Tag Archives: love triangle

Book Reviews
April 15, 2012 posted by Kiona

Being Friends With Boys — Terra Elan McVoy

Charlotte and Oliver have been friends forever. She knows that he, Abe, and Trip consider her to be one of the guys, and she likes it that way. She likes being the friend who keeps them all together. Likes offering a girl’s perspective on their love lives. Likes being the behind-the-scenes wordsmith who writes all the lyrics for the boys’ band. Char has a house full of stepsisters and a past full of backstabbing (female) ex-best friends, so for her, being friends with boys is refreshingly drama-free…until it isn’t any more.

When a new boy enters the scene and makes Char feel like, well, a total girl…and two of her other friends have a falling out that may or may not be related to one of them deciding he possibly wants to be more than friends with Char…being friends with all these boys suddenly becomes a lot more complicated.

Charlotte is just one of the guys. She always thought being friends with boys would be much more drama-free than being friends with girls. And she was right, for awhile. She and her best guy pals spent their time practicing, playing video games, and just hanging out. But then her best friend, Trip, leaves their band, which, coincidentally enough, changes Charlotte’s entire world.

For anyone who’s ever wanted to know what it’s like to be one of the guys, this book will enthrall you. Charlotte’s relationships with every one of her guy friends are different and interesting. The only problem is, she has so many guy friends. It’s almost hard to keep track of them all. And it’s also hard to know where this story is going for the first half of the book, which can become frustrating. The problem is knowing which characters to trust. Each character has a surprising and completely unpredictable motive. The characters you end up caring for the most might be the ones to let you down, as happens in real life. But each character is so completely different from another that you’re guaranteed to find someone to root for or fall in love with — especially since these characters are so realistic (most of all, Char).

Basically, I think Being Friends with Boys has a little too much going on. I would like it so much more if some parts were condensed or cut, particularly any of the scenes involving Charlotte’s former best friend or her burgeoning relationship with an all-girl rock band. These scenes — while interesting — don’t really add much by the end of the book and detract from the main plot. Char’s life is just so jam-packed that it’s hard to keep track of what’s happening and really get attached to any one character. Char has so many friends, enemies, and frenemies that you forget who’s who and who you’re supposed to like or hate.

That being said, Char’s life is still just so interesting. I think she lets all the cool things happening at once kind of take over her life and she forgets to prioritize her friendships and relationships, but it’s easy to understand why she might feel overwhelmed. Char’s a relatable character — she makes some stupid decisions and is painfully blind to some of the obvious drama unfolding before her, but again, she’s also very overwhelmed and we all get blind-sided sometimes (especially when hormones and hot band members are involved).

I like that McVoy writes convincingly about a high school band that takes themselves seriously: they put in the practice time, play at actual small-town venues, and experience their fair share of drama. Their world pulls you in so thoroughly that when you finish the book, you’ll want to round up your friends and form a band of your own. Whether or not you decide to mix-and-match the genders of your band members is up to you, but just remember: being friends with boys isn’t as easy as you might think.

Pages: 368
Publication Date : May 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: ARC provided by author
Rating : ★★★½☆

Teaser Quote: “This is my favorite part of our phone calls. Talking to Trip is great, but when we stop talking, stop thinking, and just listen, I feel really…connected. To him. And maybe even the rest of the world.

Book Reviews
January 18, 2012 posted by Kiona

Everneath (Everneath #1) — Brodi Ashton

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she’s returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld… this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki’s time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she’s forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s…

Nikki Beckett spent one hundred years with Cole in the Everneath, the equivalent of six months in the real world. At the end of her hundred-year sentence, Nikki chooses to return to the surface for her remaining six months, at the end of which she will either be swallowed by the Tunnels, which will siphon her emotions for the rest of her life, or she can choose to return to Cole and become an Everliving, meaning she’ll have to Feed off of others the way Cole Fed off of her to survive.

