Top Ten "Gateway" Books/Authors In My Reading Journey

(TTT is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)
This is a hard one... But here's my list.
1. Carolyn Keene - Nancy Drew series
I used to love her Nancy Drew series. I don't remember if it was my first series I read, but it was one of those. I've read all books that were translated to finnish, so 105 books. I don't know why they stopped translating those, I think they were pretty popular.
My mother is her big fan and she has lot of her books. So naturally I read them too. Her books were the first "adult" books I read if I remember correctly. And I still like her books.
Tragid story about Nancy Spungen and Sid Vicious, the basist of Sex Pistols. This was my first biography, I read it when I was about 12. And it's still one of my favorite books, I've read it multiple times. After this book, I've read many "similar" books; Nicky Cruz's Run, Baby, Run, Barry Mason's Fallen Angel etc. A lot of books about drugs and mental illness..
"You were my little baby girl,
And I shared all your fears.
Such joy to hold you in my arms
and kiss away your tears.
But now you're gone, there's only pain
and nothing I can do.
And I don't want to live this life,
If I can't live for you.
To my beautiful baby girl.
Our love will never die..."

4. Nancy A. Collins: Sunglasses After Dark
My very first "real" vampire book. Pretty hardcore for 12 years old, but it was also my first that I bought with my "own" money.
Propably my first fantasy series. I can't remember, but one of those at least. This was also the first series I read in english. I was so big fan, that I couldn't wait for the translated book, so my mother bought me some of those books in englisg right after they were published. So I own books 5-7 in english and in finnish. After Harry Potter, I started reading more books in english and nowadays I read mostly in english, I rarely wait for translated edition.
So this week my list is pretty short, but I couln't figure out any more. I've always loved reading as long as I remember and I've read so many books, that it's hard to pick those "gateway" books, that got me reading some genre of something. But those were the books or authors that are someway special to me.

Melissa Marr: Darkest Mercy

Melissa Marr: Darkest Mercy (Wicked Lovely, #5)
 5 stars

Send the messengers for the Faery Courts. This is the end.

The Summer King is missing; the Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifying the deaths of powerful fey.

Aislinn tends to the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan works from afar to strengthen his court against the coming war. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life.

Love, despair, and betrayal ignite the Faery Courts, and in the final conflict, some will win...and some will lose everything.


I think that this was really lovely ending for this series. I started reading this ovet 5 years ago and I own the first two books that were translated to finnish. After those two, I had long break and then I read the other two books. Somehow I didn't read this last one then, but now I decided to finally read it. And it was so great that I read it in one day, only in few hours.

It's really difficult to describe my feelings after I finished this book. This series was so great that I would've love to read more, but still this was perfect ending. Every story got finihed and everybody got their (kinda) happy ending. Of course we also lost some characters, and every "happy ending" wasn't exactly traditional, but still I was really happy how everything turned out. Personally I would've liked more if Aislinn would've end up with different guy, but I can live with it.

There were so many thing in such a short book. I think that almost every character got the ending they deserved and everything were wrapped up pretty nicely. Even if there was so many things, everything was in balance and it didn't feel rushed. Sometimes that happens when author tries to put too much in a one book, but this was really nicely balanced. There were some characters whose story were left "open" and I would love to read more about them. I don't know if that's going to ever happen, but one can hope. I love this whole world so much, there's so much more we could uncover.

This whole series has been such treat to my imagination and the world is one of the most "beautiful" I've read. I don't know if beautiful is the right word, but you know what mean, right? Author's writing style lets us imagine a lot of things. I can almost see this world and fairies in it. There's that certain magical touch in it. When I was reading this series, there were so many times when I hoped that I could draw those characters and different kinds of fairies.

Thank you Melissa Marr for this lovely magical series. This series is one of my favorites and has been for many years.

Sophie Davis: Talented

Sophie Davis: Talented (Talented Saga, #1)
 5 stars

When Talia Lyons was just a child, her parents were murdered before her eyes. Offered a choice between accepting their fate and exacting revenge, Talia trains to become one of the country’s deadliest assassins in order to kill the man responsible for their deaths: Ian Crane. Luckily, Talia was born with a gift- the ability to read and influence the minds of others. At sixteen, Talia is poised to graduate from the McDonough School for the Talented, where she learned to control her abilities. Now there is only one obstacle standing between her and the retribution she craves... Talia herself.

