Sunday, February 28, 2016

#Monday Review - Kingdom of Ashes by Rhiannon Thomas (Young Adult, Fantasy)

Series: A Wicked Thing # 2
Format: E-Galley, 368 pages
Release Date: February 23, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Asleep for a hundred years, awoken by a kiss, Aurora’s life was supposed to be a fairytale. But since discovering that loyalty to the crown and loyalty to her country are two very different things, Aurora knows she can only dream of happily ever after. Once the enchanted princess, savior of her people, she is now branded a traitor.

Aurora is determined to free her home from the king’s tyrannical rule, even if it means traveling across the sea to the kingdom of the handsome and devious Prince Finnegan—someone who seems to know far more about her magic than he should. However, Finnegan’s kingdom has perils of its own, and any help he gives Aurora will come at a price.

As Aurora and Finnegan work together to harness her power—something so fiery and dangerous that is as likely to destroy those close to Aurora as it is to save them—she begins to unravel the mysteries surrounding the curse that was placed on her over a century before…and uncover the truth about the destiny she was always meant to fulfill.

Brimming with captivating fantasy and life-threatening danger, the sequel to A Wicked Thing takes Sleeping Beauty on an adventure unlike any she’s ever had before.

SettingFictitious Kingdoms of Alyssinia, and Vanhelm.

Key Characters: Prince Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty), Nettle (singer/spy), Celestine (Wicked Witch), Prince Rodric of Alyssinia, and Prince Finnegan of Vanhelm.

SummaryKingdom of Ashes, by Rhiannon Thomas, is the second and apparent final installment in A Wicked Thing series. After sleeping for 100 years thanks to Celestine's curse, Princess Aurora was awakened by Prince Rodric with a kiss. She awoke to a land where magic is non-existent, and has been gone for decades. Except that she herself has her own form of magic. She found herself at the mercy of a tyrant King who ruled with an iron fist. 

Now, Aurora is wanted alive for treason by the King John of Alyssinia after the events of her arranged wedding to Rodric, and the fact that she burns down a village escaping. Her magical abilities have come alive, and it seems that everyone wants a piece of what she has. Thanks to some help from Nettle, Aurora makes her way to Vanhelm where the kingdom has been razed to the ground by Dragons and only a city on the water remains. 

Aurora's reasons for traveling to Vanhelm are two-fold. She needs Queen Orla's help in defeating King John, and she needs Finnegan's help in learning more about her magic and how to control it. In return for their help, Aurora promises to rid the Kingdom of all the Dragons that appeared 50 years ago. Oh, there be a whole lots of dragons here! Dragons who seem to be drawn to her and may also be the answer to defeating King John. 

This is a story that has a whole lot of secrets exposed about Celestine and about Aurora. I liked the spunk that Aurora showed in this story. She knows that this new reality of hers is dangerous and everyone wants a piece of her. She knows that she might have to do cruel things to those who stand in her way, but still has the reasoning to stop and not let things get out of control. While she does have some allies, it is better to go alone, that risking being betrayed.

I liked that Thomas avoided the dreaded love triangle of horror that infects a majority of young adult novels these days. I knew that there was no way Aurora should end up with either Rodric, or Tristan no matter how much it might make sense. Aurora's relationship with Finnegan goes from bluster, to respect, to admiration. Finnegan is a devil of a character, and a charmer to boot. 

I enjoyed the addition of the dragons. Are you kidding me, I freaking LOVED the addition of dragons into this story! It made things a bit darker, and dangerous, and you really have no clue who is going to survive until the end. I loved that Aurora has some conflicts as well. She knows that her kingdom needs a new ruler, but doesn't think she should be that person. 

Not so MuchI didn't much care for the so called "feminist" message in the story, but that's my cross to bear. I truly believe that a woman can be strong, confident, badass, and have a strong relationship with the man she loves without giving into her inner voice telling her she doesn't need a man around to be happy. There can and should be a line that doesn't need to be crossed when trying to put across your message. 

Is this the final book in the series? If so, it leaves a whole lot of room for interpretation, especially when it comes to certain characters and their fates. Overall, a fitting ending to the story even with a bit of lull at times.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

#Saturday Review - After The Woods by Kim Savage (Young Adult, Thriller)

Series: Standalone
Format: Paperback, 320 pages
Release Date: February 23, 2016
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Girox
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery

Would you risk your life to save your best friend? 

Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs, and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia’s memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia’s abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning.

