Book Review: Ticker by Lisa Mantchev

Book Review: Ticker by Lisa MantchevTicker by Lisa Mantchev
Published by Skyscape on December 1st 2014
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Steampunk, Young Adult
Pages: 273
Goodreads
three-stars

A girl with a clockwork heart must make every second count.
When Penny Farthing nearly dies, brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick manages to implant a brass “Ticker” in her chest, transforming her into the first of the Augmented. But soon it’s discovered that Warwick killed dozens of people as he strove to perfect another improved Ticker for Penny, and he’s put on trial for mass murder.
On the last day of Warwick’s trial, the Farthings’ factory is bombed, Penny’s parents disappear, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom note demanding all of their Augmentation research if they want to see their parents again. Is someone trying to destroy the Farthings...or is the motive more sinister?
Desperate to reunite their family and rescue their research, Penny and her brother recruit fiery baker Violet Nesselrode, gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling, and Marcus Kingsley, a young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.

I bought Ticker on a whim. The cover looked pretty, I needed something different to read and the synopsis sounded interesting. Here are my thoughts about it.

Ticker is a “Steampunk” novel about a girl named Penny with a clockwork heart. Due to a heart condition that plagues the females in her family, Penny is always living on the brink of dying. Doctor Warwick managed to install a brass ticker that works as a windup heart…aka a steampunk version of a pacemaker.In order to gather all the data to accomplish this technology, Warwick apparently had been experimenting on actual people, which lead to him being accused of murder once the truth was discovered.

The book opens with Warwick’s sentencing about to be delivered and our heroine Penny heading off to meet her twin Nic at their parent’s factory.   Just before she arrives there is an explosion at the factory and she runs in to find her brother, which she does. They head home only to find that their house has been ransacked and that their parents have been kidnapped. Up to this point Penny and her brother believe that the kidnappers are people who are protesting “mechanical augmentation” of humans, but that is not so.

Along with Penny and Nic embark on a mission to find out what happened to their parents and the truth about Warwick, and along for the ride they bring Violet (Penn’s best friend and Nic’s fiance) and Sebastian (Violets’s rogue brother).  There is also Marcus, who apparently is the head of  the law system in this world, and also becomes Penny’s love interest.

Overall the book was a fast read, and amusing. I was looking for something light and different and I found it in Ticker. My favorite character was Penny. She was witty, and very independent. She was brave and definitely not going to let anything, not even her weak heart get in the way of her living life to the fullest.

I did feel that there were parts, especially as the end approached that were rushed. It would have been nice to get more of a backstory on the other characters and for all the characters to have had time to develop (especially for us to actually understand their connection to one another). There are many things about the novel that the writer is asking the reader to basically just “go with it”.  There is no real explanation about the world the novel is set in, how their government runs, where the real “live” animals all are, or come from, seeing that horses are mechanical and so are all the bugs. The technology has no explanation either, and at some point there is alchemy mentioned, but it doesn’t go much further than a passing mention. It’s almost like you are thrown into the middle of the story, as if this was Book 2 of a series and Book 1 never quite made it to the printers. However if you want to just go into a book for the fun of it, and to not over think the story too much, Ticker will fulfill your need for fantasy and escapism.

**This review was originally posted on Reading In The Tardis**

three-stars

Top Ten Most Anticipated Debut Novels For 2015

Top Ten Tuesday

It’s Top Ten Tuesday Day! This is a weekly book blog meme created and hosted by The Broke and Bookish with weekly topics to be discussed each Tuesday. This week’s topic is what our Top Ten Most Anticipated Debut Novels.

Here are my picks for debut authors/novels for 2015.

Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy Book 1)

by Victoria Aveyard

red

Expected publication: February 10th 2015 by Orion

The poverty-stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers. To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change. Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

The Magician’s Lie 

By Greer Macallister

magi

Expected publication: January 13th 2015 by Sourcebooks Landmark

The Amazing Arden is the most famous female illusionist of her day, renowned for her notorious trick of sawing a man in half on stage. One night in Waterloo, Iowa, with young policeman Virgil Holt watching from the audience, she swaps her trademark saw for a fire ax. Is it a new version of the illusion, or an all-too-real murder? When Arden’s husband is found lifeless beneath the stage later that night, the answer seems clear.

