Friday, May 30, 2014

The Girl with the Windup Heart ~ Kady Cross (earc) review [@HarlequinTEEN @AlterKates]

The Girl with the Windup Heart (Steampunk Chronicles #4)
Harlequin TEEN
May 27, 2014
400 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

**contains some spoilers for earlier Steampunk Chronicles books**
my reviews: Book 1 / Book 2Book 3

In 1897 London, a final showdown is about to begin.

London's underworld is no place for a young woman, even one who is strong, smart and part-automaton like Mila. But when master criminal Jack Dandy inadvertently breaks her heart, she takes off, determined to find an independent life, one entirely her own. Her search takes her to the spangled shadows of the West End's most dazzling circus.

Meanwhile, taken captive in the Aether, Griffin King is trapped in an inescapable prison, and at the mercy of his archenemy, The Machinist. If he breaks under the hellish torment, The Machinist will claim his powers and control of the Aether itself, and no one in either world will be safe-especially not Finley Jayne and her misfit band of friends.

Finley plunges headlong into the Aether the only way she knows how, by temporarily dying. But she cannot parry The Machinist's maneuvers for long. To defeat him for good, Griffin will have to confront his greatest fear and finally come face-to-face with the destructive power he wields.

The Girl with the Windup Heart is a prime example of hating to see a series come to an end, but loving how it does. After the previous three books (as well as the novellas), the characters have all been introduced and are now, properly, part of the group and the story. From Griffin, Finley, Emily and Sam to Jasper, Wilcat, Mila and even Jack, they all have a role in The Girl with the Windup Heart.

Even as they work to solidify - or, perhaps, still figure out - their relationships, threats still loom. Mila is attempting life (mostly) like a human girl, under Jack Dandy's care. It's how that should all work, along with their differing views of how she should be treated, that inadvertently cause a rift.

Determined to strike out on her own - and to prove something to Jack - Mila is soon out in a world she still doesn't full understand.

All while Griffin and those at Greythorne House face another battle with The Machinist.

Everyone's unique talents (they're like a steampunk, less mutanty-y X Men) aid in the attempt to save Griffin and defeat The Machinist. (Though, Jack's skills may be more problem causing than problem solving when it comes to the situation with Mila.)

The Girl with the Windup Heart brings relationships started between different characters, in earlier books, to a new level. Even as things are being drawn together and wrapped up, there is enough action (on too fronts) to give this closer its own story.

As everyone takes place in one last big adventure (at least for us to read about), we see why it is they make such a superb group. Each has their own strengths and their own weaknesses, which play off of the others' very well. Now, its time for them to help each other and really come together as a group.

We get an even better idea of who some characters (namely Jack, Mila, Finley) are and get a sense of where the future might take them all. They did all seem older to me than the characters are supposed to be, something i haven't noticed (or noticed as much) in earlier books. It doesn't detract from the story, simply seems odd when their ages are mentioned as several years less than they seem to act.

You'll likely be sad to see the Steampunk Chronicles end, but won't feel and regrets about how it ended; both the plot and characters are very strong here.

Rating: 9/10

earlier parts of the series:

thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my copy to review

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

While We Run ~ Karen Healey (earc)) review [@kehealey @lbkids]

While We Run (When We Wake #2)
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
May 27, 2014
336 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

**Contains some spoilers for Book 1, When We Wake - read my review here**

LBYR US cover
Abdi Taalib thought he was moving to Australia for a music scholarship. But after meeting the beautiful and brazen Tegan Oglietti, his world was turned upside down. Tegan's no ordinary girl - she died in 2027, only to be frozen and brought back to life in Abdi's time, 100 years later.

Now, all they want is for things to return to normal (or as normal as they can be), but the government has other ideas. Especially since the two just spilled the secrets behind Australia's cryonics project to the world. On the run, Abdi and Tegan have no idea who they can trust, and when they uncover startling new details about Project Ark, they realise thousands of lives may be in their hands.

A suspenseful, page-turning sequel to When We Wake that will keep readers on the edge of their seats and make them call into question their own ideas about morality - and mortality, too.
When We Wake introduced readers to Tegan Oglietti and introduced Tegan to 2128 and all of the dangers of being the first cryogenically frozen person revived. Now the future world is known to readers and character,  alike, from the new technology to the extreme climate and the politics surrounding Tegan's current existence.

