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A Trail of Books Left Behind

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The Storyspinner
Becky Wallace
Mortal Heart
Robin LaFevers
Abyss - Laura Kreitzer I've mentioned quite a few times that Laura Kreitzer is probably one of my favorite authors, and she only ensured that with this next installment in her Timeless series. The way she weaves a tale is amazing!

Life for Gabriella only seems to get crazier after the Soul Stalker's death. An evil presence is inside her and she needs Andrews help to fight it off. Symbols are tattooed into her skin. And angels are being picked off, one by one.

If they're going to have any hope of stopping the Empyrean Guard, Gabriella and the angels are going to need help. Phantoms offer their allegiance, but Gabriella travels to the Abyss to seek out the Fallen. Will they be able to defeat those threatening the Illuminator and the angels before it's too late?

I fell in love with Gabriella's story in Shadow of the Sun and I still want more after finishing this third book. Not only does Gabriella have a snarky personality, but she's also strong and smart. There are so many different things being tossed at her throughout these books and Gabriella handles them so amazingly, I know I probably would have fallen to pieces. Although, having an Andrew by her side probably doesn't hurt *grins*.

Laura's ability to weave a story is beyond amazing, I honestly don't know how she does it. All of the intricacies and history is wonderfully done and thoroughly presented. She's taken a well known story (angels) and created her own mythology and world within a modern setting. Even showing the relationships between the characters was beautifully done.

All I can say, without giving anything away, is that I can't wait for the final two books in this series! Fallen Legion and Halo of the Sun are sure to be just as intense and rich as the first three books. How this will all work out I don't know, but I am definitely excited to find out.
Slide - Jill Hathaway When I first heard about this debut I was very interested to find out what it was going be like. Interesting concept and creepy situations, definitely sounded cool. And I'm glad I got the chance to read it.

Everyone believes that Vee Bell is narcoleptic. She "falls asleep" randomly throughout the day, but sleep is the last thing that she gets. Vee actually slides into other people's minds and experiences things through them.

It's how she learned that she couldn't really trust anybody. And when her younger sisters best friend is thought to have killed herself, Vee knows that's not true either. Because she was their, and it was murder. Worried that there's really no one that she can confide in, can Vee figure out who the killer is before they strike again?

Most of the YA books that I've read and reviewed on here aren't your typical YA books in which the characters act like teens you'd see today. So, it was a nice change of pace when I read this book and discovered that Sylvia "Vee" Bell acted like a normal teen. Everything from losing her mother to fitting in at school to finding a boyfriend were very well done and some things I can remember going through as a teen. Jill really stayed true to her character and her age.

The mystery of Vee's sliding was also wonderfully handled and something I wanted to learn more about. It wasn't something that she could control, but as the story progressed Vee learned a little more about how it worked and what triggered it. Hopefully we'll get to learn more in the next book.

As always, I don't want to give any of the story away, but I will say that Jill definitely caught my interest. This wasn't one of the usual stories I tend to read, which made it even more fun for me to check out. There was mystery and intrigue all wrapped up in a strange ability. Vee was a fun character learning about herself and I really enjoyed Jill's writing style.
Forsaken Harbor - Laura Kreitzer Laura Kreitzer has become one of my favorite authors because of her ability to tell an amazing story. When I got the opportunity to read this next book in her second series, I jumped at the chance. And I wasn't disappointed.

Summer has experienced unimaginable horrors in her life as a slave, but now that she's finally found her voice, nothing will ever be the same again.

The Secret Clock Society will stop at nothing to retrieve Summer again and she has to find a way to beat them. With the help of her new friends, she may just have that chance. But it will take them to a place no one dares go to: Forsaken Harbor.

When we first met Summer she had spent nearly all of her life as a slave, forced into utter silence. She discovered that there was a world beyond what she'd known for twelve years. Well, in this book we really get to see Summer grow and find her confidence. I loved being to see her change and find her inner strength in spite of everything.

Laura also gives us a little more of The Secret Clock Society and just what they're all about. In Phantom Universe we're only briefly introduced to them, but in this book we get more. There are bad guys and groups that you really want to dislike, but I think these guys take home the cake for that particular honor. We don't know everything that they're about, but so far I'm not all that impressed.

