It is Monday again, and the beginning of the final week of Something Wicked Returns. I hope you are prepared for a fantastic finish! There are still plenty of treats for those willing to spook for books. In fact, I have the stops you need to visit today:
Ginny@Gin's Book Notes: Robyn Peterman: Fashionably Dead
Here on Rainy Day Ramblings, I am super excited to welcome back author Sarah Fine. I first introduced Sarah last year during Wicked, she visited with her debut novelSanctum. For those of you who are regular readers, you know that I am a big fan of this little book. I feel in love with the outstanding world building and phenomenal characters..... Malachi... enough said! Anyway, I absolutely loved Sanctum, it ended up on my list of favorites for 2012. I shouted about this book to
everyone who would listen, and I was delighted to find that for my efforts, Sarah even mentions me and a few fellow bloggers at the end of Fractured! So you can imagine I was thrilled to have Sarah back this year with the sequel Fractured. If you have not yet checked out this series, I urge you to do so! Sarah is here today with her list of fears, but before we get to the scary stuff, let me tell you a bit more about Sarah:
Sarah Fine was born on the West Coast, raised in the Midwest, and is now firmly entrenched on the East Coast, where she lives with her husband and two children. When she's not writing, she's working as a child psychologist. No, she is not psychoanalyzing you right now. SANCTUM is her first novel. She also writes with Walter Jury under the name S.E. Fine, and their YA sci-fi thriller, SCAN, comes out in 2014. Visit her website for details, also find Sarah on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Goodreads.
Here is Sarah:
My neuroses don’t center on animals, clowns, heights, blood and gore, public speaking, or anything like that. Really, there’s one theme that encapsulates my biggest fears and aversions: being constrained, crushed, or immobilized-- physically or mentally.
For the sake of brevity and sanity, I’m going to stick to my physical fears, but for each of the things listed below, there’s a mental equivalent that I’m equally terrified of.
I’ll start at the lowest level of this little fear hierarchy and move up!
Level 1: Unexpected touch or restraint. If someone unexpectedly grabs my arm, I tend to rear back pretty quickly and dramatically. I’ve always been this way. I also detest wearing scarves, necklaces, and turtlenecks. I hate when things are pressing on my throat. And uninvited hugs? Er …
Level 2: Crowds. I was recently at Comic Con. As I walked the super-crowded aisles between booths, my brain was filled with “FLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!” whenever someone bumped into or pushed past me. Now, usually, I can tolerate it. Especially when the Bad Robot is standing only a few feet away. But whenever possible, I avoid or escape those situations.
Level 3: This one has two parts, and I’m equally freaked out by both.
A. Being completely immobilized. The idea of being utterly helpless, unable to move or defend myself, is absolutely chilling to me. Being paralyzed, bound, whatever--not being able to control ME makes my heart race. It’s … actually so scary to me that I can’t write any more about it. Here’s a visual:
B. Actually being crushed. Several years ago, I was driving on a rainy, icy highway when a semi-truck decided it would be awesome to turn left across three lanes of traffic in front of me. I tried to stop, but my car went UNDER the semi, and its rear wheels collided with the driver’s side. The passenger side wheels buckled, and we slid along the ground, pushed by the semi’s rear tires.
The firefighters told my sister (who was next to me) and I that we should buy lottery tickets, because we walked away. Some people in these kinds of accidents are decapitated. BUT--for months after, I couldn’t stop thinking about what would have happened if the semi’s rear wheels had gained traction on the side of my car and rolled OVER me. I would have been crushed. The thoughts would come over me at random times, almost like it was happening--the squealing and crumpling of metal as it enclosed me--and my whole body would tense and shiver. But it wasn’t a memory--it was a what if.
And I wondered: how long would it have taken me to die?
I know, so morbid. But being squeezed and crushed like that is the most horrific thing I can think of. And, if you’ve read Sanctum, you’ll know I can think of some pretty horrific stuff.
Now … care to share your fears?
Thanks for that visual of the snake crushing the mouse... NOT! I am well aware of Sarah's ability to dream up dark fears after reading Sanctum! Sarah has a treat for all you lucky readers today! She is offering a chance to win a copy of Fractured along with a "Hell is a state of mind" wristband to one lucky winner. Sarah is making this giveaway International! So be sure to say thank you! To enter read the Contest Policies and fill out the Rafflecopter.
Here is my review:
Fractured(Guards of the Shadowlands #2) by Sarah Fine
In the week since Lela returned to Rhode Island as Captain of the Guard with Malachi as her second in command, local news has been dominated by chilling sightings of human-like creatures running on all fours. Lela knows there’s only one explanation: the Mazikin have arrived in the land of the living.
Needing to maintain the appearance of a normal life for her foster mother, her probation officer, and her classmates, Lela returns to Warwick High along with Malachi. At night they secretly hunt for the Mazikin nest. To assist, two new Guards from very different parts of the Shadowlands are assigned to Lela’s unit, including the bad boy Jim, who repeatedly challenges Lela's authority. Lela struggles to keep all her Guards on the right side of the law, but their mistakes come at a terrible cost.
As one painful revelation follows another and the Mazikin start targeting those closest to her, Lela finds herself more vulnerable than she’s ever been, wanting a future more than she ever has. With an enemy determined to separate soul from body, one question remains: how much is she willing to sacrifice to protect those she loves?
