Wednesday, October 29, 2014

*Gizmos Book Reviews* The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

**I received this book for free from Amulet Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

*Synopsis*

Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.

*My Thoughts*

The Cure for Dreaming is a period piece set in 1900 Portland, Oregon where the Women's Suffragist movement has faced many obstacles in their bid to win the right to vote. 17-year old Olivia Mead, our protagonist, has her own dreams. She dreams of finishing school, of attending college, of becoming a journalist, of helping women win the right to vote, while not being held back by a male dominated society that believes women are second class citizens.

Unfortunately for Olivia, her misogynistic dentist of a father refuses to accept women's right to vote. He has other ideas about her future and goes to great lengths to bring Olivia to heel. After hearing about Henri Reverie controlling his daughter under hypnotism, Dr. Mead decides that this is the perfect time to destroy his daughters hopes and dreams by making her docile and non-argumentative and subject to what he believes her future should be.

Instead, Olivia finds that Henri has given her the sight to see people's true natures while unable to speak out in anger. Olivia becomes more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a relationship where Henri's motives may or may not be sound. She doesn't stand around lamenting about her father's injustice. She strides forward, she gains confidence, and in the end, she earned my respect as a character.

Winters writes a vivid story filled with archive photos and artwork from the time period The Cure for Dreaming is set in. The story DOES bring out some real emotions because history hasn't exactly been kind to women over the years. You don't necessarily have to be a feminist to read this book or understand how hard women have fought over the years for rights others already have.

I am ashamed at how many women haven't a clue how hard Susan B Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Victoria Woodhull, Belva Ann Lockwood, and others worked in order to gain the right to vote. Schools have lost their way, and we need them to return back to a time when the US was the envy of the world. Where children actually graduated school with real life skills, and not brainwashing into forgetting important moments in this countries history.

Did you know that in 1896 Idaho became the first US state to adopt a constitutional amendment granting suffrage to women? Did you know that the movement started in the 1840's and wasn't ratified by Congress until 1920 under the Nineteenth Amendment? Did you know that this year there are over 500 women running for office across this country? Information is power people! Learn your history so we can move forward as a nation.


Author - Cat Winters
Title - The Cure for Dreaming
Published by Amulet Books
Released: October 14, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Historical
Format: E-Book, 368 pages



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

*Gizmos Early Reviews* Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) by Robin LaFevers

**I received this book for free from HMH Books for Young Readers via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

*Synopsis*

Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn't mean she has.


*My Thoughts*

"Don't you see? Your mortal heart shines like a candle flame and I, like one of those helpless black moths you used to leave as an offering, am helpless before its lure."

Mortal Heart closes out His Fair Assassin trilogy by offering up a POV from Annith, the one sister who always seems to be left behind while others get "called" by Mortain. See Ismae (Grave Mercy) and Sybella (Dark Triumph). Mortal Heart curiously takes place concurrently with events from both Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph, so, if you haven't read the previous two books, HOP TO IT!

Annith is a girl filled with dreams of adventure but ends up being a nursemaid to her fellow sisters instead. As the oldest remaining sister at the convent at seventeen, she has no real gifts like Ismae or Sybella. Yet, she is obedient, faithful, one of the hardest working daughters of Mortain, and very skilled at a host of useful skills, like archery, necessary to be an assassin. She is pushed into a corner where her only path seems to lead towards doing something she has no desire to do.

Readers will be flooded with a plethora of questions regarding Annith. Why has she been overlooked for so long? Why are those younger than her being sent out before Annith even though her skill set is top notched? Has Annith been perhaps a bit too obedient unlike Sybella? The abbess of the Convent of Saint Mortain seems to be hiding secrets, but why is Annith so important to her? What makes Annith so different from the rest of her sisters?

When Annith finally takes a rebellious stand by leaving the convent behind to confront the Abbess about the truth about her birth and other secrets, she runs into a curious character named Balthazaar, leader of a group of hellequin hunters. Who is Balthazar really, and what is his interest in Annith? I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the connection that forms between the two characters.

