January 2017 Book Haul

Hi everyone!😊

Welcome to my first book haul of 2017! I hope you guys all had an amazing first month of the year. This is a scheduled post, but today (January 31st) I wrote my English exam, and tomorrow is the most stressful exam of them all, science!😫 Wish me luck!

Anyway, here are all the books I was able to get my hands on this month. As you can probably tell, I didn’t haul (or read) as much as I usually do, which was mostly because of exams. I promise that starting after tomorrow’s exam, I will get right back into reading and blogging!😄 Oh, and P.S. Expect a similar month from me in June, too, as I will have my second semester exams😫 .

Borrowed from the library:

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Received from Indigo Books & Music in exchange for an honest review:

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Received from my dad (thanks so much! I love you!😘)

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Received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review:

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So tell me, have you read any of these books? Opinions? What books did you haul this month? Let me know in the comments below.

Au revoir!💜

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ARC Review: A Quiet Kind of Thunder

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Title: A Quiet Kind of Thunder

Author: Sara Barnard

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Steffi doesn’t talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn’t a lightning strike, it’s the rumbling roll of thunder.

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.

From the bestselling author of Beautiful Broken Things comes a love story about the times when a whisper is as good as a shout.

Source: Thanks so much to Macmillan Children’s Books via Publishers Group Canada for providing me with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley!

How I Found Out About It: Blogging

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If I had to describe this book in one word, do you know what I would say? AMAZING!

Upon requesting A Quiet Kind of Thunder from Netgalley, I had been reading a lot of rave reviews for it, as well as for Sara Barnard’s previous book, Beautiful Broken Things. So, when I found out that there was a Netgalley edition made specifically for Canadians, I decided, “Perfect, let’s request!”

And I am SOOOOO glad I did. This book… I have no words. Seriously. It rocked my world and completely enthralled me. I may even be willing to give it a reread once it is officially released, it was that good!

To briefly summarize, this book revolves around Steffi, who is a selective mute, meaning that she has extreme social anxiety that makes it uncomfortable for her to talk to others. Because of this, she has a hard time fitting in at her school. So, when a new boy named Rhys comes to her school, he clicks with Steffi right away as he is deaf, and can thus identify with her easily. But silent relationships do have their setbacks… will the two eventually be able to communicate freely with each other, despite their troubles?

Both characters were beyond amazing. Flawed, oh yes they were, but the good things about them definitely shined onto their surface. First, let’s talk about Steffi. I LOVED her. She was relatable and witty, and even though she was going through a lot, she always kept on a tough face. Steffi often tackled her struggles with a positive attitude and perseverance, which I love to see. And not to mention that her character development was out-of-this-world: that’s all I’m going to say right now in order to refrain from spoiling!

Rhys seemed like a super gorgeous guy, and I think I fell in love with him while reading. I absolutely adored the way he treated Steffi and the strong bond the two had with each other. I felt like I could easily relate to him as well as he went through everything, but some of the stories he had about his past saddened me so much that I just wanted to reach out and hug him!

The plot of this book was pretty basic and cliche, to say the least, but Sara Barnard definitely added a unique spin onto it with all the twists, turns, ups and downs. There was never a dull moment while reading this book, whereas on the other hand, there usually are in most stories like this.

All in all, your calendars NEED to be marked for February 10th, the release date of this beautiful book. This is absolutely NOT one you want to miss. For anyone wanting a fun, diverse romance, A Quiet Kind of Thunder will for sure become the thunder to your lightning!⚡️

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*I received a digital ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

ARC Review: Wintersong

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Title: Wintersong

Author: S. Jae-Jones

Genre & Age Group: Fantasy, romance, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

Source: Thanks so much to Indigo Books & Music Inc. for providing me with a physical ARC of this book!

How I Found Out About It: Blogging

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I had been hearing bloggers rave about Wintersong, and even though this type of book doesn’t usually appeal to me, I still decided to request it to see what everyone was loving.

