Just One Year

A word to the wise: Read Gayle Forman’s Just One Day before continuing with Just One Year. In my opinion, you MUST know what leads up to Willem’s story prior to opening this companion novel/sequel!

So, I finally finished reading Just One Year late last night. I would have finished it sooner, but I was away at a conference. (To those who think a school librarian’s work ends at the start of summer, I say only “I wish!”) I got back yesterday afternoon and proceeded to devour the rest of this book. I absolutely adored the first book, told from the perspective of Allyson/Lulu, so I really wanted to see what became of Willem after their one day in Paris.

When Willem wakes up, he’s not sure where he is. All he really knows is pain and the need to find something he’s lost. When he finally recovers enough to think, he remembers the girl, Lulu, who’s waiting for him. They shared a magical day in Paris, a day that seemed to change both of them. Willem tries to get back to her, but it’s too late. She’s gone, and she probably thinks he left and didn’t give her another thought. And he can’t exactly do anything about that. He doesn’t even know her real name…and she doesn’t know very much about him either. As much as they discovered about each other during their day together, they don’t know how to reach each other again.

Willem tries to find Lulu in Paris, but he’s floundering. He retraces their steps through the city, but that leads nowhere quickly, so Willem decides to return home to take care of the business he’s been avoiding for so long–settling his father’s estate.

Almost immediately upon arriving in Amsterdam, Willem feels the need to escape. The memories are too much, and Willem is feeling the itch to travel…and continue his search for Lulu. When his travels are delayed, he takes solace in his friends and in the arms of a former flame. She’s not Lulu, but she keeps him from feeling so lonely all the time. Eventually, though, Willem simply can’t fake his feelings anymore, and he must move on.

Willem’s journey takes him all through Holland, Mexico, India, and then back to Holland. Through it all, he thinks of Lulu, their one day together, and how that day changed him. He’s feeling restless, but his nomadic existence doesn’t feel like enough anymore.  He wants a sense of family, he wants real, lasting connections with people, and he wants purpose. Even if he never finds his Lulu, she’s at least given him that. She opened his eyes to the world around him and his place in it. (He doesn’t know it, but he did the same for her.)

While Willem is on his journey of self-discovery, he never truly abandons his search for Lulu. He explores every connection he can think of, but she seems to constantly be just out of reach. He finds himself wondering if he should leave Lulu and their day in Paris in the past and move on.

But Willem has no way of knowing that fate has different plans. Lulu–or Allyson–has been doing some searching of her own, and she and Willem are about to come face to face once again. Will their connection be as strong now that a year has passed and so much has changed? There’s only one way to find out…

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Now that I’ve read Just One Day and Just One Year, I find myself reflecting on my own reactions to each story. While I sympathized with Allyson, I was a little more judgmental of Willem. I know this says more about my own ideas and responses to emotional upheaval than anything, but I think that’s true of any book. We bring our own experiences to the stories we read, and we view the characters through those lenses. What I found really interesting, though, was how my views of Willem’s actions changed the more I read this book. Yes, he dealt with things a bit differently than Allyson did, but he had valid, and highly personal, reasons for doing so. And I think that’s the mark of a really great book. It makes you examine your own ideas through the experiences of another.

After finishing Just One Year last night, I immediately downloaded and read Just One Night, the last chapter of this love story. (Best $0.99 I’ve spent in a while.)

This ebook novella gives readers a look at what happened when Willem and Allyson/Lulu were finally reunited and had the opportunity to share their new selves and how they found their way back to each other. There’s also a fair amount of kissing (and other displays of affection), a bit of Shakespeare (like the preceding novels), and talk of the future. Will Willem and Allyson have a happy ending to their story? I’ll leave that for you do discover!

I failed to mention this in my Just One Day post, but I do believe that this series is suited to young adult (and adult) audiences. There are some mature themes, and I just don’t think most middle grade readers have the maturity or life experience to understand some of the content. As always, though, use your best judgment when recommending any book to young readers.

