Notice:  Sweetly is a companion novel to Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce.  It is not absolutely essential to read Sisters Red first…but it would help.  And since Sisters Red is awesome, you should really read it anyway.  The cover alone is reason enough to pick this one up.

Now, moving on to Sweetly…like Sisters Red, it is a retelling of a familiar fairy tale.  Where Sisters Red gave us a new way to look at Little Red Riding Hood, Sweetly gives us a new view of Hansel and Gretel.  (In my review of Sisters Red, I mentioned that I was not a big fan of Little Red Riding Hood.  Well, the same is true of Hansel and GretelSweetly may have changed that.)  And again, readers are blessed with a cover that does its part in drawing us into the story before we even get to the first page.

Sweetly begins twelve years ago with a brother and two sisters in a forest. They are looking for the witch that a book said lives in the woods. Unfortunately, they find more than they bargained for.  The book may have been right, and a witch–or something even more sinister– comes upon the children in the forest, and this mysterious yellow-eyed thing begins to chase the young children.  They try to stay together–holding hands as tightly as possible–but they have to let go to run faster.  When they reach their home, it immediately becomes clear that every child did not make it.  Ansel made it, Gretchen made it, but Gretchen’s twin sister never returned home.  Ansel and Gretchen know the witch took her, but no one truly believes them…and the two siblings have to live with the knowledge that the witch is still out there, waiting, watching, while a family is slowly torn apart.

Fast forward twelve years…Ansel and Gretchen are on their own after their stepmother throws them out.  They are all alone and trying to start a new life away from the pain of the past.  The brother and sister make a long journey from the only home they’ve ever known in Washington to a small town near the coast in South Carolina, a town where outsiders are viewed with contempt.  Only a few people treat the siblings with kindness.  One of those people is Sophia Kelly, the local candy maker, who is dealing with her own problems with the people of Live Oak, South Carolina.  Sophia takes the two young outcasts in and makes them feel welcome in her home.  They had only intended to stay a night, but a night quickly turns into a week, a week into a month.  Before they really know how it happened, Ansel and Gretchen have found a home, one that is far removed from the past they are running from.

But is it really?  As everyone knows, small towns tend to have secrets, and Live Oak is no exception.  It seems, though, that the secrets in Live Oak revolve around one Sophia Kelly, the girl who has befriended Gretchen and bewitched Ansel.  The townspeople blame her for their daughters leaving and never returning.  They don’t visit, they don’t call, they don’t write.  In fact, no one ever hears from them after they attend Sophia’s annual chocolate festival.  Could Sophia have something to do with their disappearance, or is she as innocent as she seems?  Gretchen knows that Sophia is keeping secrets, but she just can’t believe that the girl who has become her only friend could have anything to do with girls vanishing from the face of the earth.

Gretchen reevaluates her views, however, when she encounters the very thing that has haunted her for twelve years.  She discovers it wasn’t a witch that captured her twin sister.  It was a werewolf…more specifically, a Fenris.  When Gretchen narrowly escapes one of these monsters, with the help of the mysterious Samuel Reynolds, she is determined to learn more about these horrible beings and what they have to do with the missing girls of Live Oak.  What do they want with the girls, and how is Sophia involved?  The truth may be more than Gretchen is prepared to handle, but handle it she must.  Gretchen must face her own fears if she has any hope of preventing other girls from vanishing like her sister did.  Is she strong enough to face an evil that has ruined nearly everything she holds dear?  And can she face her dearest (and only) friend’s role in the horror surrounding her?  Join Gretchen as she learns that living in a candy shop isn’t as sweet as it seems.

If your interest has been piqued at all by this post, I strongly urge you to make both Sisters Red and Sweetly part of your holiday reading.  They’re awesome books with strong, yet flawed, female characters, and they turn the “fairy tale” idea of a helpless girl who has to be rescued by the handsome prince on its ear.  (Don’t get me wrong.  There are handsome guys in these books, but these strong ladies could get along just fine without them…most of the time.)

According to Jackson Pearce’s website (http://jackson-pearce.com/), there is going to be another companion book to Sisters Red and Sweetly (and given the way that Sweetly ended, I expected this and even predicted which fairy tale would be retold next).  The book is Fathomless, a retelling of The Little Mermaid, and will be released in August of 2012.  I’m very interested in the connections between these three stories, and I hope Fathomless answers some of the questions that popped up at the end of Sweetly.  At any rate, I know I’m in store for another great story from Jackson Pearce and, I hope, another fantastic cover to grace my bookshelf.

