Friday, December 23, 2011

Beautiful Chaos

Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl have done a number on me this time people.  I am telling you, once I could sense how Beautiful Chaos (read the prologue and chapter one) was going to end, I think I really had a for real, albeit mild, panic attack.  You see this is the biggest cliff hanger since EVER!  How could you do this to me girls?

Beautiful Chaos picks up after Lena claimed herself near the end of  Beautiful Darkness.  Once again Ethan Wate serves as our observant, thoughtful narrator.  He leads us through a Gatlin, South Carolina that is suffering from what would seem like apocalyptic-like plagues.  There's been no rain, the heat is relentless even in the winter, and there is an influx of lubbers (icky swarms of grasshoppers).  The imbalance in the Caster World has resulted in problems in the mortal world as well.  Obviously, Link's mom is convinced this is the end of days and is leading the charge of Gatlin-ites who believe God is punishing their town.

Ethan is haunted by another melody.  This time, it warns him of the Eighteenth Moon and the "one who is two".  Immediately he believes Lena is the one who is two because of her light and dark characteristics.  But, once John Breed resurfaces Link and the others begin to believe he is the "one who is two" because of his status as both Caster and Incubus.  However, this turns out to be wrong as well.  Abraham and his brood lurk around every turn making it so important for the mystery to be solved.

Amma knows who this person is, though.  She knows that the "one who is two" can put things right for everyone.  But, she also knows the cost.  She is prepared to pay this herself in order to protect those she loves. 

Amma is not the only one forced to face dire consequences in Beautiful Chaos.  Marian is forced to face the Council of the Far Keep.  This a frightening group of mostly Dark Casters who maintain order.  Marian, as a Keeper, must face them because in their opinion, she did not remain neutral in Caster affairs.  Liv's involvement in this causes her great sadness, as her family has disowned her, and Marian is all she has left.  Surprisingly, an unlikely hero comes to Marian's aid.

This is how I picture Boo Radley
As I've said before, I absolutely adore these books.  Macon Ravenwood's similarities to Atticus Finch, a dog named Boo Radley, and To Kill a Mockingbird quotes at perfect times only work to solidify my love for these wonderful books.

On the very last page of the book there are two words "Nineteen Moons-".    This caused me to search the web in hopes of finding confirmation of a fourth book.  And, luckily I found it!  The fourth book will be available in the fall of 2012 (check out the official proclamation).  I don't know if I can wait.  I am considering making Uncle Abner a pie to try to negotiate an ARC of this book.  Not kidding. 

If you have not read these books, it's probably not too late to request them from Santa.  But, there's a great price on the boxed set from Amazon.  Don't forget to add "Dream Dark" in ebook format also.  Check out my reviews of Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness and "Dream Dark."  The official website for the series has lots of great features, like a page with a collection of videos about the books.  Check it out.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Anya's Ghost

This is a first for me and for my blog.  Sit back.  I read a graphic novel.  I know.  How cool am I?  So with the trends here, people.  I've got to say, I liked it.  I completely see the value in having graphic novels around for those who need the immediacy in their reading and for those who need the support a highly visual book can offer.  Plus, it's just kind of fun.

I read Anya's Ghost (read a preview here) by Vera Brosgol.  This story follows Anya who is a high school student, a Russian immigrant, and the daughter of a single mom.  Anya is out and about when she falls in a hole.  Yep, she just fell right in a hole.  But, she discovers she is not alone in this dark chasm.  She finds a ghost, Emily,  who seems quite friendly and a bit pitiful. 

Much to Anya's surprise, after her rescue, the ghost has made its way back home with Anya.  At first this is a bit creepy, but when Anya discovers Emily can zoom around the classroom during a test finding answers or whisper the right words to say to Anya's crush into her ear, it doesn't seem so bad. 

However, as Emily begins to take hold in Anya's life, things begin to get a little weird.  It really begins to go downhill when Anya discovers the object of her affection is not the guy she thought.  Instead of Prince Charming, he turns out to be more like a giant bag of feces.  Although Anya is ready to accept this and move on, Emily is not.  This is when the  insanity begins.  Anya must find out the true cause of Emily's death and rid herself of this problem.

In order to do this, Anya accepts the help of a fellow Russian immigrant student.  This is really hard for Anya because she likes to distance herself from her Russian heritage.  This relationship is one of the parts of the book that makes it more than just a quick read.  Anya's character has lots of layers.

All in all, this book is quite cool.  The gray scale pictures are really great.  The writing is witty, and the story line was unexpected.  Check out Anya's Ghost!

*I was surprised by the maturity of this book.  I would recommend it to older teens.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

All You Desire

Ever since reading Eternal Ones (read my review) by Kirsten Miller earlier this year, I eagerly awaited the arrival of its sequel, All You Desire.  Let me take this opportunity to tell you that it was worth the wait.  I absolutely adore the story of Haven, Ian, Adam, Beau, and Leah. 