If you’re in or around South Carolina in November and want to learn more about Gayle Forman and her fantastic books, I urge you to attend YALLFest, a two-day celebration of young adult literature in Charleston. Gayle is scheduled to attend, and I know she’ll have lots of interesting things to say! (I had the privilege of hearing her speak last year, and I loved hearing her talk about her craft.)

For those that can’t attend YALLFest but still want more information about this series and others by Gayle Forman, check out her website at http://www.gayleforman.com/. Happy reading!

Published in: on June 20, 2014 at 5:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sweet Legacy

Caution! It is absolutely essential that you read the first two books in Tera Lynn Childs’ Medusa Girls trilogy (Sweet Venom and Sweet Shadows) before proceeding to the third and final book, Sweet Legacy. As a matter of fact, go ahead and read them over again (or at least skim) before starting the finale. I wish I had. I spent way too much time trying to re-familiarize myself with the events of the previous two books, and that had a big impact on my reading.

Well, it’s not often that it takes me seventeen days to finish a book, but that’s just what happened with Sweet Legacy. (If you read the warning above, you can probably figure out why.) It’s not the book’s fault. If I had read the books in this series back-to-back, my reading would have gone much more smoothly. As it was, I had a hard time remembering what happened in the previous two books, so, when I found myself totally confused, I had to revisit the previous books to refresh my memory. (Ah, the perils of loving books in a series!) This was rather time-consuming. Add this to my job responsibilities, spending time with family, keeping a semi-clean house, and other stuff, and my reading of Sweet Legacy didn’t go nearly as fast as is normal for me.

Once I finally got into Sweet Legacy (and remembered everything I needed to), the story was rather engrossing. It picks up the story of triplets Gretchen, Greer, and Grace, modern-day descendants of Medusa, and their quest to either close or open the door between the monster and human realms. (This may seem like a simple decision, but it’s really not…as you’ll see.)

Grace, Greer, and Gretchen, sisters who didn’t even know each other just days ago, are doing everything within their considerable power to set things right in the world. But what is right? That’s not always clear, and when both monsters and gods are set on killing you to prevent you from fulfilling your destiny, it muddies the waters even more.

The sisters travel through the abyss, through the halls and dungeons of Mount Olympus, and even through their fair city of San Francisco looking for help in finding the lost door between the realms. They will find help among monsters, gods, gorgons, and humans alike (including a trio of guys that do their part to muddle the girls’ thoughts), and all of them will be tasked with fighting in the battle ahead. Ultimately, though, destiny resides in the hands of Greer, Grace, and Gretchen, three young girls being asked to determine the fate of the world as they know it.

Will the sisters seal the door to the abyss forever (and trap all monsters, good and bad alike)? Will they open the door and let whatever happens happen? Or will they truly fulfill their purpose as descendants of Medusa and claim the legacy that has been foretold for centuries? What do the Fates have in store for Grace, Gretchen, and Greer? Discover the answers for yourself when you read Sweet Legacy, the thrilling conclusion to Tera Lynn Childs’ Medusa Girls trilogy!

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Even though it did take me longer than I would have liked to get into this book, I will say that, once I did, I was impressed with how action-packed it was. Truly, there was never a dull moment, and the strength of the sisters was awesome to behold, especially since their strengths manifested in very different ways. Each of the girls presented a role model that embraced not only her strengths but her flaws as well. The sisters experienced growth throughout the series, and they also grew closer to each other and young men who didn’t try to make them fit into a mold of the perfect teen girl. The sisters are loved as they are, fangs and all.

I would definitely recommend this series to middle grade and young adult readers. Those who’ve enjoyed any of Rick Riordan’s books will likely find something to enjoy in this series, and it’s also kind of interesting to compare the mythologies in both authors’ works.

If you’d like more information on the Medusa Girls trilogy or other books by Tera Lynn Childs, I encourage you to visit the author’s website at http://teralynnchilds.com/. I’ve read almost everything she’s written at this point, and there’s not a stinker in the bunch!