After The Woods is the debut novel for author Kim Savage. The story is a young adult psychological thriller that focuses on 16-year old Julia Spunk, and her best friend Olivia Lapin. Nearly a year ago, the best friends were doing a bit of cross country training in the woods, when Olivia was attacked by a strange man. Julia attacked the man allowing Olivia to escape and call the police. 

Two days later, Julia wandered out of the woods worse for wear, while her captor, Donald Jessup, ended up killing himself in police custody. Over the past year, through writing in her notebooks, Julia has tried to piece together what really happened that day by using her intuition and demand for answers. Things just don't add up. Enter the manipulative reporter Paula Papademetriou who  would sell her first born to get the scoop on what happened to Julia and Olivia.

Aspects of her capture and Olivia's strange behavior since then just don't add up, especially the bad boy she suddenly finds herself in love with. Sometimes it takes a trigger, like the body of another victim to trigger the minds closed doors. Sometimes, doing what's right, saving your best friend from being attacked, isn't necessary what's best in the long term. Sometimes the truth is hidden in plan sight. 

Thanks to being very inquisitive about her experiences, Julia becomes her own investigative reporter. Secrets are uncovered via flashbacks and events that have happened since that day. Then you start to question everything you remembered about your captive, your captivity, and your best friend's actions since that fateful day.

After The Woods is a story that will definitely keep you on your toes. This is a story that deals with Julia's coping mechanism, while also exploring how much you truly trust your best friend. Liv's character is one that is totally opposite of Julia. While Julia was brave, a bit on the sarcastic side, and loyal to a fault to her friend, Liv's personality took a turn towards the dark side. Whenever someone says it is a matter of nature, vs nurture, you can point directly to Liv's character for reference.  

While there isn't any solid romantic aspects to the story, there is the hint of being one between Julia and a boy named Kellan, whose father lead the charge for Julia's return and to uncover what happened to her. I think that Kellan, given the chance, is a good fit for Julia even with all her baggage and her inability to let things rest until the truth finally comes out.

I dare say that the ending through me into a bit of a tizzy. I knew the second half of the book would fill the gaps in Julia's memory while closing out her desire for answers. While I knew that something was hinky about Olivia, the ending definitely grated my nerves and made me feel even more for Julia than I did at the start. If you are looking a case of nature vs nurture, look no further than Olivia and her relationship with her parents.  

Friday, February 26, 2016

#Stacking the Shelves / Bought, Borrowed & Bagged # 5

Bought Borrowed and Bagged is all about the latest additions to your library – virtual or actual, with books that are  bought, borrowed, won or ARCs  you will be reading soon. Bought Borrowed and Bagged is a homage to to Barron’s Books and Baubles from Karen Marie Moning’s amazing Fever series, and is hosted by Braine over at Talk Supe. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Been a busy week here at Gizmos Reviews! The library once again came through for me with a nice bunch of books, I posted 7 reviews, and one for a cover reveal this week, and I actually made it through the week without a massive headache! YAY! 


Scheduled for Next Week: 

Monday - Invaded by Melissa Landers (YA, Science Fiction)

Tuesday - Raging Sea by Michael Buckley (YA, Science Fiction)

Wednesday - Traveler by Arwen Elys Dayton (YA, Fantasy)

Thursday - Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan (YA, Fantasy)

Friday - The Widow by Fiona Barton (Thriller, Fiction)

Saturday - After the Woods by Kim Savage (YA, Mystery)

Scheduled for Next Week: 

Monday - Kingdom of Ashes by Rhiannon Thomas (YA, Fantasy)

Tuesday - Behold the Bones by Natalie Parker (YA, Paranormal)

Wednesday - Try Not To Breathe (Mystery, Thriller)

Thursday - Fairest by Marissa Meyer (YA, Science Fiction)

Friday - Starflight by Melissa Landers (YA, Science Fiction)

Saturday - Into the Dim (YA, Science Fiction)

*Received from NetGalley*

*Received from Publishers*


*Borrowed from Library*



#Friday Review - The Widow by Fiona Barton (Psychological Mystery)

Series: Standalone
Format: E-Galley, 336 pages
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: NAL
Source: Publisher
Genre: Thriller

When the police started asking questions, Jean Taylor turned into a different woman. One who enabled her and her husband to carry on, when more bad things began to happen...

But that woman’s husband died last week. And Jean doesn’t have to be her anymore.

There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment.

Now there’s no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage.