Allen & Unwin Aus/NZ cover
It's time for even more of the bigger picture to come into play. It is no longer just about Tegen adjusting to this new life, this second existence. (Not that it ever completely was.) When We Wake looked at the future and how Tegan, someone from (almost) the present viewed things. While We Run features question on morality, what's really right that don't need a 'past-timer's' view to be asked.

That Tegan is from another time does, definitely, factor into things, it's just less of the focus.

While We Run is told from Abdi's point of view (after the first book was from Tegan's). The new narrator is something that author Karen Healey takes full advantage of. Abdi's life - apart from being the 'singing thirdie student' - is now a part of the story. We learn about his past, his family, how he came to Australia and more of what it has been like for him. The fuller picture of Abdi does more than grow his character, it impacts the plot, as well.
While we learn more of Abdi, who he is, what he's experiencing and thinking, we lose some of the same when it comes to Tegan. This end up working incredibly well, keeping readers - and Abdi - from knowing everything.

This sequel has a darker tone and heavier plot than the first book did; due both the plot and Abdi doing the telling. The novel definitely followed a different course from what I was expecting following When We Wake's ending. It was unpredictable and not something I would have imagined. How it all comes together is fantastic, though. As much of a page-turner as the first book, While We Run will keep you reading from beginning to end. Then leave you with some things to think about. It has a great ending that concludes the tale without wrapping everything up too neatly, something that wouldn't fit the books.

Rating: 8/10

thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my ecopy to review

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Dangerous Creatures ~ Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (earc) review [@lbkids @kamigarcia @mstohl #DangerousCreatures]

Dangerous Creatures (Dangerous Creatures #1)
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
May 20, 2014
384 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

A new series returns to the world of Beautiful Creatures. Some loves are cursed...others are dangerous.

Ridley Duchannes will be the first to tell you that she's a bad girl. She's Dark. She's a Siren. You can never trust her, or even yourself when she's around. Lucky for her, Wesley "Link" Lincoln can never seem to remember that; quarter Incubus or not, his heart is Mortal when it comes to Ridley. When Link heads to New York City to start a music career, Ridley goes along for the ride-and she has her own reasons. As if leaving small-town Gatlin for the big city, trying to form a band, and surviving life with a partially reformed Siren isn't hard enough already, Link soon learns he has a price on his head that no Caster or Mortal can ever pay.

Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, the #1 New York Times bestselling coauthors of Beautiful Creatures, are back and casting another magical spell. Their signature mixture of mystery, suspense, and romance, along with a dash of fun and danger, will pull fans in and leave them begging for more.

Wesley "Link" Lincoln and Ridley Duchannes were not the main characters in the Beautiful Creatures series. In the Dangerous Creatures series, however, the story is focused on Ethan's best friend (Link) and Lena's cousin (Ridley). It's time to get their story.

The enovella "Dangerous Dream,' a prequel to the Dangerous Creatures series, serves as a great introduction. If you read it, you will know what happened that has lead to where everyone - and their relationships - to where they are at the start of Dangerous Creatures. It's not a necessary read, but will give a fuller picture of things mentioned and what transpired.

The novel does a fantastic job expanding Link and Ridley's characters. They are both still the characters we met and (hopefully) enjoyed in the Beautiful Creatures books, yet they're also so much more. With Ridley's character especially, we learn more about them as individuals, their past, their thoughts and emotions than we possibly could have when they were the supporting characters. I love that the more we learn of them, the more developed the characters become, the Ridley and Link from the first series aren't lost. The characters stay true to who they were as secondary characters while becoming fantastic, worthy main characters. It's not a struggle here to move supporting players into starring roles.

While I can't imagine you would want to, it seems possible to read this spin-off series without reading the other. Some things - Casters, the world that was built over four books - are not given as much explanation here and some characters, relationships they have with each other, or past events are stated only briefly. So much is focused on Link and Ridley, though (this is their series) that their story can be enjoyed on its own.

With Ridley and Link at its center, the story has quite a different tone. It fits the characters very well.

In Dangerous Creatures we discover still more of the Caster world and its dangers. The new discoveries and the new characters function very well alongside Link and Ridley's relationship. This first book in the new series was incredibly enjoyable. Now that I enjoy the characters even more, I cannot wait to see where the series goes (especially after how it ended)!

