The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release date: April 12, 2011

Pages: 359

Summary: Maya has been raised in Salmon Creek, a small medical-research town with an abundance of wildlife. She attributes her unique connection with animals to her Native ancestry, but there are certain things Maya can’t explain—like her paw print-shaped birthmark. After Maya’s best friend mysteriously drowns, other strange things start happening in town. Reporters show up to investigate just exactly what kind of research is being done at the facility; a new boy named Raffe and his odd sister Annie move in… Maya needs to get to the bottom of what’s really going on in Salmon Creek.

My thoughts: The best thing about Kelley Armstrong’s books is that despite all being set in the same world and being about the same types of paranormal creatures, they still manage to capture and hold my attention. The Gathering is no exception. From the very first chapter, Kelley Armstrong builds excitement and suspense. The Gathering was almost impossible to put down! The main character, Maya, is likable and strong-willed; the love interest, Raffe, has a bad-boy exterior but is ultimately vulnerable and sweet; and the story was just an intense roller-coaster ride.

Fans of the Darkest Powers series (or Kelley’s Otherworld series) will recognize some name-drops and concepts mentioned in The Gathering. Fortunately, this does not affect the mystery aspect of the book in any way. The mystery itself is initially simple, but over the course of the novel it becomes more and more complex. The Gathering does quite a bit of set-up for the future novels.

The only thing I really have to complain about is the ending. It’s a major cliffhanger! Barely any of the major questions are answered, which was frustrating. I literally shouted, “What? Nooo!” upon turning the final page. Still, I must admit that Kelley Armstrong did an excellent job of making me really want to read the next book.

If you haven’t read any of Kelley Armstrong’s literature collection, The Gathering is an excellent place to start. It’s engaging, fun, and just overall awesome. I’d recommend it to fans of paranormal YA. Though the paranormal aspect isn’t played up too terribly much in this installment (it focuses more on mystery-solving), you can be sure it’ll take center stage in the sequel.

I hope you have found this article interesting. Please, feel free to share your opinion in the comments below.

3 Fascinating Facts About The Limits Of Human Perception: You Can’t Know You’re Right

Socrates once said I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing. When I first heard this quote, I dismissed Socrates as another philosophical nutjob who was wasting my time with his abstract nonsense. What was he talking about?! Of course I know things, I know I have a mother and a father and I know I’m from California. What a whack job, why is he even famous?

However, through a little college education and brain maturity, I’ve had a change of heart about Socrates. He was right and I was wrong; we can only know that we don’t know anything. Despite this, we often declare truths with 100 percent conviction and certainty. We get in heated debates over politics and religion with both sides certain they’re right. We argue with such certainty about the existence of God but neither believers nor unbelievers can know they are right. Still, both sides push their beliefs on others as if they are certain truths.

So What’s The Problem With Thinking Were Right?

When were certain were right, we don’t leave room to consider alternative possibilities. We’ll do anything to defend our egos even if it means arguing in favor of an incorrect point of view. Our defense mechanisms go up and the chances of coming together and finding solutions diminish. As a result, we have things like war, poverty and economic decline; truly tragic situations.

Thus, I wrote this article to explain to you why only at uncertainty is there a potential for understanding. Were predisposed to see a tiny part of the reality around us and we presume the rest doesn’t exist. Were not seeing a direct representation of reality but rather a version created by our eyes and mind. Thus, we need an awareness that our presumptions, judgements and opinions are not always correct. Continue reading below to find out why.

1. You Have A Blind Spot

No matter how intelligent, wise or experienced you are, you have a blind spot; all humans do. Blind spots are areas the eyes cannot see. The blind spot is in a particular area of the retina where the optical nerve connects to the brain. Since there are no light detecting cells in that area, that spot cannot detect light. This means that we miss whatever events falls into that field of view.

How To Find Your Blind Spot

To find your blind spot, look below at the picture of the red and green dot. Close your right eye and look at the GREEN dot. Gradually move your head towards the picture until the RED dot disappears. This is your blind spot and you notice that its filled in with white in your mind, like nothing’s missing from your view. Often times when we form decisions, we neglect to consider the possibility that were not considering the information missed by our blind spot. Some people live their entire lives with no knowledge of their blind spot.

What events could have occurred in your blind spot that you’re missing?

