ARC of LET’S GET LOST by Adi Alsaid

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    The Tour Schedule

    Monday, Feb. 17th – Harlequin Paranormal Blog

    Tuesday, Feb. 18th – Two Chicks on Books – Stories 1, 2 & 3

    Wednesday, Feb. 19th – A Book and a Latte – Stories 4, 5 & 6

    Friday, Feb. 21st – Fiction Freak – Stories 7, 8 & 9

    Monday, Feb. 24th – Mundie Moms – Stories 10, 11 & 12

    Wednesday, Feb. 26th – Bumbles and Fairytales – Stories 13, 14 & 15

    Friday, Feb. 28th – Fiktshun – Stories 16 & 17

    For more information about each of the stops on the tour just visit Kismet Book Touring’s website by clicking the image below.

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    Review: Stir Me Up

    Stir Me Up

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    STIR ME UP by Sabrina Elkins released in the U.S. on October 1, 2013 in eBook format. It is currently available to order online at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Harlequin Teen, the book is 268 pages.

    Note: This review is based on an eARC I received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.

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    Description:

    Cami Broussard has her future all figured out. She’ll finish her senior year of high school, then go to work full-time as an apprentice chef in her father’s French restaurant, alongside her boyfriend, Luke. But then twenty-year-old ex-Marine Julian Wyatt comes to live with Cami’s family while recovering from serious injuries. And suddenly Cami finds herself questioning everything she thought she wanted.

    Julian’s all attitude, challenges and intense green-brown eyes. But beneath that abrasive exterior is a man who just might be as lost as Cami’s starting to feel. And Cami can’t stop thinking about him. Talking to him. Wanting to kiss him. He’s got her seriously stirred up. Her senior year has just gotten a lot more complicated….

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    Review

    STIR ME UP is a sweet, fun, romantic and absolutely heartwarming story by author Sabrina Elkins. It’s a love story that brings together two unlikely characters – Cami Broussard, a high school student and chef-in training, and Julian Wyatt, an injured war veteran and former marine.

    When Cami first lays eyes on Julian, she is shocked by his injuries and her heart immediately goes out to him. But her sympathy is short-lived, as from the moment he opens his mouth he is rude and insulting. Having to adjust to his presence in her life and in her home is one thing, but she’s not about to put up with his attitude. No matter what he’s been through. And no matter how gorgeous he is.

    It’s not as if she doesn’t have her own problems. Her father is pushing her to go to college. Her boyfriend is pushing for more of a commitment than she’s ready to give him. And she hasn’t figured out what she wants to do when she graduates.

    But she certainly doesn’t want to have to give up her room to an irritable and ungrateful house guest. One who argues with her. One who drives her crazy. One who she can’t seem to stay away from. One who makes her feel things that her boyfriend doesn’t.

    Author Sabrina Elkins created an utterly captivating story that is both charming and sexy with characters that are lovable and sympathetic. She brought depth to her story through characters that have had to deal with loss, face hardships and overcome incredible obstacles. She brought excitement with a love story that is at first flirtatious and fragile but which grows in its strength and its intensity.

    She gave readers something unique through her character Cami’s passion for food. And she gave them something to smile about with a story that delivers on its promise to stir things up for Cami Broussard.

    STIR ME UP is a quick and incredibly entertaining one-sit read with a deliciously appealing dynamic between the two central characters. It is a must for fans of contemporary romance, love stories that promise the possibility of a happily ever after and stories that are well-written, engaging, thoughtful and romantic.

    Reviewer gives this book…

    5star

    On a personal note…

    When I picked up this story I could not put it down. STIR ME UP was a totally addictive and super-quick read.

    I was expecting a story that was light and fluffy – a cotton candy read – but was surprised by its layers. Happily surprised.

    I’d been an avid fan of chick lit before I started reading YA and it got to the point where each story felt formulaic – girl meets boy, girl gets boy, girl loses boy, angst, angst, angst, girl gets boy back on the last page. That was not at all the case here.

    STIR ME UP was clever, it had depth, it presented some real issues. It had a main character who was strong and passionate and determined and focused. I loved that she was able to see Julian for who he was, not the injuries he sustained. And I loved that the author presented this in a way that was believable and not over the top.

    The story spanned just about a year in the characters’ lives. It took the time to develop the characters. It didn’t rush the love story. It didn’t make light of the seriousness of Julian’s losses. It didn’t present an unrealistic relationship between the characters. It didn’t pile on the angst just for the heck of it.

