I have been waiting for Shadow Scale since I read Seraphina, and it lived up to my expectations. It had the same easy to slip into writing style, the same loveable characters, the same thought provoking world, with a surprising amount of humour thrown in for good measure. All I wish is that there was another sequel.
Jesse's Girl is about a girl who just wants to play '80s music and ride her motorbike and on shadow day she gets the chance to shadow Jesse Scott, a famous country musician. And then she gets kicked out of the band she started, and finds out that Jesse has a talent for distain. Through the book Maya and Jesse get to know and accept and really help each other to grow.
I liked most of Jesse's Girl - the parts when they opened up to each other and helped each other figure out what they wanted out of life, and the parts when they were having fun together, and when Maya was with her family - and it's written in a way that's easy to slip into.
The Heroes of Olympus is the second series of the Percy Jackson books, which are about Greek mythology set in modern times. The Heroes of Olympus starts a few months after Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and it is just as fast-paced and with the same irreverent style of humor. It has a host of new and lovable characters and it just as engaging and educational on the subject of mythology, the only thing that disappointed me was that at the beginning, it had quite a bit of promise as being a more thoughtful accompaniment to the first series in which the characters might mature a little, and right up to The House of Hades, there was lots of really good set up for character development and coming to terms with who they were, but The Blood of Olympus was a major anti-climax. There were some vague attempts at emotional resolution, which were poorly conveyed and very unsatisfying. It ended feeling unfinished, both in terms of the adventure and the characters' potential for growth, which really was disappointing, because in the first four books everything was so well portrayed and you can really fall in love with the characters and get invested in them.
I really love this series on the whole, but the last book sort of ruined the whole thing for me. I wouldn't read it unless you have a good imagination and can come up with your own version of how things should have ended.
Calla Winston’s mobile devices sit in a corner of her room, covered in dust. Weeks ago, she shared photos and laughs with her best online friend. Now, after having felt the sting of betrayal, she prefers being hidden and friendless. She equates privacy with security and technology with pain.
Then she meets Valcas, an otherworldly time traveler who traverses time and space with a pair of altered sunglasses. When an ethereal being knocks Calla to the ground near her family’s lakeside cottage, Valcas uses the Travel Glasses to help her escape. He offers his further protection in exchange for a promise. Intrigued by Valcas and the possibility of time travel, Calla accepts. That is until she learns that his search for her was no mere coincidence.
Calla sets off on her own, taking the Travel Glasses with her. Torn between searching for her estranged father and reuniting with the rest of her family, she tracks down the inventor of the Travel Glasses in hopes of discovering more about Valcas’ past and motivations. The Travel Glasses take Calla’s mistrust of technology to all new levels. But without them, she’ll never make it back home. With Valcas hot on her trail, Calla hopes to find what she’s looking for before he catches up.
I really like the idea of the travel glasses, and while this book spent pretty much its entirety with the main character (and reader) very confused, and definitely needs a sequel, the series is off to a good start. I'm intrigued to see what happens in the next book, Insight Kindling.
THE FIREPLACE glowed and crackled behind me as the light of the flames reflected off of Valcas’ lenses. I sipped tea while sitting cross-legged on a sleeping bag.
“Time travel is possible and has been in operation for a long time,” he began. “There are at least two known methods of travel. This,” he said as he removed his glasses and handed them to me. “Is my way.”
Valcas’ sunglasses did not look extraordinary. They were large enough to block light from the front and sides. Both the frames and lenses were of a similar black opaque material, light and smooth like plastic. The tops and sides of each rounded rectangular lens were shuttered. I turned the glasses in my hands, looking them over, expecting to see a power switch and control buttons. There weren’t any. Still holding the glasses in my hands, I looked up at Valcas—I was finally going to see his eyes. When I did, I froze.
Transfixed, my eyes locked onto his. I couldn’t move them away no matter how hard I tried. Green and brown were both wrong. Valcas’ eyes were of the palest blue I’d ever seen, a milky silver-blue, with an iridescent shimmer. Too eerie to be beautiful, they appeared fake, unnatural, like holographic images fixed onto his face.