2. You Aren’t Capable Of Seeing 98 Percent Of What’s Really There

Light Spectrum

Take a look at the picture to your right.  This is the light spectrum where different wavelengths of light are listed. Humans are only capable of seeing the narrow sliver of light called visible light, near the middle of the spectrum. Visible light includes all the colors of the rainbow as you can see in the picture. However, were incapable of seeing the 98 percent of the light spectrum that’s left.

This is truly incredible if you think about it. Imagine how much were not capable of perceiving. All this energy is out there, yet since we can’t see it, we presume its not there. Although it’s far-fetched, it’s possible alien life forms could exist in one of these wavelengths of light we cannot see. The possibilities are limitless.

3. Your Memories Are Often Inaccurate

“Memory is deceptive because it is colored by today’s events,” said Albert Einstein. Were often confident about our memories, declaring them with certainty. However, scientists at MIT have successfully proven that it’s possible to produce false memories in mice. These false memories are the same in strength as real memories. Lawyers and psychologists have been aware of these facts for years.

The implications of these findings are huge; eyewitness testimony was responsible for putting 75 percent of people in prison who were eventually exonerated by DNA testing. Still, they spent years in prison due to faulty testimony and it’s likely some were even executed. It’s not even that the testimonies were lies, they were just simply wrong.

Concluding Thoughts

Although we can’t be certain about anything, it doesn’t mean that we should drop all rules and regulations. It means that we should have an awareness of the limits of our perception and hold off on formulating our opinions until thoroughly considering the alternatives. Instead of arguing with our emotions, we should argue logically and truly see another point of view. Next time you’re feeling certain, challenge yourself to consider you could be wrong and see the beauty that arises.


Wake Up a Champion

Does this sound like a familiar story?  You wake up at 6, turn off your alarm and think of hitting the snooze because this time you just feel like you need more sleep.  You hit the snooze and lay back down, falling back asleep in exactly one second.  The alarm wakes you again in what seemed like only a moment when it was really 10 minutes.  You think of doing the same thing again, but you wonder if you have enough time for the shower, breakfast, chores, and the like before heading off to work.

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You stumble out of bed and head for the coffee machine, hoping the moment lasts forever while drinking your cup because dealing with today is just going to be too hard.  A million thoughts go through your head as you savor your one moment of tranquility.  You think about life, your job, your relationships, everything you could change and what chores there are to do after work.  Your mind goes off into a million directions.

Guess what?  There’s no more coffee in your mug and you are so sick of gulping down so much in the morning because you lose the good taste.  You think of getting another cup, but you look at the watch again.  Just one more moment.  You decide to bargain and take a cup of coffee with you in the bathroom, take a few gulps and then hop in the shower.  During the shower, you wish the shower would last forever, because you can’t stand feeling cold, and the shower is the only thing saving you from the cold now.  Then you decide to stay in the shower a little longer.  Just one more moment.  Hopping out of the shower would mean you would have to be cold for a few moments, then stumble around, maybe in the dark with the light of your cell phone, to find the clothes to wear today.  Where is my shirt?  You start to look through your clothes but can’t find the one you were looking for.

All those moments before when you hesitated now sucked up enough time for you to worry about being on time.  You now hustle through the rest of getting ready, hoping to God you don’t forget something essential like your wallet or your keys like you did last time.  As you continue to get ready you realize you forgot to do one small chore for work.  You look at your watch and realize you don’t have enough time to do this small thing for work, which makes it feel even worse because it is so small.

And that is only the start…

Now think about how your life would be if you could feel like this:

You go to sleep feeling refreshed, accomplished, calm, but at the same time, excited to wake up the next day, because there is something you are so interested in doing that sleep almost feels like an inconvenience.  No, it is an inconvenience.

You wake up the next day before your alarm.  You are so excited to be awake.  The whole day stands ahead of you – you are going one step further to your goal.  The first thing you think about is that you don’t really need coffee because you are already fairly awake.  So instead, you put on some shorts and a t-shirt and take a 15 minute jog around the block, just enough and not too much.  When you get home with a healthy sweat, you decide to have a little tea, however, because it is something you really enjoy in the morning.  You gulp down the tea with a smile, because you are happy.

You look out the window at the rising sun and smile again.  Today is going to be yet another good day.  You walk upstairs to go hop in the shower.  Your shower takes exactly one minute, because there is no reason to waste time in there.  You brush your teeth and shave to feel good.  Your clothes are already there waiting outside the door, arranged like usual for the next day.  Shirt, pants, socks, underwear.  It’s so easy.

