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.

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/.

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!