Published in: on January 19, 2014 at 12:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Goddess in Time

Warning! You MUST read Tera Lynn Childs’ Oh. My. Gods. and Goddess Boot Camp before reading Goddess in Time! And if it’s been over three years since you read the last book, a refresher may be in order. (Seriously, I spent the first couple of chapters really confused, and I had to look to previous blog posts, Goodreads, and the author’s website to re-familiarize myself with the main characters.)

If you’re still reading, I’ll assume you’re caught up with the Oh. My. Gods. series. Goddess in Time, a 14-chapter novella, kind of continues things with Nicole’s story. (If you don’t remember, Nicole is one of Phoebe’s best friends, and may be best known for getting into trouble and her sarcastic manner.)

When Nicole was a child, she and her friend Griffin (now Phoebe’s boyfriend) did something that altered their lives forever. One tiny prank on Mount Olympus, and everything changed.  As punishment, Nicole’s parents were stripped of their powers and banished, and Griffin’s parents were smoted. Seems harsh, right? Well, not when you’re dealing with the Greek gods, especially when one of those is Hera.  If only there were some way for Nicole to make things right…

Well, Nicole may have stumbled across something that could work. It’s something that no one has tried for centuries. Chronoportation. In other words, time travel.  It’s dangerous and highly illegal, but this power could be just what she needs to undo her mistakes.  She’ll need to travel to the palaces of Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades, and contact her godly ancestor to make this happen, but Nicole is determined to right her wrongs and bring her parents back where they belong.

But things may not be quite as simple as Nicole had hoped. (They never are when in comes to Greek deities!) Nicole will come face-to-face with her own past on this journey, and she may not be totally prepared for what she finds. What will Nicole learn about her heritage and, more importantly, about herself in this quest for justice? Discover Nicole’s secrets when you read Goddess in Time, an Oh. My. Gods. novella by Tera Lynn Childs!

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Even though it took me a little while to step back into this world, I did enjoy Goddess in Time. (It could be because I’m a little time-travel crazy right now. The Doctor Who 50th anniversary special is just two days away!) Nicole learned a lot about herself in this story, and she’s just an all-around fun character to read about anyway. (I do enjoy my fair share of snark and sarcasm.)

If you want even more stories from the Oh. My. Gods. series, check out Tera Lynn Childs’ website at http://teralynnchilds.com/. There are three more really short, sweet stories right there on the site:  Phoebe’s Fair Valentine, The Twelve Days of Stella, and Nicole’s Labyrinth.  I read them all last night, and, from what I could determine, all of them take place after Goddess Boot Camp but before Goddess in Time. Enjoy!

Published in: on November 21, 2013 at 11:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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Sweet Shadows

Warning:  Read Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs before proceeding. If it’s been over a year since you read Sweet Venom, it’s probably a good idea to reread it (or at least the last couple of chapters) before proceeding!

As you’ve no doubt gathered, I first read Sweet Venom, the first book in Tera Lynn Childs’ Medusa Girls series, quite some time ago. (October of 2011, to be precise.) For whatever reason, I waited until Sunday to begin reading the second book, Sweet Shadows. That was not smart. Maybe if I’d read it sooner, I wouldn’t have spent so much time trying to remember what happened in the first book. Luckily, I did have my blog post for Sweet Venom, but that didn’t exactly provide me with tons of details or how the book actually ended. It did give me a starting point, though, and I flipped through the first book when I needed to fill in any blanks. (That happened a lot when I first started reading Sweet Shadows. My memory sucks lately.)

Sweet Shadows picks up immediately where Sweet Venom ended. Gretchen, Grace, and Greer have barely had time to come to terms with the fact that they’re triplets, descendants of the Gorgon Medusa, and their destiny is tied to a divine prophecy that puts their very lives in danger. Despite their rather obvious differences, these reunited sisters will have to work together to determine just what it going on and what it means for them. They may have some help along the way, but can anything really combat the war that is brewing?

