T5W: Favorite Angsty Romances


T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.


March 22nd- Favorite Angsty Romances
–This topic has been much requested! Talk about your favorite ships that have a healthy side of angst. (definition: adj.: describes a situation or literary piece which contains dark, depressing, angry, and/or brooding emotions from the participating characters.)


This might be the most difficult T5W topic I’ve done. I just…don’t love a lot of popular angsty romances (whether they’re romance books, or some other genre with an angsty romance in it), so I’ve been looking through my read books all month trying to find good picks that A) were angsty, and B) I actually liked. I’m still not 100% sure these all count, but here we go, in no particular order…


Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte– Ok, this one I really liked. Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books, and definitely one of my favorite classics, but the romance between Jane and Mr. Rochester was just so…well, angsty. I love it though.







Easy by Tammara Webber– I read this a few years ago and liked it, but I’m not sure how I would feel about it now. I do remember it was an emotional roller-coaster of a book, though, and stuck with me for a while after I read it. I reviewed it on my tumblr if you’re curious. (I think this was angsty…)






Unteachable by Leah Raeder/Elliot Wake– (AKA “The ship I loved to hate to ship”) So. Much. Angst. This was not an easy, fluffy, fun book, but I read it in about a day and a half because I couldn’t put it down.






Clockwork Prince (actually, all of The Infernal Devices) by Cassandra Clare– (AKA “Which ship should I ship?”) I hated Clockwork Angel, but I liked the other two books in this trilogy, so I’m using Clockwork Prince. I don’t even know what else to say about it :/






Six of Crows (and Crooked Kingdom) by Leigh Bardugo– Uuugh, my children. I’m not talking about who this is about so I don’t spoil anything, but if you’ve read both books, you know (and you probably know if you’ve only read the first).



Do you have any favorite angsty romances?

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It’s World Poetry Day, so I’m sharing a poem

Most of the posts I’ll be making about poetry are being reserved for April (National Poetry Month in the US), and I’ll be talking about some of my favorite poets and collections of poetry.

But, I’m trying to get over my fear of letting anyone (even my closest and most trusted loved ones) read any of my writing. So, in honor of the day (well, night, since it’s already tomorrow in most of the world), here’s one of my poems :/



I taste the word,
weigh it on my tongue and find
it’s right.
Though you’ve never used it.

Sometimes I think I see it
up your throat and
at the gate of your teeth,
begging you to spit it at me
just once.

But you don’t.

Your lips press it back,
and you force it
til you’re nearly choking,
and I feel like
I should thank you
before I realize that
just because
you didn’t say it
doesn’t mean you aren’t
thinking it.

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Must Read Monday


When I read it:
I’ve read it at least 3 or 4 times.

Genres: ya; fantasy

Recommended for: If you like the sound of a magical fantasy set in the Victorian era with a secret magical order, young women rebelling against what society expects of them in whatever ways they can manage, female friendships that feel real, and wonderful writing and storytelling, I recommend this!

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


What it’s about:

A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy—jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.

Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother’s death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls’ academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions “for a bit of fun” and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the “others” and rebuild the Order.

I still remember when this book was published, because it was way back when I was in middle or early high school and I first read about it in some teen magazine I was subscribed to. The cover was the first thing that caught my attention, and I then spent about a year trying to actually find a copy. When I finally did find it in a store, I actually attracted stares and embarrassed my grandma (who had taken me to the bookstore) because I gasped and squealed and clutched it to my chest.

I still have to fight the urge to react that way when I see a copy in a store, because this is one of my favorite books, ever. Over the last 13ish years, I’ve read this book again and again, and I always love it. I love the whole trilogy, but this first book stole my heart, and often my breath, and I try to get everyone to read it. This is kind of weird maybe, but I knew I was going to love it when I flipped it open and found an excerpt from one of my favorite poems in the first pages (“The Lady of Shallot” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson).

Libba Bray’s writing is amazing, her characters are so well developed, the relationships feel real, and it’s just a really great story, in my opinion. There’s magic, adventure, a bit of romance, strong female characters, and so much more! I highly recommend this book (and the other two in the trilogy).