Valcas grabbed the glasses out of my hands and covered his eyes. “I’m sorry. I should have warned you first.”
For some reason it bothered me when he sounded pained.
“How am I supposed to help you?” I asked.
His brows furrowed. “I’m not sure how to explain it, but I need someone to pose as my betrothed. It would be purely ceremonial. I’m in a tight situation.”
I frowned. “And that thing that was after me?”
“It means that you can never go back home to the lake. It could find you there again. If you come with me, I can make sure you’re protected from it.”
At this point my eyes burned and head ached. It was getting late, and I had a lot to think about. “I…well, I need some sleep.”
“Of course,” Valcas replied as if he’d decided the matter. “There will be plenty of time to discuss the specifics tomorrow morning.”
Exhaustion set in quickly once I got settled in the sleeping bag. I didn’t dream that night, but before I fell asleep, my thoughts wandered back to the dark glasses and those eyes.
I loved All Fall Down. The short summery on the back really does explain the plot of the book quite well: "Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things: 1. She is not crazy. 2. Her mother was murdered. 3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay." But the book is also a lot more. It's wonderfully written and made me cry, with enchanting characters, and a protagonist who just wants to be normal - but how can you be normal when you saw your mother murdered and no one believes you, and you live on Embassy Row - where a fight with the neighbours means World War Three - especially when you just met the man you saw the night your mother died and you heard him say he's going to kill again.
I have been an Ally Carter fan for years and this book did not disappoint. Unfortunately I can't find the release date of the sequel, but just as soon as I do it's going on my calendar.
Sixteen-year-old Emme Belrose has it all: four best friends, a horse of her own, a hidden tepee hangout, and a blossoming romance with tall and handsome Charlie. These friends also have a secret. They can move their spirits into animal bodies: an osprey, a mustang, a grizzly, a mountain lion and a coyote.
But when Charlie, who has a gift for seeing the future, has a vision of Emme drowning in the icy Yellowstone River, the Spirit Warriors must train their animal bodies to kill an enemy they know is coming…but know nothing about. Suspenseful, romantic, and awash in Native American magic, Spirit Warriors captures the tragic enchantment of the American West—and confirms the power of friendship.
It only took me a few days to read The Concealing, but the writing style was a bit awkward and the story wasn't all that cohesive; the interactions between the characters didn't always feel realistic. Also, I can't be too specific here so I don't spoil it, but it goes against my firm belief that self-harm is never ever, ever, ever the best way to deal with anything, and then they tried to get all philosophical about it after the fact and failed spectacularly . . . so, yeah, I'm kinda sad now, and it's been a few hours since I finished it.
Bets and Lilly had their first cheerleading practice on Saturday, and Ollie had to go to his grandparents’ wedding anniversary party. That left Charlie and me with nothing to do. We decided to go to the clearing and do some much-needed repairs on the tepees. We left Charlie’s house in the morning and rode Duke and Gus out to the clearing. After a while, we stopped working on the repairs, had lunch, and settled down eating huckleberries, lying on our backs in the clearing, identifying shapes in the clouds.
Charlie turned and stared at me. “Do you ever think of me as more than a friend?” he asked. My heart jumped and my face turned red.
“Mostly at night,” I answered honestly. “I lie awake and dream that you are in love with me.” Charlie sat up and stared down at me. “Really? Do you want me to be in love with you?”
Charlie seemed surprised. I smiled. “Of course I do. Since that day at school when we first met, it is all I have thought about.”
Charlie laughed. “We were what, nine years old? Em, you were so skinny and tall.”
“And you were huge like a bear.” I laughed. I knew he was thinking about that day because I was thinking about it. “Do you think that we were destined to be together?” Charlie asked.
I nodded. “Yes. You can’t deny what happened when we first saw each other.” I rolled over and put my arm under my head.
“You know lately, I think about you every day in a different way,” Charlie confessed. “I used to think of you like a sister, someone I needed to protect, but now when I’m with you I just want to kiss you.
