Wednesday, April 30, 2014

*Gizmos Book Reviews* The Curse Breakers (The Curse Keeper #2) by Denise Grover Swank

**I received this book for free from NetGalley/47North in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

*My Thoughts* 

The Curse Breakers picks up several weeks after the end of The Curse Keepers. 23-year old Ellie Dare Lancaster is still coming to an understanding about what it means for her to be one of two Curse Keepers and also a very unique soul who has never been recycled, and who witnessed the creation of the universe. 

Ellie experienced the painful loss of her father, and unwittingly helped Collin Daily open the gates to Popogusso because she wrongly trusted him to guide her in what it means to be a Curse Keeper. Now, demons, and "good" spirits are running around killing animals to take away their Manitou, and taunting her every night in her dreams and awakened state. They demand that she make a choice between Okeus (who has already marked her as his), and the mysterious Ahone who is apparently as devious as he is secretive. 

I will say this for The Curse Breakers, I liked the addition of Dr. David Preston and the fact that he helps Ellie uncover hidden secrets. I liked how he and Ellie interact, and was happy that they didn't just automatically jump into bed right off the bat. I liked how there was a trust factor (I hope!) that wasn't there between Ellie and Collin Daily, and really, really hope that Swank doesn't shove a dagger into my heart by doing something shocking like betraying Ellie yet again. I don't think MINE, nor ELLIE could handle another betrayal. 

I still have questions, of course, in regards to Ellie's mothers death. What really happened that day? Why was the killer specifically looking for Ellie? Why did her father hold on to so many different secrets including the Ricardo Estate's disappearance, and the expectation that Ellie would just understand her role as Curse Keeper with Okeus and Ahone playing mind games with her? What will really happen to Ellie's soul should she pick either Okeus or Ahone? I mean, if she is pure in spirit, she shouldn't go to hell, am I right, or am I wrong?

You could, in a way, twist The Curse Keepers into being a historical paranormal romance series set in modern times instead of what the author is calling Urban Fantasy. Especially since the story remains focused on the factual Lost Colony of Roanoke, the curse between Ananias Dare and Croatan Indian Manteo, and the fact that there is plenty of romance and sex scenes to carry readers through some slower times.

I need to say this though, I am absolutely nervous when Swank writes scenes that take Ellie to the brink of being violated which she does TWICE. I just wish this wasn't necessary in any form, but will probably go to my grave knowing that my bucket list will never be completed. That is, the complete removal of rape, incest, and child abuse from any and all future novels, & TV shows. 

I have one little complaint about the story that will probably have everyone rolling their eyes at me. So, you just lost your husband of X many years, and all of a sudden you are rushing head first into another relationship because you and he may, or may not have had a connection in the past? Huh, uhm, no. Just no. And, I don't fully trust him anyway since he knew Ellie's parents at one time before it all went to HADES.

I will say that I am happy that Swank has given Ellie some very supportive secondary characters like her best friend Claire, and her step-mother Myra. I haven't come to a conclusion yet about Police Officer Tom who seems intent on protecting Ellie from herself. I do look forward to the next installment, and am anxious as to what happens to Ellie, David, and Collin next.

*Recvd via NetGalley 04/23/2014* Published: April 29th 2014 by 47north

Author - Denise Grover Swank
Title - The Curse Breakers (The Curse Keeper # 2)
Published by 47 North
Released: April 29, 2014
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
Format: E-Book 394 pages

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

*Gizmos Book Reviews* The Curse Keepers (Curse Keepers #1) by Denise Grover Swank

**I received this book for free from NetGalley/47 North in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

*My Thoughts*

The Curse Keepers is set around the fabled Lost Colony of Roanoke (1588) where 400 years ago, an entire village and its people just disappeared into thin air. There have been plenty theories going around as to where the actual Roanoke settlers disappeared to. The people of Roanoke simply left the settlement behind and moved on; the whole population of Roanoke Island was killed by a disease; the village was destroyed by a severe storm such as a hurricane; the people of Roanoke decided to leave Roanoke Island to live with the Natives; or the colonists were killed by the Native Americans. Since the English were more interested in their own histories, and not the Natives who they replaced, we will probably never know the reality of what happened to the 100 settlers who lived there. 

The Curse Keepers story is told in the first POV by Elinor Dare Lancaster, a direct descendant of Ananias Dare. In Swank's version of what really happened to the Colony of Roanoke, she makes up a curse that was created by a Croatan Indian Manteo and the Son-in-Law of the governor of Virginia Ananias Dare to lock away rival tribes. Instead, the curse captured gods and demons and locked them away. For 400 years, there have been Curse Keepers preventing the gods, and demons from escaping into our world.

"Are you a witch, Ellie Lancaster? Have you cast a spell to entrance me? Or are you an angel sent to save my soul?" Collin from the ARC of The Curse Keepers

Ellie, along with Collin Daily, are so called Curse Keepers from separate lines with roots that go back to the Colony. When they meet, not only does strange things start to happen like dead birds showing up on Ellie's doorstep, but Ellie is forced into believing that the curse is real after trying hard to put it behind her after a hardship loss when she was 8 years old. Now, Ellie stands in the way of preventing the demons from escaping and sucking the Manitou (the spiritual and fundamental life force) out of every living creature when the gates to the Algonquian named hell Popogusso are opened.