The Summer Chronicles give us a little bit of everything: romance, action, sci-fi, and I couldn't wait to find out what would happen next. And even though this is Summer's story, there is so much that takes place with the secondary characters that I find them just as fascinating. I'm already bouncing in my seat for the next book (in this series and her Timeless series) Burning Falls!
Glimmer - Phoebe Kitanidis The description for this alone is what intrigued me to read it and I'm glad that I did. The world Phoebe created was one of mystery and intrigue and lets just say it... amnesia.

Marshall King and Elyse Alton wake up together with absolutely no memory of who they are or how they got there. As they work together to figure out just what's going on, the more freaked out they become.

The small town they wake up in, Summer Falls, just keeps getting stranger and stranger. Not only are there ghosts roaming around, but no one can seem to remember anything bad that happens to them. They just disappear. Can Marshall and Elyse stop what's happening before it's too late, for the rest of the town... and for them?

Like the two main characters you have absolutely no idea what's going on, but I think that makes it even more fun to read. You want to figure it out. I had a difficult time putting this book down because I just wanted to keep going. The mystery and the secrets are just the beginning.

Marshall and Elyse purely on instinct throughout the book. Since they have no memories and aren't sure who to trust besides themselves, there's not really much else they can do. And as they peel back another layer and learn more about what's going on, the more it changes who they think they are. They change and grow as characters, which is interesting and difficult to do from this set up.

I can honestly say that I had no idea where this was all headed, and the build up kept me guessing the entire time. I don't want to give any of it away, but I will say that I wasn't disappointed. This is a standalone, and though I can see there possibly being more stories from it, I liked the way it ended (which is a little rare for me).
The Last Echo - Kimberly Derting Have you ever read a book that not only has a fantastic element in it that grabs your attention right away, but also makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside with the romance. That's what this series did for me, right from the beginning.

Now that Violet's talent for finding the dead is no longer such a secret, she finds herself a part of a group of kids very much like herself with former agent, Sara Priest. Being able to use her gift to help people is what she's always wanted, and with her boyfriend, Jay, by her side she has everything she could want.

But when their latest case, "the girlfriend collector", becomes more dangerous and Violet finds herself in his sights, she has to make a decision. Is continuing with the group really worth it?

One of my favorite things about this particular series is the descriptions of the different echoes. I couldn't imagine having to experience that on a daily basis, but the way that Kim introduces them is amazing. It would seem right that each person and each circumstance would be completely different from the next, and I don't think any two echoes have been the same. Some even come across as creepy, but that just makes it even more fascinating to me.

My other favorite part is the relationship between Violet and Jay. They are absolutely adorable! Now when I mentioned feeling the warm and fuzzy at the romance, this is what I was referring to. Especially in the first book when they were figuring out how the other felt about each other. It took me back to high school and those awkward feelings, not really knowing what to do with them, but they were also new and exciting.

I was beyond thrilled when I learned that Kim was continuing this series and can definitely say that she has me hooked. The ending has left room for more, and from the way it sounds, Violet's world is about to get a lot more complicated. If that's even possible.

There's one more book left to go after this one is released. And while that makes me sad, I'm also anxious to find out what she has in store (plus she also has book 2 of The Pledge coming out this year). This was a unique find for me and I'm so glad that I did.
Illuminate - Aimee Agresti I couldn't wait to read this book and was so excited when I got a copy from the publisher. Aimee's debut was fun and interesting and a great set up for the rest of the series.

Life for Haven Terra takes a dramatic turn when she and two fellow classmates, Dante and Lance, find out they've been awarded an internship at a pretty swanky hotel in Chicago. And when they arrive, it's to the astonishing recollection that everyone is absolutely gorgeous, including the hotel owner Aurelia, and her second Lucian.

The more time Haven spends in the hotel, the more she realizes something just isn't right. Especially with the hotel staff called The Outfit. With the help of a mysterious book, and later her friends, Haven discovers an underground route that will lead her to more than she ever could have imagined. There's more to the world that she's walked into, and if she's not careful her soul and everyone else's could be on the line.