This book turned out to amaze me, and I think it has opened up a whole new world of fantasy books for me to read. Because of these 437 pages of pure awesomeness, I am now so excited to read more high fantasy books to see how much more amazingness they bring.

To synopsize, Wintersong centres around Liesl, who has envied the Goblin King for her whole life. When Kathe, her sister, is mauled away by him and his crew, she has no choice but to fight them in order to get her back. The Goblin King will give her sister back under one condition- that she marries him. Carefully, she accepts, and they start their life together. Suddenly, Liesl realizes that she still looks up to the Goblin King, and thus he tries his best to give her as much musical talent as possible. The sacrifices made for their romance can be a big barrier, though, as they bond even more and get on the path to discovering what they really want in life.

I really liked Liesl’s strong character, and I think she would make a fabulous role model for anyone who reads this book. It may not have shown at the beginning of the book when her sister was kidnapped, but she has a lot of courage inside of her, which really showed once she bonded with the Goblin King and improved her musical skills. In my opinion, Liesl is the fighter type, willing to do anything it takes to protect the things and people she loves, and that is something I always admire in characters.

The Goblin King seemed to have a bit of a troubled past, which was definitely clear to me while reading. I did find him wise, though, in the sense that he gave Liesl a lot of advice about life and taught her to do everything she’d been dreaming of for a very long time.

The world-building aspect of this story is just one of the many things that kept me hooked from the start- the author creates such vivid descriptions of the forests and seas of this book. Unlike many books of this kind, I felt like I was there, overlooking all the events.

All in all, if I had the chance to jump into a fantasy world, this one would be one of my top choices, as I really loved the story, as well as everything (and everyone😉 ) in it. If you are a fan of dark fantasies centring around goblins that include amazing characters, then Wintersong is yours to devour, starting on February 7th!

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*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review.*

The Sun is Also a Star Review

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Title: The Sun is Also a Star

Author: Nicola Yoon

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Source: Thanks so much for buying this book for me, Dad!😘

How I Found Out About It: Blogging hype

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I, like many other readers, was a devourer of Nicola Yoon’s debut, Everything, Everything. So, when I heard that this book was coming out, I naturally gravitated to it, needing more of Yoon’s awesome writing. I had such high expectations for this book- and luckily, they were exceeded!

For a long time, this book was at the top of my wishlist, being mentioned in all my tags as the book I want to read the most. So, when my dad took the initiative to buy it for me, I was the happiest girl on the planet!😄

To briefly summarize, The Sun is Also a Star revolves around the dual POVs of protagonists Natasha and Daniel. Natasha is about to be deported from the US back to her ‘home’ country of Jamaica, and Daniel is out searching for colleges. When the two meet by chance, they instantly bond and try to spend as much time as they can together in their very limited timeframe.

I absolutely loved both characters of this book with a burning passion. Natasha, being a non-believer of fate and relying mostly on written facts, was pretty reluctant about being with Daniel at first, but because of the loyal person she was, she went with it anyway, and it led to amazing character development! Daniel was able to change her life for the better in that super short timeframe, which I thought was amazing. And let’s not forget about the awesomeness that Daniel was- a swoon-worthy, gorgeous, and absolutely dreamy guy!😍

The plot of this story was very fast-moving and never failed to excite me, which I loved. There were plot-twists every so often to keep me super engaged, and all of this led to, well… a pretty unrealistic ending. I mean, I liked it and all, but I just don’t know if it was believable or not. If you’d like to know what I’m talking about, then there’s a good indication that you must read this book!😉

The one tiny thing that irked me about this book was the insta-love. I know it has annoyed a lot of readers, so I won’t get into it☺️.

All in all, The Sun is Also a Star has now become one of my new favourites. I enjoyed every word of this story, and almost all of its elements. If you’re looking for a sweet romance with great characters, a great writing style, but don’t mind some insta-love, then make this book your star!

