Forever

Warning!  This post will be about Forever, the third and final book in Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series.  If you have not read Shiver and Linger, you may want to do that before proceeding.  That is all.

 

I almost hate to write this post because it means that this series, which I have grown to love, is officially finished.  I feel like I’ve gotten to know Sam, Grace, Isabel, and Cole, and I hate to say goodbye.  But life goes on, and, like these characters proved in Forever, it may not be what you always thought it would be…

In Shiver, we got to know Sam as both human and wolf, and we saw the depth of his connection with Grace.  In Linger, while Sam was getting used to the possibility of a future with Grace, Grace was facing life as a wolf, a life she never expected.  Now, in Forever, Sam and Grace are fighting to stay together, in whatever form that takes.  They have many obstacles to face–hunters determined to eliminate the wolves of Mercy Falls, people thinking that Grace is missing and Sam is to blame, a rogue wolf bent on destroying anyone who gets in her way, the cold that forces the wolves to shift and tears Sam and Grace apart–but they, as well as their friends Cole and Isabel, are determined to everything possible to overcome the trials that face them.

Sam must confront his own past.  Why did Beck choose him?  How would his life have been different if he’d been allowed to grow up without the wolf inside of him?  Would he change things if he could?  And how can he hope to save the wolves without unleashing the beast inside himself?

Grace must come out of hiding and let people know that she’s still alive.  She can’t let Sam be blamed for something beyond his control.  Will her parents accept her vague explanations?  Will anyone find out what she really is?  Can she build a life with Sam when so many people are determined to come between them?

Cole is confronting his own demons and trying to find a cure for the “disease” that plagues him and those he’s come to care about.  Can he get past his own issues and save himself and his new family?  Will he be able to do what everyone has told him is impossible?

Isabel finds herself in the middle of a war.  On one side is her father, determined to wipe out the wolves that he believes killed his son.  On the other side are her friends, the very wolves her father wants to kill.  What can she do to stop her father from committing murder?  How can she help her friends–including Cole, a guy she’s coming to love–without losing her family?

As Sam, Grace, Cole, and Isabel fight to save the wolves of Mercy Falls, they find help in unlikely places, but will help come in time?  How can they look to the future when the present is so uncertain?  Will Sam and Grace be able to have the forever they’ve always dreamed of, or will forces conspire to keep them apart?  Find out when you read Forever by Maggie Stiefvater.

Like I mentioned before, I am sad to see this series end, but I will say that this final installment was kind of satisfying.  While there wasn’t a crystal clear resolution, some questions were answered, some relationships were resolved, and there was at least a possibility of happily-ever-after.  That’s the kind of ending I like–one where the author doesn’t try to tie up every single loose end and leaves something to the reader’s imagination.  All in all, I am happy with Forever and how this series concluded.  I will miss the wolves of Mercy Falls, but I know that I can revisit them anytime I want…or I can continue their story in my own mind.

If you’d like more information on the Wolves of Mercy Falls series or author Maggie Stiefvater, I encourage you to visit http://maggiestiefvater.com/.  She has a new book, The Scorpio Races, coming out in October that looks pretty interesting.  If it’s as good as the series I just finished, I will be one happy reader.

Entice

Danger, danger!  Stop here if you haven’t read both Need and Captivate by Carrie Jones.  You simply must read these two books before reading this post about book three, Entice.  You’ve been warned!

Another day, another book finished.  I think Entice by Carrie Jones is the seventh book I’ve read in the past week.  I am made of awesome.  (Of course, it’s certainly helped that school has been cancelled all week because of snow…but I’m still pretty awesome…and humble.)  I think I may take a little break after this post, partly because I have to go back to work next week, and partly because, quite frankly, I’m kind of tired.  Not to fear, though, I will still do my best to bring you the best in young adult literature–just not as much of it in one week.  Sorry.  Now, on to Entice, the third installment in Carrie Jones’ Need series.  This book picks up mere minutes after Captivate leaves off, and things in Bedford, Maine, are about to get a lot more dangerous…

Zara never thought she would be a pixie, but it seems she’ll do anything to bring her boyfriend, Nick, back home and save the people that she loves.  So she’s now a pixie.  But she’s not just any pixie.  She’s a pixie queen.  Astley’s pixie queen.  Can she convince everyone she loves that not all pixies are evil (just like not all people are evil)?  Will they ever truly trust her again?  Will Nick if she ever finds him?

More and more people are dying and going missing in Bedford, and Zara, Astley, and all of Zara’s friends must put aside their differences and work together to stop this evil from spreading.  Who is behind it all?  Is the other pixie king, Frank?  Or is there a larger force behind it all, one who no one really suspects?  The answers, I’m afraid, are not easy.  It is not always apparent who can be trusted or when trusting the wrong person will lead to even more death and destruction.

As Zara works to stop the violence from spreading in Bedford, she must also find a way to get to Valhalla to rescue Nick.  But how?  What will she have to do if she ever makes it there?  Will Nick want to come back with her once he realizes that she became a pixie just to rescue him?  Will he accept that she is Astley’s queen?  And how can Zara reconcile her love for Nick with her growing feelings for Astley?  There are no easy answers, but join Zara as she tries to discover who she truly is when you read Entice by Carrie Jones.