Her greatest asset may also be her undoing; while a formidable weapon in the field, Talia’s talents prevent her from both shutting off the mental connection she shares with her questionable boyfriend and blocking out the thoughts of a beguiling fellow recruit. But Talia can’t afford to have the feelings and distractions of a normal teenage girl, when her life is far from normal.

She must regain the single-minded determination that has brought her this far, or it may cost Talia her life when she finally faces Crane. And even after being molded in to a weapon of war, she’ll still have to find the strength it takes to pull the trigger.

If James Bond and Sookie Stackhouse had a love child with a yearning for vengeance, her story would be TALENTED: an adventure about powerful teenagers who aren’t afraid to embrace their fears and fight for what they believe in.

First I must say, that I'm don't completely agree with that James Bond and Sookie Stackhouse stuff. In some way it is right, if you think only talents of those characters; spying and psychic stuff. Maybe I'm the only one who missunderstood, but I expected something bit different. And thats why I'm going to say my own opinion about that. I advice that at least don's compare plots or writingstyles. My opinion is that the Sookie Stackhouse-series isn't the most best quality there is, even if it's pretty entertaining, so comparing anything to it isn't necessarily a positive thing. But if you think only Sookie's mental talent, I quess they're pretty similar to Talia's. But I think that Talia is way smarter than Sookie.

The cover is yet again the first thing I noticed. Usually it it with me. I notice great covers and I ignore books with covers that I don't like. I've probably missed many great books because I didn't llike the cover.

The synopsis summaries the story pretty nicely, so I'm not going to say more about that. There were perfect combination of action and romance. I really enjoyd this book, and I'm going to read other books in this series too. I can't wait to see what's next in Talia's story. I'm pretty sure that there are lot of thing that aren't what they seem to be.

Kelley Armstrong: Exit Strategy

Kelley Armstrong: Exit Strategy (Nadia Stafford, #1)
 4 stars

Regulars at Nadia's nature lodge don't ask what she does in the off-season. And that's a good thing. If she told them, she'd have to kill them. She's a hit woman for a Mafia family.

Tough and self-sufficient, Nadia doesn't owe anyone any explanations. But that doesn't mean she always works alone. One of her contacts has recruited her in the hunt for a ruthlessly efficient serial killer cutting a swath of terror across the country. The assassin is far too skilled to be an amateur—and the precision of the killings is bringing the Feds much too close to the hit man community for comfort.

To put an end to the murders, Nadia will have to turn herself from predator to prey as she employs every trick she knows to find the killer. Before the killer finds her…


I've read Armstrong's books before, so I knew what to expect. I knew that the writing would be great quality and the book didn't let me down. It was great. Lately I've been reading a lot ya, indie and fantasy books, so it was really nice to read something more mature for a while. It's nice to sometimes forget all text analyzing, teenagedrama, werevolves and vampires and just enjoy the book. This was a great opportunity to do just that.

Like I mentioned I knew that the quality of this book would be good. I loved to read smooth, wellthought storu and I could really notive the difference between this book and some others I've read lately. Everything seemed to fit together nicely and I didn't notice any mistakes or "odd" stuff. I could just enjoy without spotting the mistakes.

I'm not going to say anything more about the plot, synopsis say everything you need to know. This time I'm going to keep my review short and finish it with short summary. Great work, Kelley Armstrong once again. You didn't let me down and it's always a pleasure to read your books. Your characters are wellthought ja your writing is flawless and smooth. They're guaranteed quality which you can read several times without boring. Thank you. I'm going to continue reading Nadia's adventure and I have next book already waiting for me.

(tbr-goal 23/200)

A. B. Whelan: Fields of Elysium

A. B. Whelan: Fields of Elysium (Fields of Elysium, #1)
 2 stars

How can love mend a heart full of hate?