Rating: 9/10

Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles) series:
Beautiful Creatures
Beautiful Darkness
"Dream Dark"
Beautiful Chaos
Beautiful Redemption

Dangerous Creatures series:
"Dangerous Dream"
Dangerous Creatures 

thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my ecopy for review

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Doctor Who: The Bog Warrior ~ Cecelia Ahern (earc) review [#DoctorWho @Cecelia_Ahern]

Doctor Who: The Bog Warrior (Time Trips series)
BBC Digital
May 8, 2014
42 pages
add to Goodreads/get NOOK book/buy Kindle version

Arriving on the planet Cashel, the Tenth Doctor witnesses a strange masked ball. To guarantee peace, Prince Zircon has to choose a bride from the Bog People - dead men and women who have been resurrected as slaves. Or as warriors. But Zircon is in love with the enslaved Princess Ash, whose parents were deposed and executed by the current Queen. As usual, the Doctor has walked right into trouble, and it's up to him to sort it out.
The idea of Cecelia Ahern, author of P.S. I Love You, The Book of Tomorrow and others, writing a Doctor Who story seemed interesting. That the story was about the Tenth Doctor was even better.

"The Bog Warrior" is a bit of a twist on Cinderella, with aliens.

The story in "The Bog Warrior" seems well thought out and is quite original. The Bog People, the society and the romance and conflict at the center of the story are all intriguing. The premise and the characters are ones I could easily see made into a longer tale.

The story is weaker, though, as a Doctor Who tale. While the Doctor is, of course, present and the dialogue fit, there was not enough - of either his presence or dialogue. He was not as essential to the unfolding and, ultimately, the resolution of the story as I would have liked. The Doctor was more of a side character.

I did appreciate that the titles and summaries of the other Time Trips installments were included at the end of "The Bog Warrior." ("The Bog Warrior" was available for the US on NetGalley, some of the others were, too, others seemed to be UK only.)

While this Time Trips story was just okay for me (especially when it came to the fact that it was a Doctor Who tale), I liked my introduction to the series. Other titles in this series sound promising - some appeal to me more than others - and I look forward to reading more of them. It's worth mentioning that short stories feature different incarnations of Doctor Who (The Third, Fourth, Sixth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors).

Rating: 6/10

(see animated covers for the series)

buy Time Trips series for Kindle (or Amazon UK) or add to your Goodreads shelf

received via NetGalley from the publisher

Monday, May 19, 2014

Providence ~ Liza Colozza Cocca (earc) review [@Merit_Press]

Merit Press
March 18, 2014
254 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

The eldest of ten children on a dirt-poor farm, Becky trudges through life as a full-time babysitter, trying to avoid her father's periodic violent rages. When the family's barn burns down, her father lays the blame on Becky, and her own mother tells her to run for it. Run she does, hopping into an empty freight car. There, in a duffel bag, Becky finds an abandoned baby girl, only hours old. After years of tending to her siblings, sixteen-year-old Becky knows just what a baby needs. This baby needs a mother.

With no mother around, Becky decides, at least temporarily, this baby needs her. When Becky hops off the train in a small Georgia town, it's with baby "Georgia" in her arms. When she meets Rosie, an eccentric thrift-shop owner, who comes to value and love Becky as no one ever has, Becky rashly claims the baby as her own. Not everyone in town is as welcoming as Rosie, though. Many suspect Becky and her baby are not what they seem. Among the doubters is a beautiful, reclusive woman with her own terrible loss and a long history with Rosie.

As Becky's life becomes entangled with the lives of the people in town, including a handsome boy who suspects Becky is hiding something from her past, she finds her secrets more difficult to keep. Becky should grab the baby and run, but her newfound home and job with Rosie have given Becky the family she's never known. Despite her guilt over leaving her mother alone, she is happy for the first time. But it's a happiness not meant to last. When the truth comes out, Becky has the biggest decision of her life to make. Should she run away again? Should she stay--and fight? Or lie? What does the future hold for Becky and Georgia? With a greatness of heart and a stubborn insistence on hope found in few novels of any genre, "Providence" proves that home is where you find it, love is an active verb, and family is more than just a word.

