Saturday, August 30, 2014

*Gizmos Book Reviews* The Unbound (The Archived #2) by Victoria Schwab


Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Last summer, Mackenzie Bishop, a Keeper tasked with stopping violent Histories from escaping the Archive, almost lost her life to one. Now, as she starts her junior year at Hyde School, she's struggling to get her life back. But moving on isn't easy -- not when her dreams are haunted by what happened. She knows the past is past, knows it cannot hurt her, but it feels so real, and when her nightmares begin to creep into her waking hours, she starts to wonder if she's really safe. 

Meanwhile, people are vanishing without a trace, and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mackenzie. She's sure the Archive knows more than they are letting on, but before she can prove it, she becomes the prime suspect. And unless Mac can track down the real culprit, she'll lose everything, not only her role as Keeper, but her memories, and even her life. Can Mackenzie untangle the mystery before she herself unravels?
*My Thoughts*

The Unbound picks up 3 weeks after the end of The Archived. 16-year old Keeper MacKenzie Bishop is back and this time around, she faces new challenges with attending a new school, meeting a new circle of friends, keeping her Keeper duties without shirking them or being altered by Agatha, dealing with her relationship with Wesley Ayers, and facing the possibility that she she can't trust her own mind to make the distinction between reality and dreams. 

When several different people disappear without a trace, Mac becomes aware of one similarity; they each made contact with MacKenzie. With that in mind, Mac decides to do her own investigation which puts strain on her relationship with Wesley, her superiors at the Archive who want to know what she is hiding, and her parents who truly believe she's losing touch with who she really is.

Even though it has been 3 weeks since Owen Clarke disappeared, and Mac was cleared of any wrong doing, she continues to have vivid dreams of Owen killing her. Could the Archives have messed with her mind, especially Agatha? Or, is Owen still alive, and hunting MacKenzie like a bargain hunter hunts for cheap deals? 

The Unbound is a total mind trip. You need to take reality and toss it out the window while reading this story and just let your imagination go along with what Schwab has written. For much of the story, we really don't know for sure if MacKenzie is losing her mind, or if the Archives scrambled her memories, or if Owen really truly is alive and determined to ensure that Mac suffers for her actions in the Archived. 

A whole lot rides on the readers ability to wade through the facts through MacKenzie's POV. One harsh fact is that being a Keeper, isn't all that cracked up to be, and there will be personal challenges along the way. I love the relationship between Mac and Roland, whereas Mac's relationship with the rest of the Archive is tenuous and strained at best.

I admit that Mac is an interesting character even though she does have a bad habit of leaving everyone, including Wesley, out of the loop in times of trouble. As a Keeper, she hunts down rogue Histories and also can read memories which comes in handy when searching for clues as to why people have disappeared. Mac has faced a boat load of challenges from her younger brother being killed, to her grandfathers death, to facing her own mortality, and nearly losing Wesley to Owen. In the face of danger, Mac puts up a brave face, or what one would call her armor to keep the bad things from consuming her entirely.

I do believe the one complaint most readers will have with The Unbound, is the lack of a real romance between Wesley and Mac. While I understand the reasoning for it, and presume that if there IS a third book, the couple's relationship will be explored further, I didn't miss it. I was more interested in the dynamics between the Crew and Mac, Mac and Agatha, Mac and her new friends, and Mac and her parents who actually act like parents, and not just drive by stiffs who care nothing about their remaining child.

When I read this on Goodreads, "Schwab has said on numerous occasions that she plans to write the third book, though she doesn't know the format it will be released in, but nothing else has been confirmed." I was kind of stunned and disappointed to learn that a third book hasn't been written yet.

We are also in an age where Publishers want the most out of their dollars, and therefore if sales are not what they expected, they abandon the series entirely and let readers know that they don't matter in the long run. Let's hope that Schwab is given the opportunity to write a final novel even if it comes out later in 2015. I think Mac and Wesley desire one last story.

Title - The Unbound (The Archived # 2)Author - Victoria SchwabPublished by HyperionReleased: January 28, 2014Genre: Young Adult ParanormalFormat: Hardcover 368 pages

Friday, August 29, 2014

*Stacking the Shelves* Good-bye, August! Hello, September!

Stacking the Shelves for the week of August 17 thru August 30, 2014

Welcome back! 
Thank you for stopping by! Your continued support is definitely appreciated! Once again, this is my haul for the past (2) weeks.  To say that the past 2 weeks was anything but amazing, would be like saying chocolate tastes pretty damn good. I am sure a bunch of us ran right over to Edelweiss on Thursday like a bunch of crazy people, and downloaded, or requested a whole lot of books. I am desperately trying to behave. No, really I am! 