From the moment I started reading this I was pulled in. The slow build up to the climax of the story and even the character building set a great tone. I loved getting to know Haven and seeing her beginning to realize that things just weren't quite right at the hotel. Her growth from the beginning to the end was fabulous and didn't just happen over night.

I also enjoyed the background information of old time Chicago and even Al Capone. It added a bit of mystery and even overlay to the setting of The Outfit and Aurelia at the hotel. On the outside they seemed beautiful and perfect, but there was more lurking beneath the surface.

Aimee created a fantastic world and left me wanting to know more. We got a little taste of just what was going on around them and who they really were, but there is so much more to come. I can't wait to find out what's next for Haven, Lance, and Dante in the next book!
Bloodlines - Richelle Mead I became a fan of Richelle Mead's after reading her Vampire Academy books and was beyond thrilled when I heard that she would be doing a spin-off series from that. Bloodlines was a wonderful start to what promises to be a great series.

Sydney Sage is on shakey ground with the alchemists and wants to do what she can to prove her loyalty. Protecting Moroi Princess Jill Dragomir wasn't exactly what she had in mind, but she goes along with it.

Moving to a private boarding school in Palm Springs is only just the beginning for Sydney and the others. Strange tattoos, mysterious deaths, and Sydney's precarious standing with the alchemists are enough to keep them guessing. Nothing is what it seems.

With the ending of Last Sacrifice, I was excited that their was going to be this spin-off series because their were quite a few things left unresolved, including certain character fates. And while we get introduced to new ones in Bloodlines, we also get to see some old ones and learn more about the secondary characters from VA like Jill and Eddie and Adrian.

Sydney is probably my favorite character to have narrated this series. While she's super smart and a trained alchemist, she's also incredibly clueless when it comes to human interaction. Her life training to be an alchemist was limited and it's obvious that she has things to work through and deal with. But, I think that makes the best stories. Being able to watch the progression of a character grow and change throughout.

There's even the struggle between the Moroi and the Strigoi. It's not exactly something they can runaway from and I really like where Richelle is going with it. After Lissa was able to heal a Strigoi and turn him back to a dhampir, I can't wait to find out what else they may discover. *taps fingers on table patiently*

Richelle is giving us an interesting look into this world, from the human perspective, and it's only just begun. And after the ending for this first book, I definitely can't wait to find out what happens next in The Golden Lily!
Embrace  - Jessica Shirvington I actually discovered this series last year when the third book was going to be released in Australia. When I found out that it was going to be publish in the U.S., I couldn't wait to read it. And I was not disappointed.

Violet isn't much for celebrating her birthday's and wants more than anything to forget her seventeenth. But when her best friend Lincoln finally kisses her, a strange dream haunts her sleep, and an even stranger tattoo begins to form on her wrists, Violet knows she can't just let it go.

What she discovers is more than could have ever imagined. Not only is she Grigori, half-human half-angel, but so is Lincoln and he's lied to her about it. Struggling with the truth is only half the battle as she's pulled into a world she never wanted, fighting a war that she's been preparing for unknowingly. Will she finally embrace her destiny?

From the very beginning I was pulled into this story and didn't want to put it down. Violet was a teen girl looking for normalcy and stability and I think that's something we can all relate to. She did what she could to make herself feel safe and didn't want anyone fighting her battles for her. She was strong yet vulnerable.

And her emotions are what really kept me going. Everything from the relationship with her father to the intense struggle she had with her feelings for Lincoln to even discovering Phoenix, I felt as though I was on the roller coaster ride along with Violet. She didn't know what was going on with her and that was brilliantly displayed.

The angel mythology and world that Jessica created is what really made the book for me, though. It wasn't the typical history that has been used before which made it exciting. Plus, we didn't get the whole story right off the bat. There's still so much more to be told and I'm interested to find out what's going to happen next.

I'm so glad that I got a chance to read this amazing debut and highly recommend it. There's a little bit of everything in it for every reader. I can honestly say I hated for it to end because it meant I'd have to wait to find out what happens in the next book, Enticed. *only six months*
The Selection - Kiera Cass The description for this is what first caught my attention, and then I saw the cover. There was no way I could pass this one up (especially since its release is on my birthday) and I'm so glad that I didn't! Kiera's debut is fabulous!