The truth—that’s all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything…

The Widow, by author Fiona Barton, is the story of one woman's struggles to survive after finding out her perfect husband, wasn't so perfect after all. The story itself is actually told over the course of 4 years, and features (5) different individuals who all have parts to play in the story. There is Jean Taylor, Glen Taylor, Inspector Bob Sparkes, Reporter Kate Waters, and Dawn Elliott, the mother of the missing girl Bella whose disappearance triggers a nation wide call to arms to find the girl.

"Never Take Sweets From A Stranger!"

The Widow is primarily narrated by Jean Taylor. Taylor isn't necessarily a bad character, but she's allowed herself to become subservient to what she considers to be her perfect match. Yet, when the house of cards start to crumble down around her, she still maintains her husbands innocence right up until the day he dies. She's definitely an odd duck. She's a hairdresser who adores her husband, and becomes entangled in a nightmare when he is suspected in 2 year old Bella Elliott's disappearance. One could honestly say that Jean lacks any sort of emotion throughout the book, not even when Glen dies. She is cold to the point where you wonder if she was involved alongside Glen, and just covering all her bases in case she is called on the carpet.

Jean, remaining solid and faithful to Glen, never once considers leaving him and getting out before she loses everyone in her life. When neighbors shun the couple, and they both lose their jobs, Jean more or less accepts the inevitable that she and Glen will be alone with their own miseries. The creepy part is Jean's own are so passive and non-digressive, that you have to wonder where her head is at. Jean is a study in cognitive dissonance, selective amnesia, and Folie a deux. 

From the very onset, readers will ask themselves lots of questions not only about Jean Taylor, but about Dawn Elliott as well. How can a mother turn her back on her own child, even for a moment when the world has gone to hell? How can a wife stand by her husband even after she finds out the disgusting and repugnant things he has been up to behind her back? How much patience can the authorities have when their key witness refuses to speak to them? How far will a reporter go to get the story that might make her career?

I think that this book is a must read for parents and children alike. It is also a must read to those teenagers who feel that they must publish all of their personal information including phone numbers, the address where they live, and anything else that a stalker, or pedophile, or murderer might use to gain their trust. Cybersex is a real thing. Cyber cafe's for men looking at children is a real thing. Pedophilia is a desperate call for help and a major sickness that can be cured with sterilizing medications. Don't believe me? Do your own research and spread the information to your children, and your children's friends. 

In closing, if you are expecting another Girl on the Train, or Gone Girl, you will find yourself a bit on the disappointed side. This really is the story of one woman's search for her soul and a police officer's determination to find the truth before it's too late. 

*Cover Reveal* The Ghost Rebellion by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris (Steampunk)

The Ghost Rebellion
The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences
Book Five
Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris

Genre: Steampunk

Publisher: Imagine That! Studios

Date of Publication: 6/10/16
Word Count: about 100,000

Photography by Michael D. Ward of Go ForWard Photography

Design by Starla

Book Description:

The chase is on! After the destruction of the Diamond Jubilee, Agents Eliza D Braun and Wellington Books are in hot pursuit of Dr Henry Jekyll. While he continues his experiments on the aristocracy of Europe, he leaves a trail of chaos and despair in his wake. However when Eliza and Wellington run him to ground in India, they are forced to come face to face with ghosts from the past, and the realities of empire.

Meanwhile Brandon Hill and Bruce Campbell travel deep into Russia hunting down ingredients to save Queen Victoria's life. Amid the cold they uncover a new threat from the revitalized House of Usher .

All the agents of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences will find their allegiances in question, and their mettle tested as a new dastardly era of international intrigue dawns.