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Review

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Title: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass

Author: Lewis Carroll

Genre & Age Group: Classics, fantasy, children’s, middle grade

Goodreads Synopsis:

The familiar tale of Alice’s journey to Wonderland and all the characters she meets, from Tweedledee and Tweedledum to the Queen of Hearts. The land where time does not matter returns in this edition, full of wonderment and nonsense which will always amuse children and the young at heart.
Source: Owned
How I Found Out About It: Common knowledge😉
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I was quite excited to delve into this book. It’s a beloved children’s classic, and readers have been raving about it for years and years. So, it would only make sense if I loved this book too, right?
Wrong. Unfortunately, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was not for me. I spent my time reading this book bored and ready to dose off to sleep.
In case you don’t know what this story is about, it revolves around a little girl named Alice who ventures off to a mysterious land called Wonderland. When she is there, she meets and becomes friendly with many different characters and has even more adventures with them. Time is also no component, as it is frozen in place.
The one thing I did enjoy about this book was Alice herself. After reading about such an adorable, innocent little girl, I felt really bad about disliking the rest of the elements in the story. Alice was a lover of adventure, and her outgoing spirit made most of the other characters in the story fall in love with her. I also found her to be very inquisitive and curious about the world around her, which was just. So. Cute!
There was a clear plot, but admittedly, I was not amused. My copy of this book was pretty short at under 200 pages, but the events in the story just did not move me or excite me. Maybe I’m a bit too mature for this type of book, maybe the plot confused me, or maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for it… I just don’t know!
Most writing styles of books reel me in and make me want more and more, but, for a change, not this one. I was not a fan of the older English words that were used and the insertions of songs and poems- but then again, it was written in 1865, so who am I to judge?
Overall, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland just wasn’t one I devoured. I’d like to give my sincere apologies to everyone who enjoys this story! There are definitely still positive things about this book, but I just wasn’t necessarily able to find them. But this doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to! If you are a fan of children’s fantasy classics, then feel free to dive in, adore Alice, and hopefully everything else!☺️
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2016-2017 Tag

(Picture was found on Sophie’s blog and was first created by David @#theguywhosaidalwaysno)

Hi everyone!👋
Sophie @ Blame Chocolate has tagged me to take part in the 2016-2017 tag. Thanks so much, Sophie!💞 Be sure to give her awesome blog a follow if you haven’t already!

David @ #theguywhosaidalwaysno was the creator of this tag, and I give him credit☺️.

Here are the rules:

1. Mention the creator of the TAG.

2. Use the image that you find in this article.

3. Mention the blogger who has chosen you.

4. Answer the questions.

5. Mention 9 3 bloggers/friends and let them know through a comment on their blog.

So let’s get to it!

Describe your 2016 in 3 words.

Interesting, and (like Sophie) fun and productive.👌

Write the name of 2 people that characterized your 2016.

Ugh, I really don’t want to state any names in particular, there were so many! So, I’m going with Sophie’s answer of my friends and family.💞

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Write the most beautiful place you’ve visited in 2016 and why you liked it so much.

Okay, in 2016 I only travelled to Niagara Falls and my cottage… so I guess I should say Niagara Falls since I don’t go there as often as my cottage? It was a lot of fun, even though we only stayed there for a night.💜

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Write the most delicious food you’ve tasted in 2016.

I am a very picky eater, haha, so to be honest, I’m not sure if I tried anything new in 2016. So, I’ll have to skip this one for now😂 .

Write the event which has marked you the most in 2016 (even global event).

Probably starting high school in September, meeting tons of new people, and learning lots of new things!😄

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Write the finest purchase you’ve made in 2016, and if you want link a photo.

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It was a birthday present from my grandfather (Thank you, Zaidy!😘 ), but I think my straightening brush can still count- it’s awesome, and since I don’t know how to properly use a real straightener, it’s perfect.👌

Write 3 good intentions for 2017.

To make even more new friends and hang out with them more often, to continue doing well in school, and to read even more amazing books!✌️

Write 1 place you want to visit in 2017.

If my family does travel, I would like to go to either Florida or Vancouver. I do have other more ambitious travel destinations, but it is unlikely that I will go to them this year.