As you can see, there are a lot of questions to be answered in the Need series.  I’ll go ahead and warn you that not all of them are answered in this book.  I have high hopes that the fourth book will clear things up a bit, but we’ll have to wait on that.  It’s not scheduled to be released until early 2012.  In the meantime, there are many, many more books to read, and I must get to them.  So long for now…

Captivate

Spoiler alert!  Read no further unless you’ve read Need by Carrie Jones.  I will, well, spoil things for you.  That’s why they call it a spoiler.

I’ve noticed a weird connection between several of the books I’ve read recently.  They contain connections to Norse mythology.  I don’t know why I’m gravitating toward these books, but it’s kind of spooky.  Luckily, I know a little about Norse mythology, so I’m not too confused about what’s going on in these books.  (When I was a freshman in college, I had to write a paper about artistic depictions of Odin throughout history.  I still remember some of it.  As a matter of fact, I still have that paper.  I got an A.)  Weirdness aside, it is now time to talk about my latest read, Captivate by Carrie Jones, which is the sequel to Need (if the spoiler above didn’t make that clear).  Captivate picks up right where Need left off, and it introduces some new and rather mysterious new characters.  Let’s dive in.

Zara White is still struggling with who she truly is.  After discovering that her father is a pixie king, her grandmother is a weretiger, and her boyfriend is a werewolf, you can imagine that she’s having issues adjusting to everything going on around her.  Well, things aren’t going to get any better any time soon.  She’s dealing with the fact that she and her friends have imprisoned her father and his fellow pixies.  (She’s a member of Amnesty International, so this is especially difficult to stomach.)  These pixies want out in the worst way, and there’s no telling what they’ll do to Zara if they’re freed.  There are also more pixies coming to her new town in Maine.  Why are they all coming here?  What’s so special about Bedford, Maine?

As Zara soon discovers, an ancient war is brewing, and Bedford may be destined to be the battleground.  When Zara encounters not one but two new pixie kings and a Valkyrie straight from Valhalla, she knows that things are about to get really, really bad.  When her boyfriend, Nick, is taken to Valhalla by the mysterious Valkyrie, Zara knows she must do everything in her power to bring him back and stop the bad pixies from completely taking over…even if that means becoming the very thing she fears the most.  Will Zara align with Astley, the “good” pixie king, to save Nick?  Could there be another way to bring him back?  Does Nick even want to come back to Zara?  Read Captivate by Carrie Jones to uncover the mystery.

While I enjoyed Need more, I still think Captivate is a cool book.  I’m hoping things will become a bit clearer in the third book, Entice, which I will probably begin reading in about ten minutes.  I think it will be interesting to see just how much Norse mythology really plays a part in what will happen to these characters.  This should be fun.

For more information on this series and author Carrie Jones, visit http://www.carriejonesbooks.com/.

Need

If you follow this blog at all, you may have noticed that I am quite the wuss.  I am afraid of many, many things:  clowns (coulrophobia), thunderstorms (astraphobia), rodents (musophobia), snakes (ophidiophobia), the dark (nyctophobia), falling (bathophobia), failure (atychiphobia), evil children (I don’t think there’s a name for this one), and a few others.  My many phobias made it really easy for me to relate to the main character in Need by Carrie Jones.  Each chapter in this book begins with the name and definition of a particular phobia (and provides a bit of foreshadowing about what will happen in that chapter).  The main character, Zara, believes that naming one’s fear helps in understanding it.  I don’t know if that’s true, but, hey, it’s worth a shot.  In any case, Zara has quite a bit to fear, it seems.

Zara is moving from Charleston, South Carolina, to the wilds of Maine.  (As a native South Carolinian, I can tell you that this would be an uncomfortable and drastic change.)  The only father she’s ever known has died, and her mother can no longer deal with her, so Zara is being sent to live with her grandmother in Maine.  It appears, though, that someone has followed her.  A weird guy has been stalking her from Charleston to Maine, and Zara wonders what he wants with her.  Why did he appear just as her stepdad was dying?  Why has he followed her all this way?  This situation is not helping her fear of the unknown.

Despite everything that she’s had to endure lately, Zara’s grandmother insists that Zara start classes at the local high school immediately.  (The horror!)  Almost at once, Zara makes some fierce enemies and a few loyal friends.  But something is not quite right with some of these people.  Zara glimpses something in their eyes that only serves to increase her fear.  Do they have any connection to the man following her?  Do they know why boys have been going missing?  What is really going on in this crazy town?

Well, the answers may not be what Zara expects.  Her fears may really get the best of her when she discovers that the people around her, even her new boyfriend and her own grandmother, are not exactly what they appear to be.  Even Zara may not be who she thinks she is.  When Zara learns that “fairy tale” creatures actually exist, will she let her fear overcome her?  Or will she do everything she can to understand what’s going on and stop the bad guy from winning?  And what will she do when she discovers her own eery connection to this mysterious bad guy?  Read Need by Carrie Jones to find out.

