Review: Missing by Kelley Armstrong

25487124Missing by Kelley Armstrong

Published by: Doubleday Canada

Publication Date: April 18, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Crime

Page Count: 384

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase


The only thing Winter Crane likes about Reeve’s End is that soon she’ll leave it. Like her best friend did. Like her sister did. Like most of the teens born in town have done. There’s nothing for them there but abandoned mines and empty futures. They’re better off taking a chance elsewhere.

The only thing Winter will miss is the woods. Her only refuge. At least it was. Until the day she found Lennon left for dead, bleeding in a tree.

But now Lennon is gone too. And he has Winter questioning what she once thought was true. What if nobody left at all? What if they’re all missing?


“It’s okay to feel for a creature in pain. And it’s okay to recognize that sometimes we can’t afford to feel, that it’ll hurt too much. You need to protect yourself and you need to let people in. It’s a matter of finding the right balance.”

I’ve been itching to find a new thriller. Kelley offers up a new, creepy, atmospheric thriller that keeps you guessing. Hidden family secrets, dark pasts, and missing teenagers make for a gripping story. So if you’re looking for your next summer read, pick up Missing.

Winter Crane hopes to follow every teenagers’ dream to leave Reeve’s End, a dying and isolated Kentucky town hell bent on chasing the youth away. But when Lennon, a boy she finds beaten up and left for dead in the forest, disappears, and his brother, Jude, shows up demanding answers, Winter may have stumbled upon a secret best left hidden.

With enough twists and thrills, Missing will keep you up at night. It wouldn’t let me go, and for three nights straight, I couldn’t put the book down. While Kelley finesses her thriller narrative, I can’t help but get immersed. She just captures your imagine and effortless flows from one arc to another. Missing has been sitting on my shelf for almost two months, and I regret not picking it up sooner.

Missing in not an easy story for readers who have faced physical abuse. It’s dark, utterly realistic, and creepy. Kelley builds off this ominous atmosphere that lends well to this lower-class environment. The social class brings a new element to this town, and you get a feel of the life for people defined by their area code rather than their worth.

This standalone YA forces you to examine every character. While it’s more plot driven, I feel as if it is a character study, and you ultimately question each one. What I love the most from this story is the characters. Kelley well defines each one, and you want to get to know them. Winter, who hopes to become a doctor, holds many secrets, and you’ll have to wait to see why her sister left. While going solo, she grows into her own. Her tenacity, survival instincts, and strength draw me in. Yet she still shows her weaknesses, which I appreciate in this genre. Her life, once her family moved to Reeve’s End, has only gotten worse. Facing physical abuse from her father only spurs her need to leave. I connected with this character instantly.

Lennon, a rich boy looking for Winter’s friend, sets off this thriller when Winter finds him left in the forest she loves. Her discovery and his eventual disappearance spark more intrigue once the story progresses. I’ll always be a sucker for the tall, dark, and broody. So while I liked Lennon and Winter’s pairing, his brother, Jude (Beatles anyone?), incorporates more mystery into this story. The banter between Winter and Jude cracked up and made me want to read the next chapter.

With a dark, twisted, and eerie storyline, Missing is sure to captivate mystery readers alike and bring back Kelley’s dedicated following. Don’t miss out on her latest book.

 

What do you look for in a thriller? What’s your next summer thriller? Let me know in the comments!

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Spring 2017 Recent and Upcoming Releases

This little bookworm needs to stop being shy around other bloggers. Bloggers mean friends. And friends are good (not food [I had to throw that in 😂]) So let’s talk books! What are you looking forward to for this season? What’s on your pre-order list? What’s your instant buy? Let me know in the comments. Here’s my list for recent and upcoming releases I’ve been waiting for.

 

Missing (April 18)

Another Kelley book? Come on, it’s me. Kelley publishes a book, and I’ll buy it. This YA has an interesting twist. The kids in Reeve’s End always leave town, but when Winter Crane discovers a boy left for dead, she wonders if all the children who have left are missing. Sounds interesting? Yes, indeed. I can’t wait to jump into another one of her mystery/thriller books. She hasn’t written many YA mysteries, so I wonder where she’ll go with this one.

 

A Court of Wings and Ruin (May 2)

I’m slipping more into the YA genre. And I admit that I’m completely and entirely hooked. Just twelve more days. TWELVE DAYS. I haven’t anticipated a book this badly. And we get 720 glorious pages! Okay, calm yourself, Sib. Now A Court of Wings and Ruins may just kill me, but I want it more than any other book (fighting words, yes?).

I can’t get enough of this series. The fanfiction doesn’t satisfy me, the illustrations somewhat stave off my anticipation, but I need the book. And my little bat babies. Hello, wingspan. 😍 Cue the fangirl screaming now. Cauldron help me.