I almost did not request Providence when I saw it on NetGalley; the publication date had passed and it was both an author and publisher with whom I was unfamiliar (Merit Press is the YA imprint Jacquelyn Mitchard started). Not giving it a try would have been a huge mistake.

While reading Providence the word that kept coming to mind was 'quaint'. While the word has almost negative  - ie boring - connotations, that wasn't why. The actual definition of quaint, 'having an old-fashioned or unusual quality or appearance that is usually attractive or appealing' fits the novel very well. While still feeling very modern, current and relevant, it also felt a lot like a novel that had been written twenty years ago.

In some ways it reminded me of the Sharon Creech novels I read in middle school. It isn't a story full of drugs, drinking and sex, instead it's about the characters, their secrets and how the lives in a small town all come together. The premise itself - a girl running away from a neglectful, sometimes abusive family, finding an abandoned baby on a train, becoming her mother, the secrets she's keeping - make it YA novel and not MG, despite the lack of any usual teen exploits.

Becky's story - both her past that we learn about in snippets and her present - draw you in immediately.The story is focused on the present, but we are given enough insight into Becky's past to understand the contrast and how it affects her decisions. It is hard to know just how everything can all work out for Becky and Georgia, yet, the more of Providence you read, the more you want it to.

Becky, Georgia and Rosie become their own little family. In many ways finally giving Becky the life she never got to have back home. The truth is always there, though, in the back of Becky's mind. She is keeping secrets from Rosie and everyone in the town. The question is how long secrets can stay secret . . . and what will happen if or when they are revealed.

I absolutely loved Providence. The characters are amazing - Becky, Rosie and those Becky meets in the town - and the plot is something unique and new. With so much focus on the characters, little mention of technology, the story having romance but it not being a main focus, Providence had a timeless feel to it. It's a book that can be enjoyed by readers of nearly any age.

The only teeny, tiny place I would have liked a bit more was with Becky's family. As the story progressed I did get a better picture of what her life had been like before, but I never got quite the sense of her parent's and siblings I wanted. It would have given a fuller picture of the main character. What we were given did seem to work for the story, however.

I know I'll be paying more attention to Merit Press in the future as well as looking out for future releases from author Liza Colozza Cocca.

Rating: 9.5/10

digital copy received through NetGalley thanks to publisher

Friday, May 16, 2014

Deliver Me Book Blitz

After reading and reviewing the Bloomsbury Spark books Pride's Run and Until We End I got interested in the Bloomsbury Spark imprint, so I had to take part in this Book Blitz for Deliver Me . . .

Deliver Me
by Kate Jarvik Birch
Bloomsbury Spark
April 15th 2014
add to Goodreads/B&N/or Amazon

One People. One Union. One Future.

Wynne’s entire life is dictated by the Union: the clothes she wears, the books she reads, even the genes she inherited. And like every other girl in the Union, Wynne dreams of being chosen as a Carrier on her 16th birthday—one of the elite selected to carry the future generation within her womb. Wynne and her best friend Odessa are certain they will both make the cut, but when Odessa is chosen and whisked off to a life of privilege, Wynne is left behind to work as an assistant, delivering perfectly planned babies for the Union.

As Odessa slips deeper and deeper into the role of Carrier, Wynne begins to see the Union for what it really is: a society that criminalizes the notion of love, and forbids words like mother and family.

For the first time in her life, Wynne is faced with a choice: submit to the will of the Union, or find a way to escape and save Odessa before she is lost forever.


“And now the time for selection has come,” the Councilman said, opening an

ornate leather ledger containing the nine chosen names. “When called, please step

forward and take your place behind me.”

Around me, I felt the whisper of a collective breath drawn in by all the girls. We

held it deep in our chests, afraid to let it go, afraid to breathe.

The Grand Councilman studied the paper in front of him, “G454-71.”

His voice reverberated through the hall, bouncing off the carefully carved

stonework and the dark wooden floors. For a moment we all stood still, letting the

number ricochet around inside us.

The girl who stepped forward carried an air of superiority about her that had

always bothered me. I didn’t think she was any more beautiful than Odessa or me, and

her hair was a strange color, tinged with a bit of orange, but she was taller by at least a

couple of inches. I knew she was strong, but I also knew with certainty that she wasn’t

any smarter than us. In class her answers always sounded rote and memorized, as if she

didn’t really give thought to what she was saying, but had taken great care to repeat

things word for word from the text book.