I know this post has been a bit cryptic, and that was intentional.  I want you to read for yourselves about what Zara is facing.  It’s really cool but unexpected at times.  As soon as I finish this post, I plan to start reading the next book in this series, Captivate.  I’m eager to see what else Zara and the gang can get into and how they’ll battle the forces working against them.

Need is part of a series.  Like I mentioned above, Captivate is the second book in this series.  The third book, Entice, is already out, and I’ll start on that one as soon as I finish Captivate.  According to Carrie Jones’ website (http://www.carriejonesbooks.com/), a fourth book is in the works, and it should be out in early 2012.

Linger

Spoiler alert:  If you have not read Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, do so before you read this post!  I’m going to ruin things for you if you dare to ignore my warning!  (Insert maniacal laughter here–MWAAHAHA!)

So, if you haven’t gathered it from the subtle message above, this post is about the sequel to Shiver.  The book is Linger by Maggie Stiefvater and is the second book in her Wolves of Mercy Falls series.  I have to say that I enjoyed this book just as much as I did the first, and I can’t wait to see how things are resolved in the third book, Forever (which I am bummed to report will not be released until some time in 2011…so I guess I’ll have to wait).

Linger continues the tale of Sam and Grace.  After risking everything to stop Sam from shifting into a wolf, it seems that their “cure” has worked.  Sam is slowly realizing that he has a future beyond turning furry when it gets cold.  He’s contemplating a music career and caring for the rest of the pack for the rest of his life.  He’s also envisioning a future with Grace, his reason for existing.

Grace, on the other hand, is realizing that the future may not hold all that she desires.  She is growing sicker and sicker, and she knows her illness has some connection to the werewolf that bit her when she was a child.  How can she plan a future with Sam when her own life is so uncertain?  Is there any way to stop what is happening to her?  Does she even want to?

On top of the drama surrounding Sam and Grace and their respective futures, there’s a new werewolf in town–Cole, and he’s got his own demons to battle.  (Not real demons…those are in the next book I’ll be reading.)  He’s got a past that is sure to come back to haunt him and his new “life.”  He wants nothing more than to permanently shift into a wolf to escape from his painful past, but things aren’t always that simple.

What will happen to Sam, Grace, Cole, their friends, and the pack?  Can they survive hurts with the potential to destroy them?  When the battle between wolf and human rages, which one will emerge the victor?  Read Linger by Maggie Stiefvater to find out.  But read Shiver first!

For more information on the tortured souls in Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls books, visit http://www.maggiestiefvater.com/shiver/.

Shiver

Well, I just returned from my vacation, and, while I didn’t get to read as much as I would have liked, I did finish a truly great book, and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the sequel.  Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater is awesome.  It’s an easy read, the writing is poetic at times, and I really got drawn into the relationship between Sam and Grace.  This was one of those books that you kind of want to put off finishing because you simply don’t want it to end.

When Grace was a child, she was attacked by wolves.  She was not afraid.  There was a sense of calm about her, and that calm spoke to one of the wolves.  This yellow-eyed wolf stopped the attack on young Grace and returned her to her home.  But this wolf and his pack were not your average, run-of-the-mill wolves.  They were werewolves.

As Grace grows into a shy, self-aware teenager, she develops an obsession with the wolves that inhabit the woods outside her house, especially the sad, yellow-eyed wolf that seems to have an odd connection to her.  She knows he is the one who saved her all those years ago, but she doesn’t really know why.  She knows he is special and that he feels as connected to her as she does to him.

After a young man in Grace’s community is attacked and seemingly killed by wolves, the men in the area go on a shooting spree.  Grace tries to stop the hunters from going after the wolves, but she may be too late.  When Grace returns home, she encounters a shivering, naked young man on her back porch.  He’s been shot.  When he opens his eyes, Grace is astonished to encounter the yellow-eyed gaze of her wolf.  His name is Sam, and the shot from one of the hunters has spurred his change back from wolf to human.

Sam is unsure why he’s been given this chance to be with Grace, but he plans to do everything he can to stay with her.  It seems he’s loved her forever, and he knows she feels the same.  Life, though, conspires to keep them apart.  As it gets colder and colder, Sam is finding it more difficult to remain in his human form.  He has little time left, but he doesn’t want to leave Grace.

Grace knows the end is coming, and she and Sam try to put off the inevitable as long as they can.  Is it even possible for them to be together?  As winter approaches, and Sam and Grace face conflict from wolves and humans alike, these two tormented souls become willing to do nearly anything to be together.  Can they do it?  Is their love strong enough to survive?  Read Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater to find out.

This is yet another case where my post doesn’t even come close to doing justice to the book I’ve read.  Shiver is amazing, and I look forward to reading the second book in the series, Linger.  I hope you’ll check these books out and let me know what you think.  For more information on Maggie Stiefvater, Shiver, and other books, visit http://www.maggiestiefvater.com/.