Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Book Review: Magic of the Moonlight by Ellen Schreiber

Magic of the Moonlight
Author: Ellen Schreiber
Series: Full Moon, Book 2
Publication: Katherine Tegen Books (December 27, 2011)

Description: Beware of a bite under a full moon . . . It will complicate your love life.

Celeste has more to worry about than a secret romance with a hot guy from the wrong side of town. That guy, Brandon, is a werewolf. With gossip and hostility swirling at school, it’s time to find a cure for his nocturnal condition, and perhaps the one person who can help is his scientist father. But what if a “cure” makes things worse and Brandon becomes a werewolf full time?

To keep Brandon’s secret safe, Celeste must hide her relationship with him from her best friends, but with the Moonlight Ball approaching, she must make a choice. Her dream is to go with her one true love—Brandon. But once the sun goes down, the clouds separate, and the full moon appears, could she really walk into the dance on the arm of a werewolf?

In this installment of the sumptuously romantic Full Moon series, Celeste faces her fears and her friends and finds out whether she’s strong enough to stand up for herself and her one true love.

My Thoughts: This is the middle book of a trilogy. Celeste is torn between two boys. Nash is her long-time friend, part of her clique, and a popular boy. She used to be his girlfriend until she met Brandon. Brandon is new to town, lives on the wrong side of town, and is a werewolf. Brandon is the new love of her life but they face problems at school even before considering that he is a werewolf.

Celeste's best friends want her to stay with Nash because he is friends with their boyfriends and they are used to being a six-some of popular kids. Celeste is a nice girl but really a wimp. She doesn't want to disappoint her friends and fears that if she dates Brandon she'll be kicked out of their group and left to eat lunch alone.

Meanwhile, Brandon who was recently bitten and turned into a werewolf is looking for a cure. Celeste finally convinces him to ask his scientist father for help. His father working in Europe is part of the reason Brandon is living with his grandparents in a new town. His father comes home and is first afraid of Brandon but then finds an antidote that will either cure him or cause him to be a werewolf full-time instead of just three days around the full moon.

This story was a pretty uneven book for me. First of all, Celeste and her friends behaved more like middle schoolers than high school students. The social pressure and Celeste's fear of disappointing her friends seemed too juvenile for their ages. Second, I had a real problem with the scientist father - kind of science never mentioned - finding a cure in less than a month. Third, I couldn't figure out what Celeste had ever seen in Nash beyond the fact the he was part of her group of friends and good looking. The Nash we see in this book is a spoiled brat who threatens to expose Brandon's secret if Celeste won't go back to him and who brings another girl around to make Celeste jealous. Lastly, I already mentioned that Celeste is a wimp who is afraid of hurting anyone else's feelings and who just won't stand up for herself or what she wants.

I will be reading the final book to see how this story resolves but it can wait.

Favorite Quote:
I paused. For a moment, I really reflected. Nash was my friend, my first crush. A guy I'd know for years. He was happy and handsome and well liked. Brandon was an outsider, a guy whose father was now afraid of him, and a werewolf. It wasn't very logical, but I knew I had to follow my heart -- and that would lead me into the woods.
I bought this one Dec. 24, 2012. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Book Review: Vampire Academy Graphic Novels by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy
Shadow Kiss
Author: Richelle Mead; adapted by Leigh Dragoon; illustrated by Emma Vieceli
Series: Vampire Academy: The Graphic Novel (Books 1 - 3)
Publication: Razorbill; Original edition (August 23, 2011), Razorbill; Reprint edition (May 24, 2012), Razorbill (December 31, 2013)

Description: Vampire Academy: St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

Frostbite: Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose…
It’s winter break at St. Vladimir’s, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy’s crawling with Guardians—including Rose’s hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to-hand combat with her mom wasn’t bad enough, Rose’s tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason’s got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy’s not taking any risks.... This year, St. Vlad’s annual holiday ski trip is mandatory.