As Gretchen, Grace, and Greer continue to face horrible monsters and unanswered question, new dangers also await them. Exploding apartments. Disappearing mentors. Training to fight. Diving into the abyss. Boys. (Some of these are, obviously, more dangerous than others!) In the midst of it all, the sisters are learning more about themselves, each other, and what their destiny really means.

Destiny, though, may not be as straightforward as they once thought. Keep the monsters in the abyss. Should be a no-brainer, right? Yeah…not so much. It’s a little more complicated than that and may involve actually allowing monsters out of the abyss to walk and live among humans…as they once did. It’s all about restoring balance and is clear as mud to Gretchen, Grace, and Greer. They’re not really sure what they are supposed to do, but they do know only one place–the abyss itself–holds the answers (and the people) they need. Are any of the sisters courageous enough to brave this dark chasm? If so, what will await them?

While it is clear that lots of people (and monsters, gods, etc.) want the sisters dead, there may be others who would seek to aid them in fulfilling their destiny. The question is…who is ally, and who is enemy? Who can these sisters ultimately trust? And what will happen if that trust is misplaced?

Fate, destiny, life–whatever you want to call it–is about to come crashing down on Gretchen, Grace, and Greer. Keeping this dangerous, barely believable existence separate from “real life” is quickly becoming impossible. Is there any way for these girls to hold onto some semblance of normalcy while staying true to each other and the destiny they are attempting to fulfill? Is success even possible? Can these sisters control their own fates and bring light to the shadows in their lives? We’ll just have to wait and see…

While it took me a little while to get invested in this story (which was my own fault), once I got going, I was totally enthralled. Sweet Shadows, like Sweet Venom, is action-packed, and readers will be eager to discover just who these girls can trust and who might be hiding a secret identity. (I still have some ideas about that.)

I also enjoyed seeing how the sisters grew closer together in this second book. Yes, they’re all still very different, but I think they’re learning now that those differences can make them stronger, both individually and as a group. They begin to learn from their diverse experiences and backgrounds, and that’s always a good thing.

The final installment in the Medusa Girls series, Sweet Legacy, is scheduled to be released on September 3rd of this year. Hopefully, I can make time to read it as soon as it comes out! I’m eager to see how the story resolves for Gretchen, Grace, and Greer. Here’s hoping these three sisters get the happy ending they deserve!

For those book cover nuts (like me), here’s the gorgeous cover for book three, Sweet Legacy.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  Tera Lynn Childs’ books, particularly her mythology-based works (Oh. My. Gods., Goddess Boot Camp, Sweet Venom, and Sweet Shadows), are a perfect fit for Rick Riordan fans looking for some strong female characters (kind of like Annabeth from the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series). Ms. Childs’ books might be a little shorter, but they still pack quite a punch.

If you’d like more information about Sweet Shadows and any other books by Tera Lynn Childs, check out her website. This page also has links to the author’s Goodreads, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

Starcrossed

Occasionally, I come across a book that’s been out a while and I wonder, “Why in the world did I wait so long to read this?!”  That’s the case with my latest read, Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini.  Starcrossed has been out a little over a year, and I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner.  Why, you ask?  Well, this book (and, hopefully, the entire series) is kind of like the best parts of the Twilight saga, the Mortal Instruments, and the Percy Jackson series all rolled into one.  That’s really the best way I can explain it.  If you liked any or all of those series, you should definitely give Starcrossed a try.

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire life trying not to be noticed.  And on the small island of Nantucket, that’s nearly impossible, especially when you’re a beautiful, blond, athletic, smart, tall girl who kind of stands out from the crowd.  But Helen knows that, if she’s not careful, she’ll stand out more than ever before.  You see, Helen has some pretty special abilities that she doesn’t quite understand…and it’s getting harder and harder to hide her true self.  And when the mysterious Delos family moves to Nantucket, things get even worse.