Small town girl, Molly Bennett, moves to Los Angeles where she becomes an outsider while attending Beverly Hills High School. It seems life cannot be any more dreadful. Then one day after school, something magical happens. On a secluded hike in the Hollywood Hills, Molly chases her disobedient mutt and only friend into a hidden cavern. She stumbles upon a strange glimmering gateway that transports her to Arkana, a planet that is the cradle of an advanced human race. There, teenagers navigate amazing flying vehicles, compete in perilous games for glory, and possess supernatural powers. While Molly tries to wrap her mind around this unbelievable discovery, she meets the alluring and mysterious Victor Sorren. He is a Sentinel Apprentice, whose hatred toward people from Earth is beyond understanding. Yet every time Victor unpredictably saves Molly's life, his heart draws closer to hers, no matter how much he tries to fight against it. It further complicates things that their growing friendship is strictly forbidden. Earth people are prohibited in Arkana, yet Molly continues to cross through the portal to Arkana to see Victor. Torn between their double lives, they go down a dangerous path, from where there is no return and multiple endings.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The book's idea and story seemed really interesting and intriguing at first. And I kinda liked the story, but not the writing style. Many times I thought that the characters didn't seem "real", but more like stereotypicals. Chris is typical popular guy flirting with everybody and bragging about girls he's been with. Camilla is also very typical popular girl. It's all about repution and the looks with her. She's pretty cold and mean, but she also secretly hopes that she could someday just relax and wear sweatpants. And the mc Molly... Lonely guitar playing songwriter new girl. Her father is really overprotective and controlling. Molly wants to have an adventure and she falls in love with "bad boys" she feels sorry for. She wants to "rescue" them and she believes she can change them and teach them how to love etc. Almost every character was like picked from the catalog; here's the popular boy, popular girl, lonely new girl, orphan bad boy, overprotective father, absent father.... You get what I mean.

The plot seemed really interesting at first, but the more I read, the more I was confused and uncertain what the actual plot really was. I didn't know what the whole point was and what was the idea and purpose behind the story. Molly finds another world, meets people these and falls in love with the boy who's actually mean to her. What then? Where is the mystery? Or some crime to solve or bad guy to beat or some was between worlds? Who is the villain? There doesn't seem to be any ulterior motive or anything. So I did think that the book was fairly entertaining, if you don't mind that the character are really shallow and stereotypical. But there didn't seem to be any purpose or destination in this story. Sometimes I even had to check that I didn't accidentaly skip over pages, things seemed to jump from scene to other sometimes so randomly. And even when english isn't my first language, even I noticed some funny sentences and stuff. I don't usually notice them, grammar isn't my specialty, but now they bothered even me.

And the more I read, the more I noticed thing that bothered me. I couldn't not to notice how shallow and "false" the character were. I got angrier and angier with every page I read and even considered if I should left this one unfinished. But there were only about 50 pages left, so I decided to finish it. But the ending made me even angrier, it was so unbelievably stupid. First everything is great almost syrupy, then everything goes to hell and then there's magically some "supernatural powers" that save the situation and everything is great again. And moment later everything is going wrong again. And like magic, everything is fine again. And all this in about 20 pages. WTF?

So the result in my opinion is that promising book got lousier and lousier with every page and the ending was just awful. I read the synopsis for next book and it seems interesting, but I'm thinking that I'm gonna pass. I was so disappointed in this book, that I doubt that the next one will be any better. Sorry. It was difficult to decide how many start to give this book, 'cos the beginning was better than the ending. I decided that 2 stars would be appropriate. This book has been compared to Twilight and I can almost see why. There are some similarities, but I actually loved Twilight. This was bad. Well, I was a lot younger when I read Twilight and maybe I've developed as a reader, but I'm still going to defend Twilight. It was great and this was not. Sorry.

Sarah Raughley: Feather Bound

Sarah Raughley: Feather Bound
 3 stars

When Deanna's missing friend Hyde turns up at his father's funeral to claim his corporate empire and inheritance, she is swept into his glittering world of paparazzi and wealth.

But re-kindling her friendship and the dizzying new emotions along for the ride are the least of her concerns. Because Deanna has a secret – and somebody knows. Someone who is out to get Hyde. And if she doesn't play along, and help the enemy destroy him…she will be sold to the highest bidder in the black market for human swans.

Now Deanna is struggling to break free from the gilded cage that would trap her forever…

Feather Bound is a dark debut reminiscent of Gabriel García Márquez's A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings, and the twisted truth behind the fairy tale of Cinderella.


I received this book from NetGalley in exhange for an honest review.