You must know that Annith is NOT Ismae or Sybella. She has spent her entire life at the convent believing that she was serving Mortain faithfully, and waiting for him to call her to action. She dedicated her every waking moment from time she was brought to the convent to serve HIM. Her life has been filed with people not giving her a fair chance, and treating her entirely different from the other daughters of Mortain.

I'm really glad LaFevers gave Annith her own story and didn't make her any less than Ismae or Sybella. Annith can stand on her own without anyone else to guide her or push her into doing what is expected of her. She has been in the background ever since this trilogy started while her other sisters went out on dangerous missions. We had no idea what she's been put through or the challenges she's been forced to face until now. I think Annith's background will make her more sympathetic character to readers once the entire sordid story is laid out.

I'm glad that the trilogy wraps up like it started, with Annith, Ismae, and Sybella together again alongside their love interests fighting together to protect Anne, the Duchess of Brittany. I absolutely love that LaFevers has spun her tale together with actual events in the life of Duchess Anne even though the timeline may be a bit skewed. Anne has always piqued my interests as a person who loves historical novels. Such a heartbreaking life for such a young girl to have to endure.

Mortal Heart is filled with mysteries, romance, and plenty of action to keep a reader occupied for the entire 400 plus pages that this story encompasses. While it may take a bit to get used to Annith, I will definitely encourage you to read this book anyway.


Author - Robin LaFevers
Title - Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin # 3)
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers
Releases: November 4, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Format: E-Book, 464 pages



Monday, October 27, 2014

*Gizmos Book Reviews* Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

**I received this book for free from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

*Synopsis*

It's an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp -- the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn't return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp's done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance -- and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her. 


*My Thoughts*

Sticks, Louisiana is home to the meanest swamp in the state. It is a creature with a mind all its own. It is a place where things that go bump in the night, actually do exist. The town itself is surrounded by a fence to keep the swamp at bay and people from wandering into it. If you enter the swamp, you won't be coming home any time soon.

"Don’t mind the swamp and it won’t mind you."

16-year old Sterling "Sass" Saucier's brother Phineas goes missing after an argument. Phin is Sterling's rock, and protector, and has kept her safe when their father turned abusive. Hours later, a girl by the name of Lenora May walks out of the swamp, and all memories of Phin's existence fade away.

“When the swamp took my brother, it sent someone—something else to take his place. I don’t know what Lenora May is, but she’s not my sister.”

Nobody remembers Phin, not even his own family. His memories have been replaced by Lenora's. Phin's life experiences become Lenora's. When the Sheriff refuses to send anyone into the swamp to find Phin, Sterling takes the bull by the horn. Sterling is the only one who knows the truth and refuses to accept that Lenora is her "sister" and makes every attempt to find a way to bring her brother back.

I will say that the one thing that holds this story together is Sterling. She is strong, determined, and never wavers in her determination to bring Phin back from the swamp. Sterling also suffers from an eating disorder thanks to stress relating to Phin leaving for college. I think Parker's portrayal of a character with an eating disorder was well written, and not overdone, or made to seem like it was cool.

Sterling's one true ally happens to be a boy who she had thought as a possible love interest: Heath Durham. But, Heath has problems all his own, and his belief in Sterling comes with positives and negatives. Heath has had a similair experience with losing someone close to him that left him thought of as a drug-addict and trouble by the residents of Sticks. Heath isn't necessarily a strong character like Sterling, but he doesn't run away when things get too hot.

I think we as readers often times look at things a little too obsessively. Lenora was in no way shape or form a changeling or a bad person. She's just a girl who made the wrong choices in the past, and is now paying for them by being forever bound to the swamp. In the end, I could absolutely see Sterling feeling a connection to Lenora, and not wanting her to go away.

Beware the Wild is an impressive debut from Natalie Parker. It is a bit dark, and mysterious and captures the realism of a small southern town where residents aren't all that well off. The story also captures the fact that small towns have a long way to go before racial equality is a reality.