Have you read it? What did you think?

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Book Review: A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. Maas


Genres: new adult; fantasy; romance

Why I read it: I like re-tellings, Beauty & the Beast is a favorite of mine, and everyone raved about this series (and Maas in general) but I hadn’t read any of her books yet.

Who I’d recommend it to: Probably no one I like. (I’m sorry, ACOTAR/SJM fans. I really am.)

My rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆


Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


What it’s about:

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Review (hopefully spoiler-free):

I think I added this to my TBR back when it was first announced. I didn’t know much about Sarah J. Maas’s books at the time, except that everyone seemed to love them. I never liked the cover, though. I know, I know I’m in the minority with that, but I think it’s ugly, sorry. But I can forgive a bad cover if the book is good. I think the cover goes with this book.

I want to preface this by saying I didn’t hate the book! It did have good moments, but not nearly enough of them. Will I read the next book? Maybe. I’m still deciding, but I did go ahead and check it out from the library, just in case.

Feyre is possibly the most annoying protagonist I’ve encountered. Maybe there have been others I’ve disliked more, but I’m having a difficult time remembering them. She’s whiny, self-abasing, and just plain stupid at times. She cared for her sisters and father and herself for years, she can hunt and apparently track pretty darn well, she’s (supposed to be?) a survivor, but she just kept making stupid decisions and putting herself in danger. I feel like she was supposed to be this strong, at least semi-intelligent, resilient, character, and she was the epitome of shallow, boring, damsel in distress characters instead. Her feelings about the fae kept shifting a lot, which I guess could be understandable, but it was so dramatic each time, moving from one extreme to another. I feel like her character development left a lot to be desired, and I just don’t care much about her. She could die and be replaced by another character in the next book, and I wouldn’t mind.

I have no clue how to feel about Tamlin, because I don’t think we got enough of him for me to really form an opinion. I’m pretty much indifferent. He was pretty much the cookie cutter, “mostly nice guy but sometimes cringe-worthy possessive” you find in some shifter PNR/UF stories, only he’s fae. We know he’s probably gorgeous, and he’s powerful, but that’s about it.

Lucien and Rhysand saved my character rating for this book, and I liked them enough to actually consider shelving this as 2.5/5 stars, instead of 1.5 or 2. Lucien, ugh. I wish he’d had more time in this book, because he was funny. I think he could be a fleshed out, complex character. Rhysand gave me Darkling feels (but I don’t like him nearly as much as I love my book husband, the Darkling), kind of. I hated him when he first showed up, but by the end of the book I was interested in him. If I read ACOMAF it will probably be just so I can find out more about these two.

Lucien and Rhysand had the most development, I think, of any of the side characters. The rest were really bland. Mostly, I didn’t care at all about any of them, but I would like to know more about Alis, and Feyre’s sister Nesta.

I wasn’t really on board with the relationship between Feyre and Tamlin. I don’t ship it, mostly because I found it boring. There’s some problematic stuff, too, but not as much as I was expecting. But the sex, oh, ugh. A friend of mine described it as being “cringe-worthy,” and I totally agree. Reading those was like reading a ton of romance novel sex scene cliches all thrown together on one page. I actually read a scene with my hand over my face, reading through my fingers, and had to keep looking away. On a scale of 1-10 for how hot they were, I’d give it a 2. (I might have said that I would find a pie eating contest hotter than the sex in this book…)

The world building was pretty dull and almost non-existent, which annoyed me. I was hoping for more. There are also a lot of things that were not explained at all in this book, that probably should have been. I feel like as the first novel in a series, it should have had more details about Prythian, the fae who live there, and the human world that knows about the fae. We got some brief descriptions of how things are divided up, but not much about the fae and what they can do, the different types of fae, etc. Most of what was learned came from someone telling Feyre things, and it got kind of boring for me.

