Today's Grateful List/31 December 2015

  • Going to get answers no matter what

Saturday, November 06, 2010

I'm Baaaaack...With Reviews, No Less

Well, here I am.

I really haven't been anywhere, actually; just knee-deep in marching band season with youngest dear daughter. The reading's been slow but good when I've been able to snatch a few pages, but the ability to review has been wayyyyy yonder on the backburner. But finally band season's done (we came in fifth in the state, thank you very much! Check us out at and we're headed off to Hawaii on November 19 for a week. I'm already plotting which books to take (definitely Elizabeth Chadwick's newest, To Defy a King, and possibly Torment by Lauren Kate). Don't look so shocked...I know you fellow book readers plot what books to take on vacation just as early as I do. I also know you take two or three extra books *just in case* you start to read something and it doesn't take. Don't look away. I know your secrets.

Anyway, I'm in the process of catching up on my reviews, and here are two of my recent reads. First up is The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong.

Things are fairly typical for Chloe Saunders; she's a regular 14 year old with her circle of friends and she's very into films. Though she misses her mother who died years earlier, she's got a father and a trusted aunt who care for her. So what if she's a bit of a late bloomer? It's all good--until the day she sees a terrifying ghost. Suddenly she's no longer normal; she's diagnosed as schizophrenic and shipped off to the Lyle House, an in-house treatment center so that she can learn to cope with her illness. The problem? It's not really an illness; it's fact, and Chloe's going to have to convince herself that she's got a special power she's going to have to learn to deal with, despite the adults who are trying to get her to believe otherwise.

The Summoning is engaging right from the opening pages and doesn't let up throughout. Once Chloe figures out she's not schizophrenic, you know she's going to have to get herself out of Lyle House, but it seems next to impossible. Her friendships with Liz, Derek, Simon, and Rae provide Chloe with the realization that perhaps she's not alone in her gift, but none of them seem to know what's going on...and it's obvious as the mystery grows that things are much darker and deeper than any of the kids had suspected.

Finding a stopping point was a big problem for me while reading The Summoning because Ms. Armstrong often ends chapters on cliffhangers. I kept thinking "just one more page...just one more chapter..." and before I knew it, fifty more pages had flown by. If at times Chloe seemed a little naive, it was understandable, given her background and the work the adults had done to ensure that she was kept in the dark. The Summoning had lingered for quite a while in my to-be-read pile, but it's a sure thing that its sequels, The Awakening and The Reckoning, certainly won't. Great fun and highly recommended.

Next up is The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller.

Ever have the feeling that you've lived before? Haven Moore has; in fact, she's been feeling that way since she was a very small child and could give details about New York City and Rome that there was no way she could have known. In her small East Tennessee town, under the scrutiny of her judgmental grandmother, Haven is seen as odd and out of place. The fact that her best friend is a gay football player who helps her sew dresses doesn't help her outsider status, and her susceptibility to "visions" which cause her to faint frequently is seen as possibly even demonic by her church. But when Haven discovers a box of notes written by her deceased father wherein he ponders the idea of Haven's having lived past lives, she knows he's right. And when she sees handsome playboy Iain Morrow's face plastered in the papers, she knows in her soul that he's the "Ethan" she's been looking for since her last life ended.

The beauty of The Eternal Ones is that you're never precisely sure what's going on, and who the good guys are. Haven's susceptible to the feelings and visions she experiences, but she also listens to just about everyone she meets, casting doubts and raising red flags constantly. She allows Iain to sweep her off her feet and then abruptly decides he's using her, but his presence and assurance that they are meant to be together throw her into even more turmoil. Iain remembers all their lives together, and while Haven believes him, she begins to wonder when it becomes obvious he's keeping big, big secrets. Then there's the Ouroboros Society, a group that tracks people who remember past lives. Just what part does the Society play in Iain's life now, and what part did it play in the deaths of Haven, once known as Constance, and Ethan, many years before?

The Eternal Ones is wonderfully layered and mysterious, and Haven and best friend Beau are vivid and believable. The biggest issue I had was the wishy-washiness Haven experiences once she follows her instincts and goes to meet Iain; should she believe in him or was he really the cause of her death in the 1920s? Come on, make a choice and stick with it! But the seamless way Miller weaves reincarnation with Christianity and the slow unveiling of Haven's past life as Constance more than makes up for any dithering she may do along the way. This one actually rates a strong 4.5 stars...and I'm hopeful there's a sequel already in the works.


1 comment:

Marg said...

I need to read The Summoning. I have read all of her adult books, but haven't yet read any of her YA ones.