Author - Natalie C. Parker
Title - Beware the Wild
Released by HarperTeen
Published: October 21, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Format: E-Book, 336 pages



*Gizmos Book Revies* Catalyst (Insignia #3) by S.J. Kincaid

**I received this book for free from Katherine Tegen Books via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

*Synopsis*

This exhilarating, explosive, and heartrending conclusion to the Insignia trilogy brings Tom and his intelligent, passionate, and brave young friends stunning tests and dangerous confrontations and through to an impossible future they could never have predicted.

Tom Raines and his friends are eager to return to the Pentagonal Spire to continue training for the elite Intrasolar Forces, but they soon discover troubling changes: strict new regulations and the revelation that the Spire is under new military control. What begins as an irritating adjustment soon reveals a dangerous shift in reality. Those now in control are aligned with corporate sponsors and their ruthless agendas. And when the military academy begins welcoming new cadets with suspicious neural processors, the first step in a plan with horrifying worldwide ramifications, Tom is desperate to stop it, even if that means keeping secrets from his closest allies.

Then a mysterious figure, the other ghost in the machine, begins fighting against the corporations, but with methods even Tom finds shocking. And when the enemy comes for Tom, how much can Tom endure in the battle to save himself? He must decide if he can still fight when the odds of success seem to be sliding from his grip.


*My Thoughts*

CATALYST brings an end to the INSIGNIA trilogy, and sends our hero, Tom Raines, off into the sunset where he definitely deserves a much need vacation. Tom is once again joined by his gang of misfits/friends; Vikra Ashwan, Wyatt Enslow, and Yuri Sysevich. CATALYST is by far the darkest novel of the trilogy, and Kincaid doesn't leave anything on the table.

Kincaid doesn't hold back on ways to break Tom down until he is at the end of his rope. Tom can't catch a break, even on vacation. Not when his father discovers that he has had a neural access point built into his brain. Not when the NSA becomes keenly aware and interested in him after his stunt at the end of VORTEX. He can't even catch a break when he returns to his "home" and finds that a major shift has happened while he was away.

Traveling back to the Spire a week after everyone else has already returned, Tom quickly learns that his carefree days of goofing off, and ignoring orders of his superiors comes with consequences. He is also "punished" by being named leader of his own group of plebes who have all been given a brand new neural processor that allows for no deviation from programming.

But, it is Tom's ongoing battle with nemesis Joseph Vengerov that sends Tom and this story into darkness. Vengerov is a megalomaniac with a sociopathic personality who truly hates Tom for his past actions. Tom is the one person who hasn't fully backed down to him, and that just causes him to be more creative. He really doesn't care who he hurts, or kills, as long as he becomes the top of the pyramid and kills off all challenges to his crown.

I like Science Fiction stories, a fact that I have stated more than a few times. I can see the comparisons being made with Ender's Game. After-all, you have a bunch of teenagers who have the power at their finger tips to unleash hell on earth. With Tom, you have a 14-year old social misfit (17 or 18 by the time the story ends), thanks to his father, who ends up becoming a player in a world where the stakes are extremely high.

Tom has had more than a few challenges since joining the Intersolar program. One of his many challenges has been with the girl known as Medusa who has the same abilities as he does. I won't spoil this book, or Vortex by telling you what happened between the two characters. Let's just say that I am happy with the overall relationship results of Catalyst, even though the story could have perhaps ended a little bit differently when it came to Tom's romance.

One of the more interesting dynamics of CATALYST, is Tom's relationship with Lieutenant Blackburn. Readers have known that Blackburn isn't the nicest guy you will ever meet and hasn't exactly been Tom's favorite person. YET, when you understand his background, and what happened to him, you kind of want to see him succeed in his goals. I was surprised, but not shocked to learn Blackburn's secrets, and the fact that he almost seems more like a human, rather than a monster he has been portrayed as.