Beautiful Chaos

Spoiler alert!!! If you haven’t read Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness, turn back now. Even if you have read these wonderful books, it might not be a bad idea to reread them a bit before starting book three, Beautiful Chaos. This book will make absolutely zero sense if you’re not pretty familiar with the first two books in the Caster Chronicles. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

I finished reading the third book in the Caster Chronicles, Beautiful Chaos last night, over a year after I read the second book, Beautiful Darkness. That was not smart. I really should have reread book two before re-entering this world. But it’s too late now, and, to be honest, it didn’t take that long to re-familiarize myself with the fascinating characters created by authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. (Revisiting my blog posts on the previous two books did help, though.) The characters, plot, and setting in each of these books are unbelievably rich and dramatic, so a little effort expended to remember details was well worth it.

If you’ve read Beautiful Darkness, you may recall that Lena, a powerful Caster (or witch, to you people not in-the-know), claimed herself as both Light and Dark, an unheard-of occurrence in the Caster world. Well, in Beautiful Chaos, we learn that big decisions like the one Lena made can have catastrophic consequences…

Ethan Wate, a Mortal, and his Caster girlfriend, Lena, have barely survived Lena’s seventeenth moon, and now they must deal with the fallout of Lena’s decision to be both Light and Dark. Lena may be both Light and Dark, but Gatlin, their small South Carolina town, is all dark. The Order of Things has been torn asunder, and Gatlin–and the entire world–is in total chaos. Gatlin is experiencing record-breaking heat, swarms of locust-like insects, lakes drying up, and lots of other stuff that makes people thing that the End of Days is near…and they might be right. Even Lena’s family of Casters is experiencing the chaos. Their powers aren’t working the way they should, and they all know that things will get much worse before they get better–if better is even an option.

Ethan is experiencing his own brand of chaos. He’s forgetting things, he’s being haunted by a strange voice that has followed him out of his dreams and into the real world, and he can no longer trust Amma, the woman who has always been there for him, because she has delved into a darkness that he can’t pull her out of. Is there anyone he can turn to? How can he figure out what’s wrong with him when there are so many wrong things happening?

As Ethan, Lena, and several friends–both known and unexpected–try to find a solution to the madness engulfing the world, secrets are revealed, more questions arise, and Ethan is faced with a horrible choice. What will he have to do to restore order to the world and save everything he knows and loves? Can order even be restored when Ethan and company are seemingly fighting fate itself? What price must be paid to save the world? Find out when you read Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

But wait…there’s more!

Beautiful Chaos is not the end of the Caster Chronicles (and based on the way it ended, I can only say, “Thank the Maker!”). In addition to a novella, Dream Dark, that takes place before the events of Beautiful Chaos, there’s also going to be a fourth book in the Caster Chronicles. I don’t know what the title will be yet, but I do know the book is set for a 2012 release–most likely in the fall. I’ll post any information about the book’s release, title, and cover as soon as I possibly can. No matter what the details are, based on the previous three books, I can guarantee that book four will be amazing. (I’m also hoping that it has a happy-ish ending, especially if it’s the last book in this emotionally-draining-yet-somehow-satisfying series.)

For now, though, you can find a lot of wonderful Caster Chronicles stuff at the authors’ website, http://beautifulcreaturesnovels.com/, and the official fan site, Caster Girls & Boys, http://castergirls.com/. Enjoy!

Published in: on November 29, 2011 at 5:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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It’s rare that it takes me three weeks to finish a book.  Usually, it’s more like three days.  My latest read, however, almost completely stalled my reading progress, which is a shame because I was so excited about this book when I started it.  This book is Chime by Franny Billingsley.  (If you’ve been following the controversy surrounding this year’s National Book Award, this book might seem familiar to you.)  The cover is beautiful, nearly every review was positive, and the synopsis I read before diving into this book promised an interesting, engaging read.  Well, that might have been true for some readers, but this book just didn’t do it for me.

