The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong – The Gathering
The blurb: Maya Delaney has always felt a close bond with nature. The woods around her home are a much-loved sanctuary and the pawprint birthmark on her hip feels like a sign that she belongs. But then strange and terrible things begin to happen in the tiny medical-research town of Salmon Creek!

My rating: 4/5
Tagged: young adult, paranormal, urban fantasy, supernatural
Date I started this book: 21/02/2016
Date I finished this book 24/02/2016

What did I think? The Gathering is the first in a new young adult trilogy set in the same universe as Women of the Otherworld and is similar her The Darkest Powers trilogy. The small town where Maya lives is run by the St. Cloud family and she believes they’re working on top secret medical research. There’s a good chance that’s exactly what they’re doing, but established fans will know who the St. Clouds are even though they’ve not featured heavily in her other books.

The plot is fairly slow and I’m not sure if it will appeal to readers new to Kelley’s world. Personally, I love trying to make all the connections.

Sadly, the book doesn’t really finish. It’s designed as part one of a trilogy and it’s obvious at the end that there’s still much more to tell. I don’t mind this so much because I’ve already started book two

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The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong – The Reckoning
The blurb: Chloe Saunders is fifteen and would love to be normal. Unfortunately, Chloe happens to be a genetically engineered necromancer who can raise the dead without even trying. She and her equally gifted (or should that be ‘cursed’?) friends are now running for their lives from the evil corporation that created them.

As if that’s not enough, Chloe is struggling with her feelings for Simon, a sweet-tempered sorcerer, and his brother Derek, a not so sweet-tempered werewolf. And she has a horrible feeling she’s leaning towards the werewolf…

Definitely not normal.

My rating: 4/5
Tagged: young adult, paranormal, urban fantasy, supernatural
Date I started this book: 17/02/2016
Date I finished this book 20/02/2016

What did I think? Chloe, Derek, Simon and Tori have escaped the catches of the Edison Group with the help of Andrew. A former employee of the Edison Group, and a friend of the boys’ dad, he and a small group of other ex-employees want to stop the experiments the EG are performing and feel the kids may just have the information they need to do so. But Chloe and her friends are cautious. They’ve been through a lot, escaped and been caught repeatedly, and betrayed by those they trusted completely already, is Andrew’s offer of help too good to be true? And even if it is, do they have a choice about staying with him?

I liked the previous two books in this trilogy, but I didn’t love them. I always felt like they were lacking something. But this one I liked a lot more. It felt smoother, like the series really hit its stride. It’s well-paced with a fair bit of action and some good twists and turns. A couple of things along the way I really didn’t see coming.

The love triangle between Chloe and the brothers, Derek and Simon, played out really well and I love how it worked out. Chloe grew up a lot through this book and it really showed. Not to mention she finally learned to stand up for herself. Aside from Chloe, I felt Derek and Tori grew a fair bit through this last book as well making them that bit more ‘real’ to me. Simon is pretty much the same, but his character serves his purpose just fine, without being forgotten.

Aside from the romantic entanglements, the plot is not so cleanly wrapped up. The biggest things are dealt with, but not everything. Why? Because while this is a trilogy, it’s the first part of a series. The second trilogy is titled ‘Darkness Rising’ and follows different characters, subjects of a different Edison Group project. I’m just starting the first of them, The Gathering, and hope we do get to see more of Chloe and her friends.

Back to this book. While there are certain things left open-ended, the majority of plot threads are tied up in this book, or at least enough to give a satisfying conclusion. I would have liked a little more in some ways, but given this is actually the start of a series, which has at least three more books to go, I can’t really expect it to be all tied up.

The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong – The Awakening
The blurb: You don’t have to be alive to be awakened.

Chloe Saunders is a living science experiment—not only can she see ghosts, but she was genetically altered by a sinister organization called the Edison Group. She’s a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control, which means she can raise the dead without even trying. Now Chloe’s running for her life with three of her supernatural friends—a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch—and they have to find someone who can help them before the Edison Group catches them.