The Girl At Midnight

by Melissa Grey

girl midnight

Expected publication: April 28th 2015 by Delacorte Press

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she’s ever known.

The Wrath and the Dawn

by Renee Andieh

wrath

Expected publication: May 12th 2015 by Putnam Juvenile

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

The Witch Hunter 

By: Virginia Boecker

hunter

Expected publication: June 2nd 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Elizabeth Grey is one of the king’s best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. When she’s accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to die at the stake. Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can track down the person who laid a deadly curse on him.

Valiant

By Sarah McGuire

Valiant

Expected publication: June 9th 2015 by Egmont USA

A debut fairy tale retelling featuring a strong female character and a daring quest just right for fans of Shannon Hale, Jessica Day George, and Gail Carson Levine.

Saville despises the bolts of velvet and silk that her father loves- he’s always prized them more than he’s ever loved her. Yet when he’s struck ill, she’ll do anything to survive, even donning boys’ clothes and begging a commission to sew for the king.

Love Fortunes and Other Disasters 

By:  Kimberly Karalius

love

Expected publication: May 12th 2015 by Swoon Reads

Love is real in the town of Grimbaud and Fallon Dupree has dreamed of attending high school there for years. After all, generations of Duprees have successfully followed the (100% accurate!) love fortunes from Zita’s famous Love Charms Shop to happily marry their high school sweethearts. It’s a tradition. So she is both stunned and devastated when her fortune states that she will NEVER find love.

Becoming Jinn

by Lori Goldstein

Jinn

Expected publication: April 21st 2015 by Feiwel & Friends

Forget everything you thought you knew about genies!
Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.

The Invisible Library

By: Genevieve Cogman

invisible

Expected publication: January 15th 2015 by Tor UK

The first installment of an adventure featuring stolen books, secret agents and forbidden societies – think Doctor Who with librarian spies!
Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

The Sin Eater’s Daughter

By: Melinda Salisbury

seater

Expected publication: February 24th 2015 by Scholastic Press

Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court. She’s the executioner. As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.

How about you? What are some of the debut novels

you are looking forward to? 

I might do another post about an over all list of novels coming out this year that I am looking forward to, especially Neil Gaiman’s latest book of short stories Trigger Warning Short Fictions and Disturbances.

Happy Reading!

Happy New Year! First Book of the Year 2015

1stbk2015

Happy New Year ! Very excited to participate for the first time in  The First Book of the Year Challenge done by Sheila from Book Journey. I’m starting 2015 with my NetGalley ARC of The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister. I am really excited about this book, and something in my bones tells me I am just going to LOVE this story. Of course I will be posting my review of it once I have finished, though I do want to linger on this one a bit, and enjoy it to the fullest.

1st read

There’s nothing like surrounding myself with a book filled with mystery, magic and setback in an era full of pretty dresses to put me in the best of moods.  Now that the holidays are over, and I am back to work I actually find it easier to have time to read. Usually I read on the bus, during my break and whenever there is some free time at night. This past Saturday was the first time in a very long period that i just laid down on my sofa, wrapped with three blankets and read nonstop for over three hours. It was absolutely LOVELY and I decided that my New Year’s book resolution is to  strive to make more time on the weekends to read with abandon more often. I felt slightly guilty because I wasn’t really present on the blog, or read much between Christmas and New Year’s Day, but with all the family and activities it was hard to log in, plus the internet at the house was being awful.

I do hope you all had very merry holidays and wish you all

A VERY BOOKISH NEW YEAR!

I would love to know if you all have any book resolutions?

What was your first read of 2015?

Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing Me This Year

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s post is about the  Top Ten Books I wouldn’t mind Santa putting under my tree.

1. The Sleeper and the Spindle – Neil Gaiman

sleeper

A thrillingly reimagined fairy tale from the truly magical combination of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell – weaving together a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty with a thread of dark magic, which will hold readers spellbound from start to finish.

2. Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel

st11

An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

3. The Enchanted – by Rene Denfeld

enchanted

A wondrous and redemptive debut novel, set in a stark world where evil and magic coincide, The Enchanted combines the empathy and lyricism of Alice Sebold with the dark, imaginative power of Stephen King.

4. Lexicon – by Max Barry

Lex

At an exclusive school somewhere outside of Arlington, Virginia, students aren’t taught history, geography, or mathematics–at least not in the usual ways. Instead, they are taught to persuade. Here the art of coercion has been raised to a science. Students harness the hidden power of language to manipulate the mind and learn to break down individuals by psychographic markers in order to take control of their thoughts. The very best will graduate as “poets”, adept wielders of language who belong to a nameless organization that is as influential as it is secretive.

5. Boy, Snow, Bird – by Helen Oyeyemi

bsnow

In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman.

6. Cruel Beauty – by Rosamund Hodge

cbeauty

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

7. Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy –

by Mercedes M. Yardley

pretty

BRYONY ADAMS IS DESTINED TO BE MURDERED, but fortunately Fate has terrible marksmanship. In order to survive, she must run as far and as fast as she can. After arriving in Seattle, Bryony befriends a tortured musician, a market fish-thrower, and a starry-eyed hero who is secretly a serial killer bent on fulfilling Bryony’s dark destiny.

8. The Book of Lost Things – by John Connolly

booklost

High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own — populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.

9. The Magicians – by Lev Grossman

magicians.

Quentin Coldwater is brillant but miserable. He’s a senior in high school, and a certifiable genius, but he’s still secretly obsessed with a series of fantasy novels he read as a kid, about the adventures of five children in a magical land called Fillory. Compared to that, anything in his real life just seems gray and colorless.

10.  The Cure for Dreaming – by Cat Winters

dreaming

Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud.

How about you? What books would you want Santa to put under your tree this year??

Book Review: Prince Lestat by Anne Rice

Book Review: Prince Lestat by Anne RicePrince Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles, #11) by Anne Rice
Published by Knopf Publishing Group on October 28th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, Supernatural
Pages: 458
Goodreads

The vampire world is in crisis – their kind have been proliferating out of control and, thanks to technologies undreamed of in previous centuries, they can communicate as never before. Roused from their earth-bound slumber, ancient ones are in thrall to the Voice: which commands that they burn fledgling vampires in cities from Paris to Mumbai, Hong Kong to Kyoto and San Francisco. Immolation, huge massacres, have commenced all over the world.
Who – or what – is the Voice? What does it desire, and why?
There is only one vampire, only one blood drinker, truly known to the entire world of the Undead. Will the dazzling hero-wanderer, the dangerous rebel-outlaw Lestat heed the call to unite the Children of Darkness as they face this new twilight?
Anne Rice’s epic, luxuriant, fiercely ambitious new novel brings together all the worlds and beings of the legendary Vampire Chronicles, from present-day New York and Ancient Egypt to fourth-century Carthage and Renaissance Venice; from Louis de Pointe du Lac; Armand the eternally young; Mekare and Maharet; to Pandora and Flavius; David Talbot, vampire and ultimate fixer from the Secret Talamasca; and Marius, the true child of the Millennia. It also introduces many other seductive supernatural creatures, and heralds significant new blood.

ATTENTION: SPOILERS AHEAD. Do not continue to read if you don’t want to have a few things spoiled for you. 

Like many of the readers of The Vampire Chronicles, I started reading them in my teenage years. I fell in love with the characters and their elaborate lifestyles and stories. I loved the richness of the books, the decadent descriptions and the dramatic atmosphere. I have re-read most of the Vampire Chronicles while waiting of this new book Prince Lestat, and though Interview with The Vampire and The Vampire Lestat are still favorites of mine, I can not say the same for this book.

Let’s start with what I sort of liked….

* Lestat- He is back, and looking as splendid as ever and dressed to impress as always. Though I wanted him to be more like the Lestat of Interview, but what I got was a much more “grown-up” Lestat…and what fun is that?