Chapter One: Wherein a Delightful Luncheon Is Cut Short

Wellington Thornhill Books took in a deep breath, sparing just a moment to collect his wits. Otherwise he risked not living to see dessert.
The archivist-turned-agent dabbed at the corner of his mouth with his snow-white napkin, and draped it carefully over his lap. Outside the window the gleaming Atlantic rolled under their ocean liner the African Sunset, but that was not the view that held his attention.  His focus remained with the dandy in front of him. Since their first meeting, the bombastic Lord seemed rather taken with the sound of his own voice, which was why the change in his dining companion's demeanour came as such a shock.
If an attack should come Wellington still had his dinner knife and fork. He was also in possession of a glass of wine, half finished—a pity to use, since it was a delightful vintage and paired perfectly with the duck—that could blind his opponent for a few valuable moments.
His lunch date kept a hard glare fixed on him, the monocle digging into the folds of his cheek. Rather unexpected to Wellington, Lord Hieronymus Featherstone had run out of things to say, and was now giving him his undivided attention.
 Wellington thought he had shown unending fortitude while being subjected to Featherstone's eternal droning on about his recent excursions across Africa, India, and Siam. He now knew to what far reaches Lord Featherstone had traversed in the name of Her Majesty—which might be useful.
Yet now Featherstone sat before him, no longer the awful, droning chatterbox. The gentleman's jaw twitched as he kept his ice-chip blue eyes trained on Wellington, demanding satisfaction.
"Well," the lord spoke, his voice booming from his barrel chest, "answer me, man."
Sod it, Wellington thought as he picked up his glass. At the very least, I will finish this excellent wine.
"You obviously mentioned her name during one of your riveting stories when crossing the Serengeti," Wellington replied, taking in a good, long sip of his wine.
"My dear Bernice does not care for heat."
"Then perhaps you mentioned her joining you as you crossed the Canadian Rockies?"
 "Nor does she care for the cold."
Mrs. Bernice Featherstone did not sound either lovely or agreeable, a perfect match for her husband, it seemed.
Nodding in resignation, Wellington cast another quick glance across the table, taking note of the knife and fork. Both hardly suited for close-quarter combat, but still useful. "M'lord, we could speculate for the entirety of the afternoon on how I came to know your lovely wife's name, but why don't we just cut this clever banter short and try a more direct form of engagement."
"Which would be?"
"The truth." With a final dab at of the corners of his mouth, Wellington dropped the napkin on the table, swiping up the fork and placing it in his lap. He positioned the silverware for a quick thrust as he began. "Lord Featherstone, it is no lie when I say your company has been enlightening. I have genuinely enjoyed our spirited and scintillating discussions whilst we journey around the Ivory Coast. However, to say we 'met you' by chance would be disingenuous." His grip tightened on the fork as he said, "My associate and I have been tracking you since your boarding in Conakry."

About the Authors:

Philippa (Pip) Ballantine

Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Philippa has always had her head in a book. For this she blames her father who thought Lord of the Rings was suitable bedtime reading for an eight year old. At the age of thirteen she began writing fantasy stories for herself.

She first earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Political Science and then a Bachelor of Applied Science in Library and Information Science. So soon enough she found herself working in the magical world of libraries where she stayed for over a decade.

Her first professional sale was in 1997, and since then she has gone on to produce mostly novel length fiction. In 2006 she became New Zealand’s first podcast novelist, and she has voiced and produced Weaver’s Web, Chasing the Bard, Weather Child and Digital Magic as podiobooks. Her podcasts have been short listed for the Parsec Awards, and won a Sir Julius Vogel award.

Philippa is the author of the Books of the Order series with Ace- Geist and Spectyr and Wrayth out now, and Harbinger to follow. She is also the co-author of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series with Tee Morris. Phoenix Rising debuted in May 2011 and The Janus Affair came out in May 2012. She also has the Shifted World series with Pyr Books, with the first book Hunter and Fox out now.
When not writing or podcasting, Philippa loves reading, gardening, and whenever possible traveling. With her husband, Tee and her daughter, she is looked after by a mighty clowder of three cats.

Tee Morris

Tee Morris began his writing career with his 2002 historical epic fantasy, MOREVI The Chronicles of Rafe & Askana. In 2005 Tee took MOREVI into the then-unknown podosphere, making his novel the first book podcast in its entirety. That experience led to the founding of and collaborating with Evo Terra and Chuck Tomasi on Podcasting for Dummies and its follow-up, Expert Podcasting Practices for Dummies. He won acclaim and accolades for his cross-genre fantasy-detective Billibub Baddings Mysteries, the podcast of The Case of the Singing Sword winning him the 2008 Parsec Award for Best Audio Drama. Along with those titles, Tee has written articles and short stories for BenBella Books’s Farscape Forever: Sex, Drugs, and Killer Muppets, the podcast anthology VOICES: New Media Fiction, BenBella Books’ So Say We All: Collected Thoughts and Opinions of Battlestar Galactica, and Dragon Moon Press’ Podthology: The Pod Complex.

Tee brought all these skills to the award-winning Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series which he wrote with his wife, Pip Ballantine. When he is not writing, Tee enjoys life in Virginia alongside Philippa Ballantine, his daughter, and three cats.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

#Thursday Review - Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan (Young Adult, Fantasy)

Series: Reign of Shadows # 1
Format: E-Galley, 304 pages
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet

Reign of Shadows
, by Sophie Jordan, could be considered the retelling of Rapunzel, but with a twisted take on the main protagonist. It is a world where eternal darkness has been in effect for the last seventeen years thanks to an Eclipse. Coincidentally, that is also the age of Princess Luna, the surviving daughter of the former King of Relhok. Reign of Shadows has been compared to everything from Rapunzel, to Pitch Black, to Daredevil. The former two being because Luna is portrayed as being blind her whole life. 