    It was sweet, it was romantic, it was sexy as hell at times. It had its moments of heartbreak. It had just the right amount of tension and angst.

    The added bonus was how the author incorporated Cami’s passion for cooking and for creating recipes into the story. I am not a foodie, nor am I a cook, but I loved reading those passages where Cami was preparing a dish for the restaurant or her family. It made her more three-dimensional, it made her interesting. It made this story unique.

    And it made me love this story all the more.

    Of course I loved the swoon-worthy marine. I loved the back-and-forth between Cami and Julian, the electricity, the sexual tension. I loved the romance and found myself hoping for a HEA – a rarity for me.

    But it was everything all together that made this story as amazing as it was. It gave me all the smiles. It gave me the happy feels. And I don’t say this often about contemporary romance, but STIR ME UP is a total must read.

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    Favorite passage…

    I actually had two favorites. But as one of them was from right there at the very end, I thought it would be best not to reveal that here. So I chose the one from just a bit earlier in the story, the one that made me sigh.

    He kisses me long into the night, until my lips are swollen and my heart is full and my hands feel electric from running over his back and chest. And then, once the taste of him is locked inside me, once I’ve memorized the feel of him, I curl up against him and fall asleep.

    This review is based on an eARC I received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.

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    Quickie Review: Die for Her

    Die for Her

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    DIE FOR HER by Amy Plum was released in the U.S. on April 2, 2013 in eBook format only. It is currently available to order online at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by HarperTeen, the story is 6o pages.

    DIE FOR HER is a novella in the author’s Die for Me series set between UNTIL I DIE and IF I SHOULD DIE.

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    Description…

    Set in the romantic and death-defying world of the international bestselling Die for Me trilogy, this digital original novella follows Jules, a brooding, immortal French artist who has fallen in love with his best friend’s girlfriend.

    Jules Marchenoir is a revenant-an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save human lives. He’s spent the better part of the last century flirting his way through Paris, but when he met Kate Mercier, the heroine from Amy Plum’s Die for Me trilogy, he knew his afterlife had changed forever and he had found the love of his life. Until Kate fell for his best friend, Vincent. Now Jules is faced with an impossible decision: choosing between his loyal friend and a love truly worth dying for.

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    DIE FOR HER is a wildly entertaining and incredibly revealing novella in author Amy Plum’s Die for Me series told from Jules’ perspective. Released between books two and three, this short story takes a look at events from the first two books in the series from his POV and concludes at the same point in the story as UNTIL I DIE.

    As it does parallel the story as told from Kate’s point of view, this novella should not be read prior to having read both previously released books. And as it reveals certain things that were hinted at in that second book, and which will likely come to light in IF I SHOULD DIE, it is best read prior to reading that third and final book in the series.

    Jules is one of the author’s more charismatic characters. His charming and flirtatious behavior serve to make him one of the more likable characters in this series, even if at first glance he appears to be a bit shallow. But in this novella, readers will get to see a different side of Jules and will learn that there is more to him than what meets the eye.

    This novella also gives readers an expanded look at the world as well as a look at it from an alternate viewpoint. It offers a quick look at events that couldn’t be explored from Kate’s perspective, insight into events where her POV may not have been the most accurate, and an eye-opening peek at scenes involving both Kate and Jules.

    DIE FOR HER is not only a riveting read but a heartbreaking one. For fans of the series, and especially Jules, this story is not one to be missed. And for those readers who may not have picked up on the hints in UNTIL I DIE, reading this novella will make them want to go back for a second look.

    As it doesn’t cover new ground or bridge a gap between novels, it’s not mandatory to read DIE FOR HER to complete the series. But for those readers who like to take a longer look at the world or who like to see another character’s views on what has transpired, this novella is a must.

    And as it includes a short excerpt of chapter one from IF I SHOULD DIE, readers will get to continue the story right to the edge of a small cliff.

    Reviewer gives this novella…

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    On a personal note…

    Jules is my favorite male character in this series. While Vincent may have held the top spot in DIE FOR ME, I’ve always been fond of his ever flirty best friend Jules. But after having read UNTIL I DIE, Vincent was out and Jules was in.

    So I was totally thrilled to be able to read this short novella from his perspective. And I was even more thrilled to find out that what I thought was going on with Jules wasn’t just  wishful thinking.