Nikki has accepted her fate in the Tunnels. She only returns to the surface to make things right with her family and see, for one last time, the face of the boy who kept her alive while she was in the Everneath: her ex-boyfriend, Jack. But Nikki soon realizes that simply seeing him isn’t enough, especially since Jack’s so desperate to hang on to Nikki now that she’s back in his life.

I surprised myself by loving Everneath. This book provides a love triangle that makes me remember why I love love triangles. Jack is the boy every girl dreams about for her first boyfriend. He and Nikki have been friends since they were little and it took Nikki a long time to realize she might like him as more than a friend. It took Jack even longer, as he was known as sort of a player throughout their high school. But when they finally end up together, they’re obviously a perfect fit. Everneath is told from alternating chapters of the past and present, before and after Nikki’s time spent in the Everneath. Though we catch glimpses of Nikki and Jack’s friendship before their relationship, I wish we had seen more. But what we do see is adorable and completely “aww”-worthy. It’s so refreshing to see two characters that know each other so well and that bring out the better qualities in each other — you know, like in a real, natural, positive relationship.

Speaking of real and natural, all the characters in Everneath are supremely realistic. Nikki is the protagonist I’ve been waiting for — intelligent, flawed, conflicted, strong. I can’t stop thinking about how realistic all of her actions are and how I’d probably make a lot of the same decisions as her if I were in her place (not always the best decisions, but the ones that seem to be right at the time). She stands up for herself and tries to make the best of her circumstances, despite the fact that doing the right thing is always the hardest, in her case. She’s also a genuinely good person, with pure intentions and a clear moral compass. Basically, she’s a really likable person and an admirable heroine.

Everneath‘s plot is both unique and familiar. A lot of ancient myths are incorporated, specifically the myth of Persephone and Hades, as well as Orpheus and Eurydice. For mythology lovers like myself, it’s always fun to see myths included with a modern spin. But then Brodi Ashton goes even farther, providing us with the intriguing plot of the Everneath, the Everliving, and the Tunnels. Ashton reveals clues about this world she’s created sparingly, ratcheting up the senses of suspense and mystery. Most of Everneath is completely unpredictable, which meant the closer I came to the ending, the more anxious I felt. I couldn’t tell how things were going to play out and the ending left me heartbroken, though hopeful and pacified enough to wait for the sequel. As long as it’s not too long of a wait.

Everneath is a book that will make you feel, that will leave you conflicted…in the best possible ways. Cole is the villain and at times, you’ll hate him, but there are also some moments you’ll feel twinges of sympathy for him. You’ll want Jack and Nikki to be together, but you’ll also want what’s best for Jack, and that just might be staying away from Nikki. But even though Nikki made one supremely bad decision, she’s still a good person and she deserves happiness too, right? If you’re looking for a lovable, complicated, paranormal page-turner, don’t hesitate to dive right into Everneath. You won’t regret it.

Pages: 370
Publication Date : January 2012
Publisher: Harper Collins
Challenge: N/A
Rating : ★★★★½

Teaser Quote: “I closed my eyes and pictured the boy with the brown hair, and as I took in my first really deep breath of Surface air, a name to match the face came to me. A name I’d been trying to cling to for a century.

Eden — Keary Taylor
Book Reviews
November 19, 2011 posted by Kiona

Eden — Keary Taylor

Eve knew the stories of the Fall, of a time before she wandered into the colony of Eden, unable to recall anything but her name. She’s seen the aftermath of the technology that infused human DNA with cybernetic matter, able to grow new organs and limbs, how it evolved out of control. The machine took over and the soul vanished. A world quickly losing its humanity isn’t just a story to her though. At eighteen, this world is Eve’s reality.

In their Fallen world, love feels like a selfish luxury, but not understanding what it is makes it difficult to choose between West, who makes her feel alive but keeps too many secrets, and Avian, who has always been there for her, but is seven years her senior.

