Posts Tagged ‘Romance’

YA Author Melissa Marr called Beautiful Creatures "Gorgeously crafted, atmospheric, and original. I devoured it."

When reluctant hometown boy Ethan Wait, a closet lover of Vonnegut and Salinger, dreams about a beautiful girl he can’t stand to lose, he writes it off as just a dream. Until he meets mysterious Lena Duchannes and is helplessly drawn to her, and the power she’s struggling to control. Set in Gatlin, South Carolina, this book tests the limits of Southern charm and gothic romance.

The course of true love never did run smooth.

Especially in a South Carolina backwater where “Yankee” is the ultimate insult and battles ensue over a blue-ribboned pecan pie.

Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s Young Adult Supernatural Romance, Beautiful Creatures, is so darn good, all you want to do is curl up on your wrap-around porch with your copy, and of course, a slice of that pecan pie.

A Southern girl myself, I was instantly entranced by the ring of truth in Gatlin, South Carolina and its inhabitants. “Ma’am,” could be the most said word in the book, and when Ethan, the narrator and main character, explains how one properly refers to The Civil War in Gatlin, you just have to chuckle. (FYI – Under the age of 60, it’s the “War between the States.” Over 60, it’s the “War of Northern Aggression.”)

The supernatural portion of Beautiful Creatures is creepy, fascinating and haunting, and is pretty much summed up on page 221:

“This was Gatlin. Not the Gatlin I thought I knew, but some other Gatlin that had apparently been hiding in plain sight all along. A town where the girl I liked was from a long line of Casters, my housekeeper was a Seer who read chicken bones in the swamp and summoned the spirits of her dead ancestors, and even my dad acted like a vampire.”

What’s not to like? Ethan is irresistible with his gentlemanly demeanor and belief that love conquers all. Lena is instantly likeable for her strength under fire and her belief that fate is inevitable.

Amma, Ethan’s housekeeper, is a force to be reckoned with – a woman who runs her household with an iron fist and bears a fierce love for the boy she raised.

Gatlin itself is a character – on the surface a typical small Southern town, but its secrets, and foundation, are slowly revealed as being more than what they seem.

Casters, or witches, are cursed in Lena’s family – at the age of 16, they are claimed by the dark or the light, completely against their will and contrary to their desires.

Garcia and Stohl count down the days to Lena’s birthday and build suspense from the very first chapter: not only is every chapter dated, but also Lena writes the number of days until her 16th birthday on her hand.

The suspense is done so well, you feel it yourself, and you’re just as eager as Ethan and Lena to find a solution before the clock runs out.

Beautiful Creatures sucks you in and you’re not released till the last tale is told and the last second ticks.

If you have already read Beautiful Creatures or plan to do so after reading this review, the followup, Beautiful Darkness, will be released Oct. 12! Learn more about both books at www.somelovesarecursed.com

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British "Shiver" cover

While YA books can exist just fine without some kind of supernatural element, throwing in something unusual with a mythic flair intrigues a reader who might have passed it by otherwise. (Obviously, I’m one of those people.)

Recently Maggie Stiefvater, author of “Lament” and “Shiver,” posted a little tongue-in-cheek YA mad lib for those supernatural YA book lovers out there to her twitter account:

“When _____ meets ____, an enigmatic ______, ________ turns out to be a ______ and everyone’s lives are in danger. #YA_Madlibs

I immediately made up my own;  filling in the blanks but tweaking it a little to fit in my tweet:

“When Ben meets Atalanta, an enigmatic stranger who turns out to be a reformed zombie/pro sprinter, all lives are forfeit.”

C’mon! Who doesn’t want to read about a zombie racer named Atalanta after the character of Greek myth, a noted athlete undone  by her love of golden apples?

PS. Stiefvater’s second book in the “Shiver” series, “Linger,” will be out for purchase July 20. Snap it up!

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While CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” is based on a series of four books of the same name published in the 90s, the producers have taken some liberties, and rightfully so. Perhaps I am biased because I saw the show first, but if you’re a fan, check out my list and you decide:

1.     Elena has blonde hair and blue eyes (WHAT?!!? I’m offended as a brunette!)

2.     Elena’s  the “queen” of the school and kind of cocky. (I love Nina Dobrev’s interpretation of Elena as a strong, empathetic person – you get the vibe that she’s self-confident, but it’s not flaunted in your face.)

3.     Jeremy does not exist. (Not that he’s that exciting, but he does have fans. Somehow.)

4.     Damon and Stefan are 500 years old. And from Italy. That’s right, during the Italian Renaissance. (Gotta love the Civil War flashbacks, but damn I’m sorry I missed the Italian ones with Ian Somerhalder talking all sexy in Italian. Swoon.)

5.     Caroline is INSANE. (Which is sad, because I love her in the show.)

6.    Bonnie is white with red hair.  And she’s descended from Druids, not Salem witches. (However, Bonnie is equally cool in the books.)

7.     Elena has another friend who doesn’t exist in the show. (Basically, Meredith is one of those cool, collected types, aka “boring,” who wouldn’t really transition well to TV.)

8.      Elena ALLOWS Damon to drink from her and she drinks from him. (Would NOT be opposed to this happening in the show.)

9.     That whole tomb thing didn’t happen in the books. Instead, Stefan and Damon saw Katherine die with their own eyes. (Katherine is kind of a wimp in the flashbacks. She’s such a weak character she can’t make a choice. Unlike the show’s version, in which Katherine is portrayed as so much of a woman she can handle them both.)

10.  Despite the fact everything is completely different and Elena’s not as loveable, you will enjoy the books. (At least the first four. I will discuss the two newest installments (The Return: Nightfall and The Return: Shadowsouls) of the Vampire Diaries series in a later blog. Just wait. It’s waaaaaaay out in the proverbial left field.)

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