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price…

Shadow Kiss: It's springtime at St. Vladimir's Academy, and Rose is close to graduation, but since making her first Strigoi kills, things haven't felt quite right. She's having dark thoughts, behaving erratically, and worst of all ...might be seeing ghosts. Consumed by her forbidden love with her tutor Dimitri and protecting her best friend, the Moroi princess Lissa, Rose is in no state to see the deadly threat that will change her entire world - and make her choose between the two people she loves most.

My Thoughts: I need to start by saying that I'm not a big fan of graphic novels. I am not a very visual person and find it hard to follow a story that is mostly illustrations.Beyond the main characters, I often have trouble telling characters apart. These books were not exceptions to my previous experience. I liked the illustrations. I liked the color palette. I liked that I could almost always pick out Rose and Lissa.

It helped greatly that I have read the regular novels for these stories. It helped me fill in the character development that was mostly lacking in the graphic novels. The graphic novels did help me recall the stories that I read years ago. I thought the flow of each of the stories was good and that the major plot points were included. I liked the flow of the story on each page. It was easy to decide what to read and what to look at next.

These would seem to work best for readers who had already read the original stories though they might be a good lead in to the originals for readers who wanted to flesh out the story told in the graphic novels.

I bought these in 2014. You can buy your copy here and here and here.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Book Review: Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner

Wake Up Missing 
Author: Kate Messner
Publication: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; Reprint edition (September 23, 2014)

Description: Einstein, Edison, DaVinci, Oppenheimer, Curie. The greatest minds in science are about to be illegally recreated―and Cat Grayson must stop it. After suffering a concussion, Cat is attending I-CAN, a groundbreaking facility that promises to cure her of constant headaches and lost memory. But I-CAN is state-of-the-art in its technology and its secrets, with a plan to implant DNA from great scientists into modern kids and use them to create a super-weapon. When Cat and her fellow patients discover the truth, they're in serious danger and must make a daring escape through the Everglades to expose the secrets of I-CAN and save its subjects from losing themselves forever. This fascinating adventure is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

My Thoughts: This exciting adventure story takes it inspiration from genetic research. Cat is twelve and is suffering from Post-Concussion Syndrome after falling from a tree while birding. She suffers from uncertain balance, holes in her memory, severe headaches, and personality changes. When her parents learn about I-CAN -- the International Center for Advanced Neurology -- based in the Florida Everglades, they are eager for Cat to be treated there.

But the center is strange. There are only six patients who all all middle school age and and who all have concussions affecting the same portion of the brain. Cat overhears some things that make her think that something strange is going on but her memory issues make it hard to remember what she heard. Sarah, another patient, is suspicious, too. She had befriended a patient named Trenton who has had a major personality change after entering Stage Three of the treatment program. After sneaking into the head doctor's computer and discovering even more incriminating information, Cat convinces the other three kids who are mobile to try to get away.

Trying to get through the swamp with alligators and snakes would be hard enough but add in drug runners, wildlife poachers, and the head doctor who doesn't want his experiments disrupted and the kids are in way over their heads. Did I mention that wildfires are raging or that the doctor may be doing his experiments at the direction of a US Senator who is interested in creating a new weapon?

I liked the relationships that grew between the kids as they tried to find out what was going on at I-CAN and while they were trying to escape. I liked their desperation as they tried to find someone they could trust to help them.

Fans of adventure won't want to miss this exciting story.

Favorite Quote:
"Miracle Clinic in the Swamp," the headline called it, and a miracle was what I needed.

I believed it, too. I thought if I went to I-CAN, I'd wake up found.

And all the missing parts of me -- lost balance, scattered memories -- would snap back into place like the jigsaw pieces Mom pulled out from under the wicker sofa. She blew the dust off and placed them into the holes in our carnival scene, one by one, until the last piece patched an empty gap in the sky. And then it was whole.

That was what I wanted. To be whole again. 
I got this ARC Sept. 10, 2013. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Book Review: The Turncoat's Gambit by Andrea Cremer

The Turncoat's Gambit
Author: Andrea Cremer
Series: The Inventor's Secret (Book 3)
Publication: Philomel Books (November 15, 2016)

Description: What if America had lost the Revolutionary War? And now lived in constant fear and oppression? From the bestselling author of Nightshade, this is the action-packed final chapter of The Inventor's Secret trilogy

Charlotte has spent her whole life fighting the British Empire, following in the footsteps of her parents and their group of rebels. But when her reunion with her mother laid bare horrible truths about the rebellion, Charlotte knew she had to escape. Now she is on the run, with no idea who the enemy is--or which of her compatriots is truly on her side.