America Singer know exactly what she wants out of life. To continue to sing and play music, and to marry Aspen, the boy she's loved secretly for years.

But when the opportunity to compete for the chance to marry Prince Maxon comes, everything that America had thought was true gets turned upside down. She finds herself thrust into the competition, though she doesn't want to be a princess. The more time she spends with Maxon, the more confused she becomes. And the selection begins.

I honestly enjoyed this from the very beginning. America's voice was one that rang true for a girl her age and what she was experiencing. I loved the fact that things were very gradual and didn't just happen over night. The selection, though a competition, was about building a relationship and you can't rush through it.

And I enjoyed seeing both relationships, America and Aspen and America and Maxon. Both boys and relationships are obviously different, but I can see how they worked together. For now, I'm going to hold off on saying who I'd like her to end up with, it may change. But hopefully there will be others who share my thoughts as well.

Kiera did a wonderful job of creating her world and characters, and after finishing this first installment, I can say that I'm anxious to find out what happens next. I want to learn more about the world and relationships, characters and choices. There's so many ways it can go and I'm excited to find out what she does.
Supernaturally - Kiersten White I became a fan of Kiersten's after reading Paranormalcy. And now that I've finished this sequel in the trilogy I can say that she's only cemented my fan status. Plus, isn't this cover gorgeous!

Once Evie has a "normal" life, she finds out that it isn't everything she'd thought it would be. Except for her locker. And soon Evie finds herself working for International Paranormal Containment Agency again, behind Lend's back.

With each mission Evie's given, things get more and more out of control. Revelations that she wasn't prepared for completely rock her world, and Evie has to figure out where she fits into all of it. Can she do it before things get really crazy?

One of the things that I absolutely loved about Evie from the first book was that she was a strong character that also had no problem being girly. She helped bring in big bad paranormals, but also loved the color pink and cute clothes. She was a true teen girl and Kiersten continued to hold true to that in Supernaturally. I loved her sense of humor and longing to just be "normal".

While there were some old characters that returned, we also got introduced to some new ones like Jack. He was a human that could move through the Faerie Paths without there help. We got some answers, but also had more questions and situations to figure out. That I believe is the perfect balance in a story, leaving the readers wanting more.

And of course there was also Lend. He was probably one of my favorite characters from Paranormalcy, and even though we didn't get nearly enough of him this go around, I still loved that he had his appearances. He's that one piece for Evie that signifies paranormal yet normal and he gives her a balance that she doesn't get from anything else. Plus, I love the fact that he knows he can be himself around her and not wear one of his disguises all the time.

I'm incredibly sad that this series has to come to an end, but I can't wait for Endlessly now! Evie and the whole gang are so much fun and I'm excited to find out what Kiersten has in store for them. Plus, we have a new trilogy to expect and another book from her that I'm sure will be just as fabulous. Who's as excited as I am?
Clockwork Prince - Cassandra Clare I am a huge fan of Cassandra Clare and absolutely fell in love with this series when I was lucky enough to get an ARC of Clockwork Angel. Needless to say, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this next installment in this trilogy, and I was not disappointed.

Tessa Gray has found a home with the Shadowhunters in Victorian London. They've taken her in at the Institute, but she soon finds her new life in jeopardy when members of the Clave want to replace Charlotte.

Unless Charlotte can find the Magister, it looks like they'll succeed. So with the help of Will and Jem, Tessa does what she can to bring Charlotte closer to finding the Magister. Along their journey Will discovers the truth about a secret from his past and Tessa finds her heart pulling toward Jem. The dangers of the clockwork army have only just begun, and they have to find a way to stop them before it's too late.

One of the things that really pulled me in to this prequel series was the fact that it was set in Victorian London. There's something about that time in history that I absolutely love, add the fact that there's Shadowhunters and warlocks and clockwork creatures and I'm all in. The setting alone was enough to really grab my interest.

