Friday, August 30, 2013

Stacking the Shelves 08/31/2013

Stacking The Shelves is a fun way to show off the books we received over the past week in the hopes that you will find something that you will be interested in reading. As always, it is in no way, shape, or form to be considered bragging or sticking out our tongues at other bloggers. 

I personally enjoy  reading comments from those that stop by and support Gizmo's Reviews and I make every effort to comment and visit back your blog in return. 

Received from Edelweiss
Thanks to Del Rey, Harper Teen, NAL Trade, Delacorte Press,
Balzer + Bray 




Received from NetGalley
Thanks to Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, Scholastic Press
and Random House Children's

Received from Penguin Group (ACE)

Purchased via

Review to be posted shortly!

Gizmos Reviews - The Outside Book Review & Tour Stop

Welcome to Gizmos Reviews Virtual Blog Tour Stop for The Outside. Today's stop includes my review, thoughts on The Outside as well as some other interesting tidbits about the book and author.

Thanks for stopping by!

The Outside
The Hallowed Ones Book Two
Laura Bickle

Genre: paranormal YA

Publisher: Harcourt
Date of Publication: September 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-0544000131

Number of pages: 320
Word Count: 85000 words

Cover Artist: Shane Rebenschied

Book Description:

One girl. One road. One chance to save what remains…

After a plague of vampires is unleashed in the world, Katie is kicked out of her Amish community for her refusal to adhere to the new rules of survival. Now in exile, she enters an outside world of unspeakable violence with only her two “English” friends and a horse by her side. Together they seek answers and other survivors—but each sunset brings the threat of vampire attack, and each sunrise the threat of starvation.

And yet through this darkness come the shining ones: luminescent men and women with the power to deflect vampires and survive the night. But can these new people be trusted, and are they even people at all?

In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, it’s up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves . . . but what will she be asked to leave behind in return?

 Advance Praise for The Outside:

 “Top-notch. . . . A horror story with heart and soul.”
—Kirkus, starred review

“At once horrifying, hopeful, and hauntingly beautiful, this gorgeous read with its rich textures and spine-tingling suspense kept me glued to the pages in utter fascination. Laura Bickle is a master storyteller.”

 -Darynda Jones, NY Times Bestselling author of The Darklight Series

Praise for The Hallowed Ones

"This is a book to make you fear the shadows--a horrifying and gruesome tale of faith, and things that blink red eyes in the night. I began reading in the daylight, and read on into the late hours, leaning close, biting my lip. I could not look away; I was obsessed. Katie is an unbreakable soul."
—Lauren DeStefano, New York Times Bestselling author of the Chemical Garden Trilogy

"What an eerily believable, unique story! I can't stop thinking about it--or shivering."
—Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely Books

"Tight pacing, suspenseful scenes, Wow! moments of tension, and exposure into a world I knew little about, The Hallowed Ones is an exciting, terse read. . . . Laura Bickle's debut novel for young adults has quickly become my favorite dystopian novel of 2012. . . . It left me wanting more, so much more."

"Readers will find it hard to put down this suspenseful, scary, compulsively readable adventure."
—Kirkus Reviews

"Katie's an original character, and her thoughtful rebellion makes her an interesting addition to supernatural fictions's gallery of strong heroines."

Upon finishing The Hallowed Ones last year, I was more than ready to finish this series by reading The Outside in hopes of more of the same; dark and creepy vampires, a determine heroine who attempts to stick to her faith and do what's right, and hopefully, an answer as to what really happened that created the vampirism that has spread world wide, and whether or not there really is a cure, or a way to stop vampire's from spreading.

The Outside picks up two weeks after the end of The Hallowed Ones. Our heroine, Katie, along with "English" Alex Green and Ginger Parsall, have been kicked out of the Amish community for refusing to adhere to the new rules by overbearing and uncaring Elders, and find themselves hoping to survive in a world that has been over run with vampires. The Outside is a terrifying place to be where it is only safe for Katie and crew to be out during the daylight hours. It is a daily struggled to find a hiding place, as well as food to survive on. Katie's faith is continually challenged when she has no choice but to turn to killing in order to remain alive and human.

I will say this for Bickle, she continually pushes the envelope and her characters are tried and pushed to the limits of their ability and it really is a challenge to remain alive, and not turned into one of the Darkness (Vampires). Katie faces challenges to her faith and whether or not it all matters in the end. Is she really a good person after she slays a vampire trying to eat her?

I think the romance between Alex and Katie is done very well. I think that Katie remains hopeful that just because she was kicked out of the Amish community, doesn't mean that she's a bad person or that God has turned his/her back on her for falling in love with Alex who isn't Amish. I think there is an underlying debate that happens over the course of this series between faith and science. I personally think it's a persons right to choose what they do or don't believe in, and it is nobody's business whether a person believes in God or science for that matter.