I stared into his eyes. “Then do it.” I sat up and stared at my hands in my lap. Charlie leaned toward me. I wanted him to kiss me. I wanted to taste his lips on mine and feel him hold me close. He leaned forward and softly kissed me on the lips. His mouth was warm and tender and tasted sweetly of huckleberries. He ran his hands through my hair and I put my arms around his neck. I felt a shock of electricity go through me. I felt weak and dizzy, but alive, all at the same time.
As we were kissing, I felt his neck stiffen. He pushed me away and fell backward to the ground with his right arm flopping uselessly and his body contorted. I dropped to my knees and touched his face, telling him he would be okay. Finally, after what seemed like hours, he sat up and wrapped his arms around his knees and rested his chin on his knees.
“What happened?” I asked gingerly.
“It is time to begin,” he said.
My heart raced and I felt sick. “Is it time for me to die?” I asked.
Charlie nodded “It is getting closer,” he said, and I felt a wave of sadness. I always dreamed I would have a family with Charlie. What would my parents do without me? What would happen to Ben? What would happen to my friends? How could I be strong enough to die with dignity and did it matter?
I threw myself in Charlie’s arms. “I don’t want to die,” I said.
He kissed me hungrily, but I felt his resistance. “We have some time, Emme, I promise you that,” he whispered. We saddled back up and in silence rode back. Even Gus was subdued. When we got in cell phone range, we texted the others and told them we needed to meet in Bets’s parents’ basement tonight. Charlie said we must tell them now. We would need them for the battle.
Bets’s parents had redone their basement for us to use in the winter when it was too cold to go to the clearing. They felt bad that we spent so much time at Ollie’s and wanted to shoulder some of the “teenager time” with Ollie’s parents. When we were younger, Ollie’s parents had hired my Aunt Laura, who was in junior college at that time, to take Ollie to school and pick him up. After school in the winter, we would all hang out at his house and play video games. Aunt Laura taught us to play poker and made us chocolate chip cookies.
We all felt like one of the family at Bets’s house, and we had keys to the basement and were welcome to come and go. The basement had two old plaid sofas with sagging cushions, a scratched coffee table and a TV. There was a tiny bathroom with a shower, and a small cabinet with a microwave and tiny refrigerator. We had snacks and drinks there. Bets was making microwave popcorn and the others were crashed out on the sofa watching TV and drinking hot chocolate. Lilly was lying with her thin legs draped over Ollie’s legs on one of the sofas. When we walked in, the others knew right away that something had happened. Lilly figured it out first. Sweet Lilly, always the first to sense when things weren’t right, and always wanting to try and fix them.
We told them the whole story and included the kiss. They smiled at each other when we told that part, and at the same time said they weren’t surprised. I guess we didn’t hide our feelings as well as we thought. Ollie joked that he wouldn’t want to kiss me if it caused seizures. We sat in a circle on the plaid braided rug, eating popcorn and drinking hot chocolate as Charlie told us the story of the ancestor’s curse.
“Many years ago,” Charlie began, “a machayiwiw or evil spirit was thrust into the spirit world. Up to that point, the spirit world was made up of honorable warriors who had died bravely. This evil spirit was once a powerful medicine man. He was a vengeful man and he had a score to settle with another tribe. He had wanted to take the daughter of the chief of this tribe in order to possess her power and beauty, but he was first driven out and then humiliated by the chief. The chief’s daughter’s name was Golden Flower, and she was light skinned with light hair. Her mother had been captured during a wagon raid and was a white, blue-eyed woman.”
Charlie went on to explain that he was a seer. During his seizures, he could see where the evil spirit was and where he was headed, so the Spirit Warriors could finally find him and destroy him. That was where we five came into the picture.
What Charlie could see was that the machayiwiw was coming after me. He couldn’t see whose body or animal shape he was in. He saw me in the car under the water, and he saw that it would take all the rest of them to vanquish the machayiwiw.
