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Saturday Snapshot: “Fallen Sakura”

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Saturday Snapshot: “Fallen Sakura”


By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post. A special thanks to Alyce from At Home with Books, who is now retiring as host to the Saturday Snapshot meme. So sorry to hear you go, but I wish you nothing but the best and hope to see you return to blogging daily when you’re ready! We’ll be here when and should you return!

The new host of the Saturday Snapshot meme is Melinda of West Metro Mommy! Thanks for taking this on and continuing Alyce’s great collaboration.

Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.


“Fallen Sakura”

fallen sakura


“Everything that has fallen apart has fallen back into place beautifully and magically.” – Edie Brickell


I own copyright to all photos posted and request that any use of my photos be first cleared by permission from me with the use of an appropriate credit line, which I will specify and provide, as well as a link back to my webpage.

Copyright requests may be sent to me via email.


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A Review: The Gathering (Book One of the Darkness Rising Series)


A Review:

The Gathering (Book One of the Darkness Rising Series)


By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis


Category: Young Adult (YA) Fiction

Author:Kelley Armstrong

Format: Hardcover, 359 pages

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

ISBN: 978-0-385-66851-4

Pub Date: February 7, 2012 (Trade Paperback)


The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong is the first of the Darkness Rising series, a supernatural young adult (YA) trilogy about 16-year-old Maya who lives in a small medical-research town called Salmon Creek on Vancouver Island.

The small populated and isolated town not only has less than 200 people, but also a slew of secrets that slowly unravel as the novel progresses.

Since I prefer reading literary fiction, I tend not to read a large amount of YA fiction in comparison. And of those that I have read in the past, most have been a tad disappointing in their narrative and character development, which would most often, more than not, be filled with cliché and superficial and self-indulgent characters who made it difficult for me to empathize with.

Reading YA fiction!

But with The Gathering, this is not the case. The Gathering is one of the best YA fiction reads I’ve read in a long time, which explains why Kelley Armstrong is one of the number one bestselling authors according to the New York Times!

Kelley Armstrong, author of THE GATHERING.

The main character, Maya, a 16-year-old popular and athletic teenager is not only likeable by her peers, but will be most likely be “liked” by the readers of this book. I did. She has a strong relationship with her parents without losing herself in identity or rebellion; she’s fiercely loyal to her friends without being dependent; she has a natural agility that gives her grace and strength, and a wit that is refreshing, entertaining, and endearing without being abrasive. Above all, she’s a natural animal lover, comfortable in their midst and gifted in sensing their needs.



Hers friends, too, as secondary characters are likeable:

Daniel, also a popular teen in the school, is loyal, strong, and protective, gifted in sensing negativity and danger in others.

Rafe as in Rafael, the new boy, is sensual and attractive with an outward rebellious streak, but an inner sensitivity that leaves most girls in the book swooning.

The characters in themselves and their entangled relationships are interesting enough on their own for the book to be a success, but surprisingly, it’s the book’s plot-centred speed, tension, and mystery that will draw readers in to continually turn its pages.

I finished the book in a few days (and only because I stopped to pick up something else that needed to be finished). If I had read it straight through, it probably would have taken me only a day to read—it’s that enjoyable!

Though you are left to guess the true nature of characters in the story, you are bound by unanswered questions that will certainly make you yearn for further explanation. But, that’s not because it’s not well written. It’s because Armstrong gives you just enough information to nibble on until the very end, where you are left wishing you could open, The Calling, the next book in this exotic paranormal YA series and then The Rising, the finale in the trilogy.

THE CALLING, Book Two of the Darkness Rising series by Kelley Armstrong.

(I know. I just visited the library and found not much to my surprise a list of 54 patrons in line ahead of me to reserve the book. Oy! Looks like I’ll be spending some money again on The Book Depository.)

The Gathering is a light read, but not insignificant. It explores Native spirituality and folklore, paranormal mysticism, and lightly touches upon issues affecting teenage character development such as date rape, peer pressure, exclusivity, even assumptions about gender.

And at most, it’s a paranormal, entertaining read. And transformative, exploring the boundaries of folklore and fantasy. I pawed the book with affection and look forward to reading book two of the Darkness Rising series. If you’re an avid YA fiction fan of paranormal power, I doubt you’ll disagree with me.


Zara’s Rating


I read this book as part of my participation in the 2012 Random Reader Challenge for YA Fiction from March to April.