In Chime, we meet Briony Larkin.  Briony is not an average girl.  She spends her days taking care of her twin sister Rose, avoiding her father, and hating herself.  Why does she hate herself, you ask?  Well, Briony is a witch, and she can feel nothing but hatred for herself.  She cannot cry, she cannot love, and she cannot feel remorse.  She knows she’s a wicked girl, and only bad things will befall her and those around her.  After all, Briony’s jealousy injured Rose and killed their stepmother, right? 

When a young man, Eldric, arrives in the small village of Swampsea, Briony notices a change in herself.  She begins to feel more than just self-hatred.  She’s becoming adventurous, she’s laughing, and she’s having strong feelings for this boy-man.  She’s venturing into the swamp that she’s always been afraid of (and drawn to).  She’s longing to tell someone the truth about herself.  But what will Eldric do if he learns the truth about Briony?  Will he announce to the town that she’s a witch?  Will he watch Briony hang?  Will he keep her secret? 

Join Briony, Eldric, and a host of other colorful characters on a journey through the mysterious mires of Swampsea.  What will they discover?  What secrets will they unearth?  In the end, all truth will be revealed when you read Chime by Franny Billingsley.

Like I mentioned above, this book was not a favorite of mine.  The dialog was as hard to wade through as the swamp-filled setting.  On a more positive note, I thought the ending of the book was pretty good, and I like that this book serves as a stand-alone title (no trilogy in the works that I’m aware of).  If you decide to give Chime a try, let me know what you think of it.  Maybe I missed something that you didn’t.

If you’d like more information about Chime and author Franny Billingsley, visit http://www.frannybillingsley.com/.  I was just browsing this site, and I discovered that Ms. Billingsley wrote a favorite picture book, Big Bad Bunny.  Cool.

Published in: on November 15, 2011 at 8:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Always a Witch

Spoilers ahead!  If you haven’t read Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, stop right there.  Read that book before you continue with this post.  Always a Witch will make absolutely no sense if you read it without the background provided in the first book.  Seriously.  No sense at all.

Well, I’ve finally finished the sequel to Once a Witch (which I read way back in March).  Always a Witch continues the story of Tamsin and her newly discovered Talent.  (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you obviously didn’t heed my warning above.  Shame on you.)  Tamsin and her family are getting ready for a very special celebration when things get weird…and that’s really saying something in a family full of witches.

Just days before Tamsin’s sister, Rowena is to be married, an enemy returns to wreak havoc on the Greene family.  The evil Alistair Knight warns that he will stop at nothing to restore his family’s power…and he means it.  When Tamsin learns that Alistair has Traveled back to 1887 New York, she knows she must follow him.  She must warn her family (ancestors, really) of what is to come so that they can prevent the dismal future that could await them.  But things aren’t really that easy.  Then again, they never are when it comes to Tamsin.

When Tamsin Travels back in time, she almost immediately finds herself employed…by the Knight family.  She is to be lady’s maid to young Jessica Knight.  But Tamsin may just be able to use this unexpected circumstance to her advantage.  She uses her position to learn more about her enemy, and she’s truly horrified by what she discovers.  The Knight family is the epitome of evil, and they must be stopped.  But can Tamsin convince her family to stop them when it could mean the loss of their powers and even their lives?

With or without help, Tamsin is determined to do what she must to ensure that the Knights lose their power.  But is she really willing to make the hard choices?  Choices that could impact the past as well as the future?  What will she do when she realizes that the future of her entire family rests on her shoulders?  What would you do?  Read Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough to discover how far one will go in the name of family.

Even though this book was heavy on the time travel (which I believe I have mentioned seriously messes with my head), I think Always a Witch was even better than its predecessor.  I was (figuratively) on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book.  Tamsin grew up and began to really think about how her choices would impact not only herself but also everyone around her.  I also kind of like that the villains of the book were the Knights.  That’s just awesome.  I’ve kind of always wanted to be a villain (but a good, misunderstood one like Darth Vader).  Even though the Knights in this book were pure evil, I still think it’s pretty cool that we share the same last name.  I know that’s incredibly juvenile of me, but, let’s face it, sometimes I am incredibly juvenile.

If you’d like more information on Once a Witch, Always a Witch, or other books by author Carolyn MacCullough, visit her website at http://www.carolynmaccullough.com/index.html.  As for me, I must get ready for the first day of school tomorrow.  Wish me luck!