The technology wants to spread and it won’t stop until there is no new flesh to assimilate. With only two percent of the human population left, mankind is on the brink of extinction. While fighting to keep Eden alive, Eve will discover that being human is about what you will do for those you love, not what your insides may be made of. And even if it gets you killed, love is always what separates them from the Fallen.

First, let me draw your attention to the incredibly beautiful cover. It was impossible for this cover not to catch my eye. As a self-published author, the cover design was left up to Keary Taylor and she truly did an amazing job with an image that leaps off the shelves. And now, onto the review. Eve doesn’t remember anything before the Fall. As far as she knows, her life began when she was thirteen, found by Avian, Sarah, and Tye. The three of them are the only family Eve knows and together they live in a safe haven for perhaps the only humans left alive, Eden. That is, until West, Victoria, and Brady show up.

Now eighteen, Eve recognizes that she’s different from the other inhabitants of Eden. She’s fast, strong, rarely tires, and feels kind of disconnected — emotionally. She doesn’t think she knows what love is, even when it comes to simply loving her best friends and “family.” Yet as she spends more time with West, she finds he awakens certain emotions in her. But for someone who has only ever known life in Eden, how can she learn to trust an outsider? Especially since Avian is suddenly vying for her affection; Avian, whose very presence calms Eve and who understands her better than anyone else. Neither West nor Avian want to push Eve, but it’s clear she has a decision to make.

At first, Eden reminded me of Stephanie Meyer’s The Host, but with non-stop action and a more likable protagonist. Eve is a strong, independent, and utterly selfless heroine. She is so busy taking care of everyone else that she neglects her own feelings. When her inner conflict regarding West and Avian begins, she thinks avoiding the situation will make it go away. She piles on more and more work, leaving barely enough time to even sleep. But it’s impossible for her to ignore the two men. She’s drawn to each one for completely different reasons. This is why the love triangle in Eden appealed to me so much. Eve’s conflicting emotions are completely warranted as she shares common interests with both of her suitors. There is no obviously apparent or “right” choice. It truly seems like she could be happy with either guy and I was right there with her, confused as to who she should pick. Keary Taylor does a great job of opening up Eve’s mind to the reader, allowing us to slip effortlessly into her thoughts. She’s not only a protagonist you can respect, but also one you can identify with.

While the love triangle dominates a majority of the book, the plot is in no way slighted or overlooked. Eden is four hundred pages of glorious characterization, world-building, suspense, breathtaking twists, and heart-pounding action. The post-apocalyptic United States is described in visceral, frighteningly believable detail. The science and mechanical details behind the Fall and the Fallen are innovative and so intriguing. It’s impossible to put the book down because you just want to know more and more — how, why, when? Taylor doles out the answers to these questions, but sparingly, building up the suspense until the very last page.

Personally, I loved the ending to Eden. First of all, I was satisfied with Eve’s choice. Second, even though Eden is meant as a standalone novel, I appreciated the open-ended conclusion. It does leave some questions unanswered and Taylor could easily write a sequel with this incredible world she’s created, but since she’s not planning on it, the openness of the ending leaves room for your imagination, for you to continue the story for yourself. Some books don’t do this well, but I think Eden pulls it off.

At times, I feel like Eve’s inner dialogue unnecessarily rehashes the same thoughts over and over. But since these new feelings are so overwhelming and all-consuming, I can see where she’s coming from. The characters’ dialogue also seems oddly formal and forced, sometimes. It can be hard to get through those occasional formal bouts, as they’re distracting in how noticeable they are, but once they pass, it’s easy to fall back into the story. Still, I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves insane world-building, intricate love stories, and the idea of technology growing too powerful. Eden does an excellent job of dealing with themes of what it means to human, where we draw the lines of morality and ethics, selflessness vs selfishness, and acceptance. If you’re looking for a completely new world to jump into, try Eden.

Pages: 408
Publication Date: June 2011
Publisher: Self-Published
Challenge: N/A
Rating : ★★★★☆

Teaser Quote: “By month four, ninety-eight percent of the world’s population had become infected, not even human anymore. More machine than man. We, mankind, were a dying race.