I will say that, on a personal level, I felt really bad for Tom while reading CATALYST. I like the kid, what can I say? Yes, he makes plenty of mistakes, and acts like a fool most of the time. But, I also like the sarcasm. I like his friendship with Vik. You can always count on a laugh or two when these two are together. I even liked Wyatt who is probably the strongest character in the trilogy. I like the way Tom finds a way to gather a group of friends together, and saves the world time and time again but never brags about doing so. The one thing that bugged me in a small way, was the fact that while his friends were enjoying promotions, Tom was left behind once again.

I think CATALYST ends in a way that makes perfect since. I don't see how Kincaid could have written the ending any differently and not left readers out on the ledge wondering what will happen next. If you are looking for answers not only about Tom's past, but Blackburn's, you have come to the right place. Please make sure you read Insignia, and Vortex first before diving into Catalyst!

Author - S.J. Kincaid
Title - Catalyst (Insignia # 3)
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Released: October 28, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Format: E-Book, 432 pages





Sunday, October 26, 2014

*Gizmos Book Reviews* Loop (Loop #1) by Karen Akins *Review & US Giveaway*

**I received this book for free from St. Martin's Griffin via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

*Synopsis*

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.


*My Thoughts*

Loop (Loop # 1) is the first book in a new series from author Karen Akins. Sixteen year-old time traveler (Shifter) Bree Bennis has only one thing on her mind: finding a way to cure her mother Poppy who was presumably injured in a mission to the past. She will do almost anything to be able to find the money in order to help her mother get better again. Even working with someone who isn't necessarily above the law.

When she is sent back to the 21st century for an apparent easy mission for her midterm exams, Bree proceeds to stick out like a sore thumb, and fails at completing her mission that would have given her the means to see to her mothers treatment. Eventually Bree finds a way back to the past, but things have quickly turned into an even deeper mystery. What surprises her even more, is finding Finn Masterson has turned into a hunk-a-hunk-a burning love, and even more questions that quickly spin into deeper conspiracies and she can't really trust anyone.

I'm not 100 percent behind Bree as a heroine, and perhaps it has to do with her age, and the fact that she's in over her head more times than not. Take for example her relationship/romance with Finn which should have been straight forward, but ends up angst-y and dangerous because while she wants to learn the truth, he's trying to protect her. She's over-the-top rude, whiny, and irritating when he holds things back from her because that is what HE was told by another character for whom I will not spoil.

The overall storyline was fun and I was invested in learning what really happened to Poppy, and how deep the conspiracy actually went and who was behind almost everything. I was interested in the relationship between Finn and Bree and was hoping that all the baggage Bree carried with her, wouldn't get in the way of her finding a moment of happiness she's sorely been missing for the past 6 months. I was interested in Bree's friend Mimi, as well as Wyck who has plenty of baggage as well, and a person we haven't seen the last of apparently.

I enjoy time travel as much as the next science nerd. I like the fact that Akins pretty much sticks to the fact that you can't change history no matter how hard you might try, even if you created something to break that rule. There are laws that prevent you from going back and say...killing Adolf Hitler before he could kill off millions of his own country men and tearing Europe and the world apart. There are even laws about bringing back things from the past, which Bree quickly obliterates within the first third of the story by bringing to the future.

Loop is one of those books that is more of a mystery, than pure science fiction. Akins gives you kibbles and bits, and leads you on a journey that isn't all that straight forward. You can guess as to who the villains are and why, but I'm encouraged by the fact that Akins didn't truly reveal the bad buys until almost near the end of the story.

Title - Loop (Loop # 1)
Author - Karen Akins
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Released: October 21, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Format: E-Book, 336 pages



Saturday, October 25, 2014

*Stacking the Shelves* Featuring Universal Alien by Gini Koch

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Stacking the Shelves for the weeks of October 19 - 25, 2014

Welcome back!  
I want to thank everyone for their continued support!
I hope you find something you like! It's been a rather interesting week!