Published in: on August 16, 2011 at 8:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Spoiler alert!  If you haven’t read Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, proceed with caution!  Demonglass is book two in the Hex Hall series, and this post will be very spoilery.  (New word alert!)

If you just heard a scream of frustration that seemed to originate from a small town in upstate South Carolina, that was me.  I just finished reading Demonglass, the second book in Rachel Hawkins’ Hex Hall trilogy, and it ended on such an unbelievable cliffhanger that I am having difficulty suppressing my urge to throw things.  I want to read book three NOW, but I’m sad to report that I’ll have to wait until at least March of next year to find out what is going on in this amazing story.

If you liked Hex Hall, then I think you will like Demonglass even more.  The story picks up where Hex Hall ended.  Sophie Mercer, as wonderfully sarcastic as ever, is still at Hecate Hall.  She’s waiting on her dad to come and get her so that she can begin the process of removing her powers.  (Just to refresh your memory, Sophie is a demon with nearly uncontrollable powers.)  She’s scared of what she could do, and she wants the powers gone.  But things might not be quite so straightforward.

Sophie’s dad, the head of the Prodigium (magic folk) Council, takes Sophie and a couple of friends to London for the summer so that Sophie can reconsider the Removal.  She decides pretty quickly against removing her powers but only because she senses that things around her are somehow wrong.  Add to that a betrothal she knew nothing about, a couple of “new” demons, getting to know dear old dad, a ghost who’s seemingly attached to Sophie, and her feelings for Archer (who happens to be a member of the Eye, a group sworn to wipe out the Prodigium), and it’s going to be quite the eventful summer.

A war is brewing between the Prodigium and the Eye.  Sophie’s powers, and those of her father and the other demons (whose origins are unknown), could be used as weapons in this coming war.  Is Sophie willing to use her powers to fight for the Prodigium even if it means battling Archer, the boy who holds her heart?  Is there a way to avoid the war that is coming?  If Sophie can only find out who is creating demons, she knows that she can at least minimize the threat of war.  Her search for answers will take her to some unexpected places, and she may be unprepared for what she finds.  Can Sophie reconcile her duty to the Prodigium with her love for her sworn enemy, or will that choice be taken out of her hands?  Read Demonglass to find out!

I thorougly enjoyed Demonglass, and, like I said, I cannot wait for the third installment in this series.  Sophie’s voice is so refreshing and snarky.  Even with everything crumbling around her, she finds a way to break tension with a well-placed sarcastic comment.  I love that, and I think a lot of readers, especially teens, will be able to relate to Sophie’s fluency in sarcasm.

The third book in the Hex Hall series is currently (at least to my knowledge) untitled, and it is scheduled for a spring 2012 release.  I am happy to report, though, that there is a spin-off series in the works (Yay!) which will include cameos of our favorite characters from the Hex Hall series (at least those that survive…and maybe some that don’t).  Author Rachel Hawkins is also working on a new series that promises to include more snarkiness, kissing, and swordfights.  (Yay again!)  For more information on the Hex Hall series and what’s going on with the author, visit Rachel Hawkins’ blog at http://readingwritingrachel.blogspot.com/.

Published in: on April 19, 2011 at 11:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Once a Witch

I picked up my latest read, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, primarily because it is a 2011-12 South Carolina Young Adult Book Award nominee.  I served on the Young Adult Book Award committee for three years, and, even though I work with much smaller mammals now, I still like to keep up with what teens in my state are reading, and I think they will really enjoy Once a Witch (especially girls who are fans of the Twilight saga and similar books).  Once a Witch is the first book in a tantalizing new series, and I think it takes readers to places that they never expected to go…

Tamsin Greene is an oddball in her family, and that is definitely saying something.  You see, Tamsin comes from a family of witches, all of whom have special Talents…except Tamsin.  She’s ordinary.  No Talent, no special powers, no hint of anything magical about her.  So, when a mysterious man comes into her family’s bookshop and mistakes Tamsin for her older, extremely gifted sister Rowena, Tamsin plays along and agrees to help him find a lost family heirloom.  If she can find what this man is searching for, maybe she won’t feel so much like an outsider in her own family.