Or die trying

My rating: 4/5
Tagged: young adult, paranormal, urban fantasy, supernatural
Date I started this book: 10/02/2016
Date I finished this book 16/02/2016

What did I think? The Summoning was so exciting and I was really looking forward to reading The Awakening. I’ve now read it, and I’m feeling a little disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong, the book itself wasn’t bad; the characters are just as awesome as they were before, the writing as just as good, there’s no fault there. I think my problem is with the plot. I haven’t read the third book in the series, The Reckoning, yet, obviously, but it felt to me like Kelley knew how the series was going to end, but couldn’t just start The Reckoning after The Summoning, so needed The Awakening as filler to bridge the gap. Not an awful lot happens for a book of its length. Before I knew it, I was over half way through, and still waiting for something important to the actual plot line from The Summoning.

I love the way Kelley writes; Chloe’s voice, thoughts and fears are just so fascinating, you don’t want to put the book down. I want to get to know Chloe, and the others, better because their lives and what they’re going through is just so clever. Chloe learns a little more about her necromancy ability in this book, and it’s kind of freaky just how far she can go. Tori has to face some harsh truths, and I can’t help but feel sorry for her, even when she is being a cow. Derek is so awesome, I swear; he’s strong, he’s brave, he’s self-sacrificing, he’s just brilliant! Simon is lovely, but he annoys me sometimes with just how nice he is. I know he likes Chloe, but he shouldn’t be so happy-cheery all the time, it’s grating. Liz is still one of my favourite characters, she’s just on the right side of quirky, and I love her! I am liking the hint of a love triangle that weaves its way throughout the book, though I know who I would choose.

They find out something huge about themselves in this book, and it puts them all on edge a little, though I can’t really go into why without spoiling a major plot point (which I would like to point out we find out at the beginning of the book). There is a fair amount of action, of the creepy ghost/zombie kind, dodging baddies kind, and fighting kind, and it’s all suspenseful and will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. Quite a bit of a thrill roller-coaster.

I’m really looking forward to reading The Reckoning

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong – The Summoning
The blurb: My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.

All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don’t even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost – and the ghost saw me.

Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won’t leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a “special home” for troubled teens. Yet the home isn’t what it seems. Don’t tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It’s up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House… before its skeletons come back to haunt me.

My rating: 4/5
Tagged: young adult, paranormal, urban fantasy, supernatural
Date I started this book: 03/02/2016
Date I finished this book 06/02/2016

What did I think? I thought The Summoning was a really thoroughly enjoyable read and am very much looking forward to reading the next two in the series.

The first chapter (which is a prologue featuring a young Chloe) had me hooked from the first page. It sets the tone for how this book is going to be, a bit creepy with lots of ideas left for you to get your head around. I really liked how it takes a while for the reader (and Chloe for that matter) to really grasp what is going on in this book. There is so much that is teased out slowly as the book goes on and Chloe gets so many mixed messages that she starts to doubt herself which means you as the reader do too.

Another thing I loved about this book was the characterisation. Chloe was a fab leading lady and enjoyed following her story but I also loved all of the other teenagers around her, even Tori was was a complete bitch to everyone. I loved the dialogue between them as it was often witty and amusing.

Once the book kicks off the action is fast paced and exciting. I loved finding out about the supernatural potentials of the main characters and delving more into the whys and wherefores of how they all ended up at Lyle house and why the place was built in the first place.

The ending was jaw dropping. I was stunned about what happened between two of the characters and when the book ended I wanted more straight away.

All in all an excellent start to a trilogy that I can’t wait to continue.

Across A Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

Diana Peterfreund – Across A Star-Swept Sea
The blurb: Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction—the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars—is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries’ weapon is a drug that damages their enemies’ brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.

On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo… is her most dangerous mission ever.

Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can’t risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he’s pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect.

In this thrilling adventure inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel, Diana Peterfreund creates an exquisitely rendered world where nothing is as it seems and two teens with very different pasts fight for a future only they dare to imagine.

My rating: 4/5
Tagged: young adult, dystopia, romance, science-fiction
Date I started this book: 03/02/2016
Date I finished this book 06/02/2016

What did I think? While I will always have a place in my heart for its companion novel For Darkness Shows the Stars, I must admit that Across A Star-Swept Sea really brought my love for Diana Peterfreund and her writing to new heights. Her characters are incredibly well-drawn, riddled with complexities and flaws that make them more human. But even more than that, her story is told fantastically, with twists and turns that will definitely blow readers away. The combination of these two elements set against a world that’s lovely, lush and very different from its predecessor is really what makes this novel such a phenomenal hit.