When Helen first sets eyes on Lucas Delos, she wants nothing more than to kill him.  Violently.  (She even tries to in the halls of her school.  So much for not being noticed.)  Helen doesn’t know why she feels so strongly about this–or why she sees three creepy women crying blood whenever she sees a member of the Delos family–but the urge to wipe out Lucas is almost uncontrollable.  Why?  Why does mild-mannered Helen want so badly to kill someone she’d never met before?  Well, the answers she’s looking for are as old as time itself, and Helen will need to overcome her newfound homicidal rage to find out what’s going on and where she fits into it.

Helen isn’t quite prepared for the answers she gets, but it’s something of a relief to know why she’s so different.  (It’s also a relief when her urge to kill Lucas finally fades.  But some equally disturbing urges are coming along…if you know what I mean.)  Helen and Lucas, both demigods destined to be at war, are repeating roles in Greek tragedies that have occurred throughout history…and the Fates seem to be determined to keep Helen and Lucas apart at all costs.

Even as Helen, Lucas, and the entire Delos clan work to figure out what is going on–and how Helen fits into the bigger picture–Helen and Lucas are battling their own desire to be together.  Can they thwart the Fates and make their own way in the world?  Will something–or someone–come along to drive them even further from each other?  Will they be strong enough to stay together when the Fates–and even their own families–seem determined that they remain starcrossed lovers?  Find out how one girl both battles and embraces her own destiny when you read Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini.

I adored Starcrossed, and the recap above doesn’t begin to do it justice.  This book is so much more than a simple supernatural love story.  It’s got drama, action, a bit of comedy, bad guys (both human and not-so-human), mysteries to be solved, misdirection, happy families, mythology, a girl with mommy issues, flying, fighting, curses, friends, and, yes, a very complicated relationship between Helen and Lucas (which reminds me a lot of the Clary/Jace relationship in Cassie Clare’s Mortal Instruments series).  There’s something here for everyone, and I think this book definitely deserves a place in any YA collection.

I loved this book so much that I just ordered the sequel, Dreamless, and I plan to read it as soon as I can.  The third book, Goddess, should be out in May of 2013.  If you’d like to learn more about this series, visit http://www.josephineangelini.com/, or follow the author on Twitter @josieangelini.  You may also want to check out this book trailer from HarperTeen.  Enjoy!

Published in: on September 3, 2012 at 10:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Sometimes I like to put the fantasy, science fiction, and dystopia aside and just read a really good love story (though some of the more pessimistic among us would argue that love stories are also fantasies).  My most recent favorites have been Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door.  Now I can add one more to that list:  The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith.  At first, I thought this book would be a romance between math nerds (which would have been totally cool with this former Palmetto High School Math Team member), but I was wrong.  At its core, this book is about how a chance meeting can change a person’s life forever…

Hadley Sullivan is running late. What’s worse is that she’s running late to something that she wants no part of in the first place–her father’s wedding to “that British woman” in London.  She misses her flight by about four minutes is forced to take the next plane–which will arrive at Heathrow approximately two hours before the blessed event.  A bit of a time crunch, to say the least.  So, now she has a time to kill in a crowded airport.  Time to think about how much she doesn’t want to see her dad or his new bride.  Time to worry about the flight and being trapped in a tube thousands of feet in the air.  Time to stew over what she said to her mom this morning.

Purely by chance (or fate, destiny, whatever you want to call it), Hadley meets Oliver, a London native (who’s kind of a looker) who will be sitting next to her on her upcoming flight.  The two hit it off instantly, and Hadley feels like she can tell Oliver anything…and she does.  She tells him little things about herself (favorite color, animal, etc.) as well as big things (how she feels about her dad and this wedding, how her relationship with her mom is going, and how things ended with her ex-boyfriend).  Oliver shares some stories of his own, including a glimpse of his relationship with his own father.  Hadley and Oliver are so wrapped up in getting to know each other that their time at the airport and the flight to London seem to pass in a blur.

