The Gathering (2011)

By: Kelley Armstrong

Sixteen-year-old Maya lives in the small town built around the top-secret research facility on Vancouver Island. All she knows of her birth parents is the small paw-shaped birthmark on her hip. But then, strange things start to happen on the island. There have been a handful of mysterious deaths, and the animals in the sanctuary are becoming more brazen. Could this have to do with her shadowed past?

Honestly, I’m intrigued by novels that handle adoption. Most don’t treat the subject well, making children who’ve been adopted have inherent knowledge that they are “other” or giving them terrible relationships with their parents. The Gathering, however, handles adoption quite well.

Though the story follows a sixteen-year-old, it doesn’t fall into the same tropes as many other YA novels. Everything unfolds without much soap opera-like drama. There’s also a lot of history and Native American culture woven throughout. It’s a very entertaining read, and I can’t wait to snatch up the next book in the series.

Plus, I mean, there are werepanthers, guys. Super cool!

The Savage Blood (2011)

By: Tamara Rose Blodgett

Trying to unearth the truth of her lineage, our sphere-dwelling princess—or should I say queen?—travels the land. Along the way, she’s nearly sexually assaulted—for the sixth time—but is, of course, rescued by our muscular, masculine Savages.

Right. So. I gave this series some more time, considering I was pretty interested in the story. (yay mermaids!) That being said, there are a lot of sexual assault attempts that are thwarted at just the right time. And this is where the love triangle deepens, making the main character look incredibly indecisive and quite weak. She lets things happen to her, while everyone says what a good and gracious queen she is. In my opinion, if you say over and over again that a person has a certain quality, instead of showing it, I start to question if that’s really who they are.

Like I said for the first book in this series, check it out if you’re waffling over what to read. But, again, I caution, the genre labeling for this is wrong. It’s more steampunk/Pocahontas. With the veiled racism thrown in for good measure. Because, honestly, these people are called Savages, after all.

The Keeper’s Tattoo (2010)

By: Gill Arbuthnott

A young woman discovers she has three lines of a sacred text tattooed on her scalp, and the Big Bad is after her to get it. Fearing for her life, the young woman flees her small town, discovering truths about her family along the way.

Honestly, I almost didn’t finish this book. The writing was so long-winded and yet stilted. There were too many things going on that didn’t pertain to the plot, and too many things that were convenient plot devices. That being said, I did enjoy the world. I thought the characters were pretty cool, too.

2018 Reading List

The last time I’d been looking for a book to read, and I was browsing the shelves of my local library, I found myself looking for a book I’d read but couldn’t remember the title of. It was frustrating, perusing the shelves to find that book. Made even more so by the fact that I nearly checked out a book I’d hated, simply because I couldn’t remember the titles.

So, last year, I decided to keep track of all the books I’d read, and then whether I’d enjoyed them. I started a list in a journal I had sitting around, and even went so far as to start writing reviews.

Most, if not all, of these are YA novels, because I tried this new thing where I went in alphabetical order at my library and just picked up books I thought looked interesting. This was following a dry-spell of reading that stemmed from my irritation of YA books all having the same plots and tropes.

I found some awesome books, and some authors that I will follow forever. Click on the titles for author info and a short synopsis/review.

  1. Phantom of the Opera
  2. Outlander
  3. Enclave
  4. Paper Towns
  5. Outpost
  6. Horde
  7. Famous Last Words
  8. The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life
  9. The Keeper’s Tattoo
  10. Haters
  11. Ultraviolet
  12. Quicksilver
  13. Avalon
  14. Polaris
  15. The Gathering
  16. The Masked Truth
  17. The Pearl Savage
  18. The Savage Blood
  19. The Savage Principle
  20. The Island
  21. Scion of Conquered Earth
  22. The Boys Start the War
  23. The Boys Return
  24. Harley Merlin and the Secret Coven
  25. Harley Merlin and the Mystery Twins
  26. Harley Merlin and the Stolen Magicals
  27. Harley Merlin and the First Ritual