    As a fan of this character, I couldn’t help but fall instantly in love with this story. It made me grin, it tore my heart out and it made me want to read an entire novel from his point of view. It also made me happy that I was right to adore him, that he wasn’t just a flirt, that he was so much more.

    And I am so glad I read this before reading IF I SHOULD DIE. I would have been wondering if my suspicions were correct for the entire read until all was revealed. And not knowing Jules’ thoughts would have made for a completely different reading experience of that last book.

    I don’t usually get all swoon-y over a novella. And I almost never fall madly in love with one. But it couldn’t be helped. This story was all sorts of awesome.

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    Review: The Girl with the Iron Touch

    The Girl with the Iron Touch

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    THE GIRL WITH THE IRON TOUCH by Kady Cross was released in the U.S. on May 28, 2013 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Harlequin TEEN the print edition is 384 pages.

    THE GIRL WITH THE IRON TOUCH is the third book in author Kady Cross’ The Steampunk Chronicles. An eNovella, THE DARK DISCOVERY OF JACK DANDY is due out in July.

    Note: This review is based on an eARC I received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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    Goodreads Description…

    *** Spoiler-y for this book***

    In 1897 London, something not quite human is about to awaken

    When mechanical genius Emily is kidnapped by rogue automatons, Finley Jayne and her fellow misfits fear the worst. What’s left of their archenemy, The Machinist, hungers to be resurrected, and Emily must transplant his consciousness into one of his automatons—or forfeit her friends’ lives.

    With Griffin being mysteriously tormented by the Aether, the young duke’s sanity is close to the breaking point. Seeking help, Finley turns to Jack Dandy, but trusting the master criminal is as dangerous as controlling her dark side. When Jack kisses her, Finley must finally confront her true feelings for him…and for Griffin.

    Meanwhile, Sam is searching everywhere for Emily, from Whitechapel’s desolate alleyways to Mayfair’s elegant mansions. He would walk into hell for her, but the choice she must make will test them more than they could imagine.

    To save those she cares about, Emily must confront The Machinist’s ultimate creation—an automaton more human than machine. And if she’s to have any chance at triumphing, she must summon a strength even she doesn’t know she has….

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    THE GIRL WITH THE IRON TOUCH is the utterly enchanting and wildly entertaining third installment in author Kady Cross’ Steampunk Chronicles. With its charming characters, fascinating inventions and imaginative storyline, this book will take readers on an exciting, if at times chilling, adventure.

    Told from multiple points of view, readers will be privy to all the action, danger, romance and surprise twists the characters experience, making for an even more thrilling read. And it gives readers the edge when other characters are forced to remain in the dark.

    After returning to London, things seem to be getting back to normal for everybody except Griffin. The connection he made with the Aether in New York has continued to plague him, making him withdraw from everyone, including Finley. And after what happened between them during their travels, she is not willing to stand idly by and do nothing.

    But when Jack Dandy stops by mentioning a mysterious shipment containing a rather unusual automaton, trying to solve Griffin’s problems will have to wait. Because if someone is attempting to revive The Machinist’s work, they’ll have to find out who it is and stop them before things progress too far and it becomes too late to stop them at all.

    Author Kady Cross has written yet another captivating story in her already delightful series. With a new threat, a new character and the unexpected return of a few characters, this third book in the series offers an even more riveting adventure than the last.

    The author keeps readers engaged with her lovable characters, her fantastical creations, the easy flow to her writing, and a plot that is filled with danger, suspense, fiendish schemes, murderous spirits and a touch of romance.

    THE GIRL WITH THE IRON TOUCH moves the plot forward, answers a few burning questions, delivers two heart-warming love stories, reveals that not everything may be as it seems as regards one character and that there are things yet to be uncovered about another. It adds in an element of the unknown with the introduction of a new character and uncovers the shocking and gruesome plans of an existing one.

    All of which will keep readers riveted to the story, keep them in suspense once the mystery presents itself and keep them wondering how it will all end and whether everyone will be able to reach that end unscathed.

    THE GIRL WITH THE IRON TOUCH is a must for fans of this series and for readers who enjoy a Victorian Era setting infused with steam-powered inventions, fierce, witty and incredibly likable heroines and charming, charismatic and incredibly stubborn heroes, and for readers who like to experience their stories from multiple perspectives or those who simply enjoy a fun, clever and exciting read.