On with the show! I hope you find something that appeals to you!

Borrowed via Library 

Received via Edelweiss - Pocket Books

Received via Edelweiss 
Katherine Tegen Books, HarperTeen, and Balzer + Brey





Received via NetGalley
Random House (Lovesweep), Orbit Books, Harlequin Teen, Algonquin Books,
and Random House (Del Rey Spectra)


Stalked Amazon for low freebies, and cheapies!


*Gizmos Book Reviews* Rebel Nation (Viral Nation #2) by Shaunta Grimes

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


Clover Donovan didn’t set out to start a revolution—quiet, autistic, and brilliant, she’s always followed the rules. But that was before they forced her into service for the Time Mariners. Before they condemned her brother to death, compelling him to flee the city to survive. Before she discovered terrifying secrets about The Company.

Clover and the Freaks, her ragtag resistance group, are doing their best to spread the rebellion and stay under The Company’s radar. But when their hideout is discovered, they are forced, once again, to run. Only this time, The Company has special plans for Clover, plans that could risk her life and stop the uprising in its tracks.

*My Thoughts*

Shaunta Grimes has created a world that is interesting as well as dangerous. It is a world where a major plague nearly destroyed humanity. Now, the survivors, who live mostly within the confines of walled cities like Reno, are expected to get a daily dosages of a suppressant that is said to control the return of the plague.

The Viral Nation series uses Time Travel as a way to control the populations safety, a kind of Minority Report, if you will. While the Viral Nation series is NOT filled with zombies, or maddening creatures that attack humans willy nilly, it does have a wonderful cast of characters that you can lean on in times of heart break and trouble.  

Rebel Nation picks up several months after the end of Viral Nation. Rebel Nation has less time traveling, but with more emphasis on the growing rebellion against the Waverly-Stead Company, and the determination of one man to keep what he believes is his. In Viral Nation, readers learned the real truth behind the suppressant the Company created, the cost to society, and how it there is an alternative. But, the question remains why The Company is so focused on 16-year old Clover Donovan that they would stop at nothing to control her, and keep her as one of the Time Messengers. 

One of the best things about the Viral Nation series is that Shaunta Grimes has focused a lot of her attention on Clover, a girl who is autistic. Grimes doesn't bury or smooth over the bad things. There are times that Clover is fully functional, while other times, she needs the help of her trusty dog Mango, as well as Jude Degas's calming influence on her. I fully support Grimes in this endeavor, and hope that others take notice that even kids with disabilities, can be strong, loving, kickass characters to read about.

Clover is definitely not your average heroine who rages against the machine, and then battles from the trenches against the villains with guns blazing, and swords as her back-up. Clover uses her intellect, logic, and her mind to figure things out before anyone else does. She speaks up, and doesn't waffle in her determination to find the secret behind The Company. She's the main focus point of several factions, but we really haven't uncovered the reasoning behind it even after TWO books.  

It is hard, at times, not to want to scream at self-sacrificing characters, and in this case, Clover's choice in the end was not something I would agree with or imagined it would go that way. I feel as though she is clearly heading in a direction that needs more explaining, and understandably, I am hoping that Grimes enlightens us in the next installment, and doesn't leave us hanging for another year. One could also say that I am over-examining the situation, and that because this is Clover we are talking about, everything will be fine in the end.

Rebel Nation is told in the third person POV by Clover, Jude Degas, James Donovan, West Donovan, and Langston Bennett. James has some issues that needs to be resolved, and I hope that when all is said and done, he can find peace once again with his kids. His lived with a major regret for 16 years, and I can't imagine what I would have done in his place. If anyone needs a moment, it is West Donovan. At 20, he's become the de facto leader of the Freaks, while trying really hard to keep his sister away from Langston Bennett. West is under so much stress, and pressure, that I am encouraged by the fact that he hasn't walked away, and threw up his arms in frustration.

I knew Bennett was a hard case from reading Viral Nation, but this time out, Wow, he may have gone even deeper to the dark side. I can't imagine any place where Clover would consider herself safe. But, being around and under Bennett's control is like bringing the sheep to the slaughter. Jude is an interesting character. I think the best thing I can say about Jude is that he keeps Cover calm, and their relationship is a bit on the adorable side. Jude and the Foster City kids perhaps don't get enough attention, but when they do, it counts and it matters.  