Persis is, by far, the strongest character in this novel, particularly because she leads a double life. Her unquestionable intelligence, and her ability to slip from one character into another, make her the perfect candidate to play the role of the Wild Poppy, who comes to the aid of those in need. She’s also a wonderful daughter and friend, who is loyal, kind and always willing to help those she loves. It was marvelous to see her capabilities shine in this book, even when faced with the most dire of situations. Persis Blake is most definitely kick-ass, and I absolutely adored her for it!

The story in this book is very clever, as it combines the romance, the Wild Poppy’s adventures and the political ties between the neighboring islands of Galatea and Albion. Having too many plot threads could have been potentially confusing, but Peterfreund certainly handles each one skillfully. With an equal balance of swoon-worthy moments with adorably nerdy Justen Helo, tense encounters as the Wild Poppy and revelations that caught me off guard, it’s no surprise that Across A Star-Swept Sea is one of my favorite reads this year.

For The Darkness Shows The Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Diana Peterfreund – For Darkness Shows the Stars
The blurb: Fans of Divergent will love Diana Peterfreund’s take on Jane Austen’s Persuasion set in a post-apocalyptic world.

In the dystopian future of For Darkness Shows the Stars, a genetic experiment has devastated humanity. In the aftermath, a new class system placed anti-technology Luddites in absolute power over vast estates—and any survivors living there.

Elliot North is a dutiful Luddite and a dutiful daughter who runs her father’s estate. When the boy she loved, Kai, a servant, asked her to run away with him four years ago, she refused, although it broke her heart.

Now Kai is back. And while Elliot longs for a second chance with her first love, she knows it could mean betraying everything she’s been raised to believe is right.

For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking YA romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

My rating: 4/5
Tagged: young adult, dystopia, romance, science-fiction
Date I started this book: 31/01/2016
Date I finished this book 02/02/2016

What did I think? With this book, for some reason, I had a preconceived idea of what this book was about. Upon hearing it was a Science Fiction/Post Apocalyptic retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, I thought I was sure I knew what I was getting into. I was initially caught off guard by a mood and setting of the book I wasn’t expecting to read. This at first had me reading this book much slower than it ought to have been read until I gave it a second chance. I’m glad I did! This book is a gorgeous Post Apocalyptic, yet refined retelling of a story you thought you knew.

I was initially not excited about the Austen-era propriety in the book, as I don’t usually associate it with Science Fiction. By the midway point I decided that it fit tone of the story and provided a really great contrast between technology and the ways of the stingy Luddites who want nothing to do with the technology that previously destroyed the human population. The world itself was absolutely gorgeous. Diana Peterfreund just has a way of describing the setting and setting up the mood of a story!

The characters of this book were so deeply written and rather heart-wrenching at times. The relationship of Elliot and Kai was written really well. It wasn’t too lovey-dovey, but rather thoughtful and powerful, crossing the boundaries of their society. The social boundaries in this book are much deeper than upper and lower class. The Reduction was an event in the book’s past where humans experiments with genetic enhancement went horribly wrong and all who survived became ‘Reduced’ to the mental capacity of a young child. I loved this controversial subject and I think it’s horrifyingly believable!

I would recommend this book to people who have a taste for unique worlds and love the artful language. It’s definitely a unique but well-executed contribution to the post apocalyptic genre.

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

Rick Yancey – The Infinite Sea
The blurb: The riveting follow-up to the New York Times bestselling The 5th Wave, hailed by Justin Cronin as “wildly entertaining.”

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

My rating: 4/5
Tagged: dystopia, science-fiction, young adult
Date I started this book: 27/01/2016
Date I finished this book 29/01/2016

What did I think? This is really quite short. It feels incomplete, and not just because it’s the middle book. I found it compelling and read it quickly, but I feel like it needs a lot more exposition.