Before either of them are ready, Hadley and Oliver arrive in London, and they are forced to go their separate ways–Hadley to the dreaded wedding, and Oliver to his own family drama.  Will they ever meet again, or has fate brought them together for only this one flight?  Will Hadley be able to get over her anger with her father and be part of his new life?  Will Oliver be able to deal with his own family issues?  Is there any hope that these two will meet again despite the odds?  What’s the probability that two young people could meet, fall in love, and find each other again in the span of 24 hours?  Find out when you fall in love with Jennifer E. Smith’s The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight!

Even though I totally knew there would be a happy ending, I was still enraptured by this story.  I love the idea that you can meet someone tomorrow, and that will ultimately be someone you’ll spend the rest of your life with.  If even one little thing had changed leading up to that meeting, entire lives could have been completely different.  It’s kind of cool (and scary) to think about.

I also enjoyed how Hadley–and even Oliver–explored their family situations.  Hadley spent much of the book angry at her dad–and her mom and future stepmother–and it was interesting to see how her views of those relationships evolved during the course of one very long day.  Oliver’s issues were thought-provoking as well and helped Hadley put her own problems in perspective.  In a lot of YA novels, the parents are secondary figures–and are often horrible–but this book allowed both characters and readers to see the humanness of parents.  We were all given a look into the relationships between husbands and wives, fathers and sons, fathers and daughters, and mothers and daughters.  These family dynamics are not always calm and smooth, but, at the end, these people are still family.

If you’re looking for a quick, fun, engaging read, I strongly urge you to give The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight a try.  You won’t be disappointed!

You can find out more about author Jennifer E. Smith and her books at http://www.jenniferesmith.com/.  You can also follow her on Twitter @JenESmith.

Published in: on March 30, 2012 at 11:44 am  Leave a Comment  
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Sweet Venom

As some of you may know, I’m a big fan of Tera Lynn Childs.  I adored Oh. My. Gods., Goddess Boot Camp, Forgive My Fins, and Fins Are Forever.  When I learned that she would be writing a new book dealing with the descendants of Medusa, I knew that I would read it.  Well, I have just finished reading Sweet Venom, the first book in the Medusa Girls series, and I am hooked (which is really not surprising considering my fondness for Greek mythology).  Like Oh. My. Gods., Sweet Venom is a little like Percy Jackson for the teen girl set.  There are monsters, fighting, awkward encounters with cute guys, secrets, prophecies, and long-lost relatives.  What more could a girl want?

Gretchen has been fighting monsters for the past four years.  As a descendant of the Gorgon Medusa (who was not the monster everyone claims), it is Gretchen’s job to fight the evil beings that escape from the abyss.  Only she can send them back to where they came from.  Usually, she only has to deal with one monster at a time–a sphinx here, a minotaur there–and she can go on about her business.  Lately, however, there seem to be more monsters around, and with her mentor Ursula doing a mysterious disappearing act, Gretchen has no one to talk to about what’s going on.  But all that is about to change…

Grace has just moved to San Francisco to attend a new school.  Opportunities abound, and Grace is excited to leave her reputation as a doormat behind.  Things don’t get off to a good start, however, when she somehow makes an enemy of the school’s resident mean girl.  It seems Grace is destined to be a coward.  She wants to be brave, but she doesn’t really know how.  And when she starts seeing strange creatures around her, her battle for bravery is sorely tested.  What are these things, and why can’t anyone else see them?  As it turns out, someone else can…a sister Grace never knew she had.

When Grace and Gretchen meet, it’s not exactly a lovey-dovey family reunion.  Neither of them knew the other even existed, but they soon realize they must work together to fight the monsters crawling out of the woodwork.  These two huntresses must find out why so many monsters are out and why they are so determined to kill the descendants of Medusa.  Their research leads them to some uncomfortable truths–including the fact that Gretchen and Grace are not twins.  They’re triplets.

When sister Greer enters the picture, another curve ball is thrown at the lives each sister once led.  How can three totally different people unite to fulfull an ancient prophecy?  Can they fight monsters while still holding on to some semblance of a normal life?  And will they ever be able to understand something even more mysterious–the minds of boys?  Join the madness when you read Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs.