As a reader, I am always on the look out for new and exciting stories to read. I am interested in world building that astounds, fascinating characters who aren't overly selfish and boring, and a story that is driven by a well drawn out plot that doesn't leave me wanting to run away screaming in agony upon finishing the book. Mission Accomplished. Rebel Nation expands on Viral Nation by adding depth, gravity, and mystery to the storyline. I am definitely on board for the next installment!

Title - Rebel Nation (Viral Nation # 2)
Author - Shaunta Grimes
Published by Penguin/Berkley Trade
Released: July 1, 2014
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic
Format: E-Book 320 pages

*Gizmos Reviews Spotlight* Author Kristen Callihan's THE HOOK UP with giveaway!

Book Information

Title: The Hook Up
Author: Kristen Callihan
Release Date: September 8, 2014
Genre: New Adult

Pre-order Link


The rules: no kissing on the mouth, no staying the night, no telling anyone, and above all… No falling in love

Anna Jones just wants to finish college and figure out her life. Falling for star quarterback Drew Baylor is certainly not on her to do list. Confident and charming, he lives in the limelight and is way too gorgeous for his own good. If only she could ignore his heated stares and stop thinking about doing hot and dirty things with him. Easy right?

Too bad he’s committed to making her break every rule…

Football has been good to Drew. It’s given him recognition, two National Championships, and the Heisman. But what he really craves is sexy yet prickly Anna Jones. Her cutting humor and blatant disregard for his fame turns him on like nothing else. But there’s one problem: she's shut him down. Completely.

That is until a chance encounter leads to the hottest sex of their lives, along with the possibility of something great. Unfortunately, Anna wants it to remain a hook up. Now it’s up to Drew to tempt her with more: more sex, more satisfaction, more time with him. Until she’s truly hooked. It's a good thing Drew knows all about winning.

All’s fair in love and football…Game on


My mother once told me that the most important moment in my life wouldn’t be when I won the National Championship or even the Super Bowl. It would be when I fell in love.

Life, she insisted, is how you live it and who you live it with, not what you do to make a living. Given that she told me this when I was sixteen, I basically rolled my eyes and worked on practicing my pass fakes.

But my mother was insistent.

“You’ll see, Drew. One day, love will creep up and smack you upside the head. Then you’ll understand.”

My mom, it turns out, was wrong in one regard. Love, when it came for me, did not creep. No, it walked up to me, bold as you please, you know, just in case I wasn’t paying attention. It did, however, slap me upside my head.

And while I’d be happy to tell my mom that she was right about that, she’s dead. A fact that hurts even more now that I’ve been struck down. More like shot down. Cut off at the knees. Totally fucked. Whatever you want to call this disaster. Because the object of my affection hates me.

I am man enough to acknowledge that the cluster fuck that is my current love life is entirely my fault. I wasn’t prepared for Anna Jones.

I still cringe at the memory of when I first laid eyes on her at the beginning of the semester. Being late for class, I’d rushed to a seat in the back row, and was trying to remain unnoticed. I can’t go anywhere on campus without getting attention. And though it sounds like an awesome thing, it gets tiring.

When the roll call reached the back row, a soft voice, rich and thick as maple syrup, slid over me.

“Anna Jones.”

Just her name. That was all she’d said. It was like a hot finger stroking down my spine. My head snapped up. And there she was, so fucking pretty that I couldn’t think straight. I might as well have been sacked.

Breathless, my head ringing, I could only gape. I’m not going to say it was love at first sight. No, it was more like oh, hell-yes-please, I’ll have that. With a helping of right-the-fuck-now on the side.

Thinking maybe I was overtired and simply overreacting to something that wasn’t really there, I stared at Anna Jones and tried to make sense of my extreme reaction.

As if feeling my gaze, she’d turned, and fucking hell… Her eyes were wide, almost cat-like, with the corners tilting up just a bit. At first, those eyes appeared brown, but they were really bottle green. And so clear. And annoyed. She glared at me. I didn’t care. One word was playing a loop in my head: mine.

I don’t remember the rest of the class. I watched Anna Jones like a condemned man getting his last view of the setting sun. While she tried to ignore me. Admirably.

The second class ended I shot up, and so did she. We nearly collided in the middle of the aisle. And then it all fell to shit.

Author Biography

Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather do. She is a three-time RITA nominee, and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.

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