The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) – Kody Keplinger
Book Reviews
November 1, 2011 posted by Kiona

The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) – Kody Keplinger

 Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

Bianca Piper is pretty content with her life. She’s smart, scathingly honest, has two best friends she cares about more than anything, and a secret crush on the perfect and adorable Toby Tucker. Sometimes she feels out-shadowed by her model-gorgeous friends, Casey and Jessica, but that’s okay because Bianca isn’t trying to attract anyone’s attention because high schooler’s aren’t capable of falling in love. Not real love, anyway. Enter Wesley Rush, who changes Bianca’s entire opinion of herself by calling her “the Duff,” the designated ugly fat friend. But as much as she wants to hate him—no, wait, she does hate him—she’s also incredibly drawn to him…for all the wrong reasons. But Wesley turns out to be much more than he appears.

The DUFF closely examines the insecurities that all girls, and even boys, face. Throughout the book, Bianca struggles with what it means to be the Duff. She doesn’t want the comment to bother her. After all, why should she care what anyone, much less the school man-whore, thinks? Yet…she can’t help but see the truth in his words. How can she compare to her tall, thin, blonde best friends? It isn’t until she voices her concerns to Casey and Jessica and they insist they’re the Duffs (I’m not sure what Jessica’s flaws are, but at more than six feet tall, Casey feels like a giant) that Bianca realizes every girl will consider herself a Duff at some point or another and that maybe being a Duff isn’t such a bad thing.

Unfortunately, I didn’t fall in love with this book. I wanted to and I tried so hard. After all, I’ve heard nothing but good things about it and I can see why. Usually, I’m a sucker for witty, sarcastic narrators, but something about Bianca made it hard for me to relate to her. She reminded me of one of my best friends, except with about fifty percent of my friend’s likeability. Maybe I thought she crossed the line of being too cynical and perpetually angry. Also, I wasn’t really a fan of the way she treated Casey and Jessica throughout a majority of the book. Bianca could be really hard to put up with sometimes, but Casey was always there for her, always loyal. I felt like she deserved more from Bianca. Also, I didn’t entirely believe that Wesley was truly falling for Bianca until the very end, which made it hard for me to really emotionally invest in their relationship. That being said, I still think their relationship was fascinating and provides a breath of fresh air to the YA community. In fact, the entire book is a breath of fresh air. It shows a grittier, less everything-is-sunshine-and-rainbows and infinitely more real look at teenage relationships (from friendships to casual acquaintances to dysfunctional families).

Keplinger does an excellent job of capturing the essence of teenage dynamics and friendships. The dialogue is snappy and fast-paced. The high school experiences seem real instead of clichéd and my guess is that most readers won’t be able to put it down. Kody Keplinger is definitely an author to look out for.

Pages: 280
Publication Date: September 2010
Publisher: Little Brown/Poppy
Challenge: Debut Author
Rating : ★★★½☆

Teaser Quote: “Wesley Rush doesn’t chase girls, but I’m chasing you.”

Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have) – Sarah Mlynowski
Book Reviews
October 15, 2011 posted by Kiona

Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have) – Sarah Mlynowski

If given the opportunity, what sixteen-year-old wouldn’t jump at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free? Although maybe “opportunity” isn’t the right word, since April had to tell her dad a tiny little untruth to make it happen (see #1: “Lied to Our Parents”). But she and her housemate Vi are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up “Skipping School” (#3), “Throwing a Crazy Party” (#8), “Buying a Hot Tub” (#4), and, um, “Harboring a Fugitive” (#7) at all is kind of a mystery to them.

In this hilarious and bittersweet tale, Sarah Mlynowski mines the heart and mind of a girl on her own for the first time. To get through the year, April will have to juggle a love triangle, learn to do her own laundry, and accept that he carefully constructed world just might be falling apart…one thing-she-shouldn’t-have-done at a time.

