Sunday, November 30, 2014

*Gizmos Early Book Reviews* Storm Fall (Rebel Wing #2) by Tracy Banghart

**I received this book for free from Alloy Entertainment 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.**

*Book Blurb*

In the action-packed sequel to Rebel Wing, Aris battles for life and love . . . and not everyone will survive. 

Aris Haan gave up everything to join the Atalantan Military: her family, her boyfriend, even her identity. In the end, though, it didn’t matter that she was a war hero. When the all-male Military discovered that she was actually a woman, she was sent home and erased from history. 

Now she has a chance to go back to the battlefield—as herself. But as hard as it was to be a soldier in disguise, it’s even more difficult now. The men in her unit undermine her at every turn. The Safaran army has spies everywhere, perhaps even on Aris’s stationpoint. And she’s falling for her mysterious superior officer, Milek. But their relationship is forbidden, just stolen moments between training sessions and missions. There’s no room for love in war. 

Then Aris discovers that Safara’s leaders have set their sights on her, Atalanta’s hero. And she must find them before they find her . .

*My Review*

Storm Fall (Rebel Wing #2) is the sequel to Rebel Wing. It has been almost a year since Aris Haan left the village of Lux behind, and took up the mantle of Aristos in order to serve in the Atalantan military. It has been 2 months since Aris was discharged from the military after her real identity was exposed. Aris hasn't exactly had an easy time of readjusting to normal life.

Her love for flying has taken a hit. Calix is no longer in her life. She has issues with PTSD. She has scars, and dreams about awful things. Her actions while serving as Aristos have pretty much been buried by bureaucratic bullshit. But, things start to change thanks to some behind the scenes supporters like Ward Galena Vadim who is looking for a hero and someone the troops can rally behind.

Thanks to Aris's actions in Rebel Wing, Women are now officially allowed to serve openly in the military. With the arrival of Major Vidal, Aris is encouraged to come back to the military, this time with a big time promotion, and a chance to once again make a difference. Aris no longer has to hide who she is or her abilities from anyone. She does face hostilities from her male colleagues, but that doesn't cause her to run away with her tail between her legs. Neither does being number one on Safara's to capture or kill list.

This is an entirely new Aris we saw in Rebel Wing. While she still gets her time in the sky, and does remarkable things, she has a whole new view on life thanks to her romance with Major Vidal. I will say that Storm Fall is much more romance intensive than Rebel Wing was. I will also say that Storm Fall leaves a pretty apparent cliffhanger ending that bridges to the next installment.

I would definitely encourage readers to start reading Rebel Wing before jumping into Storm Fall. Even though there are some new characters introduced as Aris is once again put into harms way and has to evade capture, there are still a whole slew of characters, like Calix, Dysis, Commander Nyx, and Ward Galena who remain and play important roles in Aris's life and experiences.

Author - Tracy Banhart
Title - Storm Fall (Rebel Wing # 2)
Published by Alloy Entertainment
Release Date: December 16, 2014
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
Format: E-book, 300 pages

*Gizmos Book Reviews* Rebel Wing (Rebel Wing #1) by Tracy Banghart

*I received this book for free from Alloy Entertainment 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.*

*Book Blurb*

The Dominion of Atalanta is at war. But for eighteen-year-old Aris, the fighting is nothing more than a distant nightmare, something she watches on news vids from the safety of her idyllic seaside town. Then her boyfriend, Calix, is drafted into the Military, and the nightmare becomes a dangerous reality. 

Left behind, Aris has nothing to fill her days. Even flying her wingjet—the thing she loves most, aside from Calix—feels meaningless without him by her side. So when she’s recruited to be a pilot for an elite search-and-rescue unit, she leaps at the chance, hoping she’ll be stationed near Calix. But there’s a catch: She must disguise herself as a man named Aristos. There are no women in the Atalantan Military, and there never will be.

Aris gives up everything to find Calix: her home. Her family. Even her identity. But as the war rages on, Aris discovers she’s fighting for much more than her relationship. With each injured person she rescues and each violent battle she survives, Aris is becoming a true soldier—and the best flyer in the Atalantan Military. She’s determined to save her Dominion . . . or die trying.

*My Thoughts*

Rebel Wing (Rebel Wing #1) is the first installment in the Rebel Wing series by new to me author Tracy Banghart. Banghart has created a realistic world where the Dominion of Atalanta has been at war with its neighbor Safara for the past 2 years. All across the nation, both women and men are selected for a specific job. While young men are selected for the military, women are chosen to take their places in areas of health, commerce, technology, and environment.

