AnnAlysis: Ticker

tickerFrom Goodreads:
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. 

My Thoughts:
The second I saw this cover on Kindle First I was intrigued and the summary pulled me in even more. I’m always a sucker for something out of the box and this absolutely is. This is the first book I’ve read of the steampunk genre. It’s definitely different.

I absolutely love Penny’s character. Everything about her. She’s a young woman beyond her years and her time. She’s always pushing the limits, going places she probably shouldn’t, doing things she probably shouldn’t. Not to mention she has a brass heart.

The book has some action… some explosions and drama, but there’s also a little love story brewing.

One thing I struggled with with the book, and as I’m reading reviews, it seems to be common in many books in this genre is the vocabulary. There were several things I had absolutely no idea what it meant. It could have been a car and I may have thought it was a donut. Maybe I didn’t understand much of the book at all, but from what I thought it was, I liked it.

From what I’m reading, people either love or hate this book. I enjoyed it, primarily for Penny’s character, but I’ll let you be the judge. Click on the link for Goodreads if you want to read some other reviews.

I give Ticker 3.5 out of 5 bookmarks.

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Released: December 1, 2014
Author Website

AnnAlysis: Since You’ve Been Gone

since you've been goneFrom Goodreads:
Is it possible to outrun your past? Fifteen-year-old Edie Fraser and her mother, Sydney, have been trying to do just that for five years. Now, things have gone from bad to worse. Not only has Edie had to move to another new school she’s in a different country.

Sydney promises her that this is their chance at a fresh start, and Edie does her best to adjust to life in London, England, despite being targeted by the school bully. But when Sydney goes out to work the night shift and doesn’t come home, Edie is terrified that the past has finally caught up with them.

Alone in a strange country, Edie is afraid to call the police for fear that she ll be sent back to her abusive father. Determined to find her mother, but with no idea where to start, she must now face the most difficult decision of her life.”

My Thoughts:
I have so many mixed feelings on this book. I absolutely loved how strong Edie was, running around, looking for her mother in a new country. However, it broke my heart that such a young girl had been through so much and even had to consider doing something like this.

Payne did a great job in pulling you into Edie’s story. From the very beginning to the very end, I couldn’t put the book down. I had to know what was going to happen next.

And she hit so many tough topics – being constantly on the run, bullying, domestic violence, etc. These are all things that happen around us every day, but we often don’t see or care to see. Edie knows she isn’t perfect, that’s made a point to us very early. She is on the dark side, but no one really has any idea of what has happened or is currently happening behind closed doors. Then you have Jermaine, who is also far from having a perfect life thus far, but he’s an angel of sorts for Edie.

This book is much darker than a lot of YA I have read in the past, but that gives it just a little something more. Shows life really isn’t all pom-poms and proms.

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Released: January 9, 2015
Author Website

Review copy provided by NetGalley for review consideration

AnnAlysis: Forever

foreverFrom Goodreads:
Katherine and Michael meet at a New Year’s Eve party. They’re attracted to each other, they grow to love each other. And once they’ve decided their love is forever, they make love.

It’s the beginning of an intense and exclusive relationship, with a future all planned. Until Katherine’s parents insist that she and Michael put their love to the test with a summer apart…

“Forever” is written for an older age group than Judy Blume’s other novels for children. It caused a storm of controversy when it was first published because of its explicit sexual content. 

It was a book ahead of its time – and remains, after thirty years in print, a teenage best-seller. America’s No. 1 children’s author has written some of the best books of our time about real-life issues – family stress and pressures, what happens when your parents divorce, the problems of growing up and sexual awakening, bereavement – with insight, sensitivity and honesty.

My Thoughts:
I had a few Judy Blume books growing up. I’ve already been a reader. But this is one I had never picked up. In December, Simon Teen and PulseIt teamed up for 31 Days of Reading. They offered a free YA book a day. Several big name books by big name authors. There were several books I wanted to read, but there was a caveat. The books were only available for 24 hours. The doesn’t bode well on work days. However, one day I saw this one, downloaded it on my phone and spent my lunch break making my way through it. I have no idea how I did it, but I finished the book between lunch and the time I got home until bedtime. It was a very quick read.

