Shadows Cast By Stars

Shadows Cast By Stars by Catherine Knutsson

Two hundred years from now, blood has become the most valuable commodity on the planet— especially the blood of aboriginal peoples, for it contains antibodies that protect them from the Plague ravaging the rest of the world.

Sixteen-year-old Cassandra Mercredi might be immune to Plague, but that doesn’t mean she’s safe— government forces are searching for those of aboriginal heritage to harvest their blood. When a search threatens Cassandra and her family, they flee to the Island: a mysterious and idyllic territory protected by the Band, a group of guerrilla warriors— and by an enigmatic energy barrier that keeps outsiders out and the spirit world in. And though the village healer has taken her under her wing, and the tribal leader’s son into his heart, the creatures of the spirit world are angry, and they have chosen Cassandra to be their voice and instrument…

I loved this book instantly. It was so beautifully written and right away I knew I was going to love it and I was right! It’s rare to see a book featuring the mythology of the native peoples of Canada and Alaska. The last one (and the only one I’ve read) that did was The Gods of Second Chances, which I also loved a lot. Clearly, I stumbled upon a subject I like so if you guys have more fiction recommendations for books that feature this type of mythology, send them my way!

Okay, back to Shadows Cast By Stars. That is a lovely title for a book and the cover of the one I had was equally as lovely (pictured above!). So what else did I like besides the mythology stuff and the writing? The dystopian setting (more on that later). The magic. Cassandra. The world-building. Pretty much everything.

Now I have to note on the dystopian stuff, I guess reading the reviews if people didn’t like this book, it’s because they expected it to have as much action as The Hunger Games. It’s definitely not like The Hunger Games at all. But I did enjoy that because it’s so different from most other entries in this genre, for the dystopian world to be mostly offstage and not front and center to the story.

I do think this is the first book in the series. It has to be, with everything that was set up at the end of the book. Which excites me!

However. This book was published in 2012. As of the summer of 2017, there’s no mention of another book forthcoming. Not on the author’s personal website, not on Goodreads, not on her publisher’s website.There’s no updates or anything I can find on the web in the past five years. Not even a note to be like, “Hey guys, sorry it’s taking forever, but I really am writing another book!” It’s like she dropped off the face of the Earth.  Which makes me really, really, really concerned that maybe something has happened to her and that this fantastic story that was set up has no ending…


Shiver By Maggie Stiefvater

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.


I received this book some years ago from a Secret Santa. I put off reading it because I’d always heard it was supposed to be an amazing book and I figured I’d want to binge-read the series after that and I was on book-buying ban.

And…that’s not what happened.

The atmosphere is about the only thing that went right with this book. That and the twist on the werewolf story. And the cover. The cover is beautiful. But this story was loaded with enough instalove, forgettable characters, and truly cringeworthy sentences that at times I questioned why I kept reading. I did finish it though. Chalk it up to a combination of curiosity and a desire to see things finished.

I’ve always heard good things about Maggie Stiefvater. I won’t let the disappointment of Shiver keep me from reading some of her other books. I still want to read The Raven Boys and The Scorpio Races.

Even though I didn’t like Shiver, I’m still debating about continuing to read the series or not. Do the other books get better or is Shiver considered to the best? If they get better, I might keep going.




Library of Souls

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs

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.


As I mentioned in my review of Hollow City, I recently went to see the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children movie. While I did like it at the time, finishing Library of Souls has further convinced me that the ending they gave to the movie was just plain silly. With so much amazing material in Library of Souls, we as the fans deserved much better.

As in Hollow City, the plot picks up immediately after the end of the previous book and immediately plunges us back into the story. Library of Souls was just fabulous. It had all the magic of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children while broadlibrary of souls ransom riggsening the world-building and introducing quite a few new twists to the story. If you stopped reading after the first book in the series, do yourself a favor and pick up Hollow City and Library of Souls. This is one series worth finishing out.

The only criticism I have to give is that a few of the loose ends of the plot wrapped up a bit too neatly and conveniently. But overall this series was one of the most imaginative and engrossing of any I’ve read in recent years. I’m not even hinting at any spoilers because I think you should just go read it and not take my word for it!


Click here to buy from Amazon: Library of Souls: The Third Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children


Hollow City

Review of Hollow City By Ransom Riggs

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.


A solid second book in a trilogy. Hollow City picked up immediately after Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children ends. There’s a lot of action in this book as the children try to find help for Miss Peregrine and find themselves chased by Hollows and Wights.

One thing I really liked in this book is that the peculiar lore is deepened as the children explore the world outside their island and discover that The Tales is at least partially true. And of course, there are more of those awesome pictures.

My main criticism is that there are too many children to keep track of. There’s a helpful who’s who guide at the beginning, but you know there’s an issue if you’re almost to the end of the book and still need to flip back to remind yourself of the difference between Hugh and Horace.