The idea about human swans seems pretty interesting and I like the idea behind this book. But as whole, this book is not as good as I expected. It's not bad, it was nice to read, but I don't think this book was particulary memorable. I can't really pinpoint it, but something was missing. Maybe I was missing something "magical". I mean that ok, there are human swans, but what can they do? Can they fly? No. Can they maybe sing really good? No. Is there anything magical about them? No. They just are. And if you steal their feathers, they're bound to you.

There are some pieces that reminded me of Swan Lake and The Wild Swans. And I believe that the author has got at least some inspiration from them. And like the synopsis says, there are little bit of Cinderella in a mix. But I really wanted to know more about those human swans. Somekind of backstory or explanation.

There are also a lot of cliches. Poor girl, rich guy, kidnapping, dead mom, alcoholic dad, lazy sister etc.Just I think that if you don't overanalyze this book you can really enjoy it. It was pretty average, but not every book can be great. It was nice Sunday reading book.

Tracy E. Banghart: Shattered Veil

Tracy E. Banghart: Shattered Veil (The Diatous Wars, #1)
 4 stars

When everything that defines you is stripped away, who do you become?

For Aris, a talented wingjet pilot, war means sacrificing everything: her home, her name, her face—and the one promise she swore she’d never break.

In the small village of Lux, everyone flies wingjets, but nobody flies them like Aris Haan. When she’s not dancing through the skies, she’s spending every minute with Calix, whom she’s loved since childhood. They plan to Promise, but instead he is sent to defend their dominion against a bloody invasion. Determined not to lose him, Aris follows, joining an underground network of women inside the male-only military. Using secret technology that allows her to pass as a man, she becomes “Aristos”, a Flyer in a search-and-rescue unit.

As Aris grows stronger on the battlefield and more comfortable in her guise as Aristos, her personal mission becomes less and less clear. When she and her enigmatic commander, Major Vidar, uncover an astonishing conspiracy that could destroy everything, she must make a choice that will determine not only the fate of her heart, but the future of her dominion.


I received this book from NetGalley in exhange for an honest review.

My first impressions wasn't very good and my expections wasnät very high. But the story got way better really fast when got "in" it. The setting is pretty typical dystopian style. Story happens in a world where people's occupations gets determined by their school tests etc. You can be Military, Commerce etc... And there's war. So pretty typical...

Aris as a character was at first pretty naivi and blue-eyed and kinda stupid even. In a way she's really brave, but I think it's stupid when someone's whole life depends on one person. And Calix is Aris' whole world. Aris is ready to do practically anything to be with him. She's even willing to cut her hair, pretend to male and join to army just to be near him. But as the story progress Aris grows as a person. Her naivity disappears really fast in a middle of a war. Just the training to be a soldier is hard, but imagine when she really has to go to a battlefield in a mission, just to notice that the family she's supposed to rescue, is slaughtered just moments before the rescueparty comes. Stupid naivi Aris becomes hardcore, strong and brave Aristos.

As whole, the book was really great and I really enjoyd it. I'm looking forward to read the next book and what's more to come.

Ruth Warburton: Witch Finder

Ruth Warburton: Witch Finder (Witch Finder, #1)
 5 stars

London. 1880. In the slums of Spitalfields apprentice blacksmith Luke is facing initiation into the Malleus Maleficorum, the fearsome brotherhood dedicated to hunting and killing witches.

Luke’s final test is to pick a name at random from the Book of Witches, a name he must track down and kill within a month, or face death himself. Luke knows that tonight will change his life forever. But when he picks out sixteen-year-old Rosa Greenwood, Luke has no idea that his task will be harder than he could ever imagine.


I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

At first, I have to admit that magic and history aren't my favorite genres. Usually I read mostly urban fantasy and castles, knights, dragons, princesses, wizards etc aren't not my thing. We'll there aren't dragons in this one either, but you get what I mean, right? I like more future or modern day fiction. But I made an exception with this one, because the cover is so amazing. It's really beautiful and there's just something about it.. I have one bad habit and it's judging book by it's cover. This time is was worth it. The cover is amazing and the story was just as amazing.

At first I was a little sceptical and the beginning wasn't really convincing. Maybe that's just my prejudices about history and magic. So I had maybe a little negative expections. But I was SO wrong. The writing is smooth and the characters deep. The story is interesting and compelling and the whole book was really positive surprise. It gave me a pretty good picture about 19th century London and what life was at that time. And I'm really glad that I was born 100 years later.