Sweet Venom is a great introduction to what I’m sure will be a fascinating series.  I’m very intrigued by the idea that Medusa was not the evil being we’ve all heard of.  (Apparently, Athena played fast and loose with the truth because she was jealous of Medusa’s relationship with Poseidon.)  I’ve always liked misunderstood “bad guys” (i.e. Darth Vader).  I also like how the differences between Grace, Gretchen, and Greer are emphasized.  Even though they’re triplets, life handed all of them very different cards.  It will be interesting to see how those differences play out in the future even as destiny forces the sisters to work as one.

I really enjoyed Sweet Venom, and I highly recommend it to readers from middle school on up.  I would definitely push it to female fans of Percy Jackson.  Guys will find something to enjoy in this series as well–especially all the monster-fighting–but this series will find a home in the hands of female readers.

The second book in the Medusa Girls series, Sweet Shadows, will be released sometime in 2012.  For now, if you’d like more information on Sweet Venom and other books by Tera Lynn Childs, visit http://teralynnchilds.com/.

Published in: on October 13, 2011 at 11:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Eternal Ones

This may be my final post of 2010 (unless I read all day tomorrow…which is entirely possible).  It’s been quite a year, and I’m honestly glad it’s almost over.  I really hope 2011 is kinder to me than 2010 was…but that’s another story for another day.  On with the show.

Today, I finished reading The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller.  This book has been on my “to read” list for quite a while, and I finally got to it.  I am so glad I did!  This book was wonderful, and I am eagerly anticipating the next installment.  For all of you teachers and librarians out there, I would recommend this book for ages fifteen and up.  There is a bit of mature content that may not be appropriate for middle-grade readers, but I will say that the content in this book is quite understated and not nearly as blatant as many other YA novels.

In The Eternal Ones, we meet Haven Moore.  Haven has lived in a small Tennessee town her entire life.  Why then, does she have such specific knowledge of New York City?  Why is she drawn to that particular city?  And why, for as long as she can remember, has she been having visions of a girl named Constance and a boy named Ethan?  The truth is as unbelievable as it is unsettling for Haven and everyone else in Snope City, Tennessee.  Haven is remembering her past life as Constance and her relationship with Ethan.  Her grandmother is convinced that Haven is possessed by a demon, and she does everything in her power to keep Haven on the straight-and-narrow and away from New York.

But Haven is drawn to New York, and, when things go from bad to worse in her small town, she escapes to the big city to find the one thing she’s always been looking for–Ethan.  She even knows who he is now–the famed playboy Iain Morrow.  She knows he’s the love of her life (lives?), and she must find him.  What will she do when they finally meet?  Will he even remember her?

Well, Iain/Ethan knows Haven instantly, and the two seem to be embarking on a wonderful new life together, but things never really go that smoothly, do they?  Iain is lying to Haven, and she wants to know why.  She seeks help from the mysterious Ouroboros Society, a group that claims to help those who have been reincarnated.  But they may not be the help that Haven envisioned.  Who can she trust?  Who is really pulling the strings in the drama unfolding in Haven’s life?  Is there a chance that she can trust Iain, and their love story can finally have a happy ending?  Or will the forces working against them, even their own deceits, finally win and separate Iain/Ethan and Haven/Constance forever?  Read The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller to find out.

Even though I really enjoyed The Eternal Ones, I will say that Haven annoyed me a bit.  She reminded me of those girls in horror movies who insist on trusting the bad guys and doubting the good guys (who often still do stupid stuff).  I felt like screaming at her at several points, but the story kept me on the edge of my seat, and I especially liked the religious undertones in the book.  Those really made me think.

If you would like more information on this new series, including the second book, All You Desire, due out in August of 2011, I encourage you to visit http://www.theeternalones.com/, the official website of The Eternal Ones.

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year!  Happy reading!