At the beginning of this book, I had reasonably high hopes. But the writing style bugged me. It was almost like there was an attempt to make it poetic or flowery, or…sound antiquated, maybe. It missed the mark with that. Then there was the plot itself, which was a rollercoaster. For a while, it seemed like things were moving along well, then it lagged and got boring. Then things picked up for a bit, then dropped back to boring. I really think 50 pages (probably more) could have been shaved off this book without losing anything important. More time was spent on descriptions I really didn’t care much about (like clothing, decorations, etc., that were sometimes excessively described), and too little spent on more important things. Many things were repeated…and repeated…and repeated….and… You get the point. It was frustrating and made it really hard for me to remain immersed in the story. The Beauty & the Beast inspiration is clear, but I don’t think it was executed as well as it could have been. That probably disappointed me more than anything else.

Finally, the last 30 pages or so happened and things were interesting. Those last few pages, plus Rhysand and Lucien, are the only reasons this wasn’t a 1-1.5 star book for me. I’m curious enough about the way things were left to think about reading the next book. I’ve also heard it’s better than this one, so I’m cautiously optimistic.

I know this is a super popular series, and if you want to read it, please don’t let my opinion stop you. I’m so glad so many people have enjoyed it, and I really wish I was one of them.

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First Lines Fridays


First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

The Rules:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!


Oops, I forgot to schedule this and just realized it was still a draft! :/


“No one had seen her naked until her death. It was a rule of the order that the Sisters should not look on human flesh, neither their own nor anyone else’s.


Interested? Keep reading to find out which book this is from.


The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

What it’s about:

Alessandra Cecchi is not quite fifteen when her father, a prosperous cloth merchant, brings a young painter back from northern Europe to decorate the chapel walls in the family’s Florentine palazzo. A child of the Renaissance, with a precocious mind and a talent for drawing, Alessandra is intoxicated by the painter’s abilities.

But their burgeoning relationship is interrupted when Alessandra’s parents arrange her marriage to a wealthy, much older man. Meanwhile, Florence is changing, increasingly subject to the growing suppression imposed by the fundamentalist monk Savonarola, who is seizing religious and political control. Alessandra and her native city are caught between the Medici state, with its love of luxury, learning, and dazzling art, and the hellfire preaching and increasing violence of Savonarola’s reactionary followers. Played out against this turbulent backdrop, Alessandra’s married life is a misery, except for the surprising freedom it allows her to pursue her powerful attraction to the young painter and his art.

The Birth of Venus is a tour de force, the first historical novel from one of Britain’s most innovative writers of literary suspense. It brings alive the history of Florence at its most dramatic period, telling a compulsively absorbing story of love, art, religion, and power through the passionate voice of Alessandra, a heroine with the same vibrancy of spirit as her beloved city.

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

This has been sitting on my shelf for soooo long. I’ll read it, someday, but I can’t just make myself read something when I’m not in the mood for it, and I haven’t really been in the mood for this one, yet. I might pick it up soon, though, because the opening lines certainly got my attention.


Have you read this one? What did you think?

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Harry Potter Moment of the Week: March 16th


This weekly meme was created by Uncorked Thoughts and is now hosted by Lunar Rainbows.


The topic this week is: Which cast member from the films do you think was the most perfect fit for the character they portrayed?



Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall! I didn’t even have to think about this one.



Who did you think was the perfect fit for their character?

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T5W: Books You Felt Betrayed By


T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.


March 15th- Books You Felt Betrayed By
–Beware the Ides of March! What books (or characters) did you feel betrayed by, for whatever reason…big or small.

Betrayed might be a bit strong for how I felt about a couple of these books, but it’s close enough, and certainly describes how I felt about the last one.



The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton– I was so excited for this book for so long, but it really let me down. It probably wasn’t really a bad book, but I didn’t like it as much as I’d hoped to, and it wasn’t at all what I expected. More about why I didn’t like it (and what I did like) in my review.






Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan– Ok, I’m digging through my memories of this book, and my GR review, trying to remember what, exactly, bothered me because this was the first book I thought of when I read the topic for this week. I think a lot of stuff that was revealed at the end. This just…wasn’t what I expected before reading it, or even as I was reading it.







Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares– Ergh, the pain! I was a huge fan of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and they were pretty much the only YA I read while I actually was a teenager. I also re-read them a lot, and I loved the girls so much. Then this book happened and destroyed me. I actually threw this book, and it’s one of the few I’ve done that with.






The Princess Bride by William Goldman– I want to love this book! I really, really do. The movie is one of my absolute favorites, so I was 100% certain this would become one of my favorite books. But no. I thought I was going to die of boredom while reading this. It took many attempts to finish it, and I kept thinking, “How was the movie so good while the book is so bad?!”






Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne– The best worst for last. This book was so awful. This is another that I actually threw across the room. I hated this book, and it’s one of only a handful in my life that I’ve wished I never bought or read. I’m still angry about it and refuse to accept it as canon. This is really bad fanfic.



What are some books you felt betrayed by?

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Book(s) Review: Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

Genres: fantasy; YA

Why I read it: I have a bit of an obsession with Leigh Bardugo’s writing. I think she writes awesome characters, her world-building is fantastic, and she knows how to keep you guessing about what’s going to happen.

Who I’d recommend it them to: If you liked the Grisha trilogy, you’ll probably like this, maybe even more. I think fans of V.E. Schwab might enjoy these, and anyone who likes well-written fantasy and a fast paced plot.

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★  (each)

Six of Crows: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Crooked Kingdom: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

What Six of Crows is about:

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.


I’m not giving a description for Crooked Kingdom because ~spoilers,~ but there are no significant time lapses or anything. I think the second book picks up a couple of days after the end of the first. (I don’t know why I decided to review these together, but if I searched my soul, the answer would probably be: because I’m lazy.)

I have never been a big fan of multi-POV stories, but Leigh Bardugo does it so well. The books are both told from the alternating perspectives of each of the six members of this strange group. Each character was so freaking different! I loved that. I loved that I could keep track of who we were focusing on just by the way the language and stuff shifted. Their interactions were so believable, too. There were arguments and clashes of will, sweet moments between friends, struggles with inner demons and taking it on those around them, and there really wasn’t much of the blind loyalty I’ve seen in other books. The others followed Kaz because they knew what he was capable of, and he’d earned their trust to get them through things.

Most people seem to agree that you can read this without reading the Grisha trilogy first, but I think it would be really helpful if you did. I mostly knew what everything meant, and had a vague idea of the layout of this world, but even though I just finished the Grisha trilogy last year, the details were fuzzy and slow to come back. I think you absolutely could read this duology first, but I’d recommend reading the Grisha books to get acquainted with the Grisha orders and stuff. (And there’s kind of a Grisha spoiler in Crooked Kingdom.)

While it took me almost two weeks to read these, it wasn’t the fault of the books. I started Six of Crows and then got caught up in other things for almost a week, so I ended up reading most of both books in about a week. When I sat down and finally had the time to read, I felt like my eyes wouldn’t move fast enough and I had to tear myself away to eat and sleep. I was flying through them, desperate to know what was going to happen next, how they’d get themselves out of trouble, worrying someone was dead, and by the end, I had several new fictional children. I don’t think I could choose a favorite character, though.

Crooked Kingdom picked up pretty much right where we left off, and never really slowed down. It was just off, full-speed ahead, from the very beginning. I had no clue what to expect–from either of these–while I was reading them. I saw a few twists coming, but mostly I was clueless and I loved it (and hated it). These were the kinds of books that made me completely forget I was reading, because they were so immersive. I was sucked in, and it was weird looking around and not being in their world.

The crew got into some serious trouble in Six of Crows, but it was nothing compared to Crooked Kingdom. The group is like a magnet for trouble, and it was coming from all sides, and I don’t think my pulse ever calmed down while I was reading.

Both books have intricately woven plots that always have several smaller plots going on, and I don’t think I ever realized a subplot was unfolding until I was deep into it or at the end. I just didn’t see it coming. This is quite possibly the best sequel I’ve ever read. If it isn’t, it’s definitely in the top three. I didn’t think Leigh Bardugo could top Six of Crows because it was that good, but she did, and my mind was blown.