18 year old Aris Haan, chosen for the area of environment, is a woman who knows how to fly. Ever since she was taught to fly by her father at 12, Aris has taken to the skies like a fish to water. Even though Aris is a really amazing flyer, because of her gender, she can't join the military where she can make a real difference. Aris truly thought she could always count on being Promised to Calix who has been her stalworth and supporter for years. That changes as well.

After a mysterious pilot hails her down and tells Aris that Calix will be selected by the military to be become a mender on the front lines, he offers her a unique chance at doing the one job she is really good at...flying. Aris leaves her family, her home in Lux, and her own identity behind in order to pass as a male pilot. She undergoes intensive training and has her appearance changed to that of Aristos in order to serve her country, and find Calix.

Aris learns that there are a select few women, like Dysis Latza, who have done the impossible; they serve the military under the guise of being a man and in doing so, make it possible for the Atalanta war machine to fight the invading Safarans. Thanks to the Veil technology and her impressive flying abilities, Aris is able to pass rather easily as a man, and take her place on the front lines as part of the Search and Rescue team.

I will say that I am truly impressed by how this story was written and the character growth of Aris. Aris doesn't really understand the world she lives in. She's happy with her romance with Calix, and the thought of a future with him. After taking up the mantle of a male flyer, Aris's transformation is nearly complete. Even when facing tough challenges as a search and rescue pilot, Aris stands tall and takes several hits in the process.

There is a parallel story, as it were, focusing on the Ward of Ruslana Galena and her abduction, and brutal treatment. I think this story brings home the dangers that the Dominion of Safara is causing its neighbors, and the lengths it will go to in order to get exactly what they want. I will say Galena is not a character that you should ignore. She has connections with some major players, and Aris is part of the rescue team sent to bring her back.

Before anyone goes to great lengths to make this sound like a misogynistic environment, please don't. Women are deemed more important than men in most areas of expertise. While men do all the fighting, women run governments (like Galena) and aren't afraid to do what is necessary. You can parallel Rebel Wing to the women who kept this country running during World War II. They built war equipment and raised families while their men were fighting for our lives.

You will find one of the more interesting characters in Major Vidar. After Aris impresses him with her flying ability, they connect on a level that Calix failed to do. Vidar never treats Aris as though she needs to be coddled, instead, he gives her mission after mission, including a rather important one, knowing that she can more than handle herself. In the end, Vidar turns out to be much more impressive than Calix could ever hope for.

Rebel Wing does leave some interesting choices for Aris, as well as her own form of hell after what she experiences. Thankfully, Storm Fall will be releasing December 16, and I have already read it! ::pumps fist:: As an FYI, Rebel Wing was originally released as Shattered Veil (The Diatous Wars #1) before going through a cover and name change. If you go to the authors web page, there is a map of Atalanta and the surrounding countries like Ruslana, and of course, Safara.

Author - Tracy Banghart
Title - Rebel Wing (Rebel Wing # 1)
Published by Alloy Entertainment
Released: July 29, 2014
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: e-Book, 372 pages

Saturday, November 29, 2014

*Gizmos Book Reviews* A Darker Past (The Darker Agency #2) by Jus Accardo

*I received this book for free from Entangled Teen 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.*

*Book Blurb*

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.

*My Review*

A Darker Past is the sequel to Darker Days and picks up several months after the conclusion of said novel. 17-year old Jessie Darker and her mother Klaire, operate the Darker Agency. They pursue the darker aspects of living in Penance, New York like demon possession, zombies, out of control witches, and the Seven Deadly sins.

But, Jessie also has another job. She agreed to bind herself to Valefar for 55 years for his help in Darker Days. This includes running errands anywhere he demands, and bringing back those who have failed to live up to their agreements. If you haven't read Darker Days, then I suggest you do so in order to understand why she made the agreement in the first place.

Jessie is one of the most snarky, attitude driven characters that you will ever meet. I find myself rolling my eyes at her continued mistakes and dumb actions, while hoping that she doesn't end up getting anyone hurt or killed. The only growth Jessie experiences is with her Shadow abilities that have become more pronounced and allows her to go anywhere Valefar sends her.

I really do wish she would cut the attitude and just focus on things at hand. Perhaps this is why I can only rate this story what I have. I do appreciate the mother/daughter relationship though. It's nice to see them working together even though sometimes Jessie drives Klaire up the walls. There is a particular scene that actually shows how connected the women are. Perhaps there is hope for Jessie after-all.