    Reviewer gives this book…

    Rate05

    On a personal note…

    The amazing thing about reading Kady Cross’ Steampunk Chronicles is that even when I’m reading for review it feels very much like a guilty pleasure read. Her characters are lovable and her stories exciting, enchanting and always a lot of fun. And this third book in the series is no exception.

    In fact, the very first words in the very first line pulled me right in. Not every book can start off talking about a giant tentacle without making it feel ridiculously unbelievable or making me want to roll my eyes. Yet THE GIRL WITH THE IRON TOUCH completely pulled it off.

    This latest adventure brings Emily, Sam, Griffin and Finley back to London. It introduces a new character who I’m not entirely certain I can trust. It clears things up about just who Finley prefers as between Jack and Griffin. And it offers not one but two swoon-worthy romances.

    It also puts several of the characters in danger. On more than one occasion.

    While I would love to talk about just why the characters were in danger, doing so would spoil the surprise… the really creepy surprise. And while I’d also love to talk about why I’m not entirely sure about the new character, saying anything about her, other than that it is a “her,” would be way too revealing.

    What I can say is that it was just so easy to get caught up in the adventure, to follow along as Emily tried to extricate herself from the dangerous situation she was in. And to see just how Griffin handled his. It was so easy to get transported into this world of fantastical inventions, diabolical creations, Organites and the Aether.

    And with the return of a few surprise characters from previous books in the series, this book was an utterly captivating read.

    I’m so excited that there will be more books in this series and that the adventure will continue for these characters I adore. THE GIRL WITH THE IRON TOUCH leaves a number of questions unanswered and one or two secrets still to be revealed. And with a few rather major things left unresolved, including an ongoing threat, a potentially deadly affliction and a love story’s happily ever after, I am even more anxious and excited for the next book in the series.

    THE GIRL WITH THE IRON TOUCH has everything that makes a story a must read for me. Action. Check. Adventure. Check. Romance. Check. Mystery… yes there is a bit of a mystery when it comes to the evasive Mr. Jack Dandy and also one as regards Finley, so…. Check.

    And with dark secrets, evil schemes, suspicious and intriguing characters, fascinating inventions and an ending that leaves me desperate for more, THE GIRL WITH THE IRON TOUCH is not only a must read, but a must read again.

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    Favorite passage…

    I had so many favorites. And not all of them involved Jack Dandy, though quite a few of them did.

    And while my most favorite was one that involved Griffin and Finley, I thought it was just too spoiler-y to share. But I couldn’t resist sharing these two, much shorter passages.

    “Jack manipulates with charm and power. He doesn’t lie so much as wrap the truth in temptation.”

    “I can’t promise that I’ll never be an ass, or that I’ll never make you cry. I can’t promise that I won’t make you so angry you want to cosh me over the head with a brick. I can’t promise you forever, Finley. I’d love to, but I can give you right now. I can give you me in all my defective glory.”

    This review is based on an eARC I received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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    Review: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar

    The Girl in the Clockwork Collar

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    THE GIRL IN THE CLOCKWORK COLLAR by Kady Cross was released in the U.S. in hardcover and eBook formats on May 22, 2012 and was released in paperback format on April 30, 2013.

    It is currently available to order online in all formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Harlequin TEEN, the print edition is 368 pages.

    THE GIRL IN THE CLOCKWORK COLLAR is the second book in author Kady Cross’ The Steampunk Chronicles. The third book in the series, THE GIRL WITH THE IRON TOUCH, is slated for release on May 28, 2013 and a short novella in the series, THE DARK DISCOVERY OF JACK DANDY, will be releasing on July 1, 2013.

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    Description…

    In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling – or dangerous.

    Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her “straynge band of mysfits” have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him…for the life of the girl Jasper loves.

    One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei’s neck tightens. And tightens.

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    THE GIRL IN THE CLOCKWORK COLLAR is the charming, fun and utterly delightful second book in author Kady Cross’ steampunk series set in the late 1800s. While the setting may have changed from London to New York for this installment, all the elements that make this series a must read remain – appealing and charismatic characters, writing that flows easily, a plot filled with action, suspense and a hint of danger, and a slew of interesting inventions that add a modern touch to this bygone era.