Throughout both books, I was gasping, squealing, and sometimes trying not to scream, but I actually teared up at least once during Crooked Kingdom. In my head, I’m still screaming, and it’s taking a lot of effort to keep from screaming and fangirling about them to anyone who will listen.

I’ll wrap up by saying that I. LOVED. These. Books! And I desperately want novellas, or another series with some of these characters making an appearance.


Have you read this duology, or the Grisha trilogy? What did you think of them?




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Must Read Monday


The Picture of Dorian Gray
by Oscar Wilde

When I read it: March 2015

Genres: classics; horror; gothic; fantasy(ish)

Recommended for: Ok, honestly, I recommend this to most people. If you’re looking for an entertaining and witty classic (or non-classic) that’s a bit weird and sometimes unsettling, with wonderful writing, read this.

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


What it’s about:

Oscar Wilde brings his enormous gifts for astute social observation and sparkling prose to The Picture of Dorian Gray, his dreamlike story of a young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty. This dandy, who remains forever unchanged; petulant, hedonistic, vain, and amoral; while a painting of him ages and grows increasingly hideous with the years, has been horrifying, enchanting, obsessing, even corrupting readers for more than a hundred years.

Taking the reader in and out of London drawing rooms, to the heights of aestheticism, and to the depths of decadence, The Picture of Dorian Gray is not only a melodrama about moral corruption. Laced with bon mots and vivid depictions of upper-class refinement, it is also a fascinating look at the milieu of Wilde’s fin-de-siècle world and a manifesto of the creed “Art for Art’s Sake.”

This was the first thing I read by Oscar Wilde (I’ve still only read one of his plays), and if I’m being totally honest, I didn’t expect much. I knew before I read it that I liked Oscar Wilde. I quote him a lot, and I’m a little obsessed. But I didn’t know what to expect from his writing, and I somehow didn’t really know much about Dorian Gray before I read this. I hadn’t seen any adaptations, so I managed to go into this knowing “painting that might grant immortality or something,” and that was it.

This was so much more, though! The writing sucked me in way faster than classics usually do (even my other favorites), and it was so beautifully written. Like, it was almost painfully enjoyable to read. ~swoons~

I didn’t see the end coming (major points, because I have a horrible habit of seeing the ending of books coming from early on), and I’m pretty sure my book actually fell out of my hands as I sat, mouth agape, probably not breathing, for a solid 30 seconds after I finished reading. When I finally came to my senses and retrieved the book from the floor, it took a lot of restraint to keep from diving immediately back in to see what I would get out of it a second time through.

I still haven’t re-read it, but I think I might later this year because it was so good. It’s one of my all-time favorite books, and I swoon just a little every time I see a pretty copy. I think there might come a time when I end up collecting an entire shelf of nothing but different editions of this book, because I can see myself re-reading it as often as I’ve always re-read Harry Potter. And that’s saying something.

If you want to read classics, but you don’t have much experience with them and aren’t sure where to start, this is a good choice I think. It was written (or at least published) in 1890, so it isn’t super old and difficult to follow. The humor carries through easily to modern readers, in my opinion, and Wilde’s writing is delightful to read.

Ok, I have to stop babbling about this book or I’ll never stop :p

Have you read any of Wilde’s work? What’s your favorite?

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First Lines Fridays: March 10th


First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

The Rules:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!


“A girl with a clockwork heart shouldn’t be running late, but I was.”


Interested? Keep reading to find out which book this is from.


Ticker by Lisa Mantchev

19223830 What it’s about:

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.

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

I randomly opened this up on my Kindle for this week’s FLF, and now I can’t even remember how I got this book. Did I buy it? Was it a Kindle First book? Was it a freebie? I have no clue. I just remember I got it when I first started to get into steampunk, but I never read it. The cover grabbed my attention first, and it still does. I love this cover. I don’t even know why because I feel like it has a couple of elements I usually hate, but for some reason it works for this one. I think I might try to get to this one soon because I feel a steampunk mood coming on.


Have you read Ticker? What’s your favorite steampunk novel (or series)?

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