The ending was exciting and this part of the story was erapped up pretty nicely. There wasn't that great big cliffhanger, but there were still some loose ends that were left to next book. This book lessened little bit my prejudises toweards magic and I'm pretty sure that I'm going to read more Warburton's books.

Kresley Cole: Poison Princess

Kresley Cole: Poison Princess (Arcana Chronicles, #1)
 5 stars

She could save the world—or destroy it.

Sixteen-year-old Evangeline "Evie" Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they're still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can't do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can't totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it's not always clear who is on which side.


What's common between the Tarot cards, zombies and the end of the world? One of these doesn't seem to belong, but Kresley Cole has created just such an incredibly unique story. Wow. What else can I say? The book was just amazing, even though most of the time I was totally baffled. The story is told in such way that you realize what's going on just almost at the end. I just had to read and read in order to know more one piece at a time. This was another one of those books that messed with my sleep, because I just could not put the book out of my hands.

Tarot cards have always been fascinating and everything about mysticism has always fascinated me. Now I regret that I don't have my own Tarot deck, I would have really liked to see those cards myself and imagine character behind them. This book was amazing start to this series. The next book is sure to be something at least as great, maybe even better (I hope). Impatient reader might get a little frustrated with this book, because the plot and meaning behind everything is revealed in very small pieces and I have to admit that I was really baffled a lot. But after this book, my expections are really high, because I believe that the next book will be really exciting and full of action now that the plot and idea behind everything is finally revealed.

I don't know what else to say about this book. It was awesome, gorgeous and one of a kind. Mysticism, superpowers and the end of the world is geared up together into a seamless story, which, at least in my opinion, was something completely unique. The next book is already in my shelf and I can't wait to begin reading it.

(tbr goal 16/200)

Susanne Winnacker: Impostor

Susanne Winnacker: Impostor (Variants, #1)
 5 stars

Can Tessa pose as Madison . . . and stop a killer before it’s too late? 

Tessa is a Variant, able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their appearance. Shunned by her family, she’s spent the last two years training with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI. When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to find the killer before he strikes again.

Tessa hates everything about being an impostor—the stress, the danger, the deceit—but loves playing the role of a normal girl. As Madison, she finds friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she’d do anything to keep. Amid action, suspense, and a ticking clock, this super-human comes to a very human conclusion: even a girl who can look like anyone struggles the most with being herself.

I received this from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.

Impostor wasn't my first Susanne Winnacker's book that I've read, I've read The Orher Life too. So I had certain expections about this book based on The Other Life. My expections were met and this was really great book.

The main character is Tessa, a Variant, who can absorb other people's DNA and mimic their appearance. There are all kinds of Variant, one can turn invincible, one can reads minds and someone is superstrong. There all kinds of people with different gifts. Their abilities are inheritable, but useally they skip one generation. Tessa lives in FEA's (secret branch of the FBI) training facility with other Variants. Tessa's childhood was pretty lousy, her mother thought that Tessa was a freak, especially when Tessa couldn't control her ability as a child.

Tessa gets a chance to go on a real mission to catch a serial murderer in small town in Oregon. Tessa's job is to impersonate Madison, one of the victims. Being a impostor terrifies Tessa, but she also loves playing the role of a normal girl in a normal family. But Tessa needs to remember that her job is to kind the murderer before it's too late. And they have no clue who the murderer is. There are multiple suspects. Is it the jealous ex-boyfriend? Or maybe Madison's brother who seems to be hiding something? Or is possible that it could be the english teacher who was maybe more than just a teacher to Madison? Tessa's job is to look for clues and to find out who had the motive to kill Madison and others.

The idea about "superhero teenager" is nothing new, and the first that came to my mind was X-Men. And there are some similarities. Not that much, but the basic idea is similar. But the story is well written and I loved the characters. They're deep and well thought. There were those small details about their past and personality that made them whole. And there were these little things that were left pretty vague, like Tessa's family, and maybe we'll learn more about then in next books. Tessa's father and brother were mentioned, but that was it. Nothing else was told, so I'm pretty sure that we'll get back to that in some point. I hope. I'm pretty curious about them and I have my own theories (as usual).

The story progressed nicely and there were balance. Action, romance, mystery, thriller.. They were all there and I believe that there were something for everyone. Some questions were left without answer, so there's something to look forward to in next books.