I just watched the Miss Peregrine’s Movie today and while there were quite a few changes, it was still enjoyable! I didn’t realize the third book in the series, Library of Souls, was already out. I really hope the movie didn’t spoil the ending to the series!!


The City of Mirrors

By Justin Cronin

The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place?

The Twelve have been destroyed and the terrifying hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew—and daring to dream of a hopeful future.

But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy—humanity’s only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him.

One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate.


Along with The Last Star, this was one of my most anticipated series endings of this year. I got both of these books around mid-June, but it took me much longer to finish The City of Mirrors.

A few reasons for that, I think. First, I’d never really realized how dense these books are until I sat down to read The City of Mirrors. A lot happens in the text and very little of it is fluff to be glossed over. The book is 600 pages, but I’m sure they squeezed in another 100-200 pages worth of words. Second, while the book was never calling to me to hurry up and get back to reading it, whenever I did get back to it, I’d read for hours. Which is a problem because I read before bed most often.

All in all, this was a terrific series closer. A writer with an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop writing a vampire apocalypse trilogy sounds ridiculous on the face of it, but the result is just incredible. I would recommend doing a re-read of the first two books before tackling this one. This is one of my all-time favorite series and I regret not doing that myself because I think I would have gotten even more enjoyment out of The City of Mirrors. But I’ll definitely be rereading the series at some point in the future!



By Jeff VanderMeer

It is winter in Area X, the mysterious wilderness that has defied explanation for thirty years, rebuffing expedition after expedition, refusing to reveal its secrets. As Area X expands, the agency tasked with investigating and overseeing it–the Southern Reach–has collapsed on itself in confusion. Now one last, desperate team crosses the border, determined to reach a remote island that may hold the answers they’ve been seeking. If they fail, the outer world is in peril.

Meanwhile, Acceptance tunnels ever deeper into the circumstances surrounding the creation of Area X–what initiated this unnatural upheaval? Among the many who have tried, who has gotten close to understanding Area X–and who may have been corrupted by it?

In this last installment of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, the mysteries of Area X may be solved, but their consequences and implications are no less profound–or terrifying.


As I mentioned on my other two reviews, I’m so grateful that when I started to read this series all these books were out. I couldn’t have handled it if I had to wait months or years for the rest of the story.

Acceptance brings The Southern Reach trilogy to a close. Some answers are revealed, but in true VanderMeer form, we get more questions that don’t have ready answers.

The form of this book was quite a bit different than Annihilation and Authority. We jump from character to character as well as backwards and forwards in time. We hear from Control, Ghost Bird, the old Director of the Southern Reach, and Saul, the lighthouse keeper. So many different viewpoints means a lot of the questions and clues were either filled in completely or at least partly elucidated upon.

Finally, we begin to see inside the final days of the Coast and the birth of Area X. We learn a bit more about The Southern Reach and its shadowy controllers and employees. Control’s questions about the old Director get some explanation. And Control and Ghost Bird plunge into Area X, one final time.

I think this was my favorite of the three book. More answers, less secrets, but not all the answers. For those of you who remembered me being so scared while reading Annihilation, this book is not any creepier than that was.

Just go read it already. If you’ve come this far in the series, you might as well finish it!


By Jeff VanderMeer

After thirty years, the only human engagement with Area X–a seemingly malevolent landscape surrounded by an invisible border and mysteriously wiped clean of all signs of civilization–has been a series of expeditions overseen by a government agency so secret it has almost been forgotten: the Southern Reach. Following the tumultuous twelfth expedition chronicled in Annihilation, the agency is in complete disarray.

John Rodrigues (aka “Control”) is the Southern Reach’s newly appointed head. Working with a distrustful but desperate team, a series of frustrating interrogations, a cache of hidden notes, and hours of profoundly troubling video footage, Control begins to penetrate the secrets of Area X. But with each discovery he must confront disturbing truths about himself and the agency he’s pledged to serve.

In Authority, the second volume of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, Area X’s most disturbing questions are answered . . . but the answers are far from reassuring.


In many ways, I liked Authority better than Annihilation. One of the major reasons is that Authority is nowhere near as creepy as Annihilation. Rather than take place in the mysterious Area X, Authority deals with the Southern Reach, the government body in charge of Area X.

Van De Meer loves to give his main characters thought-provoking names. Ghost Bird in Annihilation. Control in Authority. I read the word “Control” so much it actually started to sound like a decent name. And of course there was a delightful little riff with CTRL and Control.

Authority goes a long way towards putting some explanation to Annihilation and the secrets of Area X. But of course, not everything is resolved and we get new questions with no answers. Some people found this book to be slow or even boring. While it’s true I didn’t gobble this book down in one sitting, my pulse wasn’t at an all-time high, either.

Oh and the ending of this one is a doozy. Be sure to have Acceptance standing by so you can start reading.