Ten Things We Did looks and sounds like a light-hearted, fun, easy read. It promises to appeal to fans of authors like Susane Colasanti, Sarah Dessen, and Lauren Myracle. But Sarah Mlynowski doesn’t quite deliver on that promise. Ten Things is a light, fun read, but the plot and characters are unrealistic. When April’s dad decides to move to Cleveland, she opts to move in with her friend Vi rather than uproot herself. Only thing is, April’s dad would freak if he found out Vi’s mom won’t be staying with them, leaving the two teenagers alone in Vi’s spacious home. To placate April’s dad, the girls provide him with a fake email address and Vi dutifully responds to all his emails as if she were her mom.

As if this scenario weren’t crazy enough, the ridiculous situations the girls continuously get themselves into drive this story over the top. While it tries to be charming and endearing, it’s hard to forget just how improbable all of it is. As a main character, April is kind of forgettable. Vi is much more interesting, but she’s also the proponent of this whole scheme and I kind of hold that against her. My favorite characters are brothers Dean and Hudson, but they don’t appear enough to really satisfy me.

I will say Ten Things explores some real teen issues and deals with them in a relatable, believable way, specifically issues surrounding relationships, sex, infidelity, conforming, and friendship. Some conversations are reminiscent of conversations every girl has had with or can imagining have with a friend. And if you can suspend your disbelief for a little while, the craziness that is April’s life can even be funny. You’ll wistfully imagine your own life parent- and rule-free for a few minutes. Then you’ll get to the end and realize you don’t want to have the conversation that April’s about to have with her dad.

If you’re looking for a light, quick read, then Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have) will probably satisfy you. If you want something with a little more substance, I’d suggest you keep looking.

Pages: 354
Publication Date: May 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Challenge: N/A
Rating : ★★½☆☆

Teaser Quote: “I wasn’t sure how to process this information. Vi had lied to everyone. Vi—strong, confident Vi—had felt the need to pretend to be something she wasn’t. Why did she care so much what other people thought?”

Lola and the Boy Next Door – Stephanie Perkins
Book Reviews
October 9, 2011 posted by Kiona

Lola and the Boy Next Door – Stephanie Perkins

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion…she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit—more sparkly, more fun, more wild—the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket—a gifted inventor—steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Lola Nolan is anything but average. She feels more herself walking around San Francisco in outrageous costumes and wigs, rather than jeans and a t-shirt. Her life feels perfect when she starts dating a Max, a slightly older rock-star who accepts her for who she is, even if everyone else in her life seems to disapprove of him. Then her old neighbors move back in next door and effectively send Lola’s emotions haywire. There’s Cricket, who Lola’s never forgiven for hurting her even while she might not be as over him as she claims, and his hateful sister Calliope.

This book is filled with so many unique and creative characters. Every character has some sort of interesting talent, though I think Lola’s fashion designing skills take the cake. I respect Lola immensely. She’s not afraid to be herself despite the fact that it can be hard for people to accept her as she wants to be. Fashion style aside, Lola is also a model daughter, even though her two dads are suffocating in their over-protectiveness. But it’s easy to see why they’re over-protective and that they’re only acting out of love, something Lola understands and, in a show of maturity, doesn’t hold against them. I thought her relationship with her parents (all of them) was really well-examined and realistic. All the details just added up perfectly and clicked together, coming together to form an in-depth look at a modern-day, disjointed, and loving family.

Lola is so likable that of course you want what’s best for her. At first, it’s hard to tell what that is. Max seems like a nice enough guy, but I never formed any real attachment to him as Cricket’s return to Lola’s life was inevitable. And when Cricket does return, it’s obvious he’s better for Lola, but I can completely relate to Lola’s conflicting emotions; being in a relationship can be so all-consuming that it’s hard to look beyond it and actively remember a time before or imagine any time after. Although I’d be more than willing to imagine the after if it included Cricket Bell, the most adorable boy on the face of the planet.