Reign of Shadows is told in alternating first person narratives between Luna, and a boy named Fowler. More about him shortly. Luna's life hasn't been all that easy. From barely surviving the night of a thousand knives, to being spirited away by her caretakers Perla and Sivo, to living in a far off tower deep in the Black Woods that is famous for being cursed. Her guardians are extremely protective of Luna, and for good reason. If the secret of her survival ever got out, the fake King would waste every resource he has in order to kill her. 

So, Luna does what any overprotective teenager her age would do. She escapes into the night, and ends up saving the mysterious Fowler and two others from creatures called Dwellers who rule the night. Some of the most outspoken reviewers I know have complained about Luna being a special snow flake. I think we need to take 3 steps back and take a deep breath. Fine, Luna has some mad skills even though she is blind. But, what we are forgetting, is that she has been trained by Sivo from an early age to hunt, and to survive, and to use her remaining senses for all they're worth. 

So, when the author says she has keen senses, who are we to disagree? Did you bitch and moan about Daredevil? Why is it that female protagonists are expected to take the walk of shame back into the darkness because we haven't walked a mile in her shoes and don't believe this is possible? You do know this is fantasy, right? Alas, I am going to swallow my pride about insta-love situations this time around. Think about it. Luna has been pretty much isolated her entire life. So, finding friendship and them romance with Fowler isn't all that shocking, right?

Now, Fowler. Fowler isn't all that hard to review. He is the son of a powerful man. No spoilers! He's seen and done things that Luna can't hold a candle to. He's lost someone he loves, and had enough. So, finding him in the forest on a journey to a far off land is just plain coincidental. Accepting fate by taking Luna with him on that journey, is just good for the soul. Jordan does a decent job of keeping up the angst between Luna and Fowler for a large portion of the story. Then, events bring the two together. What more do I need to say? Oh, yeah, there is a helluva cliffhanger ending!  

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

#Wednesday Review - Traveler by Arwen Elys Dayton (Young Adult, Science Fiction)

Series: Seeker # 2
Format: Hardcover, 448 pages
Release Date: January 12, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Quin Kincaid is a Seeker. Her legacy is an honor, an ancient role passed down for generations. But what she learned on her oath night changed her world forever.

Quin pledged her life to deception. Her legacy as a Seeker is not noble but savage. She was trained to be an assassin. And the boy she once loved is out for vengeance, with her family in his sights.  

Yet Quin is not alone. Shinobu, her oldest companion, might now be the only person she can trust. The only one who wants answers as desperately as she does.

But the deeper they dig into the past, the darker things become. There are long-vanished Seeker families, shadowy alliances, and something else: a sinister plan begun generations ago with the power to end the legacy forever.

And it might destroy them all.

Traveler is the second installment in Arwen Elys Dayton's Seeker series. It has been several weeks since Quin Kincaid, Shinobu MacBain, and John Hart survived the crash of the air ship Traveler in London. For Quin, her entire outlook of what being a Seeker is, has been fundamentally changed since she took the oath and became what was once a proud tradition. No longer does she feel that a Seekers job is honorable. In fact, it is anything but that thanks to her own father Briac Kincaid, and the Middle Dread's actions in pitting Seeker against Seeker, and strange boys who move like Seekers, but really aren't, against Seeker in a battle of wits, strategy and deceit

Traveler is actually told in numerous third person narratives. From Quin, Shinobu, John, Catherine Hart (her past exploits), Maud, the Youngest Dread, to a boy named Nott, who is one of the Middle Dreads pet projects.  I have to say that my favorite chapters were from Catherine's perspective. This is a woman who was a Seeker, married due to family obligations, all while digging deep into the misguided and wrongful actions of the Middle Dread which caused her life to be shortened. Her exploits include being with Shinobu's mother Mariko, who also was once a Seeker. Catherine was a brave lady in everything she did. She tried to bring honesty and integrity back to the Seekers, and now, her own son John, and Quin Kincaid, are following in her footsteps.

Traveler picks up its pace after Quin and Shinobu, who is slowly healing from his injuries, are attacked by two mysterious boys demanding that they give back the Athame that Maud, the Young Dread gave to Quin aboard the Traveler. The Athame is an ancient implement that has dials that can transport a Seeker to specific places in time. Each of the 10 original families had one, but they have slowly and mysteriously disappeared like the families themselves. This is what Catherine was searching for. This is what Quin and John are now searching for.