Charlie also knew that we would not be able to win the fight in the bodies we had; we would have to take animal forms. Charlie had the knowledge of how to get our spirits in these animals, but did not know how to move the ancient Spirit Warriors into human bodies as other medicine men in the past did. He and Archie thought it was possible that each seer had unique abilities. If so, Charlie might only be able to move us into animal forms, and as such, we would have to fight the machayiwiw.
Ollie, Bets, and Lilly looked incredulously at Charlie. Bets said, “Come again?” Charlie started to repeat the story.
Bets held up her hand. “No, I heard what you said. I just don’t believe you. There is no physical way to move anyone’s spirit. When a spirit is moved out of a body, it is called death.” Bets looked at Charlie with her left eyebrow lifted and a sarcastic look on her face.
Lilly glanced at Charlie and then at Bets. “I believe you. What do we need to do?”
Bets looked at Lilly. “Why do you always believe Charlie? Can’t you ever have a thought in your head that Charlie didn’t think of first?”
Lilly looked at Bets. “Because I know that Charlie is doing what he needs to do to save Emme, and I will do whatever it takes to save her. She’s our best friend, Bets. You have to help us.”
Bets stared back at Lilly and Charlie. “Count me out. I have listened to Archie tell your ancestors’ stories my entire life. They were garbage then and they are garbage now.” Charlie flinched. He grabbed Bets’s hand. “Bets, look at me. Have I ever lied to you? Have I ever told you anything that wasn’t the truth or that didn’t happen?” Bets shook her head no. Charlie went on, “We need you, Bets. We need all of us. Trust me.”
Bets looked at their hands. “I just can’t.”
Charlie breathed in deeply. “Think of one thing that has happened in your life, Bets, that no one in this room could possibly know. Think of your deepest, darkest secret. Have you thought of it?” Bets nodded. Charlie sat still for several moments with his eyes closed and his back straight. He opened his eyes and whispered in Bets’s ear. Bets’s face turned white and then red. She turned to Charlie and hugged him. Charlie held her as she buried her face in his chest. She turned around and looked at the rest of us. “He knew. There was no possible way he could have known it. Charlie’s legit.”
I smiled, “I already knew he was legit.”
Lilly chimed in, “Me too.”
Ollie looked around at us. “I didn’t know he was legit, but I would give anything to be a tiger, or a bear!” Ollie jumped up and started chasing us around, crawling on all fours and growling like a bear
Charlie stopped us. “I want all of you to know that this is not without risk. It’s not like a video game where you get killed and get a million more chances to come back and win. We will probably just have one good chance to kill the machayiwiw, and it will take all of us to do it.”
Ollie asked if I would live, and I held my breath as Charlie said he didn’t know.
“So we could do all of this and Emme could still die?” Bets asked.
Charlie nodded and lowered his head. “We could do all this and all of us could die,” he said.
It was silent as we looked around at each other. Lilly spoke first. “I am not afraid to die, she said. “This life hasn’t been so great anyway.”
“I can’t ask you to do this, Lilly,” I said. But she wasn’t listening to me; none of them were. They were looking at Charlie, and he was having another seizure.
When Charlie roused after the seizure, he looked tired and unfocused. It seemed like the more often he had these visions, the weaker he became. It took over an hour before he could talk coherently, and then his speech sounded like his tongue was too big in his mouth. “We must meet tomorrow and spend Sunday and Monday at the tepees,” he said. “The change will happen then and we need time to practice.” Luckily, we had Monday and Tuesday off for teacher conferences.
Ollie helped Charlie to his pickup and drove him down the gravel road to Archie’s house. It hurt me to see Charlie like that. I was used to his strength and stability. If this could happen to him, what would happen to the rest of us? Lilly and I headed back to my house, and Bets went upstairs to her room to go to bed. That night Lilly cried out, and when I reached for her she asked me if I was afraid to die. I knew the answer and it came so easily. “Yes, Lilly, I am scared.”
“I’m not,” she whispered. “I think death would be a relief for me.”
“Oh, Lilly,” I said. I climbed under the covers with her and stroked her hair until she fell asleep.