The motivation of whoever it is that’s done this thing to the Earth is still completely baffling. The different explanations really haven’t made sense and have left more questions than answers.
I also feel that some of the characters could have been more developed, I don’t feel I know them any more than at the end of the first book. There are a characters who are clearly gonners with all the classic pointers to their gonner status through the story, yet other characters are only there at the end via a couple of plot holes.

I’ve still given it four stars because it is compelling, and it kept me reading, if a bit frustrated. Also I think the ideas and world building are amazing. I do wish the next book was out soon as this one has left a lot of questions.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Rick Yancey – The 5th Wave
The blurb:After the 1st wave, only darkness remains.
After the 2nd, only the lucky escape.
And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive.
After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave.

On a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, until Cassie meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan may be her only hope for rescuing her brother and even saving herself. Now she must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up. Cassie Sullivan gets up

My rating: 4/5
Tagged: dystopia, science-fiction, young adult
Date I started this book: 21/01/2016
Date I finished this book 26/01/2016

What did I think? Overall I really enjoyed The 5th Wave, even though it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. I haven’t read many books that shift perspective between several main characters and so at first, I found it somewhat difficult to get into. The flow just seemed to falter for me when the point of view initially shifted from teenage heroine Cassie, since I already felt invested in her story. Given that the others were not as charismatic and endearing to me, I found myself always hoping the attention would soon return to her. When the characters began to cross paths and their stories moved closer together however, it really picked up.

I liked how he didn’t gloss over the minutiae of living in the wild and the little details of the complexities of surviving by yourself, on the run with little experience was a welcome breath of fresh air (hello tampons anyone? Nice to know someone remembered!)

It’s a strong, compelling work that handles a subject easily prey to the ridiculous in a capable and intelligent manner that makes you think about whether we really are alone in the universe and if not, do we even have a hope?

Library Of Souls by Ransom Riggs

Ransom Riggs – Library Of Souls
The blurb:The adventures that began with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and continued with Hollow City comes to a thrilling conclusion with Library of Souls.

As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children.

They’ll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil’s Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It’s a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all.

Like its predecessors, Library of Souls blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography.

My rating: 4/5
Tagged: fantasy, paranormal, young-adult
Date I started this book: 17/01/2016
Date I finished this book 21/01/2016

What did I think? I loved Library of Souls, a fantastic conclusion to a great series. I feel a little sad because I’ve loved these books and didn’t even know this would be the last book. I could read about the peculiar children forever.

All of the loose ends created in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City are brought to a close. I liked the way everything plays out. I really enjoyed it when Jacob and the others go to Devil’s Acre. The prison loop is not quite I expected but sinister all the same and sort of sad.

I enjoyed the way Jacob’s ability to control hollows is developed. This skill was revealed at the end of Hollow City and Jacob’s grandfather had it as well. I liked the way this develops across Library of Souls. I did find it a bit far-fetched when Jacob can suddenly control a dozen hollows when he finds it so hard to control one at the start of the novel. There are some great battle scenes though and the peculiar children kick ass.

Library of Souls has everything you’d expect from the end of a series; thrilling battles, murder, mayhem, chaos, loss, betrayal and a happy ending that manages not to be twee or nauseating

Hollow City by Ransom Briggs

Ransom Riggs – Hollow City
The blurb:Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was the surprise best seller of 2011—an unprecedented mix of YA fantasy and vintage photography that enthralled readers and critics alike. Publishers Weekly called it “an enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very creepy monsters.”

This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.

Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerizing) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages.

My rating: 4/5
Tagged: fantasy, paranormal, young-adult
Date I started this book: 13/01/2016
Date I finished this book 16/01/2016

What did I think? The mixture of photos and novel is one of the things I loved in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and this book is no different from the first. The book picks up right where the last one left off and consists of the group continuing there journey. The mix of humour, excitement and adventure is just right in this book, which makes the story progress and flow well.

Although this book has all the familiar characters from the first novel it also introduces enough new characters to keep the story refreshing and exciting. I have to say if there was any criticism I felt there were not as many pictures in this book than the first. However, this may have been my perception. I have always wondered whether the author fits the story to the pictures of the pictures to the story.

The ending of the book is a real cliff hanger and I’m moving straight on to the third one! A very good second book in the trilogy.