I have to rip the bandage off quickly before I go any further. I am pretty sure I spoke about my hatred for Shinobu due to his incessant need to lose himself in a variety of drugs. Even his own mother has washed her hands clean of his actions knowing that eventually, it will lead to his demise. So, what does Dayton do? Gives him yet another addiction to fall prey to. This time a focal which is supposed to calm the person wearing it, and give them clarity. Yeah, good luck with that! I don't mind the romance between Shinobu and Quin. After all, he never tried to kill her like John. But, I do hope that Dayton can make up for his actions in the final chapters. 

Speaking of John, he has turned into a rather decent character after his actions in Seeker. Yes, he has plenty of regrets when it comes to his actions towards Quin, who he once loved. Now, he's found a purpose and a trainer so that he can finally walk in the same footsteps as his mother. I liked these scenes the next best because there is something between John and Maud whether we get to that point or not. Maud and John are each searching for answers. Maud has become fully aware of the Middle's deceit, while teaching John the fundamentals of being a good Seeker like the one's who once stood for the weak and wronged and stood up to the shadow world.

Quin and Shinobu once again have the most action packed scenes. From Hong Kong to Scotland, to THERE, they continually face off against the Watchers who demand that Quin return the Middle's athame to them.  They, like John, are also searching for answers and a path to correct her father's misguided path. But, they also have the dastardly job of being the ones with the cliffhanger ending, and a heart breaking one thanks to Shinobu. Not going to sugar coat it. 

The final installment in the trilogy, Disruptor, will release in the Spring of 2017. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

#Tuesday Review - Raging Sea by Michael Buckley (Young Adult, Science Fiction)

Series: Undertow # 2
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

In the first book of Michael Buckley’s Undertow trilogy, the Alpha arrived and the world was never the same. At the start of the second book, most of south Brooklyn is in ruins and the nation is terrified. Nearly everyone that Lyric Walker loves is either missing or presumed dead, including the mesmerizing prince Fathom. It’s up to Lyric to unite the Alpha before the second wave of a cataclysmic invasion wipes out mankind for good

Raging Sea is the second installment in Michael Buckley's Undertow series. In the weeks following the end of Undertow, 17-year old Lyric Walker, her best friend Rebecca "Bex" Conrad, and Titan clan member Arcade, went on the run. Lyric is on the FBI's most wanted list, and is being labeled as the Coney Island Terrorist. Funny since she and others actually tried to save her home of Coney Island from an invading force lead by the Prime and his deranged consort Minerva! 

Now, with family and friends missing, or captured by a group called Tempest, Lyric will travel from Coney Island to Texas in an attempt to break them loose. The problem with being infamous and supposedly responsible for creating the Tidal Wave that destroyed Coney Island, is that Lyric can't go anywhere without being noticed. Especially wearing a metal glove on her hand. Dead broke and living in cars they steal, Lyric, Bex, and Arcade end up in some interesting situations which leads to conflicts and second guessing. 

Lyric has some issues to resolve with almost everyone in this book. Bex doesn't like her plan; Arcade thinks Lyric is weak and not focused enough on the plan, and then there is Fathom, who, spoiler alert! is alive and at the Tempest camp. He is a much different character than the first book. I would call him a calibratorShe also has to deal with Doyle, who she thought was an ally, and Donovan Spangler the head of White Tower contractors. 

A rather large part of this story happens after Lyric reaches Texas, and discovers that Doyle is not who she think he is. In fact, once Lyric reaches the Tempest Compound, things don't go at all how she planned. She's treated as an animal, they try to use similair techniques to those who are labeled as terrorists, and she has a major shock coming when she discovers that she is once again a pawn in someone else's game.

It is unfortunate, for me, that Lyric ends up in a mess with her romantic interests. After discovering that Fathom is alive, well, let's not spoil that. She's been fighting Arcade over Fathom for awhile, and that just takes up too much of my time to explain. I will say that things get more interesting with a boy from Lyric's hometown, Riley, ends up at the Tempest camp and she has to train him. He is a major flirt, and has eyes only for Lyric. Kind of crazy how Buckley uses a bit of comedy relief with Lyric saying she wants no part in love triangles. Of course she doesn't!

Shocking enough, this book ends on a major kick me in the head cliffhanger. Luckily, readers only have to wait until November to read the sequel called Heart of the Storm.