Review: United We Spy by Ally Carter

Review: United We Spy by Ally CarterUnited We Spy by Ally Carter
Series: Gallagher Girls #6
Published by Hyperion
Published on 2013-09-05
Genres: Contemporary YA, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Source: Purchased myself
Rated: four-half-stars
Add it: Goodreads
Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie—and her country—forever.

When I started the Gallagher Girls books, I never thought it would end with this – with its young girls developing into gloriously three-dimensional characters who have found their place in the world. They’ve gone through so much and are going to kick serious butt as adults.

United We Spy is exactly what you want from a last-in-the-series. Ally Carter doesn’t do a complete 180 and change everything; she doesn’t start killing everyone off left and right; she doesn’t leave over half the questions you had unanswered; and – most importantly – she doesn’t contain the character too tightly at the end. Writing a far-in-the-future epilogue can be done well (see the Razorland series by Ann Aguirre for a great example of that) but usually it just comes off as cheesy. At worst, it can really make people angry! None of that was here and the Gallagher Girls wrap up their books the way they were taught: super-secret and super-awesome.

I won’t say anything more than that, to avoid spoiling plot points for those of you who haven’t read any of the books. If that’s you, just know this: these superficially light reads have more heart, more depth and more meaning than most novels I read. I wouldn’t have believed this based off the first book but it is 100% the case. I teared up like a nut as United We Spy came to a close – and I’ll bet you you will too.

4.5 Stars

Bottom line? A supremely satisfying end to a surprisingly fantastic series.


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Waiting on Wednesday: Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that are being eagerly anticipated.

Nowhere but here by Katie McGarryNowhere But Here (Thunder Road #1) by Katie McGarry

Goodreads – Contemporary YA -May 26th 2015 by Harlequin Teen

An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she’s curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They’re the good guys. They protect people. They’re…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club’s most respected member—is in town, he’s gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it’s his shot at his dream. What he doesn’t count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

I am not usually a YA romance fan, but for Katie McGarry? All my reservations disappear! I adored her novels Dare You To and Crash Into You and, while I wish we were getting another book in that series, I am very excited to see where she goes next.


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(Yet Another) Better World Books Haul

Who doesn’t love a Better World Books sale? Here’s what I nabbed during the recent one – all lovely US hardcovers!

Better World Book Haul 2014

Aren’t they lovely? All of them have been on my wishlist for ages and at last they are mine! Which do you think I should start first?


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Review: All Fall Down by Ally Carter

Review: All Fall Down by Ally CarterAll Fall Down by Ally Carter
Series: Embassy Row #1
Published by Orchard Books, Scholastic
Published on 2015-01-20
Genres: Contemporary YA, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Source: Received for review from publishers
Rated: three-half-stars
Add it: Goodreads
Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things: 1. She is not crazy. 2. Her mother was murdered. 3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.

As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her -- so there's no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands. Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts.

But they can't control Grace -- no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt.

Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

Thoughts: Remember that Pringles ad back in the 90s? “Once you pop, the fun don’t stop!” Well – that’s how I feel about Ally Carter’s books. They are all such entertaining, clever novels – once I open one, I want to devour it all in a single go!

All Fall Down is the first completely new book Ally Carter has released in a few years. With no Kat or Cammie, there was a bit of nervousness  from fans about the book. They needn’t have worried. While very different, the Embassy Row series will feel at home on the shelf next to the Gallagher Girls and Heist Society novels. All the books have the same teenage Ocean’s Eleven meets James Bond feel to them (aka my perfect mix).

But while similar in feel, All Fall Down is a darker book. For starters, our main character – Grace – is extremely screwed up. She’s living on the edge of sanity, and you can never be certain if you can trust her or her judgement. Hell, she doesn’t trust her own judgement half of the time. I was reminded of the fifth book in the Gallagher Girls series (Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter), where the main mystery is the one going on inside our heroine’s head. Great stuff.

I also adored the political atmosphere on Embassy Row. It was like adding Homeland to the Ocean’s Eleven/James Bond mix. What happens when a half-Israeli kid wanders over onto the Iranian embassy during a party? What if the boy you like is being told to sever “diplomatic relations” with your country? How can you go about having a mental breakdown when you are stuck at a party with royalty? In short: all the regular teenage drama, but with added political goodness.

But one frustrating little thing… the ending. There is one hell of a reveal which left me going “WHAT? WHAT? WHAT?” and then…. nothing!! I mean, of course I want to read the next book to find out what happens next but… WHAT?

3.5 Stars

Bottom line? This is a 4/4.5 star book with an enormously frustrating ending. That being said, it is an absolute must for YA fans… though I recommend buying it now, but reading it once you have the second book in your hands… Just a thought!


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Monday Reading (Feb. 2nd, 2015)

monday reading 11

In this weekly event hosted by One Persons Journey Through a World Of Books where we discuss what we’ve been reading this week (and, occasionally, what we haven’t).

Shadow Study by Maria V Snyder The Devil's Heart by Carmen Carter

Currently Reading:

Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder – Yup, I’m still reading this. It is good, but not the most engaging of books. I love the chapters featuring Valek, but the book is a lot of effort for me to pick up.

Recent Listens:

The Devil’s Heart by Carmen Carter – Really not a favourite, despite a narration by a great Star Trek actor. Not terrible but rather… boring!

Deal Me In! update

I’m taking part in the Deal Me In challenge this year, reading a story a week during 2015 as chosen by a deck of cards. See my full list of stories to be read here.

Last week, I dealt 2 of clubs for Automatic by Rachel Caine - I was surprised by my enjoyment of this tale, given my current not-so-great feelings about the Morganville books. This morning I dealt a 4 of diamonds for Prisons by Kevin J. Anderson and Doug Beason. Considering I didn’t enjoy the last Federations story that much, I am a bit nervous about this one…


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Hi there! I’m Kay: an opinionated book blogger enamoured with the world of novels. Reader of Speculative Fiction (the posh word for Sci-Fi/Fantasy) and Young Adult (don’t judge, it’s brilliant). Believer in the many uses of the towel, the science of deduction and other fandom in-jokes.

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Recent Reviews

Review: United We Spy by Ally CarterReview: All Fall Down by Ally CarterReview: Eve & Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine ApplegateReview: Hex Hall by Rachel HawkinsReview: Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally CarterReview: Only the Good Spy Young by Ally CarterReview: Magic Bites by Ilona AndrewsReview: Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine HarrisReview: The Realm of Possibility by David LevithanReview: Horde by Ann AguirreReview: White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. ArmentroutReview: Cress by Marissa Meyer