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Beautiful Darkness April 29, 2013

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

BeautifulDarkness_GarciaandStohl

The second installment in the Caster Chronicles continues where the Beautiful Creatures left off.  Let’s do a little recap for those of you who may have forgotten.  Gatlin, South Carolina was turned upside down last year when beautiful Lena Duchannes came to town.  After being drawn to Ethan Wate, Lena lets down her guard and falls in love.  Fearful of her sixteenth birthday, Lena reveals her true self to Ethan.  She comes from the Ravenwood family, Casters with tremendous supernatural abilities.  On her birthday, Lena must claim herself, thus maturing in her powers.  The only catch is she must decide if she’s Light or Dark – basically good or evil.  After facing the wrath of Gatlin’s bible-thumping DAR, Lena and Ethan came face to face with Sarafine, Lena’s Dark Caster mother.  Lean was able to resist her urges and not claim herself at the sixteenth moon.  But all’s well that ends well, or so they say.

Beautiful Darkness opens with Ethan, recovered from the past events, attempting to return to normal life in Gatlin.  But that’s impossible now that he know what lurks in the Darkness.  Despondent over the death of her uncle, Macon Ravenwood, Lena falls into a spiral of darkness.  Ethan, the love of her life, is trying to keep her afloat and remind her she’s not evil.  As the seventeenth moon fast approaches, the Dark Casters in her family are targeting in on Lena.  Her cousin Ridley and mysterious newcomer John Breed seem to be luring her away.

Meanwhile, Ethan is having visions again.  Discovering the death of his mother may have more to do with the Casters than he realized, Ethan is determined to save Lena.  There is also a new girl in town.  Liv is interning with Marian the librarian and training to be a Keeper, like Ethan’s mother.  Amma, her ancestors, and a mischievous cat are there to assist Ethan in his quest.  Ever faithful sidekick, Link is on board to fight for Lena and their very lives.  Will Ethan’s love again be enough to save Lena from her family curse?  Not if Sarafine, Hunting and Blood Incubus Abraham Ravenwood have anything to say about it.

Wow!  I loved Beautiful Creatures, but I think Darkness is even better!  Still present are the lush descriptions and multifaceted characters, dripping with southern charm.  The plotline has thickened, giving us even more details to devour.  Garcia and Stohl have integrated a fantastic supernatural romance (not too mushy) with a Gothic tale of family bloodlines so thick you’ll keep referring to the Ravenwood family tree.  There’s no way to draw out the experience of reading this book because you simply can’t put it down.  On to the third…

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Virals by Kathy Reichs February 15, 2013

Filed under: Books — Heather @ 1:45 am
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viralsTory Brennan, the fourteen-year-old grand-niece of famed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, has arrived in South Carolina to live with her father.  A father she’s just met. Tory never knew her father until after her mother’s death. Kit didn’t even know he had a child until Tory arrived on his doorstep. But here she is.

Just like her famous aunt, Tory has a brain for science and a nose for mystery.

Exploring the grounds of a top secret medical experiment lab on the island, Tory and her three friends stumble onto Coop, one of the wolf-dog pups, caged for what looks like an experiment.  Designated as having a type of parvo virus, the kids free the pup and flee.  Haven’t they seen any of those end of the world virus movies?  It always begins with the well-intentioned release of some infected animal.  That’s not the case this time, but what Tory unleashes will definitely have consequences.

I don’t want to give away any more of the plot, but I will tell you Virals is a fast-paced thrill ride of a book.  Mystery, science fiction, action…this one has it all.  You’ll be on the edge of your seat, flying through the super short chapters.  I began reading and looked up to find myself on page 200!  No need to worry if you’re not familiar with Kathy Reichs’ other books.  Virals is a strong stand alone novel.  Fans of forensic mysteries, the Bones series and James Pattersons’ work are in for a treat.  I welcome Tory Brennan and the rest of the Virals to the shelves with resounding applause.  Look for the second book in the series, Seizure.

 

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl February 12, 2013

Beautiful Creatures

Lena Duchannes is new in town and living with her uncle, resident hermit Macon Ravenwood. It’s not easy being accepted in small-minded Gatlin where daily life is dictated by the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution). Life-time resident, 16-year old Ethan Wate is drawn to the mysterious Lena. What is their connection? You have to go back 150 years to find out! And what is so different about the Ravenwoods? Lena’s 16th birthday is fast approaching, and things will never be the same.

Colorful extended-family members and a dog named Boo Radley add charm and depth. Homage to Anne Rice, Stephen King’s Carrie, and Harper Lee is appreciated by the eclectic reader.

First published in 2009, Beautiful Creatures is sure to generate a lot of hype as the long-awaited movie is about to be released.

Check this out in audio book or manga, gorgeously illustrated by Cassandra Jean.