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Write 1 plate/food you want to eat in 2017.

I don’t have a specific food I want to try this year, so I think I should make a resolution to expand my food horizons, haha!😜

I tag…

  1. Dory @ Fish That Reads
  2. Kyleigh @ Coffeehouse Chatter
  3. Asiya/Marcela @ Inked Epiphanies

If you’ve already participated in this tag or you just don’t feel like it, you have no obligations, especially since the year is already moving forward! I’d still like to see your answers, though.😊

So tell me, do you have any similar resolutions? What was the best place you visited in 2016, if any? And what event marked you? Let me know in the comments below.

Au revoir!💜

Hiatus

Hi everyone!👋

I just wanted to let you all know that as of right now, I will be going on a hiatus from blogging. As exams at the end of the month are coming closer and closer, I am going to need to focus more on my studies than on reading and blogging.

 I do have a few posts already scheduled to go up between now and when my exams end, but I will not be scheduling any new content between now and February 1st. I will also not be checking my reader or any other blogs, but I will try to respond to comments whenever I can.

Thanks so much for understanding, everyone! I will see you all in February!😘💜

Top Ten Thursday #36

Hi everyone!☺️

Because of the great success my first Top Ten Thursday post about diverse books was, I have decided to write up a second one. 2017 is the year where many of you (including myself) have vouched to read more diversely, so hopefully with these recommendations, you’ll be able to get a kick start towards that goal!

Without further ado…

1.

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What’s the diversity?: One main character is Jamaican, and the other is Asian.

As I write this, The Sun is Also a Star was my last read, and it was amazing! I would recommend this book in any way, shape, or form.👌

2.

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What’s the diversity?: Dyslexia

Jolien @ The Fictional Reader recently wrote a very interesting post about dyslexia in YA, pointing out how learning disabilities are not represented enough in literature, and I have to say that I agree. She also mentioned adding this book onto her TBR, and I applaud her decision- this book was beyond amazing, and I don’t have a learning disability myself, but I do think that dyslexia was represented well.

3.

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What’s the diversity?: The main character is deaf.

I loved every word of this amazing book. It was just too good!☺️

4.

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What’s the diversity?: LGBTQ+

This wasn’t my favourite book as I don’t really enjoy limited omniscient narrators, but this is definitely still one to check out for its great morals.

5.

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What’s the diversity?: The main character is deaf and has two mothers.

Thank the universe for this super diverse book! Plus, it includes graffiti, which makes it even more unique!

6.

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What’s the diversity?: The main character has severe social anxiety.

This book had a great representation of social anxiety, and I think more people should definitely read it to get a glimpse into what these people have to deal with every day.

7.

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What’s the diversity?: The main character is of colour.

The Secrets series is amazing. The best thing is that you don’t have to read all the books in order! 

8.

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What’s the diversity?: It revolves around characters with OCD.

Another great representation of mental health! This story is as unique as a snowflake, and I’m surprised that more people aren’t reading this!

9.

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What’s the diversity?: LGBTQ+

Read this book not just for the Oreos, but for the amazing characters, plot, and writing style! You’re welcome.☺️

10.

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What’s the diversity?: LGBTQ+

Rainbow Rowell never fails to impress me with her diverse books, and Carry On is no exception! It was a great book to kick start my developing love for fantasy.

So tell me, have you read any of these books? Opinions? Any more diverse books you’d like to recommend? Should I make a part three? Let me know in the comments below.

Au revoir!💜

ARC Review: Carve the Mark

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Title: Carve the Mark

Author: Veronica Roth

Genre & Age Group: Science fiction, dystopian, fantasy, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power—something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive—no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive—or to destroy one another.

Source: Thanks so much to Indigo Books & Music Inc. for providing me a physical ARC of this book!

How I Found Out About It: Blogging

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Along with many other people, I am an avid fan of Veronica Roth’s Divergent series. I adored the action, the characters, and the premise, and I actually did not mind the ending of Allegiant. So, when I heard that Roth had a new book coming out, I knew I needed it immediately. The lovely people at Indigo headquarters sent it my way wrapped in brown paper with a silver ribbon, so I could tell right from the start how special it would be. 