Received via Publisher (Thank you DAW!)
Blog Tour coming soon!
I love Gini and her assistant. I really do. You can't ask for better
people to work with when it comes to blog tours, and latest updates!
Universal Alien (Katherine "Kitty" Katt # 10) by Gini Koch

Issues with Australia need to be straightened out, so the White House sends the Vice President and his wife, aka Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini, over to handle the situation. But before Kitty can make things worse, she’s suddenly in another world -- one where she’s been married to Charles Reynolds for years and aliens don’t exist. 

Kitty’s not the only one confused, because the Kitty from that world has taken her place in this one. Can they both save their respective days before it’s too late to go home to the universes they belong to, or will one Kitty decide to keep the other’s life… forever?

Paperback, 544 pages
Expected publication: December 2nd 2014 by DAW 



Received via Publisher (Thank you Swoon Reads!)
Debut-novelist Jenny Elliott’s thrilling romance, chosen by readers, writers, and publishers for the first list in the new Swoon Reads imprint, pours on the tension and danger in an addictive combination that will keep you turning pages! 

Something strange is going on in the tiny coastal town of Liberty, Oregon. Cara has never seen a whale swim close enough for her to touch it—let alone knock her into the freezing water. Fortunately, cute newcomer David is there to save her, and the rescue leads to a bond deeper than Cara ever imagined. 

But then she learns something about David that changes everything, and Cara is devastated. She turns to her best friend for support, but Rachel has changed. She’s suddenly into witchcraft, and is becoming dangerously obsessed with her new boyfriend….

Cara has lost her best friend, discovered that her soul mate is off limits, and has attracted the attention of a stalker. But she’s not completely alone. Her mysterious, gorgeous new friend Garren is there to support her. But is Garren possibly too perfect?

Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: January 6th 2015 by Swoon Reads 


Received via Publisher (Thank you Fiewel and Friends!)
Horror has a new name: introducing Courtney Alameda.

Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She's aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera's technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn't exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she's faced before . . . or die trying.

Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.

Expected Publication: February 3, 2015


Received via NetGalley (Thank you Entangled Teen!)
Reality is only an illusion.
Except for those who can control it…
Worst. Birthday. Ever.
My first boyfriend dumped me—happy birthday, Josie!—my dad is who knows where, I have some weird virus that makes me want to hurl, and now my ex is licking another girl’s tonsils. Oh, and I’m officially the same age as my brother was when he died. Yeah, today is about as fun-filled as the swamps of Dagobah. But then weird things start happening…
Like I make something materialize just by thinking about it.
When hottily-hot badass Reid Wentworth shows up on a motorcycle, everything changes. Like, everything. Who I am. My family. What really happened to my brother.Existence. I am Oculi, and I have the ability to change reality with my thoughts. Now Reid, in all his hotness, is charged with guiding and protecting me as I begin learning how to bend reality. And he’s the only thing standing between me and the secret organization that wants me dead…

Expected Publication: November 25, 2014


Received via NetGalley (Thank you Entangled Teen!)
The past is Darker than they thought…
Between helping her mother with the Darker Agency and laying the smack down on monster baddies, Jessie Darker puts the “normal” in paranormal. But lately, things have gotten a little crazy…even for a smart-assed half-demon teenage girl.
For starters, Jessie’s been contracted into fifty-five years of annoying servitude. To a demon. Then there’s Lukas Scott, her sexy new boyfriend. Once the former incarnation of Wrath, he’s been going through some…uh, changes. Like residual anger. And trading chaste hangouts for lusty make-out sessions.
But it’s when Lukas and Jessie accidentally release a Very Nasty Demon that things get really bad, setting into motion a chain of death and mayhem that threatens both Earth and the Shadow Realm. Jessie has exactly four days to fix it…before all of Hell breaks loose.
Expected Publication: November 11, 2014

Amazon finds:
The Winter Long (October Daye # 8)

Toby thought she understood her own past; she thought she knew the score.

She was wrong.

It's time to learn the truth.

Published September 3, 2014 DAW

Collide (The Solomon Experiment # 1)

The most dangerous secrets are the ones that kill.