In this action-packed conclusion to the Inventor's Secret trilogy, full of swashbuckling pirates and young ladies who can hold their own against them, Charlotte will need to fight for her life and for her beliefs -- whatever they might be.

My Thoughts: This conclusion to the Inventor's Secret trilogy was filled with action as Charlotte takes Grave and flees from New Orleans. She is still a revolutionary but she doesn't want Grave to be used by either the revolutionary forces or the Empire. They flee with pirates but are captured by bounty hunters who deliver them to Empire forces. They are split up with Charlotte taken to the Empire's high tech prison and Grave to tinkers who try to find out why he works.

Meanwhile, Charlotte's friends are attempting to find and rescue them. This story has great steampunk detail in an alternate world where the revolutionaries lost the American revolution and are still under control of the British Empire. I liked that the women were as brave and intrepid as the men. I liked the floating city and the ships that could take to the air to get away from pursuit. I thought the battles with the steampunk weaponry were well done.

I liked that Charlotte wasn't going to automatically follow the revolution just because she had been raised to be a revolutionary but was tweaking her participation to fit with her goals and her conscience.

Fans of alternate history, steampunk, and adventure will enjoy this series.

Favorite Quote:
"I protect him because he shouldn't be treated like a machine or a weapon or a tool. He deserves to simply be."

"To simply be," Coe echoed, then uttered a joyless laugh. "He deserves that? Do any of us get to live that way? From the day we are born, we are thrown into the forge of life; we are hammered and shaped as the world wills. Why shouldn't the same be true for Grave?"
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

ARC Review: Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Author: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Series: Unearthed
Publication: Disney-Hyperion (January 9, 2018)

Description: When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution humanity has been waiting for. The Undying's advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and their message leads to the planet Gaia, a treasure trove waiting to be explored.

For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an ancient alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study... as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don't loot everything first. Despite their opposing reasons for smuggling themselves onto the alien planet's surface, they're both desperate to uncover the riches hidden in the Undying temples. Beset by rival scavenger gangs, Jules and Mia form a fragile alliance... but both are keeping secrets that make trust nearly impossible.

As they race to decode the ancient messages, Jules and Mia must navigate the traps and trials within the Undying temples and stay one step ahead of the scavvers on their heels. They came to Gaia certain that they had far more to fear from their fellow humans than the ancient beings whose mysteries they're trying to unravel. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more Jules and Mia start to feel like their presence in the temple is part of a grand design--one that could spell the end of the human race...

My Thoughts: This was an engaging science fiction story told from two viewpoints.

Amelia is a scavver, she searches the abandoned cities on Earth to find tech that can be used as is or stripped for parts. She left school at thirteen because she needed to make money to rescue her sister from indentured servitude. They dream of being able to escape to Los Angeles where an alien invention provides power and clean water. When she is given a chance to go to Gaia, she sees the possibility of riches if she can find some of the tech the Undying left behind.

Jules Addison has a different reason for wanting to go to Gaia. His father was the one who first translated the messages from the Undying but came to believe that it would be dangerous for Earth to explore Gaia to find and use the alien tech. Jules is on the hunt for a mystery buried in the message that he hopes will prove his father right and free him from prison.

These two kids have very different goals but band together because they are not the only ones on the hunt for alien tech. They need to elude a group of scavvers who would be more than willing to steal their stuff and leave them for dead.

Together they travel to an obscure temple that Jules hopes will have the answers he needs. He lies to Amelia about a hidden tech cache there but feels guilty when he learns why she needs to tech. Together they solve clues that let them travel into the heart of the temple. But the scavvers on their trail haven't given up and capture them again.

This story had great world building. I liked the relationship that grows between Jules and Amelia. I liked the mystery of the Undying and the way Jules and Amelia have to combine their skills to solve the puzzles that the Undying have left.