Maybe I was completely off base, assuming I knew what the Union wanted in

their Carriers. Maybe it was all about beauty, height and strength, maybe nothing else

really mattered. Maybe the rest of the test was simply a formality.

The Grand Councilman watched as the first of the robes was placed over the

girl’s shoulders before he turned back to us with an expression of satisfaction on his face.

The look sent a chill through me. He looked back down at the ledger in front of him and

called out the next number, “G458-89.”


Of course I recognized the number. It was imprinted in my mind, the digits as

clear in my memory as they were tattooed into the soft skin of Odessa’s forearm. The

breath of air I’d been holding escaped my lips and I turned to my best friend, pushing her

forward to the podium.

Odessa, beautiful Odessa.

I knew she would be called. Maybe she hadn’t been first, but she was close.

Pride pushed at the inside of my chest and I suppressed a cheer. If only we were allowed

to clap at least, but the selection was a sacred moment and I had to keep my emotions

contained. Later tonight I could tell Odessa how proud I was of her.

On the podium, one of the elegant Carrier robes was being placed over Odessa’s

shoulders. From somewhere deep inside my head a low humming had begun. My fingers

and toes felt strange, tingly.. I rubbed my hands together, trying to concentrate on the

Grand Councilman’s words.

Six more numbers were called and progressively, as each girl took her place on

the stand, I began to see the panic setting in on Odessa’s face. Normally, she would have

caught my eye and made a funny face to break the tension, but she hardly looked like

herself up there. The color still hadn’t returned to her cheeks and a bit of perspiration

had sprouted on her forehead. In her eyes I saw the look of someone desperate, someone

hungry. Only one more number left to call. Around me some of the girls were weeping

silently, maybe it was because they were overcome with the pressure of it all, or maybe

they realized their dreams of being a Carrier were dying out, merely the flicker of a flame


The last robe hung limply on its form. Beneath the other selection robes the

bodies of eight lucky girls fidgeted, waiting to see if one of their friends would be called.

I caught Odessa’s eye and tried to smile, but my lips stuck to my teeth, tight and dry. The

moments clicked slowly by, an eternity of waiting. What sort of future would I have if it

wasn’t as a Carrier?

Finally the Grand Councilman spoke, “The ninth and final Carrier is…D456-06.”

Odessa covered her face with her hands, but I couldn’t move; my body was

completely numb.

It wasn’t my number. It wasn’t. My number hadn’t been called.

For a moment things slowed around me. Sixteen years had brought me to this

point in time and here I was completely unprepared. The air seemed to vibrate, my mind

racing to catch up with the real world. I could almost see the split before me. In one

direction was the future I’d imagined, in the other lay the hazy reality I’d stepped into.

I didn’t get to say goodbye to Odessa. One minute she was behind the podium and

the next she was gone, swept away from me.

About the Author:

Kate Jarvik Birch is a visual artist, author, playwright, daydreamer, and professional procrastinator. As a child, she wanted to grow up to be either a unicorn or mermaid. Luckily, being a writer turned out to be just as magical. Her essays and short stories have been published in literary journals including Indiana Review and Saint Ann’s Review. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband and three kids. To learn more visit

@KateJarvikBirch / Goodreads author page / Facebook

(open internationally so long as Amazon ships where you live)

Prize: (1) Kindle eReader

a Rafflecopter giveaway

part of Xpresso Book Tours

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

When We Wake ~ Karen Healey review [@kehealey @lbkids]

When We Wake
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
March 5, 2013
304 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027—she's happiest when playing the guitar, she's falling in love for the first time, and she's joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice.

But on what should have been the best day of Tegan's life, she dies—and wakes up a hundred years later, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened.

The future isn't all she had hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better world?

Award-winning author Karen Healey has created a haunting, cautionary tale of an inspiring protagonist living in a not-so-distant future that could easily be our own.

Somehow, I missed When We Wake last year when it was released. Luckily I found it last month when looking at the sequel, While We Run, out the 27th.

When We Wake is a tale of two futures, 2027 and 2128. The story moves from a future not that different from the present, to  a dystopian future for both readers and main character Tegan.  After waking up, Tegan finds herself in quite a different future: technology has advanced, but so have global warming and hot button political issues like immigration.