The pacing of this book seemed a little slow to me, at times, but it’s written in the same witty and charming tone many of us came to love in Anna and the French Kiss. Lola’s voice is potent throughout and the story is just as sweet as you would expect. Oddly enough, though I love Anna and Etienne (the stars of Anna and The French Kiss), I kind of hated them in Lola and the Boy Next Door. It seemed to me like Stephanie Perkins was trying too hard to capture everything we love about them and shove it all into a few scenes as if to say, “See! They’re here and happy and perfect! Don’t you still love them?” They were too happy and too perfect, like they were trying too hard to impress us/Lola. But it is nice of Perkins to let us know that they are happy and thriving and I’m sure many people will appreciate their return in Lola and the Boy Next Door. All in all, if you liked Anna and the French Kiss or, you know, happiness, then you don’t want to miss Stephanie Perkins’s latest novel. It’ll definitely bring a smile to your face.

Pages: 338
Publication Date: September 2011
Publisher: Dutton Books
Challenge: N/A
Rating : ★★★★☆

Teaser Quote: “Max’s voice is pissed off. His lyrics taunt. The energy of his guitar builds and builds, and the bass thrums through me like blood. I am invincible. And then I open my eyes. Cricket Bell smiles.”

Book Reviews
October 5, 2011 posted by Kiona

The Girl in the Steel Corset (The Steampunk Chronicles) – Kady Cross

In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the “thing” inside her. When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch…

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she’s special, says she’s one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.

Griffin’s investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help – and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.

But The Machinist wants to tear Griff’s little company of strays apart, and it isn’t long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she’s on – even it if seems no one believes her.

The Girl in the Steel Corset was my first steampunk novel and it certainly didn’t disappoint. In fact, it blew me away. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to read it all in one sitting, but by the time I got to the middle of the book, I absolutely could not put it down.

I was captivated immediately by the character of Finley, Kady Cross’s new version of Jekyll and Hyde. Finley’s dual personalities are riveting and I like that everyone immediately understands that Finley is two different people in one body. The characters of Steel Corset aren’t blind and oblivious. They are incredibly smart, talented, stubborn, and unique. It’s impossible to really dislike any character due to the fact that they all have so many layers to their personalities – layers that Cross peels back and explores in full.

The ensemble cast is one of the biggest highlights of the first novel in The Steampunk Chronicles. Cross seamlessly weaves from one character’s viewpoint to another. Though the majority of the novel is told from Finley’s and Griff’s points of view, we also spend time in the minds of Sam, Emily, and even The Machinist. Telling a story from multiple points of view increases the suspense and allows us to connect to each character more fully, which is very important when dealing with such a large cast.

In addition to phenomenal character development, this book is packed with action. There are multiple plot lines and conflicts existing at once, thus there’s never a dull moment. But at no point does it seem like there’s too much going on or like Cross has bitten off more than she can chew. The entire plot seems well-thought out and leaves the reader feeling as if Steel Corset is only the beginning of what’s sure to be a thrilling ride.

If forced, I could only cite a few faults. The first would be that I really can’t decide who I like better: Griff or Jack Dandy? Sam or Jasper? Finley and Emily certainly have their hands full with those boys. I would also say that the mystery of The Machinist’s identity is a little predictable, but not in a bad way. Sometimes it feels good, as a reader, to solve mysteries on your own. Plus, all the events surrounding The Machinist, including the end of the book, are anything but predictable.

As an added bonus, the story’s set in 1897 England, which means awesome outfits as well as a fun mixture of futuristic inventions and long-forgotten customs (and, oh yeah, masquerade balls, anyone?). Basically, there’s nothing not to love about Steel Corset. Luckily, this is just the beginning.

Pages: 473
Publication Date: May 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Challenge: N/A
Rating : ★★★★½

Teaser Quote: “He walked her into the moonlight as though escorting her into a ball. Even though she knew she could snap his neck in an instant, she felt slightly off center—somewhat as her other half had with Griffin. Dandy had power, and that gave him confidence.”