This story has betrayal and romance. It has adventure and discovery. It has an ending that comes as quite a surprise and makes me very eager for the next book in this series.

Favorite Quote:
Our whole lives, the International Alliance has been a group of bickering, petty politicians more concerned with buying votes then helping mankind -- but there was a time, long ago, when they were Earth's best hope. When all the nations of the world turned their eyes toward the stars and worked together to reach out toward Alpha Centauri. Toward the future.

It's when we stop looking up that we fall apart.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Monday, January 1, 2018

State of the Stack #67 (Jan. 1, 2018)

This is my monthly State of the Stack post. It is my way to keep track of my review books and to hopefully reduce the stack that I have waiting for me. I take a look at my review commitments on or near the first of the month. Link with Avalalinha's Books (description below) to check out other people's progress. She has just recently started a meme about review books.

Here is my Review Books Spreadsheet I list them in publication order and sort them by month. I can quickly see how many books I have for each date. Ideally, this keeps me from over-committing to review books. Check my spreadsheet to find out where I got each book.

I also do this post because sometimes (frequently) review books sit on my stack for a while before I read and review them. I try to read and review books within two weeks of publication date. Sometimes I can't, though, if too many books are releasing on the same date or if the book arrives too near its publication date and my calendar is already full.

I am very grateful to the authors and publishers who support my reading habit.

My Review Pile

Shattered Fear by Tara Thomas (Feb. 6)
Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce (Feb. 6)
The Greed by Scott Bergstrom (Feb. 6)
Death & The Viking's Daughter by Loretta Ross (Feb. 8)
A Cold Day in Hell by Lissa Marie Redmond (Feb. 8)
A Murder in Bloomsbury by D. M. Quincy (Feb. 13)
The Philosopher's Flight by Tom Miller (Feb. 13)
The Ambrose Deception by Emily Ecton (Feb. 13)
The Sweetest Kind of Fate by Crystal Cestari (Feb. 13)
No One Can Know by Lucy Kerr (Feb. 13)
The Cat of the Baskervilles by Vicki Delany (Feb. 13)
The Tombs by Deborah Schaumberg (Feb. 20)
Fire and Bone by Rachel A. Marks (Feb. 20)
Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda (Feb. 20)
Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare (Feb. 20)
Darkest Night by Tara Thomas (Feb. 27)
The Policeman's Daughter by Trudy Non Boyce (Feb. 27)
Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman (Feb. 27)

Hooked on a Phoenix by Ashlyn Chase (March 6)
The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller (March 6)
Lethal in Old Lace by Duffy Brown (March 13)
Searcher of the Dead by Nancy Herriman (March 13)
The Broken Girls by Simone St. James (March 20)
Losing Leah by Tiffany King (March 20)
Lost Crow Conspiracy by Rosalyn Eves (March 27)
Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston (March 27)

They Lost Their Heads by Carlyn Beccia (April 3)
The Window by Amelia Brunskill (April 3)
Lord of the Pies by Nell Hampton (April 10)
The Summer of Broken Things by Margaret Peterson Haddix (April 10)
The Shadow of Death by Jane Willan (April 10)
Bad Neighbors by Maia Chance (April 10)
Whispers of the Dead by Spencer Kope (April 17)
Shattered Mirror by Iris Johansen (April 24)
Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian (April 24)
The Reckless Rescue by Adrienne Kress (April 24)
White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig (April 24)

Better Off Read by Nora Page (May 8)
Cake & Punishment by Maymee Bell (May 8)
Flowers and Foul Play by Amanda Flower (May 8)
No Cure for the Dead by Christine Trent (May 8)
The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg (May 15)
Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton (May 22)

City of Bastards by Andrew Shvarts (June 5)
The Body in the Ballroom by R. J. Koreto (June 12)