Since its been a while since I read this, I went back and read some other reviews so I could get a refresher. Reading it, I don’t remember feeling all the drama I’m reading in reviews. While the characters are teens, it’s a book for more mature teens, or even young adults out of their teens. They fall in love, they have sex, they go through your normal teenage relationship. I’ve seen people complain about how quickly the teens fall in love. Doesn’t that happen in every teenage relationship? I think we’ve all gone through whirlwind relationships in our youth, a time when we are impressionable and without really knowing who we are or what we are looking for in a relationship, make rash decisions. And just like that, the flame burns out and you’re on to the next one.

Keep in mind this book was written in the 1970s. Quite a lot has changed since that time around us, but I still think the book and it’s message are relevant. I also think it’s a very good interpretation of a teenage relationship.

I give Forever 4 out of 5 bookmarks.

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Released: April 2007
Author Website

AnnAlysis: The Nightingale

the nightingaleFrom Goodreads:
In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.

FRANCE, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another. 

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real–and deadly–consequences.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah takes her talented pen to the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

My Thoughts:
I may have geeked out quite a bit when I was contacted and asked to review this book. I absolutely love Hannah’s books. They are such amazing stories. I haven’t read one that I haven’t cried through.

This book reminded me a lot of Winter Garden, one of my favorites by Hannah. Set in a different time, in a different country. Each with a woman who did incredible things, well beyond what was expected or accepted in her era.

Not only did the fact that Hanna wrote this book attract me to it, but also that it is set in France. We all know my love affair for France. And we are now less than two years away for my trip with dad to France. Squeeee! But I didn’t know much about what happened in France during this time. I was never much one for history, but I’m getting better. Books like this make me want to do more research.

I recently wrote a post about listening vs. reading. As Hannah started this book, setting the scene for the war, I wasn’t so sure I would love it like the others. It took me quite a while to get so into it I couldn’t put it down. And then I wondered if I would have enjoyed this one better if I would have listened. I just imagine it being read in a beautiful French accent. But then I got to the point where it didn’t matter how I read this book, I was going to love it anyway.

Hannah has a magical way of telling stories, no matter how tragic or heartbreaking. You become one with the characters and care so much about them, you can’t stop reading because you have to know what is coming next.

Although this story is filled with war and tragedy, hate and death, it’s a beautiful story about love and family and how you can find strength at the most desperate times in your life. You will leave a piece of your heart on each page.

I give The Nightingale 5 out of 5 bookmarks.

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Released: February 2, 2015
Author Website
Review copy provided by publisher for review consideration

 

 

AnnAlysis: West

WestFrom Goodreads:
If you could change history, would you?

College graduate Josephine “Josie” Jackson answers ‘yes’ to the question on a survey while visiting an Old West tourist trap. The next morning, she wakes up in Indian Territory in the 1840s, where she’s given a mission to complete before she can return to her time: to reset history by finding and stopping the man responsible for a horrific massacre.

It seems easy enough, until she discovers that three other women have been sent back to the same time period. When Josie uncovers what happened to them, she realizes the chances of her getting out of the past alive are not good.

To survive, she’ll have to trust the very man she’s there to stop, someone who has every reason to distrust her and only one reason to help her – to prove he’s not the monster she claims he’ll become.

My Thoughts:
It’s funny how you read a book from a genre you aren’t used to, then all of the sudden there are dozens of other books in that genre in your lap. I love the doors that open through reading and blogging.

One thing I love about these time travel books is how they actually get back in time. One book I read it was through a hot air balloon. This time, it starts with an innocent street fair and filling out a survey. Their reason for going back is always intriguing too. Let’s be honest. Most of these time travel stories are very similar. You have a young girl, she travels back in time, there’s a mission for her, she finds a good man and has to decide if she’s going to stay in the past or go back to the present.

I really liked Josie’s character in this book. She’s a bit naive in the beginning, but who would really believe they would go back in time? Wouldn’t we all brush it off as a joke? But once she makes the trip, she takes it in stride. She takes the task and runs with it. She pretends she is someone she’s not. What would you do in that situation? Could you pull it off?

I also liked Taylor, the leading man in the book. These books always have strong male characters. This is something I’ve come to expect in a time travel book. You have to have a strong male character to persuade a woman to give up her entire life in the present to life permanently in the past.

I give West 4 out of 5 bookmarks. As I was getting ready to post this review, I was scrolling through Goodreads and saw that people are loving this book. If you are a fan of Dr. Who (he is mentioned a few times in the book) or any time travel, you may want to pick this one up. There’s also a sequel coming out later this year.

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Released: December 2014
Author Website

Other books by Lizzy Ford:
Black Moon Draw