"Don't trust me, Ellie. You can't trust me." Words have never been spoken so honestly by a character, and yet, when Collin says them to Ellie, she summarily dismisses them because they are fundamentally connected, and she is a naive woman who refused to believe in the curse for so long, that she forgot the importance of being a Curse Keeper or the part she is supposed to play. I found hard to like Ellie at times. I found myself cringing at how hard she fell for Collin's bullcrap, and lies, and failed to look at the situation without falling for everything he tells her. I wanted Ellie to be more brave, and kickass, and not take crap from those who for some reason or the other, have an absolute obsession with obtaining her. 

Collin's character is pretty much exactly what you expect from him to be. He has a very questionable past. He hangs around with undesirable people who gravitate towards Ellie when she stumbles upon things she should have avoided in the first place because she refuses to listen. He is truthful, to a point, when he tells her NOT TO TRUST her, but manages to swindle her into doing exactly what was laid out for him. He is also utterly frustrating in that he goes against his own path to protect Ellie when she needs it the most, and above all, he left me with a broken heart when all is said and done. 

I sincerely appreciate it when authors do their due diligence in researching actual settings, and using factual people when telling their stories. Authors can, and do add their own two cents into the stories plot-line like adding fictional characters like Ellie Lancaster & Collin Daily, or changing the name of places that actually exist in real life to make the story even more interesting for the reader to grasp. 

I will be reading the next book in the series since I already have it loaded on my Kindle. Here is hoping that we get a much more desirable and kickass Ellie. 

Author - Denise Grover Swank
Title - The Curse Keepers (Curse Keepers # 1)
Published by 47 North
Released: November 19, 2013
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
Format: Ebook 312 pages

Monday, April 28, 2014

*Top 10 Tuesday Presents* Top Ten Books If You Liked Hunger Games

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic and we all share our thoughts on that topic! I decided it was finally time to jump on board with this wicked fun meme!

This week it is books are similar in nature to the Hunger Games.
Note: This list is definitely subjective and incomplete. Feel free to add your 
own recommendations by leaving me a comment!

*Synopsis's are all from Goodreads*

1. Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant by Veronica Roth

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives.

2. Matched, Crossed, Reached by Ally Condie

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

3. The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure by James Dashner

"If you ain't scared, you ain't human." 
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He's surrounded by strangers--boys whose memories are also gone.
Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It's the only way out--and no one's ever made it through alive.
Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

4. Graceling, Fire, Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight - she's a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king's thug.

5. Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

6. The Gone series by Michael Grant
(Gone, Hunger, Lies, Plague, Fear, Light)

In the blink of an eye, everyone disappears. Gone. Except for the young.

There are teens, but not one single adult. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what's happened.

Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day. It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else...

7. Delirium, Pandemonium, Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Lauren Oliver's Delirium is a YA Dystopian novel told in the first POV by 17 year old Magdalena (Lena) Haloway. It has been 64 years since the love was identified as a disease in the US. 43 years since scientists perfected a so called cure which really doesn't work on everyone. It is a country where physical contact between the sexes or uncureds is forbidden and those who don't conform to the wishes of the government, are sent into the Crypts (think Guantanamo Bay) where they are never heard from again.

As the story unfolds, Lena is 95 days away from her own "cure" for amora delina nervosa (Love) and is looking forward to it. 

8. Legend, Prodigy, Champion by Marie Lu

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem. 

9. Partials Sequence (Partials, Fragments, Ruins) by Dan Wells

Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. But sixteen-year-old Kira is determined to find a solution. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that that the survival of both humans and Partials rests in her attempts to answer questions about the war's origin that she never knew to ask.

10. The Razorland trilogy (Enclave, Outpost, Horde) by Ann Aguirre

New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters - or Freaks - who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight - guided by Fade's long-ago memories - in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs.

Honorable Mention:

Dust Lands series by Moira Young
Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

*Entangled Teen's New Release Blast Day! @SheaBerkley & @tiffanytruitt

 Today is release day for two amazing Entangled Teen titles and we are excited to share them all with you.  There's a little something for everyone this month so read on to find out more about them.

All the digital books are on sale for just $.99 for a limited time so be sure to pick up your copy today before they go back to full price!

About the Book
Title: The Rising King
Author: Shea Berkley
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pub. Date: April 28, 2014
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, B&N

The summer before Dylan Kennedy’s senior year in high school is turning out to be anything but boring. Ridiculously hot girlfriend? Check. Killing evil Dark Souls who suddenly have aspirations of taking over the magical realm of Teag because its protective spell is gone? Check. Not even Teag’s King, Dylan’s father, Baun, can stop them. People are dying, and a dark magic that his girlfriend, Kera, received from Baun is growing stronger. Dylan wants to believe Kera is suppressing the darkness that’s in her, but every day he sees that control slip just a little more.