I Read This Month

These are listed in the order I read them. Links go to my reviews for all that have been posted already. Otherwise, the date the review is scheduled for is listed.
  1. A Wedding at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer (Jan. 3)
  2. Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Jan. 3) 
  3. A Mortal Likeness by Laura Joh Rowland (Jan. 4) 
  4. The English Wife by Lauren Willig (Jan. 6) 
  5. Deadly Summer by Denise Grover Swank (Jan. 9)
  6. What Doesn't Kill You by Aimee Hix (Jan. 10) 
  7. A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn (Jan. 11) 
  8. A Merciful Secret by Kendra Elliot (Jan. 13)
  9. Cast in Deception by Michelle Sagara (Jan. 17)
  10. The Last Girl on Earth by Alexandra Blogier (Jan. 19)  
  11. Final Girls by Riley Sager (Jan. 23)
  12. Baby, I'm Howling for You by Christine Warren (Jan. 24) 
  13. Layover by Amy Adelson and Emily Meyer (Jan. 26)
  14. Final Siege by Scarlett Cole (Jan. 27) 
  15. This Fallen Prey by Kelley Armstrong (Jan. 30)  
  16. Survive the Night by Katie Ruggle (Jan. 31)
  17. Look for Me by Lisa Gardner (Feb. 1)
  18. Lake Silence by Anne Bishop (March 3)
Read Previously, Reviews Posted This Month
  1. No Place Like You by Emma Douglas (Dec. 2) 
  2. A Case of Syrah, Syrah by Nancy J. Parra (Dec. 5) 
  3. Bury the Past by James L'Etoile (Dec. 7)
  4. A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert (Dec. 9)
  5. Killman Creek by Rachel Caine (Dec. 13)
  6. Prince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm (Dec. 15)
  7. Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins (Dec. 21) 
  8. Black Star Renegades by Michael Moreci (Dec. 26)
  9. Neogenesis by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (Dec. 27)
  10. Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley (Dec. 28)
I Added These Books

These are listed in the order I received them. Links go to Amazon. Date published is listed in parentheses.
  1. Flowers and Foul Play by Amanda Flower (May 8)
  2. Cake and Punishment by Maymee Bell (May 8)
  3. Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce (Feb. 6)
  4. Whispers of the Dead by Spencer Kope (April 17)
  5. Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian (April 24)
  6. The Last Girl on Earth by Alexandra Blogier (Jan. 23)
  7. The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller (March 6)
  8. Layover by Amy Andelson & Emily Meyer (Feb. 6)
  9. Murder in Bloomsbury by D. M. Quincy (Feb. 13)
  10. Shattered Mirror by Iris Johansen (April 24)
  11. The Summer of Broken Things by Margaret Peterson Haddix (April 10)
  12. Lake Silence by Anne Bishop (March 6)
  13. Hooked on a Phoenix by Ashlyn Chase (March 6)
  14. Final Girls by Riley Sager (Jan. 23)
  15. City of Bastards by Andrew Shvarts (June 5) 
  16. A Merciful Secret by Kendra Elliot (Jan. 16)
  17. Deadly Summer by Denise Grover Swank (Jan. 9)
  18. Darkest Night by Tara Thomas (Feb. 27)
  19. Shattered Fear by Tar Thomas (Feb. 6)
  20. The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg (May 15)
  21. The Body in the Ballroom by R. J. Koreto (June 12)
  22. Better Off Read by Nora Page (May 8)
  23. Lord of the Pies by Nell Hampton (April 10)
  24. The Broken Girls by Simone St. James (March 20)
Next Month's Plan

So, I read 18 and added 24 which isn't exactly moving in the right direction. January will be filled with reading February releases. I started with 22 February releases and have already read 4. I'm half way through The Greed but likely won't finish it today.

Things look more doable for March through June but I know I'll be adding books since many publishers don't have as much lead time for filling my calendar as I would like. I recently filled out the spreadsheet for the Spring Macmillan YA titles which will be arriving sometime. There will probably be some that are DNFs in the bunch because Macmillan has taken to bundling their ARCs. There is usually at least one in the bunch I get that I have no desire to read.

I don't have any overdue ARCs. I read a lot each month and read my review copies before I pull books off my TBR mountain. No matter how much I want to read my new and shiny books, the review books come first.