I have to say that I liked many things about Carve the Mark, but to be fair, it did have its share of flaws, too.

To synopsize, this book revolves around the dual-POVs of Cyra and Akos. On the planet where they live, every citizen is provided with a currentgift, which acts as a special talent for them to use to their benefit. Unfortunately, though, Cyra and Akos’ currentgifts are not the best, and can be harmful to them in the long term. Through many adventures together, the two gain appreciation for each other, as well as learn to accept their currentgifts for what they are.

I really liked the strong character Cyra was, and I definitely felt like I could relate to her. I felt quite sorry for her as she went through all her struggles in the book, but I believed that they benefited her and made her an even stronger person. Akos for sure wasn’t as in-depth as Cyra was, as I don’t find myself remembering him too well. What I can remember, though, is the incredible bond Cyra and Akos had… SWOON!😍

The dual POVs of this book are probably what irked me the most… when it was Cyra’s POV, it was in first person, which was good, but then when it switched over to Akos, it turned into third person, which really annoyed me. It seemed like Veronica Roth just couldn’t choose which one to narrate from, so she decided to confuse us and use them both.

I liked the concept of the currentgifts and how the two protagonists’ gifts were flawed, but the storyline as a whole kind of confused me. A lot of events seemed to go on at once in addition to there being a lot of action, which may be amazing for the natural action lover, but not really for me, the fluffy contemporary lover. It was just a bit much- not to mention the large size of the book, which slowed things down even more!

All in all, Carve the Mark absolutely met my expectations of being a good read, but it definitely lacked in some areas, as well. I truly think I would have gotten more out of it if I usually devoured fantasies rather than contemporaries. In short, anyone who is a fan of lots of action, awesome world-building in outer space, and great writing will adore this book!

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*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review.*

The Unquiet Past Review

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Title: The Unquiet Past

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Genre & Age Group: Historical fiction, paranormal, mystery, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

You can only hide from the truth for so long.

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.

Source: Birthday present

How I Found Out About It: N/A

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Yay! Finally a paranormal book I was able to get along with!

After receiving The Unquiet Past for my birthday back in June, I put off reading it- not because it made me feel intimidated, but because I just wasn’t in the mood. But then I finally was, and I’m very glad I picked it up, despite it not being my favourite book in its Secrets series.

The Secrets series is a set of 7 books all written by different Canadian YA authors which all centre around teenage girls finding themselves and their families after having their orphanage burn down, back in 1964. As they are all different voices, they do not need to be read in order– you can read them all, or you can just read one and none of the others. This series is as flexible as a rubber band, so with all the different writing styles, you are bound to find a book you like.

This book specifically is about Tess, who has visions of ghosts and many other such creatures. They distort her life, so she finally decides to find out what the problem is once her orphanage burns down. So, having been given some information that accompanied her when she was given up, Tess goes to Quebec and starts the search for her parents- and the truth.

I really liked the intuitive, determined character that Tess was. I thought that she was able to see the positive in everything, even if things were down in the dumps for her. Tess also showed a great passion for finding who she was and where she came from, and she never gave up after having trouble. Like many of the other protagonists in this series, I found myself able to relate to her extremely well.👌

Jackson, her ally whom she met when she arrived in Quebec, was quite cool and helpful in finding Tess what she wanted, even though he did seem a bit iffy and mysterious at times. If there was a scale, though, I think it would weigh more on the good side.

Like all the other Secrets books, the mystery was riveting and kept me on the edge of my seat, boasting a super fast, interesting plot. The mystery was wrapped up quite well in the end, and I wasn’t really left with any leftover questions about the story.

Overall, I really enjoyed many things about The Unquiet Past, and I definitely plan to pick up more from Kelley Armstrong. If you are one to enjoy historical fiction and are specifically looking for a book with paranormal elements, then this is the one to pick up to learn about Tess’s unquiet past!😉

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