What Tamsin didn’t count on, however, were the strange man’s intentions when he asked her to look for his lost heirloom.  It seems both he and the object of his desire are far more dangerous than Tamsin could have possibly known, and the search for the heirloom will take Tamsin and everyone close to her down a path fraught with peril at every turn.

What will happen when Tamsin locates this mysterious object?  What is the strange man really after?  Can Tamsin stop the storm that is brewing before it is too late?  And, most importantly, is she really as Talentless as everyone has always led her to believe?  Join Tamsin on her quest for answers when you read Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough.

I, for one, really related to the character of Tamsin.  No, I don’t come from a family of witches (that I know of), but I have felt like an outsider in my own family.  (Mom, if you’re reading this, try to chill.  You know exactly what I mean.)  I’m not loud, I don’t really like to talk all that much (and trust me when I say that is odd in my family), and I’d rather escape into the pages of a book than deal with people.  I’m just not like most of the other people in my family, so I found it very easy to sympathize with Tamsin, and I think many teen readers will as well.

I highly recommend this book to young adult readers.  (It may be a little much for the middle grades, though.)  Once a Witch is a wonderful first book in what promises to be a captivating series.  The sequel, Always a Witch, will be out on August 1, 2011.  I look forward to seeing what trouble Tamsin will get into this time.  For more information on this series, author Carolyn MacCullough, quizzes, and facts about witches, visit http://onceawitch.com/.

Born at Midnight

I’m back!  After thinking I was going to be stranded in Indianapolis thanks to four inches of snow (which would practically cripple us here in South Carolina), I am finally home and ready to get back to normal.  I did finish one YA novel on my trip, an ARC of C.C. Hunter’s new book, Born at Midnight.  This book isn’t scheduled to be released until March 29th, so I was thrilled to get my hands on an advance proof of this first book in what is sure to be a wonderful new supernatural series for teen (and adult) readers.

In Born at Midnight, readers are introduced to Kylie Galen.  Kylie is going through some tough stuff.  Her parents are getting divorced, she and her boyfriend just broke up, and she gets caught at a party where drugs and alcohol are prevalent.  (She was innocent, of course.)  After the party incident, Kylie’s cold, distant mother decides to ship her off to Shadow Falls Camp for the summer.  This camp deals with troubled teens…but neither Kylie nor her mom truly realize how troubled these teens may actually be.

Kylie soon learns that Shadow Falls Camp is a refuge for troubled supernatural teens–witches, vampires, werewolves, fairies, and shapeshifters.  At first, Kylie denies she is anything like these “freaks” and does everything she can to make that point clear with anyone who will listen.  Gradually, however, she comes to accept that she may not be all that normal.  She becomes best friends with a witch and a vampire, and she has not one but two love interests.  Derek is a seemingly safe fairy, and Lucas is an anything-but-safe werewolf that Kylie has encountered previously.  While Kylie is dealing with new friendships and love interests, she’s also coming to terms with her own abilities and what this might mean for her future.

Strange things are afoot at Shadow Falls Camp.  Will Kylie embrace who she is and be a part of this new world, or will she do everything she can to return to her so-called “normal” life?  Read Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter to find out!

In this post, I just hit the basics of this awesome book.  Since I’m one of the first to review it, I didn’t want to give too much away.  I will say that the book left a lot of room for sequels, and I hope to see several of them.  There is so much the author can do with the characters at Shadow Falls Camp.  It should be a fun ride!

For more information on C.C. Hunter, Born at Midnight, and the Shadow Falls series, visit http://www.cchunterbooks.com/news.html.

Hex Hall

Thanks to an unexpected school closure today, I was able to finish my latest read, Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins.  I really enjoyed this book, especially the humor.  The whole time I was reading, I thought the book’s main character resembled a sarcastic, American, teenage girl version of Harry Potter.  That may not make much sense to you, but it will when you read Hex Hall.

Sophie Mercer is a witch who has a few issues controlling her powers.  After a particularly unfortunate incident at her high school prom, she is sent to a reform school for Prodigium (witches, faeries, shifters, etc.).  The school is Hecate Hall, or Hex Hall to all of its students.  And who sent Sophie to this school?  Why, her dad of course!  A man she’s never met and who just so happens to be the head of the Council (a really creative name for the law among the Prodigium).  Since Sophie was raised by her human mother, she, unlike nearly all of her classmates, doesn’t really know what it’s like to be constantly surrounded by magic.  It’s a bit of an adjustment.