Then I fell in love with the characters. Tessa Gray is a strong, beautiful girl in a time when women were viewed in a completely different light. Her power as a shapeshifter makes her unique in the downworld, and yet she's still a lady. Will Herondale is very much like our lovely Jace from The Mortal Instruments, only for quite some time he seemed almost unforgivable. It isn't until we learn why he acts the way he does that his flaws make sense. Jem Carstairs is truly a gem. Though he is sick, he is sweet and kind and protective. He is my favorite kind of Shadowhunter. Oh, oh, and Henry and Charlotte Branwell. So flipping adorable!

The search for the Magister and uncovering his plan is a long journey and one that I truly enjoyed throughout this book. There's so much to be uncovered, and being able to do it right along with the characters is half the fun.

My only thing is, and this might be a bit spoilery for anyone who hasn't read this yet, the whole Will/Tessa/Jem triangle. I rooted for Will and Tessa in CA, even when Will acted like a jerk at the end I knew it was for a reason. And I could see why Tessa fell for Jem in this book, who wouldn't. BUT, the fact that Tessa kept having to say to herself in her head that she was engaged to Jem after hearing Will's secret says something, right? There's more there. Or maybe it's wishful thinking.

Anyways, I absolutely recommend this book for anyone who loves fantasy and mystery and a little steampunk all rolled into one. Oh, and don't forget to checkout the next book in The Mortal Instruments series coming out in May, City of Lost Souls!
Arcadia Awakens - Kai Meyer When I saw that this book had Mafia elements in it and some ancient myths, I definitely wanted to check it out. And since it was originally published in Germany, I was glad when I learned it would come out in the U.S. this year.

After dealing with a horrible tragedy, Rosa Alcantara moves to Sicily to live with her sister and aunt and start over. Though she knows her family is a part of the Mafia, she doesn't really think about it. At least until She meets Alessandro Carnevare, the son of an enemy Mafia clan to her family.

The more time she spends with him, the more she realizes he, and her family, are keeping secrets. Secrets that prove deadly and terrifying, the further she delves. When she discovers a tiger with familiar looking eyes, Rosa knows that she can never go back.

Okay, so anyone who's read or seen anything involving the mafia should know that they can be pretty cutthroat. No boundaries or convictions. Well, even if haven't, you'll definitely get a taste of it in this book. Kai Meyer isn't gruesome, but you get an idea of what a Mafia clan is like. I had a bit of a hard time with that at first, but the more I read, the more I wanted to know what was going on.

I liked the fact that there was a paranormal element to this story as well. It wasn't just about the mob or a forbidden romance. And you weren't really sure where it was all leading. What exactly could they do? Why were his eyes so familiar? The build-up left you with just enough to want to keep going.

From where it left off though, I can say that I want to continue the series. We only got part of the story, but I'm interested to find out where it all leads. Ancient myths, familial secrets, Mafia control all within the Sicilian country-side.

Scarlet - A.C. Gaughen I can remember falling in love with the story of Robin Hood as a little girl when I used to watch the Disney version. So when I read that this debut was going to be a re-telling, I had to read it. And I'm so glad that I did!

Will Scarlet has secrets. The biggest one of all being that Scarlet is really a girl. Only Robin Hood and his band know her secret, and they'd never tell.

As they struggle to help the people of Nottingham against the horrible Sheriff, things get a whole lot worse. A ruthless thief taker, Lord Gisbourne, shows up and he will stop at nothing to get the Hood and his band of followers. The closer he gets, the more danger they all find themselves in. Including Scarlet...

There were so many things about this book that I absolutely loved. The cover for one is gorgeous with her bright eyes and freckles. It was amazingly done. And for another it was about Robin Hood! A.C. gave this famous tale her own twist and made it even more fascinating to read.

Scarlet was a strong character and think that's what really drew me in. She was selfless and clever and snarky. Oh and she could handle herself with a knife better than any man. I just couldn't help but like her. And the relationship she had with Robin was probably my favorite. Even though I found myself wanting to scream at her. It's difficult to remember that we're the readers and see more than the characters themselves do.

I really enjoyed this story and am hoping that there will be more to follow. There really wasn't a cliffhanger, but there's certainly room for the story to continue. *crosses fingers* *hint hint* But either way I plan on checking out more from this author in the future!
The Gathering Storm - Robin Bridges Robin Bridges debut was one that I definitely wasn't expecting. The summary had caught my eye and I'd wanted to check it out, but I just wasn't sure how I'd feel about it. Well, I can say that she caught my attention and I want to know more!