 

Flame in the Mist (May 16)

Look at this cover! I’m in love. For months, I’ve been hearing nothing but good things about the Flame in the Mist. Betrayal, murder, Feudal Japan, and a kickass woman who infiltrates a male-only gang? I’m in. I haven’t read any of Renée‘s other work, but her book certainly piques my interest.

Wrap-Up: October 2016

Monthly Reads


So I haven’t had a productive month. Blame that on school. But I’ve read quite a few great books. I’m just two away from my Reading Challenge, but I expect to surpass it soon enough. 😊

 

october-wrap-up

Rex by Cody B. Stewart, Mark Rogers, and Adam Rocke

It transports me back to the 90s, and I can’t help but adore this book more. You get a mix of E.T. and a children’s version of Jurassic Park. It’ll delight the young, the youth, and the young at heart! So get your nerd on, grab your copy today, support indie publishers, and stroll down memory lane. You can’t get much better than a dinosaur book.

I hope the authors make a sequel for this little book. If not, we may get more of Rex, TJ, and Sam if it gets picked up for a movie! Here are more details.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US  | Publisher’s Website

 

Omari and the People by Stephen Whitfield, narrated by Curt Simmons

Jess @ Audiobookworm introduced me to Stephen’s work. It’s one of the books that you didn’t think you’d pick up, but now you’re happy you have. It’s my first audiobook. Curt’s narration makes Stephen’s book mesmerizing. And the author’s storytelling keeps you intrigued from the first sentence to the last.

I definitely recommend you to listen to the audio!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads | Amazon US | Audible

 

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I haven’t finished this book yet. But I can safely say it’ll be one of favourites of the year! I still question myself why I hadn’t picked it up sooner. It’s been sitting on my shelf since May.

I’m irrationally in love with every character, and I’d beg Leigh to write more stories about them, but alas, I get only two books. Thankfully I’ve ordered the sequel. So you might see a squeal-filled post or a Tweet about me getting it. 😂

But I can’t recommend this series and book enough! BUY IT.

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Book Haul


October’s Book Haul

 

Posts


Reviews and Blog Tours

Rex Blog Tour Review

Rex Blog Tour Author Spotlight and Q&A

Omari and the People Blog Tour Audio Review

A Torch against the Night Joint Review

Empire of Night Review

 

Features

Bookish Finds (3), Halloween edition

Review: Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong

21480854Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong

Published by: Doubleday Canada

Publication Date: April 7, 2015

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, High Fantasy

Extent: 432 pages

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase


Sisters Moria and Ashyn are the Keeper and Seeker of Edgewood.

Or at least, they were.

Their village is gone. Their friends have betrayed them. And now, they are all but prisoners in court, forced to watch and wait while the Emperor decides whether to help the children of Edgewood, who remain hostages of the treacherous Alvar Kitsune.

But when the emperor finally sends the girls on a mission to rescue the children – accompanied by Prince Tyrus and a small band of men – the journey proves more perilous than any of them could have imagined. With lies and unrest mounting in the empire, Moria and Ashyn will have to draw on every bit of influence and power they possess to unite their people and avert an all-out war.

In this second book in her epic and captivating Age of Legends trilogy, #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong blends romance, danger, and magic to send readers on a heart-racing journey through an unforgettable world.


Empire of Night is what I’ve been waiting for out of this series! It bursts with honour, duty, filial piety, betrayals, and political trickery and plays. It certainly doesn’t suffer from second book syndrome. It is, by far, my favourite out of the series. Kelley’s plot twists are action packed and fast paced.

Once Moria and Ashyn, the Keeper and Seeker, find refuge at the Empire, Emperor Jiro Tatsu tasks them with the duty to find the missing Edgewood children, along with Ronan, an exiled convict who escapes the Forest of the Dead with Ashyn, and the Emperor’s bastard son Tyrus. But this journey proves more dangerous than anyone expects.

In this instalment, you get more multi-layered characters. Tyrus is a worthy companion for Moria, and while he doesn’t push Moria like Gavril does, he has a sixth sense when it comes to her, as if he and she have bonded over years rather than weeks. They share an intense chemistry, but I wonder which relationship will prevail: Moria and Tyrus or Moria and Gavril.

And here is where I gush over Moria’s arc. What more can you throw at a character? Kelley pits her against ruthless guards, dangerous beasties that she’d never think she’d see, and the savage Alvar Kitsune. Moria is the star attraction. I love her growth. But I can’t forget Ashyn. She’s one character who exhibits a strong quietude that flourishes once she sees herself as something more than her sister’s shadow. Because of their Northern heritage, Ashyn and Moria are seen as fetishes, a part of a minority, and simpleminded creatures. Readers can argue that the main characters are still white, but Kelley plays these race scenes and division in ethnicities rather well, and they bring a unique twist to the series.