    And with a fierce but lovable heroine who isn’t afraid to put herself in the middle of the action, a charming yet utterly maddening hero whose distrust is keeping him from pursuing what he wants, and a daring and extremely risky rescue attempt planned, this sequel will captivate readers from start to finish.

    When Finley, Griffin, Emily and Sam journey to New York to save their friend Jasper Renn, they find that rescuing him won’t be as simple as helping him prove his innocence for the murder he’s been accused of. Because Jasper’s not being held in jail. He’s being held captive by someone he once called a friend.

    A friend who has given him an ultimatum – return what he stole or watch someone he loves die.

    The choice is easy, but recovering what was taken would not be. And without the help of his friends, there is no way Jasper would be able to collect the pieces of the device he’d hidden, save Mei and possibly save himself.

    Certainly not before lawman Whip Kirby caught up with him. And definitely not before Reno Dalton ran out of patience and allowed the clockwork collar around Mei’s throat to constrict.

    Author Kady Cross takes readers on a new and exciting adventure with her characters. Without the threat of The Machinist and the temptation of Jack Dandy, Finley, Griffin, Emily and Sam are able to face their current challenge head-on. And even though their foe, Reno Dalton, is formidable, clever, cunning and extremely lethal, between Finley’s fierce determination, Sam’s brawn, Emily’s inventions, Griffin’s connection to the Aether and a little help from the Organites, the odds against them are not insurmountable.

    THE GIRL IN THE CLOCKWORK COLLAR immediately invites readers into this world of airships, steam-powered inventions, corsets and clockwork devices and sends them back in time to this alternate version of the Victorian Era as seen through the author’s eyes.

    With its quick pace, its endearing characters, its engaging and action-filled storyline that includes a surprise twist or two, THE GIRL IN THE CLOCKWORK COLLAR delivers on its promise to be an exciting, must read installment in this series.

    Reviewer gives this book…

    Rate05

    On a personal note…

    I absolutely adore Finley Jayne. I have since the moment I “met” her in the prequel novella. And that hasn’t changed in the least since I read THE GIRL IN THE CLOCKWORK COLLAR. I actually love her even more.

    She is totally my kind of heroine. She is fierce. She has a dark side. But she is a good person. And while she’s definitely not someone who could be called sweet, she is charming and at times vulnerable. Especially when it comes to Griffin King.

    I’m so glad to have finally read this second book in this amazing series by author Kady Cross. I have no idea what took me so long to get it to the top of the pile. Once I started reading it I could not put it down. And I fought very hard not to pick up the next book in this series before writing this review.

    I loved going back in time to the author’s version of late 1800s New York City. While steampunk is not a genre I typically read, I loved reading about the interesting inventions that make this past era something that feels a bit more modern. I also loved getting to read about Finley’s kick-a** outfits.

    It took all of two sentences for me to be transported into the author’s world and story. Her writing has such an easy flow that makes tumbling into it effortless. I immediately reconnected with her characters and couldn’t wait to let the details of this story unfold.

    I got caught up in the adventure – yes, this was most definitely an adventure. I was riveted by it. I was anxious to find out just what happened to Jasper Renn. I was curious about Dalton and Mei. And I was excited to explore this new setting.

    While I did miss Jack – how could I not? – it was not enough to prevent me from falling in love with this installment in the series. I loved the new setting. I loved getting to solve this puzzle with Finley, Jasper, Emily, Sam and Griffin.

    And I loved seeing just how things developed between Finley and Griffin without Jack’s presence in her life. Yes, Griffin was just as maddeningly frustrating without Jack nearby. I may have added the notation, “Kiss her already!” to my Kindle… on more than one occasion. But his behavior did add the perfect amount of tension to the story.

    Of course I found Reno Dalton to be such an appealing character. He was totally charismatic and far more dangerous than Jack Dandy. And because he was so unpredictable, I couldn’t help but instantly like him.

    THE GIRL IN THE CLOCKWORK COLLAR was such a fun and wildly entertaining installment in the series. While I may have guessed correctly when it came to a certain character who shall not be named, it did not take awake from this story’s appeal.

    And while I loved that this story took place in New York City, I am thrilled that everyone will be heading back across the pond to London to embark upon a new adventure. One that is sure to include Jack Dandy.

    Favorite passage…

    I had ten favorite passages in this book and I wanted to include each and every one of them. And then talk all about why they were favorites.