As Tegan struggles to adjust to not only that she is alive - and the same age - a century in the future, she sees things about 2128 that most people native to that time period never notice.  As she takes it all in, she sees the things from the past that have affected the current day and the things that have not changed.

Tegan's 2027 character and her friends were involved in political protests and rallies, making her character in the future even better. She was aware of more facts and effects than a lot of teenagers would be. When the after-effects of things that are part of not only 2014 but also 2027 life are presented in 2128, it definitely gives something to think about.

The 2128 future, in addition to being thought provoking, is incredibly realistic and believable. It might be easy to look at things in the present and guess that they'll affect the future in a negative way. Yet, the 'how's Healey comes up with are perfect and unpredictable.

Tegan does have some adjusting to do, but much of it deals with her interpersonal interactions, how they're affected and the new social norms she has to understand.

The cast of characters Healey has created is fantastic. With great diversity when it comes to religion, race, etc it's a fresh approach. The diversity among them gives a fuller picture of the future and helps Tegan not be the only 'other' character. I love that they're all very well developed characters with their own background and/or story who add to the picture of Melbourne in 2128 and who impact Tegan's tale.

Then, of course, there's the question of whether Tegan's being brought back was everything they told her . . . or something else, something ore.

When We Wake is a great start to the series, full of revelations that will leave readers anxious for While We Run out later this month.

Rating: 9/10

Monday, May 12, 2014

Deep Blue ~ Jennifer Donnelly (earc) review [@DisneyHyperion @JenWritesBooks]

Deep Blue (Waterfire Saga #1)
Disney Press
May 6, 2014
320 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

The first in a series of four epic tales set in the depths of the ocean, where six mermaids seek to protect and save their hidden world.

Deep in the ocean, in a world not so different from our own, live the merpeople. Their communities are spread throughout the oceans, seas, and freshwaters all over the globe.

When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin's arrow poisons Sera's mother. Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin's master and prevent a war between the Mer nations. Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence.

Deep Blue is the introduction to Jennifer Donnelly's four book Waterfire Saga .As the first book in the series, Deep Blue has a lot of introduction and world-building to do. The world-building is done very well. From where the mermaids - and mermen - live and sleep to what they eat, we get a quick (and growing) picture of their everyday life. With our main character, Serafina, being Princess and her mother queen, we're also given a look into the societal structure and workings.

How the different mer-societies coexist and what their relationships are like, is essential to the story. It provides background and establishes history, as well as any tension that may be present for the characters.

It was this same world-building that made the beginning a bit confusing for me, though. While the different names, descriptions, etc needed to be given, at times it was hard to follow and sort out. A lot of names seemed to begin with the same letters and names were not typical. As the story progressed this was both enjoyable and fit the world of Deep Blue very well. At first, however, with multiple names, places, people mentioned in quickly and close together, it was harder to keep straight.

Once the main introductions happened and we were in Serafin'a world, I really began to enjoy the tale. From her dreams, to the traumatic event she experiences, to her struggle with herself, both who Serafina was and what she experienced were great. And worked fantastically together.

As more characters were introduced, we got an even better, fuller picture of the world existing under the water. There is, clearly, a lot of thought put into the mer-world and how everything and everyone interacts.

I love the concept that came together towards the novels end. Its unique and holds great promise. I can't wait to see how it all plays out over the coming books in the Saga. We get the most insight into Serafina's character and I'm hoping for not only more of that as I really like her character more and more as we - and she - delve deeper into things; I'm also looking forward to learning more of the other characters we've met. (And seeing if I am, in fact, right about something in regards to one particular character!)

Deep Blue gets stronger as it goes, as readers progress into the story and its unfolding plot. It may change in latter books but Deep Blue seems to skew more towards Middle Grade than YA (or towards younger YA). It's still enjoyable but lacks a certain maturity.

Rating: 7/10

Another series you may also enjoy: Medusa Girls by Tera Lynn Childs (my review of Sweet Venom)

thank you to publisher and NetGalley for my egalley to review

Thursday, May 8, 2014

MILA 2.0: Renegade ~ Debra Driza tour review + dream cast + giveaway [@harperteen @debradriza]

MILA 2.0: Renegade (MILA 2.0 #2)
Katherine Tegan Books
May 13, 2014
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/B&N/iTunes/Kobo/or Amazon

There is no one left for Mila to trust. Except for a boy she barely knows.