When a surprising mental breakdown draws too much attention from a secret government group call the Order, 17-year-old Dakota discovers that her so-called boring life isn’t so boring after all. Between the lies, secrets and assassins out to kill her family, Dakota discovers there’s more to paranormal activity than ghosts and cheap mind tricks. Now she must uncover the truth before a new breed of terrorism takes everything away – including her life.

Published: July 7, 2014






Friday, October 24, 2014

*Gizmos Early Book Reviews* Sky Pirates (The Chronicles of Light and Shadow #3) by Liesel Schwarz

**I received this book for free from Random House/Del Rey via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

*Synopsis*

With her husband, Hugh Marsh, missing in the netherworld and presumed dead, Elle Chance loses herself in the task at hand: piloting the airship Water Lily on commissions across the globe. But as it turns out, her beloved is very much alive—the once-powerful warlock reduced to a wraith. When Water Lily is threatened by pirates, Elle will have to channel all her power as the Oracle—the keeper of the barrier between the two Realms—to try to save what she loves most. As the dark forces of Shadow converge around her, Elle must find a way to breach the curse that binds Marsh. But once released, will Marsh return to her—or is their love destined to die so that he can live?

*My Thoughts*

Eleanor Chance Marsh, aka Lady Greychester, has tried to find a way of bringing her husband back from the Netherworld from which he was cursed to spend eternity as a Wraith. After 18 months of suffering from the loss of Hugh Marsh, Elle has distanced herself from everyone in her life. In the meantime, her reputation has grown as the pilot who is willing to take on the most dangerous and difficult cargoes filled with rare artifacts that are often times fraught with danger.

She has become more aloof with her own life and doesn't much care if something were to happen to her. Just when Elle's plans of finding a cure for Marsh are looking up thanks to a startling discovery, a band of sky pirates, led by Captain Logan Dashwood, attacks her dirigible the Water Lily, and forces a major change in plans. Dashwood has a whole lot of reasons for seeking revenge on Elle which means you really, really should read the previous books to understand why. The poor sod of a Captain doesn't know what Elle is, but knows that she has caused him a world of trouble in the past, and this time he has her right where he wants her.

Elle is a puzzling character at times. Elle is still the all powerful Oracle who was supposed to bring a new Golden Age to the realms of Light and Shadow, but has thus far failed miserably, and left a whole lot of bodies in her wake. She hasn't faced reality yet that her husband is probably gone forever. She hasn't moved on with her life or found the desire to be with anyone else. Elle is more than happy to leave everyone behind for the freedom of her ship, and the open skies. But when she finds herself under the control of renegade American Captain Dashwood, Elle once again finds a way of living, along with camaraderie with a whole new cast of characters, and perhaps a bit of happiness as well.

On another front, Patrice Chevalier is back and the Council of Warlocks has fallen under his sway. They all agree that Elle needs to be under their control and bound in chains like previous Oracles were. Patrice makes for an interesting villain in that once he goes dark, he goes all the way. He is so caught up with gaining vengeance against Elle for what he claims is her failings and misjudgments, that he can't focus on anything other than destroying her. I think that perhaps Sky Pirates would have benefited from a longer confrontation between Patrice and Elle, and wonder what Schwartz's plans for him are in future novels.  

Sky Pirates is apparently NOT the final installment in the Chronicles of Light and Shadow series. If you have not read the other two books, A Conspiracy of Alchemists, and A Clockwork Heart, I recommend that you do so since they all connect. The ending to Sky Pirates leaves some interesting questions that I will be eager to see how Schwartz explains them and works them out. The whole idea that there could definitely be a love triangle coming to the next installment, has me sweating in agony. Once again, this is something I hate like veil mixed with peas, but apparently I am in the minority on this issue. Schwartz also needs to explain a certain scene and whether reviewers like myself are way off base with our guesses as to what is coming next for Elle and her future.


Title - Sky Pirates
Author - Liesel Schwartz
Series - The Chronicles of Light and Shadows # 2
Published by Random House/Del Rey
Releases: October 28, 2014
Genre: Steampunk, Romance, Paranormal, Historical
Format: e-Book, 320 pages




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