Sophie immediately gets off to a rough start at Hex Hall.  She ticks off a sadistic teacher, she’s nearly attacked by a shifter, she makes enemies of the three most powerful witches at school, and her roommate is the only vampire student at the school.  Oh, and a weird ghost is also following her around.  To top all of that off, she has a monster-sized crush on the most unattainable guy at school, Archer (who happens to be dating one of Sophie’s “enemies”).  So, Sophie’s not off to a good start, and things are about to get much worse.

After some mysterious attacks that leave victims nearly drained of blood, fingers begin to point at Sophie’s vamp roommate, Jenna.  But Sophie is not sure that Jenna had anything to do with what’s going on.  How can she prove it?  Who’s really behind the attacks?  It has to be someone she knows, but who?  Could it be that the attacker is close to Sophie and is hiding right under her nose?  (Kind of gave it away there, didn’t I?)  Read Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins to (sort of) uncover the mystery.

I’ll go ahead and tell you that there are going to be at least three books in the Hex Hall series.  The next is Demonglass, and it comes out on March 1, 2011 (just in time for my birthday if any of my two readers are looking to get me a gift).  Rachel Hawkins is currently working on the third book, Triple Hexxx.  For more information on this cool new series, visit http://www.rachel-hawkins.com/.

That’s probably all from me for several days.  I’ll be traveling a bit for the holidays, but I hope to have lots to post when I return home.  Happy Holidays!

Published in: on December 16, 2010 at 8:26 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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Beautiful Creatures

So, I just finished Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, and let me just say that I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!  It’s got everything a weirdo like me could love–witches, curses, true love, secrets in a sleepy Southern town, eccentric relatives, and a kooky librarian.  Best of all, the action takes place right here in South Carolina.  Yay!  Because of this setting, I could definitely relate to some things the main characters experienced.  Living in a small Southern town can be a blessing or a curse, depending on one’s point of view…but that’s another story.  I also loved that this book was presented from a male perspective.  That’s something that a lot of fantasy books are lacking.  In Twilight, we get the story from Bella’s perspective; in the Mortal Instruments trilogy, we hear Clary’s side of things; but, in Beautiful Creatures, Ethan tells the story, so it’s an interesting twist and one I think a lot of readers will appreciate.

In Beautiful Creatures, we meet Ethan Wate, a sophomore in high school who is counting the days until he can leave Gatlin, South Carolina, forever.  His mom died last year, his dad is a shell of his former self, he’s tired of the people in Gatlin, and he just wants out.  Things begin to change, however, when he encounters the new girl in town, Lena Duchannes.  She’s strange, she lives in the oldest town in Gatlin, she’s immediately hated for being an outsider, but Ethan is drawn to her.  See, Ethan’s been dreaming about Lena for years, and, when they finally meet, the electricity is instant.  Ethan is sure there is something magical here.

How right he is.  Magic is definitely involved.  Lena is a Caster.  (“Witch” is such a cliched term.)  On her sixteenth birthday, she will be claimed as either a dark or light caster.  Her birthday is in less than six months, and she’s freaking out.  It doesn’t help that everyone in the town seems determined to hate her, and some of the “concerned” citizens even try to throw her out of school.  Her one port in the storm is Ethan.  For some reason, they are connected.  They can even communicate telepathically.  They don’t know why.  As Lena’s birthday draws closer, she and Ethan grow closer as well even though they may be ripped apart when Lena is claimed.

Ethan is determined to find a way to help Lena.  He knows she cannot be “turned to the Dark side,” for lack of a better phrase, but he must find some way to make sure that she stays in the light.  He and Lena seek out the help of Amma, the strange woman who helped raise Ethan, and Marian, the town’s weird librarian.  They also receive help from a couple of unlikely sources.  (You’ll have to read to find out what I’m talking about.)  In the process of their search, they are engulfed in a story as old as the town itself and the possibility of history repeating itself.  What will happen?  Will they find a way to save Lena from what seems to be her fate?  Read Beautiful Creatures to find out.

By the way, the sequel to Beautiful Creatures comes out on October 26th.  The title is Beautiful Darkness.  For more information, visit http://beautifulcreaturesthebook.com/.  Enjoy!


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