I won't spoil anything that happens in this book because that would be absolutely awful. I will say that things aren't exactly as they seem, especially if you have read the synopsis. There are some interesting things that happen, along with some possible surprises, as well as some scary scenes, and a possible way to finally fight back against the spread of vampirism. Will Katie, Alex, and Ginger survive until the end? Will the Amish community eventually welcome them back, or will they continually push them away? Read the book to find out folks!  
About the Author:

Laura Bickle’s professional background is in criminal justice and library science, and when she’s not patrolling the stacks at the public library she’s dreaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs (she also writes contemporary fantasy novels under the name Alayna Williams).

Laura lives in Ohio with her husband and six mostly-reformed feral cats.

 The Presence of Evil
By Laura Bickle
“One does not sleep in the presence of evil. Not when you can see it and it can see you.”

This is one of my favorite lines from THE OUTSIDE. It’s from the perspective of Katie, a young Amish woman who is facing the end of her world. She’s been exiled from her community for failing to adhere to the new rules of survival. The world beyond Katie’s Amish settlement has been devastated by a plague of vampirism. Katie’s chief challenges are her own survival and protecting those she loves…and she’s surrounded by evil.

This is not the evil that she feared as a child. When she was younger, she was told that the world beyond the gates of her community was rife with temptation and vice. Human temptations and human vices. She was discouraged from participating in many of the things that those of us on the outside take for granted, things like movies, television, modern clothing, and makeup. Katie was always curious about these small transgressions, flirting with the thrill of the forbidden. But these are vanishingly small sins compared to the total darkness that has fallen upon the world.

The vampires Katie faces are creatures from old world legends, bloodthirsty and amoral. There is no velvet seduction in them, no struggling with the fate of their immortal souls. They simply want to feed, to devour the flesh of the living…and the survivors are dwindling in number.

Cities and nations have fallen, food for the vampires that seek flesh and blood for sustenance. There are no communications, no phones, no radio, no internet, no electricity, no transportation. Katie and two of her outsider friends struggle to find signs of human habitation on a lonely and desolate road.

And the shadows at the edge of the road are listening, watching, waiting for sunset. They wait until darkness to reach toward Katie and pull her down into the shadows with them, to make her part of the evil that has washed over the land.

THE HALLOWED ONES, the first book in the series, is on sale in August! The Kindle version is $1.99 right now. Here’s the link:

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday 08/28/2013 Edition

"Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at “Breaking the Spine”, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

This weeks choice is-----The Winner's Choice by Marie Rutoski

Reason: When I saw this appear on Cuddleberry's blog a few days ago, I was like 1. This is my next WOW pick! 2. I have to get my hands on a copy of this book like now! 3. I'll admit that I am jealous of those who are reading this or have already! 

Serious folks, just the cover alone caught my attention. How about you? 

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Expected Publication: March 4, 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

*Early Review* Corroded (The St. Croix Chronicles #3) by Karina Cooper

I would first like to say thank you to Angela @ Carina Press for allowing me early access to Corroded which I have been dying to read ever since the ending to Gilded.

If you haven't started reading The St. Croix Chronicles yet, might I ask you why not? Is it because you don't much care for steampunk set in a Victorian age where the heroine is a collector by night and a society maven by day?

Is it because you don't like the romance that grabs you by the heart strings and pulls you along (Hint: Check out chapter 15!)

Is it because you don't like the mysterious, sexy, male main character (Micajah Hawke) who is willing to push the heroines buttons at each and every turn?

Are you NOT interested in a thrill ride filled suspense, mystery, and adventure?

If you answered NO to any of those questions, then you SHOULD start reading this series post haste starting with Tarnished! Personally, I can't wait until the next book is released which, I have been assured by Ms Cooper that there will be another one soon!

With Corroded, we get an even deeper look into the inner workings of the mysterious Karakash Veil that runs the Midnight Menagerie where Hawke is ringmaster and to whom Cherry owes a major debt after saving her life.

We get lots, and lots, may I just say again, LOTS, of Hawke for our entertainment pleasure. We get answers to the mysterious sweet tooth collector/killer question who has befuddled Cherry and drove me crazy not knowing who he/she was. And, might I say, it's a doozy of a revelation? I did not see that coming at all.

We also finally get an appearance by the mysterious Oliver Ashmore who has only been mentioned by Cherry as her caretaker but never shown until now. We also get a new character, who I loved, in Maddy Ruth who is sweet and clueless at the same time. She's also an inventor of a net thrower which comes in handy.

I am impatiently waiting for book # 4 to be released so that I can see in what direction Karina is taking Cherry who definitely needs a vacation away from London after all that has happened to her. I also hope that we get to see more of Ishmael Communion in the future.

Say, how about sending Cherry off to Paris with Maddie Ruth?

