ARC Review | Ticker by Lisa Mantchev

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.

3.5 cupcakes

Ticker throws you headfirst into a world filled with remarkable technology and Victorian sensibilities. It was a bit overwhelming at first, as neither the gadgets nor the world-building were explained; rather, readers were expected to piece it together bit by bit through the character’s actions and descriptions. Once I got past that, though, Ticker was a very smooth read. Its world was incredibly intricate and creative, making me wish more than once that I could see pictures of it in its mechanical glory.

Our heroine, Penny, was intelligent, competent, and somewhat snarky, making for a very entertaining narration. Her love for her family and friends shone through her every action, and I really admired her willingness to do anything for them – even if her bold plans tended to border on recklessness. Of course, even without these traits, her love for chocolate, cake and sweets would have immediately endeared her to me; after all, those are the three important food groups in my books.

The secondary characters were very diverse, from Violet, the baker with BAKE CAKE tattooed on her knuckles, to Marcus, the charming military leader. They had unique voices and captured my heart in different ways, though I can’t help but wish they were a bit more fleshed out so that they could stand on their own (instead of relative to Penny).

The romance can best be described as love at first sight. While I would have preferred a slow-burn romance that started towards the end of the book, there’s no denying that the romance was rather cute. Marcus was an absolute sweetheart and a gentleman, and I enjoyed the shy/awkward/tentative interactions that he and Penny had.

Overall, despite the few aspects of Ticker that didn’t quite work for me, I really enjoyed my foray into this steampunk-and-cake-filled world.

I received an ARC from Skyscape and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Waiting On Wednesday (July 23)


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that are eagerly anticipated.

This week, I’m waiting on Ticker by Lisa Mantchev, which has an expected publication date of December 1, 2014.

A girl with a clockwork heart makes every second count.

When Penny Farthing nearly died, the brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick managed to implant a brass “Ticker,” transforming her into “the first of the Augmented!” But soon it was discovered that Warwick kidnapped and killed dozens of people striving to perfect another Ticker for Penny.

The last day of Warwick’s trial, the Farthing factory is bombed, Warwick disappears, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom demand for all of their Augmentation notes if they want to see their parents again. Who is trying to stop their work? Or to control it? Or is the motive more sinister?

Determined to solve the mystery and reunite their family, the Farthings recruit their closest friends: fiery baker Violet Nesselrode and gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling. Unexpectedly leading the charge is Marcus Kingsley, the 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.

I absolutely loved Eyes Like Stars and I haven’t read very many steampunk novels, so I’m very excited for this one!

Which books are you waiting on? Leave me a link or a list to your Waiting on Wednesday post below. 3

Saturday Showcase (July 20)

Saturday Showcase is a weekly event hosted here at The In-Between Place which features books that you wish more people had read (or, at least, heard about). This week’s featured book is Eyes Like Stars (Théâtre Illuminata, #1) by Lisa Mantchev.

All her world’s a stage

Enter Stage Right
Beatrice Shakespeare Smith (Bertie): Our heroine.
Nate: A dashing pirate who will do anything to protect Bertie.
Cobweb, Moth, Mustardseed, and Peaseblossom: Four tiny, mischievous fairies, and Bertie’s loyal sidekicks.
Ariel: A seductive air spirit. Disaster follows in his wake, but Bertie simply cannot resist him.

Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the characters of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. The actors are bound to the Théâtre by The Book, an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of the actors, but they are her family. And she is about to lose them all because The Book has been threatened, and along with it the Théâtre. It’s the only home Bertie has ever known, and she has to find a way to save it. But first, there’s the small problem of two handsome men, both vying for her attention. The course of true love never did run smooth…

The Théâtre Illuminata series is such a nice read, and it has the most gorgeous covers. I’m a huge fan of Shakespeare and plays in general, so it was really nice to read a book where all of those characters coexist. It was kind of like greeting old friends, since I was already familiar with them – though the fairies were somehow even more crazy (and fun) than I remembered.