I am also linking up with the State of the ARC meme. Here is the explanation and rules.

State of the ARC is a monthly meme at Avalinah’s Books meant to motivate you to finish up all your long overdue ARCs (Advanced or Early Reader Copies). You can track your reading progress and link up with your own post. Most commonly it comes out on the 30th of every month.

Rules of State of the ARC:

  • Mention that you’re linking up with State of the ARC @ AvalinahsBooks, which is a fun way to share our ARC progress, challenges, wins, woes and mishaps.
  • Include the link to this post, or the current State of the ARC post. You can use my State of the ARC image too.
  • Don’t forget to visit all the other people in the link-up and comment.
  • And most importantly – have fun!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Book Review: Venturess by Betsy Cornwell

Author: Betsy Cornwell
Series: Mechanica (Book 2)
Publication: Clarion Books (August 1, 2017)

Description: The young inventor Nicolette Lampton is living her own fairy-tale happy ending. She's free of her horrible stepfamily, running a successful business, and is uninterested in marrying the handsome prince, Fin. Instead, she, Fin, and their friend Caro venture to the lush land of Faerie, where they seek to put an end to the bloody war their kingdom is waging. Mechanical armies and dark magic await them as they uncover devastating secrets about the past and fight for a real, lasting happily-ever-after for two troubled countries—and for themselves.

Smart and unconventional, this novel will appeal to readers of romance and adventure alike.

My Thoughts: This is the sequel to Mechanica. It tells what happens after a girl rescues herself from her evil stepfamily, finds her prince, and looks to her future. Nicolette Lampton has set up her own shop as an inventor and has declined the prince's offer of marriage. Oh, she loves Fin that isn't in doubt. But she also loves Caro who also loves Fin. Fin and Caro are family for the orphaned Nicollette.

But trouble is brewing in Esting. Religious bigots who despise all things magic, unless they are the ones doing it, and all things Fey have been gaining influence with the citizens and with the king. They want to declare war on Faerie and exterminate all the Fey. Prince Fin is apposed to the idea but his voice is reason is being drowned out by the bigots. Nicolette is also opposed because she was raised by a half-Fey housekeeper that she loved.

Her housekeeper Mr. Candery was forced to flee from Esting to Faerie when Nicolette was only twelve. Now, he sends her a letter asking her to come to Faerie and bring Fin in the hopes that some sort of peace treaty can be worked out. The letter arrives just after an assassination attempt on Fin comes way too close to success. So Nicolette, Fin and Caro embark on a journey to Faerie. The journey is exciting and ends with a magical storm which destroys their airship and leads to a ferocious battle waged by automatons representing each side.

I loved the steampunk details in this book. Nicolette makes marvelous devices. Her most notable are the insects and horse that she has improved on but which were created by her mother before her death. The horse Jules had been her only friend and companion after her mother's death until she met Fin and Caro. Jules has been great support to her. The insects and Jules are both automatons but they gain their life force from something called the Ashes which her mother left for her to use. She doesn't know what they are or where they come from and hopes to find that answer when she goes to Faerie.

Nicolette makes other discoveries when she gets to Faerie that rock her world and force her to make some crucial decisions. It is a time of growth for her and for Fin who becomes more confident in his role as the future king. I loved the Fey and the Mermen who were also residents of this world.

Fans of adventure, steampunk, and fantasy will enjoy this reimagining of the Cinderella story and will love getting to know Nicolette.

Favorite Quote:
"I don't suppose you've spent a whole day mending seams?"

She shrugged. "Maybe not."

"No, because then you'd know how tedious it is, and you'd know the value of a machine that does it for you. and it's a rare girl who doesn't have to do those things, you know -- spending her whole day mending and cleaning and boiling water, with not a moment to herself for a thought of her own..." I took a deep breath, pushing away the memories of my own forced labor. "It's all right if you do like those chores, but so many girls have to do them that they never get the chance to discover what they like, all for themselves. So I make helpmeets that give those girls time to find out. To do whatever the things are -- the girl things -- that they like to do."

It was funny; I'd never quite thought about it that way, but I knew as soon as I said the words that they were true.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.