Japanese heritage and history take centre stage in this instalment. Kelley sticks to the honour and duty that many families revered in that society, especially filial piety. And these morals intertwine in each character and arc. You especially see them in Tyrus and Gavril. Although I enjoyed reading Sea of Shadows, I felt that is too isolated, and even though the reawakened creatures and the kidnapped children carry the book quite well, Empire of Night expands on the world building tenfold. You finally see how the imperial city rules its lands and its people and how the citizens of the Empire are anxious, wary, and concerned of the unexplained occurrences.

Alvar––the former imperial marshal and father of Gavril, a warrior who helps Moria escape the ruins of Edgewood in Sea of Shadows––uses that suppressed fear and morphs it into a beast waiting to attack the imperial family and Empire itself. Some residents still question the exile of Alvar. Gavril doesn’t play a huge role in Empire of Night, but he does play a pivotal one, though. So at least we get some good Gavril parts.

The Age of Legends series gets better after every book. Forest of Ruin will be a great finale to this thrilling series! I hope Ashyn gets her chance to show this cruel world what her strength really is. And that ending killed me.

What did you think of this book or series? What were your thoughts on that ending? Expecting it or not? Tell me in the comments!

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Review: Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

17236366Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

Published by: Kelley Armstrong

Publication Date: April 8, 2014

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, High Fantasy

Extent: 416 pages

Rating: 4/5


In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.


Strong female leads, legendary creatures long thought as extinct, riveting storyline, and unexpected betrayal––What more can you get out of a book? With Sea of Shadows, you get all the above and more. Kelley hasn’t delved into high fantasy before, so I wasn’t sure what to anticipate with this debut novel.

After Moria and Ashyn’s town is massacred, the Edgewood children are kidnapped, and the Seeking is interrupted, Moria, Ashyn, Gavril, and Ronan plunge into a perilous journey that forces them to fight reawakened creatures and to cross the deadly Wastes so they can save the children.

Edgewood is perched on the border of the Forest of the Dead, where the Empire sends its convicts. The Seeker begins the annual Seeking, a day to relinquish the trapped and enraged spirits. The Keeper stays to protect the town and its people. Many of the Edgewood residents staunchly believe in the legends of old. Moria and Ashyn are often revered by the town. The book’s shining beacon is the twins. But they are nothing alike. Moria is sharp and hard like steel, while Ashyn is quiet as a breeze, but she has a hidden strength not many see. Together? They are an unbelievable force.

“She watched as her sister read it. Watched as her face crumpled, as her shoulders shook. Ashyn caught her and held her, and they fell against each other as the tears came.”

I adore Moria and Ashyn’s relationship. I got to see how siblings truly protect each other. I grew up with half-siblings, but I’ve never felt a sisterly bond with any of them. The twins’ relationship is effortless, relatable, and, at times, gut wrenching. Moria and Ashyn, along with their father, often defy tradition and the Empire as a way to honour their mother, who took her life to protect them. Reading the twins’ bond, I now see how a real blood bond looks like.

Getting into the Age of Legend series took me a while, but with a second, and for this review, a third reread, I truly enjoyed the book. Kelley creates a captivating world that I haven’t seen in other stories. Sea of Shadows is a solid high-fantasy YA novel that’s rich in mythology. It may have a slow start, but at the heart of this story are two sisters whose wish is to serve their Empire and their people. As Kelley brings long-lost legends to this series, the backstory for each just adds more to the world building. I can’t wait to visit this world again.

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Wrap-Up: August 2016

August2016roundup

This month certainly wasn’t the most productive, and I haven’t put a dent in tackling my bookshelf. But I’ve read some captivating books!

The Oddity by Kat Hawthorne

How much can I gush about this small little treat? Kat’s work made me think. A lot. And not many others do. Sure, you get some books that may make you question a few things, but this one made me think. The story is simply stunning and enchanting, and I hope to have this book on my shelf soon!

One thing I can say is that I love me some beautifully designed books. My Ryerson program has taught me how to appreciate the simplicity and the love of book design. Here’s my review.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong 

I’ve read this book about three times, and every time I do, I fall in love with the world building, the characters, and the storyline. What I love about this series is that it still contains similar themes as her other work, but this one has such a dynamic world I haven’t seen before, and I truly appreciate the mythology behind this story! It truly captured me.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong

Moria truly shines in this sequel. While I didn’t like how the twins were separated, I love how they grew as indidivuals. And the mythology in this book is superb! My God, I love it. I cannot wait to read Forest of Ruin.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’ll be posting my reviews for both books soon! And you’ll soon see a big change on my site, so don’t worry. A different name but the same content! One reason why I haven’t been around lately.

Wrap-Up: July 2016

roundup

In July, I found some memorable reads and some fantastic ones. I’m only eight books away from my Goodreads Reading Challenge! Woo!