Published in: on December 30, 2010 at 10:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A Kiss in Time

It’s no secret that I like fairy tales.  Beautiful princess, handsome prince, fighting the bad guy, true love…what’s not to like?  There is one, however, that’s never been a favorite of mine–Sleeping Beauty.  I just didn’t see the point.  This girl pricks her finger on a spindle, falls asleep, is awakened by a kiss, a witch gets mad, the witch is killed, and they all live happily ever after.  Not my thing.  Well, my lastest read, A Kiss in Time, is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty by acclaimed author Alex Flinn.  It puts a new spin on this story, and I must say that I like this version a lot better.  When I was reading, I was reminded of Enchanted, the movie where a fairy tale princess is magically transported to modern-day Manhattan.  I adore that movie, and I feel the same way about this book.

Princess Talia of Euphrasia has lived her entire almost-sixteen years in fear of spindles.  At Talia’s christening, a curse was placed on her by the evil witch Malvolia stating that the princess would prick her finger on a spindle before her sixteenth birthday and die.  A fairy modified the curse a bit so that the princess wouldn’t die.  Instead, she and everyone in Euphrasia would sleep until Talia was awakened by true love’s first kiss.

Nearly sixteen years pass, and Talia has been bombarded with talk of this curse.  Spindles are outlawed from Euphrasia to protect her, and she is horribly sheltered.  She can’t go anywhere, and she’s tired of it.  As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Talia can finally see an end to a life full of fearing a curse and always being told what to do.  The curse has not been fulfilled, and she’s almost sixteen.  (The key word here is “almost.”)  Well, guess what?  Shortly before her birthday celebration, Talia is searching for her perfect dress when she happens upon an unfamiliar room.  An old lady is inside with just the dresses Talia is looking for.  The old lady just needs a bit of help from Talia.  Just hold this sharp, pointy thing for a bit…lights out.

Fastforward three hundred years…

Jack is in Europe on a boring trip full of museums and other stuff he’s not interested in, so he decides to escape for a bit.  He and his buddy Travis walk through a dense hedge and find a village where everyone appears to be sleeping, even the horses.  They soon find a castle.  Jack is drawn to the highest tower where he discovers a sleeping girl.  She’s beautiful, and he feels almost compelled to kiss her.  He does, and she wakes up.  Surprise!

Join Jack and Talia as they deal with expectations, customs, and technologies (or lack thereof) of different time periods, parents, ex-girlfriends, running away, a continued threat from Malvolia, and a three-hundred-year age difference.  Can this even be real?  Do Jack and Talia have any hope of getting together under these circumstances?  He’s a slacker; she’s a princess.  Do they even want to be together?  Read A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn to find out!

Published in: on April 17, 2010 at 9:14 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Last Olympian

Well, I’ve finally finished The Last Olympian, the fifth and final book in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians series.  It took me a while to finish this one, partly because I didn’t want the series to be over and partly because I was scared of what would happen.  Things didn’t unfold the way I expected, but that made the story even richer.

In The Last Olympian, Percy Jackson is about to turn sixteen.  For most kids, this might not be a big deal, but Percy is dealing with a prophecy saying that he’ll either save or destroy the world on his sixteenth birthday.  No pressure.  He’s facing war with the dreaded Titan lord Kronos, and the gods are battling the vicious monster Typhon, who is storming his way toward Mount Olympus.  The situation seems hopeless most of the time, but Percy has faith that good will triumph over evil.

Percy and his friends know that the fate of Western Civilization rests in their young hands.  Are they strong enough to battle the Titans and their powerful armies of monsters?  Will hope survive against all odds?  And just who is the last Olympian?  Read The Last Olympian to find out if a bunch of half-blood teenagers can save the world.

(By the way, when I read the acknowledgements at the end of the book, Rick Riordan indicated that this was the first Camp Half-Blood series.  You know what that means, readers.  More fun with Greek mythology is on the way!  Also, don’t forget The Lightning Thief will hit theaters on February 12th.  Don’t miss it!)

Published in: on January 18, 2010 at 7:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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