Darkness Becomes Her

I honestly don’t know where to start when it comes to the book that I just finished.  It was awesome, creepy, anxiety-inducing, sad, and moving.  It contained paranormal creatures, a touch of romance, and a dash of Greek mythology.  In short, it was all I want in a book.  This book is Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton, and it takes place in a post-apocalyptic New Orleans, or New 2, as it is now known.  New 2 is a haven for all kinds of creatures who don’t want to be found, and our main character, Ari, must travel to this dangerous city to find the truth about her past and how it may impact her future.

Ari has always been an outsider.  She grew up in foster care, but that’s just part of why she’s a loner.  She has indestructible silvery white hair and mysterious teal eyes.  She stands out when all she’s every really wanted is to fit somewhere.  Ari doesn’t really know why she’s so different, but she’s on a quest to get some answers.  Her journey begins at her mother’s last known residence, an asylum.  Unexpectedly, Ari’s mother has left her a message:  Run.  Ari doesn’t know what she’s running from or to, but she has a feeling the answers she seeks will be found in New 2, a place where she’s always been warned not to go.

As soon as Ari makes the decision to go to New 2, danger begins to follow her.  It is clear that someone is trying to kill her, but she doesn’t know why.  Ari seeks refuge with a band of misfits with secrets of their own, and these new friends may just be the key to Ari finding out who she really is and why she’s so important.

As Ari searches for answers, she encounters some things she never expected: voodoo, vampires, harpies, shapeshifters, monster hunters, a pet alligator, an angry goddess, and, most importantly, a sense of belonging she’s never felt before in her life.  Can she hold on to her newfound home and friends?  Or will the past that’s haunting her take everything away?  Explore New 2 and discover Ari’s family secrets when you read Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton.

I am so excited that this is just the first book in this new series.  It ended on quite the cliffhanger, and I’m anxious to see where the story goes from here.  I can’t wait to see how Ari’s “abilities” manifest themselves and what impact that will have on those around her.  This should be an interesting ride.  The sequel is set to be released in February of 2012, and the title has not been released yet.  I will do my best to update you when I find out about the title and cover.  For now, you can find more information on Darkness Becomes Her and author Kelly Keaton at http://kellykeaton.net/.

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!

Princess of the Midnight Ball

I love a good fairy tale.  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is still one of my favorite Disney movies of all time.  And what girl didn’t dream of being Belle in Beauty and the Beast (especially since the Beast gave her that wicked awesome library)?  My point is…fairy tales are great.  They’re even better when they’re adapted for a new audience.  My latest read is just such a tale.  Jessica Day George’s Princess of the Midnight Ball is a retelling of the fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and it has been retold to fit a young adult audience.  Now, many of my students will claim that they’re too old for fairy tales, but I contend that you’re never too old for a great story of romance and good triumphing over evil.  They’ll get it all in Princess of the Midnight Ball.

Princess Rose and her eleven sisters mysteriously disappear every night.  No one knows where they go, and the sisters cannot speak of their activities.  The only evidence that evil is afoot is their worn-out dancing slippers.  The sisters are under the power of the King Under Stone, a horrid being who is imprisoned deep within the earth.  The princesses are condemned to dance for him every night at his Midnight Ball.  There is seemingly no escape from this horrible curse.

Galen, a soldier returning from war, has recently been hired as a gardener at the palace.  He notices that things are not right with the princesses.  When the king begins to offer rewards for he who can solve the mystery of his daughters’ nightly activities, and the princes who try to figure things out begin to die, Galen starts to piece things together (with the help of a few magicians-in-disguise).  He is determined to help the princesses, especially Rose, break their curse.  He seeks no reward other than the knowledge that the princesses are safe.  (But we all know how those things go…the brave but poor commoner is really the best guy for the nice princess to end up with.)  Will he succeed?  Will the curse be broken?  What will become of the princesses, Galen, and the King Under Stone?  I’ll leave that for you to figure out.

Princess of the Midnight Ball is a lovely story, and the book cover is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen.  Although this will be marketed as a “girl book,” there’s lots in it that guys will find appealing–danger, fighting, and bad guys.  It’s a winner for all readers!