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

A thought-provoking WWII story that explores the heart-breaking journey of two sisters who survive in occupied France. I haven’t cried so hard when I finished this book.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US

 

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

A heart-pounding and character-driven fantasy that is sure to captivate any reader. Sabaa has a rare and upcoming talent that I hope will enchant me even more. I simply adore her debut novel. Her characters are one the best I’ve seen in years. I can live in her book for weeks!

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US

 

The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong

I can’t ask more from Kelley. She sure knows how to write a suspenseful and action-packed thriller. I love how Kelley brings out the psychologist in her. Her ability to address mental illness is superb.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US

 

The Unquiet Past by Kelley Armstrong

A great Canadian read from my favourite author. This novel has a sprinkle of mystery, suspense, and supernatural. I love the banter between the two main characters.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US

 

Betrayals by Kelley Armstrong

A heart-wrenching fantasy that will not let you go! Kelley excels in her fantasy worlds. She is a master in her craft. I’m in love with this Cainsville series. I was not expecting this ending. Wow, I’m blown away. I can’t wait until Rituals is out!

Kelley’s fourth book in the Cainsville series will be out on August 9. You can also find the first five chapters here.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ (4.5 actually)

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Mini Review: The Masked Truth and The Unquiet Past by Kelley Armstrong

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24733600The Unquiet Past by Kelley Armstrong

Published by: Orca Book Publishers

Publication Date: October 13, 2015

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Thriller

Extent: 352 pages

Rating: 3/5


Riley Vasquez is haunted by the brutal murder of the couple she was babysitting for. Max Cross is suffering under the shadow of a life-altering diagnosis he doesn’t dare reveal. The last thing either of them wants is to spend a weekend away at a therapy camp alongside five other teens with “issues.” But that’s exactly where they are when three masked men burst in to take the group hostage. The building has no windows. The exits are sealed shut. Their phones are gone. And their captors are on a killing spree. Riley and Max know that if they can’t get out, they’ll be next—but they’re about to discover that even escape doesn’t equal freedom.


Therapy camp, murder, and teen mental illness? Sign me up! Surprisingly, I enjoyed reading this novel. I had no high expectations, but I savoured the easy read and fast-paced action in The Masked Truth. It does take a foreign path I’m not accustomed to with Kelley, so I wasn’t expecting to be hooked so quickly.

With The Masked Truth, you get to see Kelley’s other side. She studied for a degree in psychology before she became an author, and her experience shows through in her writing. How Kelley addresses mental illness––especially schizophrenia and PTSD––in youth is what sparked my interest.

This book reminds me of Kelley’s Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising series, but without the fantasy. Riley is a relatable teen who witnesses a brutal crime that causes her to attend this deadly therapy retreat, and Max is a teenage boy who simply cannot accept his diagnosis (I know I couldn’t, especially with my family connection to his illness). Both work great as a team, and I enjoyed both POVs.

Two negatives are Max’s obsession to continuously make out and his tendency to wander. I get why he’s intrigued by Riley, but I believe your life has a higher priority than kissing her, even if she is cute. And now I sound old. Great. Anyways, Kelley took a chance with this standalone book, and while there were some rough edges, The Masked Truth is a fun read.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CA | Amazon US


003188_1163d3ae7b517100f7d7003e0c15cb18The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong

Published by: Doubleday Canada

Publication Date: September 29, 2015

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Supernatural, Mystery

Extent: 264 pages

Rating: 3/5


Tess has always been tormented by waking visions that make her question her sanity. When the orphanage she lives in burns down, she decides to face her fears and find out once and for all what is wrong with her. She believes the truth must lie with her parents, and so, armed with only an address and phone number, Tess travels to a crumbling mansion in rural Quebec, where she discovers evidence of mistreatment of mental patients. She also makes an unlikely ally and gradually unearths her family’s sad history—and finally accepts the truth about her paranormal powers.


When Kelley brings Canadiana to her work, especially setting her book in Canada, I am eager to get my hands on it. I don’t always see Canadian settings. Don’t get me wrong; I love other countries, but when I know which city or town authors write about, I’m thrilled to immerse myself in their work.

This book is a part of the Secrets series from Orca Book Publishers. I’m not intrigued by all the books in Secrets, but I’m interested in a few: Stones on a Grave by Kathy Kacer, My Life before Me by Norah McClintock, and Innocent by Eric Walters.

This book also deals with mental illness but is sprinkled with some suspense and supernatural undertones. At first, Tess annoyed me a little, especially when she doesn’t listen to her instincts. But I grew to like her, though. I enjoyed her character’s growth and the banter she has with Jackson. Both have an interesting bond. But I felt that the ending was rushed. The Unquiet Past is a quick and compelling read. I wish Kelley fleshed out the ending, though. The rating would be different. Overall, it was a nice read.

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