    While I couldn’t or shouldn’t do any of that, I really, really wanted to. But I did narrow it down to four passages and then finally chose just two very short ones. Because there was no way I could pick just one.

    Finley glanced out into the audience. Her gaze locked with another—one the color of a stormy sky and every bit as volatile.

    It was Griffin. And he wasn’t nearly as impressed with her as Emily was.

     …and…

    It was a terrible time to realize you were falling in love with someone—when you were kissing another bloke.

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    Review: MILA 2.0

    MILA 2 Cover

    addtogoodreads

    MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza was released in the U.S. on March 12, 2013 in hardcover, audio and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in all formats at AMAZON and in hardcover and eBook formats at BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, the print edition is 480 pages.

    MILA 2.0 is the first book in author Debra Driza’s new series of the same name. The second book, currently untitled, is slated for release on April 1, 2014.

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    Goodreads description…

    Mila 2.0 is the first book in an electrifying sci-fi thriller series about a teenage girl who discovers that she is an experiment in artificial intelligence.

    Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past—that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

    Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.

    Mila 2.0 is Debra Driza’s bold debut and the first book in a Bourne Identity-style trilogy that combines heart-pounding action with a riveting exploration of what it really means to be human. Fans of I Am Number Four will love Mila for who she is and what she longs to be—and a cliffhanger ending will leave them breathlessly awaiting the sequel.

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    MILA 2.0 is an action-packed, suspense-filled and wildly entertaining first book in author Debra Driza’s new series with an atypical main character who is incredibly likable and surprisingly relatable. With a fast pace, an exciting storyline that will keep readers riveted and an ending that will make them anxious for the next installment, this book is the perfect way to jump-start this series.

    Mila Daily had no idea she wasn’t like everyone else. She had no idea that the recent tragedy that made her mother relocate them to Clearwater wasn’t real. She had no idea that her memories weren’t real. She had no idea she wasn’t real.

    Until an accident revealed the truth and set into motion events that would force her and her mother to flee the town they only recently called home. Force Mila to learn about who she really was and what she was capable of. Force Mila to become ACTIVE.

    And force her to leave behind the boy who stole her heart. A heart that she never really had to begin with.

    MILA 2.0 combines elements of science fiction, action/adventure and a touch of romance in a story that has at its core the development of the main character and the question of what makes someone human. And with its rapid pace, its shifting setting, its changing cast of secondary characters, and a heroine who is easy to connect with, this story will have a wider appeal than those stories geared only toward readers of sci-fi.

    Mila may not be a typical heroine, but she very much resembles one. She acts like the teenager she appears to be. She thinks like one. She has all the feelings and emotions that any teenage girl would have. And as such, she’s incredibly sympathetic, likable and easy to relate to.

    But she is also fierce, competitive and deadly, qualities only touched upon in this first book in the series, but will likely play a larger role in the sequel. And which will make her a powerful and dangerous ally or adversary.

    Told in four parts, each more exciting, tension-filled and captivating than the last, author Debra Driza has created a story that is intriguing, fun and lightning-fast, and the perfect escape into a world that is danger-filled with a character who is every bit as charming as she is lethal.

    Reviewer gives this book…

    Rate05

    On a personal note…

    I loved this book. Seriously loved it. I did not expect it to be as quick of a read as it was. I did not expect it to be as action-packed, even with the description comparing it to one of my favorite films.

    I did not expect to adore the main character like I did. I certainly didn’t expect to make a connection with her. I did not expect her humanity.

    I anticipated this story would be very scientific in nature. I expected passages detailing the technology behind MILA 2.0’s creation. I expected to be interested but not engaged.

    But oh my gosh I was engaged. I was riveted. I wanted to know what Mila’s real story was. I wanted to know more about her “mother” Nicole. I knew that things couldn’t stay as they were and I anxiously awaited the moment when things would change.

    There is so much I loved about this story, but as it would require me to go into way too much detail about what happened with Mila, her mom, Lucas and another character who I won’t name as it would be spoiler-y, I can only talk about just a few things I loved.

    I loved how the author introduced her character in the first part of the story. If someone didn’t read the book’s description or take a close look at the cover they might have been just as in the dark as the character about who and what she was.

    And I loved that this story was separated into parts. Each one taking me somewhere new. Each one introducing me to a slightly different Mila. Each one offering up a new adventure.