*Louis- Dearest Louis is back in all his tragic beauty, though he is not in the book enough for my liking and basically becomes just another piece of the scenery.

*Trinity Place- The house where Armand lives in NYC with Louis, and his other little darlings. This house sounds awesome, and I wish I owned it. The fact that it has multiple libraries sealed the deal for me.

* The Clothing- If this book ever gets made into a movie (Hopefully a movie that will be more Interview with the Vampire and not the atrocity that was Queen of the Damned) I can only imagine how gorgeous and beautiful the costumes are going to be.

Now for the things that really peeved me….

* The Tribe- OMG…if I hear the word tribe one more time, I might start breaking things. We heard Benji enough, we understand that the immortals are now a “tribe”. Seriously, every other sentence at one point had the word “tribe” in it, and it drove me nuts.

* Maharet’s death- With all the knowledge  Fareed has (new scientist vampire character) you are telling me that he could not figure out how to get the “core” out of Maharet without her having to sacrifice herself?

*Rose and Viktor- ::gag:: The fact that Rose is like a “pet” child to Lestat is bad enough and that through her childhood he spoils her rotten. It is the fact that she is weak, and this delicate flower that will break into a million pieces. It was just annoying to have almost every single female character in the book be either helpless or weak or without much to say. As for Viktor, the mortal child of Lestat. Really? Really? This of course happens thanks to Fareed and science but it is almost as bad as when Edward got Bella pregnant in Twilight (not that those vampires could ever be compared to these…after all there don’t sparkle…thankfully). BTW,  they are in love, and both are given the dark gift. How absolutely more obvious and predictable can it get? Oh Anne…why? why?

* Bible-like Chapters- There are chapters that go on and on and on about the history, lineage and back history of many of these “ancient” vampires and they can be very dull. I might have fallen asleep at least once or twice with the book in my hand during such chapters.

*The Voice or Amel or the Sacred Core (whatever you call him)-  He not only gets on the nerves of the vampires in this book because he gets in their heads and “talks” to them, he also gets on the nerves of the reader. He is the “villain” of this story, at least he is in the beginning as he tries to kill off all the young vampires because they are a drain to his own power being stretched out too thin. Once Lestat takes the host into himself, this Voice goes from threats to basically becoming domicile and loving to the “tribe”. Yeah…okay. Sure.

*Pages and Pages of flowery overly descriptive filler- I used to love how rich in details Anne’s previous novels were, but maybe that’s because I was young and had plenty of time to read pages and pages describing every detail of how resplendent Lestat’s hair was or how perfectly attired in Armani suits he was, or how every single room has gold leaf tables, mirrors, frescos etc. It’s nice to have the beautiful descriptions, but sometimes less is more, and these get a little too winded for me these days.

*IPhones- Did they pay Rice to use the iPhone so much? Every time there needed to be a phone call made, it couldn’t just be made from the cellphone, it had to be very specifically an IPhone. Nothing against IPhones (I own one myself), but it felt like product placement, like she did it because she had to. Then again maybe Anne just really loves her IPhone.

*The Ending, you don’t even get to see Prince Lestat “rule” at his court…after all that buildup, all that anticipation, you are left with no satisfaction. Though you are left thinking that possibly there will be another book…or maybe not.

I really, REALLY wanted this book to live up to all the hype and all my love for Anne’s work. Sadly it did not. It kills me to give it only 2.5 Stars…and the .5 is because this book  allowed me the opportunity to meet Anne Rice and get the book signed by her, (which was an amazing experience) but I now wish I had my copy of Interview with the Vampire signed in place of this one.

Do I regret reading it? No…I don’t, not really. At the end of the day, this book is part of my beloved Vampire Chronicles and I will cherish it along with the others. It gave us fans Lestat again, even if he is a little “older”. I would recommend it to DIE HARD fan, and to others only reading it after having read the previous books so that you actually come to care enough for Lestat to put yourself through reading this latest addition to his story.

**This review was originally posted on Reading In The Tardis**