When last we left, Haven and Ian, they had fled New York in hopes of ridding themselves of the evil Adam Rosier.  They spent nearly a year happily reunited in Italy.  They were forced to keep a low profile because, well, Ian was supposedly dead.  Other than that, life was grand.  They enjoyed each other, the Morrow fortune, and Haven's own boutique.  Except, suddenly Ian's shrew mother surfaces questioning the authenticity of Ian's will, of which Haven had been the sole beneficiary.  If the halt in funds wasn't enough to rouse the two from their blissful dream, Haven receives a message that Beau has run into trouble while in New York.  Obviously, nothing would keep Haven from coming to the rescue of her long time best friend Beau.  Even if it means returning to New York and risking a reunion with Adam.

So, Haven and Ian leave their peaceful Italian life to rescue Beau and deal with Mrs. Morrow's impending legal action.  But, nothing is ever as simple as it seems.  Haven and Ian find themselves entangled with the Ouroboros Society and of course, none other than Adam.  But, this time Adam seems different.  He seems committed to providing Haven the peace in this life he promised her.  Too good to be true right? 

As if sifting through Adam's intentions were not enough, a mysterious group of women who call themselves the Horae seem to have the answers to Haven's questions about Beau...for a price of course.  The leader of the Horae, Phebe, is able to help Haven see into a past life in which she and Beau were brother and sister.  But, can Haven trust these snippets of her past life?  Why is Phebe able to control what Haven can see of her own past?  Are these women really what they seem?

During their quest to solve the mysteries of the Ouroboros Society, the Horae, and Beau's disappearance, Haven and Ian find themselves growing apart.  Some of this is necessary to their plans, but other seems to be rooted in doubt and suspicion.  Will they survive to enjoy their destiny in this life time?  And, clearly there is the question, what about the next?

This installment is a great blend of amazing characters from the first book as well as some awesome new ones.  I am certainly looking forward to seeing what the new character Milo does with the Ouroboros Society.  And then there's Leah, you know the snake handling prophetess.  The introduction of the creepy Horae ladies helps readers understand Leah's role.  Well played, Kirsten Miller, well played.

Definitely, take a few minutes to visit Kirsten Miller's site.  If you haven't read Eternal Ones yet, you can test it out by reading an excerpt here. There are lots of cool features about her books and the Ouroboros Society.  You can even download the official Ouroboros Society brochure and take a quiz to see if you may have undiscovered past lives.  Do it.

*Both of these books are probably best suited for older teens.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bright Young Things

Historical fiction for the young adult set?  That could be tricky, right?  Well, I truly believe that Anna Godberson could make living in a cave sound glamorous.  It's true.  In Bright Young Things (read a sample here), the Roaring Twenties seem so glamorous and mysterious that I found myself wishing I could go be a cigarette girl in a speakeasy.  Oddly enough, when I read the Luxe Series, Godberson had me wishing I could travel back to 1900.  I suppose that as long as two things are involved, I could completely uproot myself from the present and venture into the past.  Those things would have to be New York City and Anna Godberson!

Bright Young Things, the first in Godberson's second series, follows three girls with very different lives as their stories lead them away from each other and then back again.  Cordelia and Letty grew up in a sleepy little town in Ohio.  Both knew they were destined for more than becoming the average Ohio girl.  So, they boarded a train to New York and never looked back.  These two had been the best of friends; Letty, the shy but amazing singer, and Cordelia, the strong confident one.  But, when Letty finds out that Cordelia has come to New York to follow a dream of her own instead of being there to solely support her signing career, Letty doubts she really knew Cordelia after all.

Cordellia has come to New York to unite with the father she has never known.  However, her father is none other than the notorious bootlegger, Darius Grey.  That's right.  To the best of my overactive imagination, Darius Grey lives in Jay Gatsby's house and has Jay Gatsby style parties.  How could he not, really?  With this new found father comes a new set of rules, friends, and even a brother.

Cordelia's brother Charlie, well, he's...kind of a pain.  But, he has managed to snag the wonderful Astrid Donnal.  Astrid, too, seems to be trapped in her circumstances and wants more.  Despite having lived in the lap of luxury for most of her life, much of Astrid's unhappiness begins with her mother, the Third Mrs. Marsh.  Mrs. Marsh marries for sport.  Astrid has lived in many fine homes as her mother cycles through wealthy husbands.  As one could imagine, this has made Astrid distrustful of her mother and of anything that is supposed to be permanent.

Obviously, the lives of these three girls become entwined in a beautiful story.  The opulence of the era and the possibility that rests in each girl is absolutely beautiful.  I am excited to read the next book, Beautiful Days (watch the trailer here).  So, as possibly a challenge, I would like to see Godberson focus on a really unglamourous time, like the Great Depression.  I am sure she could make the Dust Bowl seem like a small annoyance that gave reason for some fantastic costume to keep the dust from one's eyes.  She could do it.  She's just that awesome!

Be sure to visit the site this site,   You can take quizzes to see which character you most resemble or play a few games.  There's fun stuff with Bright Young Things and The Luxe.