Things have definitely changed for the Darker Agency as well. Jessie's father Damien (Shadow Demon) is spending more time in Penance with Klaire, and Lukas Scott has joined the agency. Lukas is expected to watch over and protect Jessie from her own actions, as well as others. But, Lukas is also changing and his struggles are really causing problems. In the end, one can pretty much guess where Accardo is taking Lukas, and I can wonder if the relationship between him and Jessie is going to last.

I really, really liked Kendra Belfair. Kendra is a fledgling witch, Jessie's best friend, and the daughter of Cassidy Belfair the leader of the witches coven. Kendra helps save the day after Jessie and Lukas accidentally release a powerful demon from his prison. I think Kendra is the one character, along with Klaire, that I would read the next novel to see what happens next. Kendra finds her mojo folks, and I love her new attitude as well! While I loved Kendra, I had absolutely nothing nice to say about her mother. Cassidy is just plain awful.

I do think that there is a whole lot of information that needs to be revealed about Valefar and his desire for Jessie. Why is Jessie so important to his goals? Why did he make such a surprising decision when it came to her? There is more to the Darker family that hasn't been revealed and has only been released piece meal. There is a curious revelation when it comes to Jessie and Klaire's descendants, and what that means for them in the future.

Author - Jus Accardo
Title - A Darker Past
Series - The Darker Agency # 2
Published by Entangled Teen
Released - November 11, 2014
Genre - Young Adult, Paranormal
Format - E-Book, 320 pages

*Stacking the Shelves* Thanksgiving Edition

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 November 23-29, 2014

Welcome back!  
 I hope that everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving, had a great day!
Last year I was in New York with family. This year was spent in Florida alone
with my cat. At least we didn't have snowy weather!

Received from Harper Voyager via Edelweiss

Received from Harper Voyager Impulse via Edelweiss

Received from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers via Edelweiss

Received from Katherine Tegen Books via Edelweiss

Received from Greenwillow Books via Edelweiss

Received from Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss

Received from Entangled Teen via NetGalley

Received from Dundurn via NetGalley

Borrowed from Library
Have already watched the TV show, why not read the book?

Amazon week of awesome finds!


Friday, November 28, 2014

*Gizmos Book Reviews* Anomaly (Schrodinger's Consortium #1) by Tonya Kuper

*I received this book for free from Entangled Teen 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.*

*Book Blurb*

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…

*My Thoughts*

Anomaly is the first novel in the Schrodinger's Consortium series and author Tonya Kuper's first full length novel. Anomaly is told in alternating first POV's by 17-year old Josie Harper, and Reid Wentworth her trainer, protector, and powerful Anomaly. Kuper's idea to use Dual POV actually works. You don't have to imagine what the other person is thinking. Kuper puts you in both of their heads and you get first hand accounts as events progress and the action ramps up.

Anomaly starts out with Josie having the worst day ever. Celebrating her Seventeen birthday, she's dumped by her her first real boyfriend in front of her friends. Her father has been missing for months, and her mother has checked out on her responsibilities to her kids. Then, out of nowhere, Reid shows up to enlighten Josie about the trouble that she will soon face, and train her to be the powerful Anomaly Oculi she has the ability to become.

Anomaly is filled Oculi who can create reality through observation. The Oculi are separated into Pushers who have the ability to create matter with a thought. Retractors who erase matter with a thought, and Anomalies, like Josie and Reid, who can do both. Anomaly is also a story about the Schrodinger's Consortium who have set their sights on controlling Oculi like Josie, and the Resistance who is doing everything in their powers to protect Josie and the innocents the Consortium harms.

I do think that the relationship between Josie and her mother was probably the saddest part of the story. Her mother could have done a whole lot better in explaining things about the Resistance, Consortium, and Oculi before Josie found herself being thrown into the fire with only her wits to save her. The only good thing that her mother did for her, was train Josie and her brother Eli in Taekwondo while they were continually moving from place to place. I supposed one could say that she was trying her best to protect her from a world that had already torn the family apart.

I will say that Anomaly had me laughing at times and a bit angry in others. It was that laughing that allowed me to enjoy this book a bit more than I would have otherwise. I love that Josie is a science geek who is deeply involved in comic books and science fiction culture. Perhaps I haven't grown out of my geek phase in life, and perhaps I have no intention of doing so. Josie is also genius in the area of physicists which gives her more depth as a character.