Hardcover, 357 pages
Expected publication: October 29th 2013 by Skyscape
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Four and a half stars: A spectacular sequel with stupendous action!
Lela is thrilled to be back at home, plugged into her normal life after her terrifying journey to the Shadowlands. It is especially nice to have Malachi at her side. However, the relief is short lived as Lela and Malachi discover that the Mazikin are invading the land of the living. It is up to Lela, who is now the Captain, and her team of three to hunt down the Mazikin and prevent them from spreading. Unfortunately, the Mazikin are more organized and they are intent on targeting not only Lela and her team, but everyone around them whom they care about. Can Lela and Malachi stop the Mazikin before they possess those they love?
What I Liked:
- Once again, I was astounded at the complexity, creativity, originality and astounding world building in Ms. Fine's work. In Sanctum, Ms. Fine took us on a frightening journey to the dark and terrifying Shadowlands. This time, I was relieved to find that the story was in the land of the living, perhaps it wouldn't be too scary. Wrong! The Mazikin are even more horrible and evil in the real world. It is one thing to fight them in the Shadowlands where it is an everyday battle, but quite another to take them on in our world. Lela soon finds that she must battle these demons while trying to keep a low profile so she doesn't arouse suspicion from the local authorities. The team can't be caught murdering the Mazikin because to everyone else they appear human. Once the creatures start targeting those closest to Lela and Malachi, the stakes are raised and the team is fighting for their lives and everyone they care about. The action is top notch and thrilling. Don't think for one minute just because they have escaped the Shadowlands that things will be easier.
- I loved meeting Lela and Malachi in the first book, and I was excited to catch up with them. Lela especially has grown and changed so much since we first met her. These days she is a capable, courageous leader who can hold her own in a deadly battle. She is forced to make tough choices, but she does it without complaint. Time and time again, she thrusts herself into the thick of danger without thinking twice. She is incredibly fierce, and I loved watching her fight. Malachi is loyal, kind and wonderful, however he does experience a bit of regret and he is a bit more aloof. I still loved him to pieces, though.
- I was intrigued by the world building. When Lela and Malachi meet the other two members of their team, Jim and Henry, they learn that there are additional levels of Hell. Jim comes from a land that is inhabited by all those who are suffering from addictions known as The Blinding City. Henry is from a desert land, The Wastelands, that seems to be the homeland for the Mazikin as well as other horrible monsters. It was interesting to discover these different lands of Hell and it made me wonder how many of these desolate landscapes make up the layers of Hell. I am excited to know more.
- I enjoyed watching the members of the team, Malachi, Lela and even Jim establish new relationships not only amongst each other but also with their classmates. Lela learns that the people she attends school with are not as bad as she once thought them to be, and soon she finds that she can even be friends with them. I liked watching her let go of her past prejudices in order to form new friendships. The newly found friendship between Lela and Tegan was entertaining. I adored Ian, and if my heart weren't already claimed by Malachi, I would have certainly given it to Ian.
- The story is again amazing with its depth and complexity. Just when you think you have it figured out, Lela learns some startling new truths, and by the end I was completely confused all over again as to why Lela and Malachi were on this mission and who the Judge in the Sanctum really was. I can only wait anxiously for the next book for more answers.
And The Not So Much:
- The only reason this book did not earn the coveted five star rating was because it ends on a jarring, anxiety inducing cliffhanger. It left me practically screaming for resolution. How could you be so cruel to end the book on that horrific note? It will be a long wait until the next book!
- The romance was a bit frustrating this time around. The budding romance between Malachi and Lela in the first book was shining perfection as far as romance goes. I absolutely loved watching the two go from enemies, to friends and then something more. It was beautiful and breathtaking and everything you love in a good romance. In this sophomore novel, the romance grows through some growing pains as Malachi realizes that his overwhelming urges to protect Lela no matter what cloud his judgement. This causes him to make a costly error that sends him spiraling into guilt and regret. Consequently, he ends up pulling back and the two are distant for a good portion of the book. It was hard to watch, but on the other hand, it was realistic, and I appreciated that the couple had to endure some hardship. It will hopefully only make it all the better once things settle out.
- This book is marketed as a YA title, but I feel it is almost a better fit for the NA genre. Mostly because the subject matter of the book is dark and there is quite a bit of violence as well as some adult language. I would recommend this for older teens and mature readers.
- I cannot recommend reading this series out of order. There is not much recap and without reading Sanctum, you will be utterly lost.
Fractured is a satisfying sequel. It amps up the story line and provides plenty of action and danger. The characters show growth and maturation as they endure both physical and emotional assaults. Be warned, it ends on a jaw dropping cliffhanger that will leave you begging for the next book! The Guards of the Shadowlands without a doubt is one of my favorite series. I highly recommend you check out these books immediately!
"I would love nothing more than that. To have a job. A home. A family. To wake on a Sunday and choose to stay in bed with my love warm beside me. To chase my children around the backyard. To watch them grow and know that they would have that chance. That it could not be taken from them."
"The human capacity for self-delusion is limitless."
"How he was the first and only person who had ever told me he loved me. And even if that wasn't true anymore, it had changed the shape of my heart and carved itself into the marrow of my bones. It had created a space in which my own feelings could grow, and they had, and that couldn't be changed now, no matter how beautiful and good the boy in front of me was."
"You love who you love."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
See you back on Wednesday with Cambria Hebert's Tease.
There is still time to enter almost all the giveaways so click on the Wicked button and get to it!