You still have half an hour before you need to leave for work.  You turn on the computer quickly to shoot a few emails as you wait for the opportunity to go to work.  You open your inbox and, to your happiness, but not really amazement, your boss has complimented you on what a good job you have been doing at work.  You quickly send a reply email, and, in the spirit of keeping the good feelings alive, you send a few emails to some of your family or coworkers saying how much you appreciate them and how amazing of people they are.  After getting done with these emails, you decide to leave for work anyways so you can be there a little early.  No need to waste time.

These two ways you can wake up are based entirely on how you see the world.  Notice that I never said anything about the kinds of jobs these two viewpoints had or any real details.  But they are two very different ways of approaching your day.  And they are both very easily accomplished by focusing the mind and visualization.  While typing out the first story, I relived moments when I felt exactly like this, and actually felt like I was living in that world once again.  I had to get out of it.

When I started writing the second story, I felt instant relief.  I felt instantly better and more aligned with having this routine in the morning.  I honestly is just that easy.  The person you are during the day is either formed by the first story or the second story – or another viewpoint.  You become your viewpoint during the day.  I hope these stories have served their purpose to make you more conscious of how your thinking in the morning affects the rest of your day and the rest of your life.  It really is that important.


5 Steps To See Their Perspective

Perspective is really a problem for us humans.  We all live in our own realities, and when our realities come in contact with each other, they can do any number of crazy dances together.  It is not uprising then that when conflicting perspectives come in contact with each other, they can create an energy explosion.  This can manifest in argument, fighting (verbal or physical), and its ultimate end is war.

The crazy thing about perspective is that it can always change at any given time, but with most people, it is only the natural change of aging that changes how people see the world, or only after a catastrophic event makes them reevaluate their life.  Without one of the two previous events from occurring, many people will fight the problem with something that doesn’t work, and keep fighting it the same way until the whole situation gets worse and worse.

  1. Look at what the person is extremely passionate about – Once you discover someone’s real passions, a whole new world of communication opens between you and them, but it is largely unconscious on their part.  This does not mean that you intrude on their lives and ask them what they are passionate about after just meeting them.  Do they belong to any extracurricular groups?  Are they really involved in their work?  Are they deeply religious or family people?   Once you know someone’s passions, you can then steer the conversation to make them more involved, and they will be thankful that you paid attention.  It really is an amazing way to open communication, or even just to make friends.
  1. Look to see what kind of friends the person has – People are usually surrounded by people like themselves.  People want to feel validated in how they feel, so they find others like them an make friends with them.  If you are unsure about someone, see what type of people they socialize with.  Are they athletic, book-worms, substance abusers, all work-no play types, etc?
  1. Try to understand that they feel they are 100% right – We all feel this way to a certain extent.  We use excuses at times that life is not fair, or say something “shouldn’t” have happened, or think that our ideas our best.  Our strength as people lies in our cooperation, however.  Two people that think they are 100% right = a problem, though.  You must be the strong one and concede first, that way the other person does not have to feel so defensive and they will possibly begins seeing your good points and seeing that you are a reasonable person.
  1. Realize that the person’s perspective may not be one they chose – Some people have not been lucky in life and may have experienced certain events that stay with them forever unless they willingly try to fix them.  One of the main purposes of my blog is to help people realize that, maybe with time, you can change your life 180 degrees if you choose.  Some people, unfortunately, will never receive that message, or realize that it is true.  They are stuck, therefore, in their perspective.  These situations are often difficult to deal with, however, I do not suggest empathy.  Empathy will only fuel the fire and you will make it seem to them like they are really right for feeling the way they do, because, hey, other people seem to think they are right.  Straight out ignoring and redirecting the conversation is probably the best way to deal with it. Create Your “Brand”.If you are in a creative industry you may have greater leeway in this area.
  1. Live as they do and see how you would feel, then figure a way out of it for them – Coming from the outside, it is easier to see people then to see yourself.  Sometimes the urge to give suggestions is almost overpowering, but we hold our tongues, because usually we want others to ask questions first about these type of things.  Are they having a hard time with relationships?  Or serious money issues?  It is not merely enough to imagine ourselves into these situations, sometimes we really have to live them to feel their effects.  Using an outsider’s perspective, we can usually make more logical and less emotional decisions of good ways to proceed past problems.

Once the avenues of communication between people are opened and the guards are let down, you can really begin to make progress in your relationships, be it at home, at work, at church, wherever.