Katerina Alexandrovna is a royal debutante in 1888 Russia and with the winter season beginning, she finds herself attending a whirlwind of balls and glamorous invitations while attending her finishing school.

Though the royals believe in magic, none of them could guess the secret Katerina has kept to herself since childhood. She is a necromancer. When her ability is discovered, Katerina is forced to use the power she never wanted in a battle started many years before. The life she always desired seems further and further out of reach, especially when the love she discovers is one she can't have.

I was greatly surprised by this book, and found myself unable to walk away from it. The exciting world Robin gave us with beautiful balls, wintery backdrops, and deep magic within Romanov Russia was one I'd always wanted to read. It was unique and intriguing within a society that we've heard about over the years.

Katerina was a fun character to read about. Even though she enjoyed the balls she went to, getting dressed up, and socializing with her peers, she wanted more out of her life. I loved that she dreamed of going to college, but didn't fight or seem awkward about participating in the events that were expected of her.

This first book ended in a pretty decent place, but there was plenty left open for us to get from the remaining books. I will be continuing this one and am excited to find out what happens with the love interest as well. It wasn't the center of the story, but offered more trouble and intrigue for the future books.
Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi This was one debut from 2011 that I could not wait to get my hands on. The hype surrounding it was huge, and at first I worried that maybe I wouldn't feel the same way. But that couldn't have been further from the truth!

Juliette's touch is fatal, which is why the Reestablishment has locked her up. After spending 264 days without any human, she gets a new cellmate. A boy.

But this isn't just any boy. And from the moment he enters her world, everything changes for Juliette. The Reestablishment is trying to maintain order, and Juliette is their hope to do that. She has a choice: let them use her, or fight back.

I honestly could not put this book down. I probably could have finished it all in one sitting, but I wanted to take my time with it. Tahereh's prose was amazing and perfect for this story. It just seemed to highlight the struggle that Juliette was going through, unique just like her character.

The storyline was definitely not what I was expecting and that only made me love it more. I had no idea where it was headed and couldn't wait to discover what was happening along with Juliette. While there are still questions about what's happening, there wasn't a huge cliffhanger at the end which made me happy. There's only so many of those that I can take.

Juliette was also such a strong character. Yes, she struggled with who she was and what her fatal touch meant, but she never let it change her as a person. She had her morals and I loved that she never wanted those to change, no matter what she could do. She was brazen and beautiful and strong. Oh, oh, and Adam! Can I just say that I'm now swooning majorly over him. Definitely one of my favorite guys of YA.

I cannot wait for book 2, Unravel Me, and highly recommend this series. Tahereh completely won me over with her writing and amazing story. Now I'm just going to have to sit here and twiddle my thumbs as we wait for Shatter Me's sequel (which I have no doubt will be totally worth it).
The Pledge - Kimberly Derting I have been a huge fan of Kim Derting ever since I first read her debut novel The Body Finder, which is a part of a series. Her writing in that was sweet and beautiful and I couldn't wait to get my hands on her newest work. This book did not let me down.

Seventeen year old Charlaina lives in the country of Ludania, where the classes of people are divided by the languages that they speak. A universal language unites them, but their class languages are what separate them.

Charlie has a secret though. She can understand them all. Hiding her talent becomes even more difficult when she encounters a guy using a language that she's never heard before. The dangers in Ludania are beginning to escalate and with the reigning Queen in search of her heir, no one is safe.

From the very beginning of this book I was hooked. The dystopian world that Kim created was dark and depressing and beautifully done, her unique version of the Holocaust. Everything from the harshness of the society and public executions to the underground clubs and parties just helped to emphasize what they were dealing with.

What I was not expecting, but still rather enjoyed, was the sci-fi elements she used as well. Not overly done, but perfect for the world she had given us. Even some of the other characters were quite unexpected and gave me a new appreciation for them in the story. Not everything was as it seemed and I loved.

I can happily say that I can't wait for the next book in this trilogy. The ending to The Pledge has set up the next books for some pretty interesting things to come and I can't to find out what else Kim Derting has in store!