Baun sends Dylan to find a powerful magic that stop the Dark Souls, a magic so strong that Baun hid it so no one else could use it. When Dylan doesn’t expect to find along with it, are consequences that could end the lives of those closest to him.

Follow the blog tour HERE! 
(Starts 4/21)

Find Shea Online:

About the Book
Title: Creators
Author: Tiffany Truitt
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pub. Date: April 28, 2014
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, B&N

Heartbroken but more determined than ever after a tense showdown in the woods, sixteen-year-old Tess once again returns to the safety of her community of Isolationists. Bolstered by new alliances and desperate to protect those she loves, this time she knows she can return stronger and more powerful than ever to take back what is hers.

As she trains in combat and grows more confident, Tess receives beautiful letters penned by her forbidden love, the chosen one James, from his prison in Templeton. He is now serving as a bodyguard to the creators—the team of scientists who created artificial life in the first place. And what he has discovered about the true origin of the illness that halted natural life could change everything. Enemy will become ally and death will bring new hope in this stunning conclusion to Tiffany Truitt’s epic Lost Souls trilogy.
Follow the blog tour HERE!
(Starts 4/21) 

Find Tiffany Online:

Sunday, April 27, 2014

*Gizmos Early Book Review* Meridian (Arclight #2) by Josin L. McQuein

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

*My Thoughts*

As the sequel to Arclight, Meridian reveals more dark secrets of the past, more information on the Arclight's elders including Honoria, Lutrell, Mr. Pace, Lt. Sykes, and Dr. Wolff, new challenges/darkness for the future to come, and a twisted courtship between two men who are chasing after the same unique girl in Marina who has more than grown up as a character. 

Meridian, which takes place 2 months after the end of Arclight, is actually told in the POV's of Tobin and Marina this time around. In my humble opinion, I could have done without Tobin's view point, and hope that McQuein sticks with only Marina/Cherish the next time out. Tobin's POV was more or less unnecessary for the overall enjoyment of the story, and his behavior towards Rue and even Marina, really got my blood boiling. It was like watching a FIVE year old throw a tantrum, over, and over, and over again. His beef with Rue, has gone viral, and I'm not sure if I can take the churlish antagonism without pulling out my hair, and screaming.

For Marina, the former Fade who was taken against her will into the Arclight by Honoria Whit and made human, not only has she made her choice in remaining human, and staying within the Arclight, she has become part of the inner circle of the Arclight. Her connection with Cherish is solid, and definitely something that is unique, and it also protects her from the darkness. I like the fact that even though they are separate personalities, Cherish is part of Marina, and keeps harmful memories away from her, allowing her to access them only when they are in danger. I do wonder how the connection will eventually play itself out. Will one FADE into history, or will they remain connected?

I liked that the story went OUTSIDE the ARC and even the Gray this time around. I like that the Fade and Humans have a working relationship that is still tenuous in nature, but a necessary relationship for the humans survival. I like the fact that there are apparently more survivors, and I hope that we see more of them in the next installment even though they made things difficult for Marina and the Elders for a time.

I liked how the Evil-Fade aka Killers, made their presence felt in a major way with not only Marina, but other characters like Annie, Trey, and Tobin. Needless to say, but I am eager to see who survives, and who doesn't when all is said and done since the ending leaves hints as to where McQuein is going in her next story. I am actually eager to understand the Killers even more than what was revealed in Meridian.

I am hopeful that the twisted relationship that is Marina, Cherish, Tobin, and Rue ends in a positive manner. Although Marina apparently has made her choice in staying human, she still has a connection to Rue, Cherish, and her family and whether or not she remains human, or FADES again, should be very interesting to read about. I still say that Rue has done more to protect Marina, and the other humans than anyone else, and deserves some consideration. 

I find it fascinating that there REALLY is a place called ARClight in New Mexico. I would love to spend a day visiting the facility, and seeing how the people there live. Please send me an invite! 

*01/06/2014* Recvd via Edelweiss* Expected publication: May 27th 2014 by Greenwillow Books

Author - Josin L. McQuein
Title - Meridian (Arclight # 2)
Published by Greenwillow Books
Releases May, 27, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Format: E-Book 458 pages

Saturday, April 26, 2014

*Stacking the Shelves* Episode # 105 A Masterful Week of Awesomeness!

Stacking the Shelves for the week of April 13-April 26, 2014

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. 

It has been a rather interesting TWO weeks with lots of wonderful goodies!
I hope you find something you like!

Thank YOU MacMillan/Feiwel & Friends!
I just LOVE when UPS surprises me!

Thanks to Pocket Books!
Haven't read the first TWO books in this series. Would consider a trade.

Thanks to Amanda Bonilla! 
If you haven't started reading this series, you should!

 Received via Netgalley
Thanks to Kensington Books!

Thanks to Bookouture!
I also received books 3, & 4 thanks to Oliver @ Bookouture!

Thanks to Entangled Teen!

Thanks to 47 North both titles were available on NetGalley!

Thanks to Macmillan/Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Thanks to Atria/Emily Bestler Books via Edelweiss freebies, cheapies



Borrowed from the Library