After Katrina “Kat” Summer’s mother dies a mysterious and tragic death, Kat is hurtled into life at Apollo Beach. Her estranged and cryptic grandmother Rose fills Kat with legends of her Ancient Greek Ancestors from which the Summer family descends. Kat’s world begins to unravel as secrets from her heritage are exposed – secrets that her mother purposefully concealed.
Leading to her birthday, the day of the Summer Solstice, Kat becomes frightened when enigmatic visions and disturbing dreams haunt her. When her visions become reality, her fear turns to terror as powerful forces threaten the lives of those around her.
Amidst the turmoil, Kat meets Alec Stone, her gorgeous neighbor, who becomes her sole solace in an evocative world of mythological enchantment and evil prophecies that lurk around every corner…
I really like Enchanted. It definitely needs its sequel, but this is a great start to a series. It's well written too, with only a few points where conversation doesn't quite flow; the characters are well written and well developed, and Kat is very relatable. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series: The Equinox.
I sit in front of the mahogany vanity that towers before me. It’s a monument much like everything else in my room. If the objects aren’t generous in size then they make up for it in their beauty and fragility.
Staring at my new reflection in the large oval mirror, I notice my face is fairer than I’m used to and it glows magnificently. My eyes are a bright and unusual shade of silver. My dark brown hair is soft, long, thick, and flowing down past my shoulders. I take in my groomed features with awe.
I reach for the glass, to touch the girl in the mirror, and watch every move of my hand as it creeps toward the glass. My reflection follows in perfect synchrony. Together, our hands rise to our faces and move a strand of hair from our heads.
My lashes are longer. My nails, now they’re near my face, appear manicured and long—and that’s when I notice it.
A necklace lies across my neck as if it were made for me—but not just any necklace. The green stone reflects the light of the sun now streaming in through the massive balcony windows. I move to touch the necklace—lifting it gently from my neck.
My heart pounds like a steady drum as the image in the mirror smiles at me with an almost evil glimmer in its eye. I gasp. My image does not gasp with me but smiles even brighter. There are silver streaks of madness in her eyes that freeze me. Her eyes narrow and turn, so they no longer meet mine. They stare over my shoulder to where an antique vase sits, laden with fresh flowers. I watch it rise with every move of my reflection’s finger.
A terrifying scream comes from the mirror and I jam my palms to the sides of my head to muffle the horrible sound. My image isn’t smiling anymore. Her mouth is grotesque, stretched to the sound of her scream. The vase shakes violently until, with a high pitched ring, it shatters in midair, spraying my bedroom with glass.
Isla's Oath is the wonderful sequel to Isla's Inheritance, which I reviewed a while back. This has become a bit of a comfort series for me, coming back to it was like seeing an old friend again. Despite it's amazing fantasy, it feels real. It also has very lovable and relatable characters and I love the musical/artistic side themes and, of course, the charming sarcasm.
I read Divergent in less than a day, and it isn't exactly a small book; it is quite a page turner. It also has a really intriguing scenario, which gets even more so as the books progress and more is revealed about the world Divergent is set in. Divergent is about a girl called Tris finding her feet in the very odd society she lives in, in the sequel, Insurgent, war has just broken out and Tris is having problems with guilt and friends, in the final book in the series, Allegiant, she leaves the city that is all she has ever know and finds out some things that completely change her view of the world. The series is a bit violent for my tastes, and it took me ages to finish Insurgent because of all the raw, poorly handled anger.
Super sorry I'm late posting this- my bad.
The Odyssey of Falling is about a girl who's best friend has just died, so it isn't particularly cheery. It didn’t have a particularly satisfying ending either. Some people like this kind of book, but I'm not one of them, and even so this isn't all that outstanding in its genre. I personally didn’t like this book because there was a lot of being stupidly rash, and although that was sort of the point that's not something I'm in to, also there was way to much doing drugs and swearing in it. The Odyssey of Falling is a good book if you like touchy-feely books that lack any sort of logic, but I don't and to me it feels incomplete.
Note: this is an excellent example of how NOT to handle grief- do not let things get this crazy; talk to someone you trust and/or a grief counselor.