    I loved Mila’s relationship with Hunter at the beginning. And I loved her interactions with Lucas at the end. But the thing I loved most was that she had relationships at all. That she wasn’t what she was expected to be. That there was so much more to her.

    As someone who doesn’t consider myself a sci-fi fan, I found myself connecting to this story and character from the very beginning. I thought the author did an amazing job developing her main character. I thought that after the initial set-up the pace just took off and didn’t let up. But I liked that the story didn’t start off so quickly. I liked that the author took the time to introduce her character before things got crazy.

    There was the perfect amount of action and suspense in MILA 2.0. There was more than enough mystery, romance and heartbreak – yes I cannot believe I teared up on more than one occasion during my read. But especially after what happened toward the end.

    I am still wary about a certain character’s motivations. But I suppose I’ll have to wait for the sequel to find out if my suspicions are correct. And I think there’s something going on with the character I won’t name, which is not going to make Holland at all happy. Which is fine by me.

    The ending is not one with a cliffhanger, exactly, but because I desperately want to continue the story, it feels very much like one. I want to know more about a certain group that was only mentioned very briefly in this first book, but I hope will have a larger part to play in the next.

    And I want to know whether a character whose safety is very much up in the air at the end of this book will be making an appearance. I really, really hope so.

    MILA 2.0 was such a fun and entertaining read. My connection with the character was a complete surprise. My total enjoyment of this type of story was also unexpected. It had just the right amount of tech and science for me. Not too heavy. Not too light. And it even managed to tug at my heartstrings. Yep, loved this book.

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    Favorite passage…

    I have a favorite passage. It’s an amazing passage that immediately grabbed me, that I would love to share. But it is a bit longer than I should share, with no logical cut-off point. And it is a bit revealing. So I won’t post it here.

    But for those who want to know, it is the passage that begins with… His sideways glance burned right through my arm….

    So, I’m sharing one that is much shorter, but makes me smile because it is so Mila.

    The room was a small square of hopelessness.

    A flash of red. And then:

    Dimensions: 10 ft. by 9 ft.

    I swallowed a horrified giggle. Perfect. And now I knew the exact measurements of hopelessness.

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    Book Trailer…

    This review is based on an ARC I received through a trade and is my honest option of the book.

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    Review: The Collector

    The Collector

    THE COLLECTOR by Victoria Scott will be released in the U.S. on April 2, 2013 in paperback and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in paperback format only at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Entangled Teen, the print edition is 400 pages.

    THE COLLECTOR is the first book in author Victoria Scott’s Dante Walker series. The second book in the series entitled THE LIBERATOR is slated for release in September 2013.

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    Goodreads description…

    He makes good girls…bad. 

    Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence has made him one of hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple, weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big, red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag.

    Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal opportunity collector and doesn’t want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment:

    Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within 10 days.

    Dante doesn’t know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky, Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect—he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector, and uncover emotions deeply buried.

    ***

    THE COLLECTOR isn’t your typical good versus evil tale. It doesn’t have a run-of-the-mill “bad boy” as its protagonist. It isn’t told in a predictable voice. It is an incredibly exciting story, with a tantalizing, dynamic and totally irresistible main character, told in a refreshingly unique voice.

    Dante Walker has one purpose – and that is to collect souls. His job is fairly easy, even with the competition from the other collectors. He is good at what he does. Some would say he’s the best. He is, after all, the Boss Man’s right hand.

    And that’s why he was entrusted to collect one particular soul. Charlie Cooper’s soul. A soul that is one of the very brightest Dante has ever seen. And he has ten days to make the collection. Ten days to dim its light. Ten days in which to not only please the Boss Man but to earn his promotion to Soul Director, which means a permanent place on earth.

    And Dante is not about to fail. No matter how good Charlie is. Because everybody wants something. And from what he can tell she wants him.

    Oh yeah, he’s got this.

    From the outset readers will be captivated by Dante Walker, whose personality, if not always charming, is nothing less than magnetic. His confidence and arrogance and the very nature of his job serve to create a main character readers will want to know more about. He is someone who has much more going for him than good looks and the seemingly shallow demeanor he presents. There is a depth to Dante Walker.

    On what initially appears to be the opposite side of the spectrum is Charlie Cooper. She is outwardly gawky, innocent, and a bit of a social misfit. But she is as good as they come. A loyal friend. Someone who sees the good in others. Someone who wants to make the world a better place.