Author - Karina Cooper
Title - Corroded (The St. Croix Chronicles # 3)
Published by Carina Press
Releases - September 23, 2013
Genre - Steampunk, Romance

Top Ten Tuesday Presents Top Ten Most Memorable Secondary Characters

For a list of past and future Top Ten Tuesday topics and to find out more about Top Ten Tuesday, click here!

This weeks TTT topic is:
Top Ten Most Memorable Secondary Characters.

1. Ian from the Cat and Bones (Night Huntress) series - Definitely needs his own book, and maybe now that the series is actually ending, perhaps it will happen! 

2. Jupe from Jenn Bennett's Arcadia Bell series. Seriously folks, if you've read this series, why would you NOT include him? 

3. Jenks from the Hallows Series by Kim Harrison - Every time I read one of these books, I hope that we get more of Jenks hijinks. See how that played out? 

4. Cookie from the Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones. After all she puts up with from Charley, you can't just leave her off this list! If would be sacrilegious! I could also say Reyes is a secondary character and I don't think anyone would give me a hard time for adding him to this list.

5. Andrea from the Kate Daniels series. Andrea even has her own book, but I shall always remember her as Kate's best friend and she may be playing an even more important role now.

6. Peabody from the In Death Series by J.D. Robb. Peabody has been Eve's partner from the
very beginning. I lover her humor and snark and I couldn't see Eve without her.

7. Tybalt from Seanan McGuire's October Daye series. As the series as progressed, Tybalt has been in and out of Toby's life but apparently he's now in it in a big way.

8. Charles Reynolds from the Katherine "Kitty" Kat series by Gini Koch. Charles is Kitty's best friend from way back. In fact, he's so important to Kitty, that she will do almost anything to protect him from the alien hordes who continually try to kill her and her friends.

9. Micajah Hawke from Karina Cooper's The St. Croix Chronicles. Bad boy, extremely mysterious and dashing, and wow does he make his presence known in Corroded that is going to be released in September by Carina Press. (Review Shortly!)

10. Owen Greyson from Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassin series. Owen is Gin Blanco's love interest and it's been a fairly interesting ride. So much has been made of what Owen did to Gin that we needed a novella to figure out what was Owen thinking! 

As always, I could go on and on about my favorite secondary characters, but I shall restrain myself for a change! What are your favorite secondary characters? Leave me a comment and a link, and I'll hop back at you!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Review - The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

I applaud female authors who attempt to write from a male's prospective. It isn't easy unless you've been in their shoes and then exchanged genders at some point along the way. Originally titled, Severed Heads, Broken Hearts, The Beginning of Everything is the story about Ezra Faulkner and how he copes with a major life altering event.

Ezra is an interesting character for us to explore. He goes from having it all, girlfriend, team captain of the tennis team, big man on campus, and class president. In one fell swoop everything changes. His girlfriend does something completely asinine, and then he's hit by an out of control SUV that ends his sports playing days forever and changes his life in a radical direction. You could say he goes from the penthouse, to the outhouse and that would be apropos.

The story really is about life after a tragedy. What do you do when everything you've ever wanted, and worked hard for is completely taken away from you? Do you shrink within yourself and cut everyone else out of your life? Do you attempt to move on in a new and hopeful direction that there is life after tragedy? What happens when a highly mysterious and intelligent girl named Cassidy Thorpe comes along and forces you to reexamine your previous standards, and those you think of as friends?

There are a lot of similarities in The Beginning of Everything that happened to me while I was in High School. As a swimmer, I tore the muscles in my neck and back and was sidelined for an entire year. Luckily, Physical Therapy allowed me to return for my senior year but I was never the same again. During the time I was sidelined, my friendships also suffered with my teammates and others. I was the captain of the team like Ezra, and therefore a lot was expected from. Ezra's journey is 180 degrees from me because my troubles later led me into joining the US Navy to get away from everyone including my parents. 

Cassidy, Cassidy, why do I want to hug you and then squeeze your neck until you turn all sorts of colors? You and Ezra are awesome together even though you are so sullen and mysterious about your past. There is no way you can sit there and tell me I'm wrong either. You changed Ezra's perspective and forced him into having fun again. You brought him back to his friendship with his former best friend Toby Ellicott and for that I'm appreciative. You made him realize that his friends really weren't what he needed any more and it was time to move along. So, tell me Cassidy, why did you do what you did and why couldn't you just believe in Ezra? 

Overall, The Beginning of Everything is an interesting journey that I believe young adults will absolutely fall for especially when it comes to Ezra's way of telling his story. For those that abhor 3 way love triangles and insta-love situations, you will be more than happy that neither rears their demon heads into this story. 

*Recvd via Edelweiss 02/01/2013* Expected publication: August 27th 2013 by Katherine Tegen

Author - Robyn Schneider
Title - The Beginning of Everything
Publisher - Katherine Tegan for Harper Collins
Released - August 27, 2013
Genre - YA Contemporary