I will say that I am definitely on board with reading the sequel to Anomaly. I do have questions about Josie's father, and what really happened to him. I would also like to know more about Reid who's real identity I won't spoil. I want to see how Josie and Reid's relationship works out especially since they do have a connection that isn't love at first sight. I want to get an inside look into the Hub, and meet other Oculi who aren't out to kill, or capture Josie. Lastly, I really do hope that Josie and her mother can have a reconciliation when all is said and done.

Author - Tonya Kuper
Title - Anomaly
Series - Schrodinger's Consortium # 1
Published by Entangled Teen
Released - November 25, 2014
Genre - YA, Science Fiction
Format - E-Book, 400 pages

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

*Gizmos Book Reviews* The Halcyon Bird (The Demon Catchers of Milan #2) by Kat Beyer

**I received this book for free from Egmont USA 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.


Mia has settled into her life with the Della Torres -- Milan's premier demon-catching family, accompanying them to exorcisms and even learning some way to be useful in the family trade. Then Bernardo comes into her life, handsome, well-mannered, someone who makes her forget her impossible crush on Emilio, her cousin. But always lurking in the background is the demon who possessed Mia once before, and who has not given up on possessing her again--this time for good.

*My Thoughts*

Milan, Italy is once again the setting for Beyer's The Halcyon Bird, the second installment in the The Demon Catchers of Milan series. The story picks up right where it's predecessor left off. 16-year old Mia Dellatorri, the protagonist, was saved from a demon possession by her cousins Emilio and Giuliano, and brought to Italy where she trains as a demon catcher.

Mia is given more free reign this time out by her family. The freedom allows her to explore her own Italian heritage, her families place in Italian history, and while training hard to be able to protect herself from the demon who refuses to leave her alone. Mia has come a long way in quickly picking up the Italian language, which isn't as easy as it sounds. Italian does have regional dialects that throw you for a loop! Trust me folks, when you travel from Milan to Napoli, you will notice a difference.

Mia's journey is far from over as we soon learn. There are still way too many questions, and no true answers to why Mia was possessed in the first place, or why the demon refuses to leave her alone. I am hoping that if and when a third installment in this series is released, that Beyer will pick up the broken threads and sew them together.

The Halcyon Bird isn't necessarily an action packed story and does drag at times. But, it does move the series forward to the point where Mia is now becoming more a part of the Della Torre family, which means going on dangerous exorcisms, and adding her two cents to how they should proceed. I think Mia has come to terms with her new fate, while trying to have a life regardless of the dangers of finding someone to fall in love with. I wouldn't take Mia for granted at this point of the story. When all is said and done, I can't see any reason that Mia would leave this family behind to return to the US.
I really do adore the Della Torre family at the center of this series. Giuliano, Laura, Anna Maria, Francesca, and Emilio all bring different things to the table, and each plays a large role in what happens with Mia, her training, and finding a way to defeat Mia''s demon. I think it's fascinating that Beyer has found a way to intermingle couple's struggles and challenges into her story, while explaining how the demon catchers keep what they do a secret from even their closest friends.

I love that Beyer doesn't restrict Mia's activities to the Della Torre's family candle shop any longer. I like that she explores historical aspects of the city, and takes in the large variety of food which Italy is famous for. As an Italian who has visited Italy while serving in the Navy, and with Italian descendants who legally immigrated to this country in the early 20th century, I can tell you that Beyer does a great job in creating what typical Italian families eat, and how they treat each other.

Author - Kat Beyer
Title - The Halcyon Bird
Series - The Demon Catchers of Milan # 2
Published by EgmontUSA
Released: November 11, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Format: e-Book, 352 pages

Monday, November 24, 2014

*Top Ten Tuesday* Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR!

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 list could totally go with last weeks since some of the sequels I
want to read, are being released during the Winter 2015 calendar!

Top Ten Books Releasing Winter 2015 (December 21 thru March 20, 2015)
1. This Shattered World (Starbound # 2) by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

2. Soulbound (Darkest London # 6) by Kristen Callihan

3. Salt & Stone (Fire & Flood # 2) by Victoria Scott

4. Shadow Study (Soulfinders # 1) by Maria V. Snyder

5. The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons

6. A Curse Unbroken (Weird Girls # 5) by Cecy Robson

7. Dead Heat (Alpha & Omega # 4) by Patrica Briggs

8. Becoming Rain (Burying Water # 2) by K.A. Tucker

9. Bound by Flames (Night Prince # 3) by Jeaniene Frost

10. Fire Fall (Dark Star # 3) by Bethany Frenette