But Hunter has no idea who—and what—Mila really is. She can’t bear to reveal her secret, even though he’s unwittingly joined her search for Richard Grady, a man who may know more details of Mila’s complicated past.

Yet the road to the truth is more dangerous than ever. With General Holland and the Vita Obscura scouring the earth for her whereabouts, Mila must rely on her newfound android abilities to protect herself and Hunter from imminent harm. Still, embracing her identity as a machine leads her to question the state of her humanity—as well as Hunter’s real motives.

Perfect for fans of I Am Number Four and Divergent, this action-packed and heart-wrenching second installment of MILA 2.0 will leave readers breathlessly awaiting the series conclusion.

In MILA 2.0: Renegade, the story of Mila teenage girl who is secretly (or not so secretly) an android, gets even better. Now, Mila not only knows that she is technology, but that others are after her - for their own reasons, not including her well-being.

If being a teenager and finding out you're an android, wasn't enough, now Mila's lost her mother and is on the run for her life. The only one she feels comfortable reaching out to is Hunter, a boy she barely knows.

Someone who does not know the truth and to whom she can't make herself tell it.

The first book of the series, MILA 2.0 gave readers some of the android/science vs human battle within Mila. From accepting that she now had ports and could interact with computers, to figuring out what that meant about who - or what - she was. The 'discovery' of all of this for Mila took more of the focus in the first book. Now, though, as she struggles to find a balance between android Mila and the human Mila she believes herself to (at least partially) be, things get so much better.

Now that she is aware of the threats both Holland and Vita Obscura pose to her - and by extension of his being with her, Hunter - it's necessary for Mila to embrace her android abilities. Everything that she is capable of, the different abilities she has lead to some fantastic action and tension.

They also cause trouble for Mila in her attempts at being a teenage girl and enjoying her time with Hunter. True, she's trying to stay alive, but it's hard to enjoy a cute boy when you're constantly scanning for threats and getting status updates.

I loved that the struggle for Mila between the teenage girl, trying to figure out her relationship - if there even is one - with a boy was so well balanced with the android girl trying to evade capture and discovering all she can do.

When they come together, there's Mila a girl with great skills, a computer 'brain,' and a giant secret she's keeping.

Renegade isn't only the story of a girl and it's not only the story of an android, it's both. And quite brilliantly, too.

We get to see much more of Mila's character in this second book, but there's also a really good plot with some superb revelations, twists and turns. Things from both the first book and from the prequel novella came into play. Some things were not quite as they had previously seemed, some were even better and some, suddenly, made much more sense. It all made for a much fuller plot.

MILA 2.0: Renegade is one follow-up that I definitely enjoyed more than its predecessor. After reading it, learning all I did of the characters and the things unveiled, I am definitely looking forward to what's to come in Book 3.

Rating: 9/10

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series order (+ links to my reviews)

Origins: The Fire (ebook prequel novella)
MILA 2.0 (#1)
MILA 2.0: Renegade (#2)

About the Author:
I'm the author of the MILA 2.0 series and the owner of the messiest purse on the planet, aka: the black hole of doom. I think bow ties are cool and when I grow up, I want to be Veronica Mars.

I rarely check my account at Goodreads, so if you need to get in touch with me, try twitter or Debra at

Author's website / on Goodreads / blog / @DebraDriza / Facebook

. . .
Rachael Leigh Cook (circa She's All That) as Mila
. . .
Vanessa Hudgens as Mila
(since time travel doesn't really work)
. . .
Lachlan Buchanan as Hunter
. . .
Julie Benz as Mila's mom
. . .
General W.R. Monger as Holland
. . .
since animated people aren't real and thus don't get to be in a Dream Cast:
Stephen Lang as Holland
. . .
Gwyneth Paltrow as [name withheld for security - re spoiler - concerns]
. . .

Win one (1) of two (2) sets of both books in the MILA 2.0 series (MILA 2.0 and Renegade) by Debra Driza (US ONLY)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule - check out the rest of the tour stops

tour and my copy of the book for review thanks to Harper and FFBC

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