    And THE COLLECTOR brings them together in a story that is spellbinding, tension-filled and electrifying. A story that will keep readers on edge as they watch Dante try to make the collection, and hope that he doesn’t succeed. A story that will engage readers because of Dante’s cocky and oftentimes crude attitude and Charlie’s sweet and innocent one. And a story that is, at its core, a heartwarming one.

    Author Victoria Scott has created a deliciously appealing main character, a story that feels very much an original, with a pacing that moves lightning fast. And with a few surprises that will keep readers enrapt, THE COLLECTOR is an exhilarating and absolutely riveting must read.

    Reviewer gives this book…

    Rate05

    On a personal note…

    There is so much I want to say about THE COLLECTOR but on pain of being collected I have to try and refrain. Well, okay, the punishment may not be that severe, but it feels like it could be. It feels like if I even just think about giving away a few of the secrets from this story I’ll have one of those little seals slapped over my soul light.

    And the last thing I want is to have my soul taken away. Especially since D… Nope, not going to trick me into revealing that.

    But oh my gosh I loved this story. While it was completely the opposite of what I expected, I absolutely fell head-over-heels in love. And read it all at once. Nope, I couldn’t put this one down.

    I expected a story that was dark. Really dark. But what I got was a story that was completely heart-warming. I’m talking the warm and fuzzies through and through. I expected a bad boy. I mean the baddest of the bad. But Dante was the kind of guy that could melt your heart.

    And while I really can’t say why… you know, that dimming of my soul light issue… I can just say that while Dante may be cocky, arrogant, egotistical, it’s not all he is. He has so much more going for him. And I loved every single bit of it… of him… except maybe for his red sneakers. Not a fan of those. But thankfully… shoot, no I won’t say anything about that either.

    What I loved as much, if not more than, the story itself was the author’s voice that came through in her character, Dante. Like I said above, in my review, it was refreshingly unique. It gave the story character. It gave it a different feel from all the other YA stories I’ve read. And it made it so easy to devour.

    Just hearing the story in Dante’s voice, made me grin while reading. And seeing how his inner monologue changed at various points in the story turned my grin into a full-on ear-to-ear smile.

    Of course this story is a good versus evil story. But it didn’t have that same-old same-old feel to it. I loved seeing the world the author created through Dante’s eyes. I loved the way he saw Charlie. Well, except maybe at the beginning. At the beginning he didn’t really see Charlie. But I really shouldn’t say any more about that, either.

    I am so excited that this book has a sequel. I’m really nervous about where it might lead. Especially because there’s this thing that happened that I as a reader know, but one of the characters doesn’t know. And it makes me really, really, really anxious about just what the author plans on doing with this particular little tidbit. Okay, so it’s not that little. It’s actually a huge thing. Anyway….

    It’s hard not to want to make this entire note about Dante, because he is sort of larger than life, even if he’s not exactly alive. But I should probably talk about the story itself. Which was exciting. I mean really exciting. The unputdownable variety of exciting.

    As it unfolded, while I may have known the general direction the story was headed, I didn’t know for sure where it might lead. Which made me want to read faster so I could reach the end and find out those answers.

    And for the entire read I was torn between rooting for one thing to happen – because I adored Dante – and for another – because I adored Charlie. So I wasn’t sure just how I’d feel at the story’s end. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to choose sides. I wasn’t sure I’d be happy with the outcome.

    But let me just say that oh my gosh I loved how things ended. There was enough of a resolution to satisfy and enough left unresolved to make me anxious and in desperate need of book two.

    I am so glad that I got the chance to read THE COLLECTOR early. And I am so happy that I did end up reading it right now, even if it means a longer wait for the sequel. While I was initially deterred by all the hype surrounding this book, I couldn’t help but to fall madly in love with it. Trash talking attitude, arrogant demeanor, red sneakers, and all.

    Favorite passage…

    I had a LOT of favorite passages in this book. And while not spoiler-y I’m only allowed to choose a favorite from the beginning of the book. Yep. Sorry, those are the rules on this one. So while not my very most favorite, here is one I like, a lot.

    I need to get away from this house. Away from Charlie and her big, trusting eyes. Away from Grams and the look she just gave me. What am I supposed to feel? Guilt? Shame?

    No.

    I won’t.

    I am The Collector.

    This review is based on an eARC I received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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