Category Archives: 3 Stars

REVIEW {47} SNOW LIKE ASHES by Sara Raasch *Spoiler Free*

Snow Like Ashes
AUTHOR: Sara Raasch
SERIES: Snow Like Ashes [Book #1] | Ice Like Fire [Book #2] Release Date: October 13, 2015
PUBLICATION INFO: Harper Teen | RELEASE DATE: October 14, 2014
CATEGORY: Young Adult, Four Star Rating, Fantasy, Romance, Kick Ass Heroine
ACQUISITION: Library | EDITION: Hardcover; First Edition, 416 pages
RATING: 3 STARS | GOODREADS RATING: 4.05/5.00
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT: A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

MY THOUGHTS: Snow Like Ashes was one of my most anticipated reads for 2014. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to it last year, and I also didn’t get it for Christmas – even though it was on my Wishlist. So, when I was recently at the library and saw a copy sitting there on the shelf, my greedy little hand grabbed it so fast I swear there were flames!

World Building
Snow Like Ashes follows the story of Meira, a sixteen-year-old girl who is one of only a handful of refugees from the kingdom of Winter. In this world, there are eight kingdoms – 4 Season Kingdoms (Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn) and 4 Rhythm Kingdoms (Cordell is the one that plays a major part in this book). Spring is ruled by Angra, the major villain in this series. He has taken over Winter and enslaved all of the Winterians in slave labor camps within the kingdom.
A majority of the first few chapters is spent on world-building and back story. We know that deep in the Klaryn Mountains is the source of the magic that exists in this world; however, the entry into the caverns has been lost over the centuries. Each of the rulers of the kingdoms has a conduit (be it jewelry, a weapon, etc.) that contains the magic, and they can only use it for the good of their kingdom. It also passes down by bloodline, and gender. The conduit for Winter – a locket – has been confiscated by Angra, and the sixteen years since Winter fell have been spent trying to recover the locket, which of course, Angra has split into two.
So the book begins with a mission to steal back the first half of the locket, and sets into motion events that will carry us through the rest of the book.
Plot & Pacing
We are thrown immediately into action, and for the most part there really isn’t much lag in this book – it’s pretty must fast paced until the end. I can’t remember many slow parts, or parts where I was bored. I also found Raasch’s writing to be enjoyable. Unfortunately, though, I did have trouble connecting with Meira in the beginning. I have to admit first though, that I was distracted at the start and may have not given the book the full attention it deserved. I found myself having to reread some paragraphs. Such is life with a one year old *insert ‘wah-wah’ face*.

Characters & Development
The major characters of this book are:
Meira – the main character; Winterian Refugee
Mather – the heir to Winter; son of Queen Hannah and future King of Winter.
Sir – Winterian General; leader of the refugees
Theron – Prince of Cordell
Angra – King of Spring
Herod – Angra’s Second in Command
Noam – King of Cordell
The Refugees – Alyson (Sir’s Wife), Finn, Greer, Henn, Dendera
Queen Hannah – Queen of Winter when Winter fell
Nessa, Conall, and Garrigan – Winterian slaves in Spring labor camp
I think each character had their own personalities and desires that were conveyed well; however, I felt as though the main character, Meira, was lacking. I was able to connect more with Theron, whom I dare say is my newest fictional crush! Together, I believe Meira and Theron can become a force to reckon with. They each have characteristics that the other lacks, so as one they will be unstoppable. Nessa, a winterian currently enslaved in Spring’s labor camp with her two older brothers was also one of my favorite characters. Her hope is what keeps her going, that someone will free them and lead them back to a free Winter. I also feel as though a “good” character at some point may turn “evil”. I can’t explain it, just a hunch. It is also interesting to see how the alliance between Winter and Cordell holds up. Not in the aspects of Meira and Theron, but King Noam.
Writing
I found myself enjoying Raasch’s writing style, and I found her ability to tell Winter’s story pleasing. However I did have trouble connecting with Meira’s character in that I couldn’t “read” her. I knew what she wanted and how she felt, but I was having a lot of trouble getting inside of her head. I truly felt that Winter’s story was being told, not necessarily Meira’s. I believe this will change in the second book – at least I’m hoping for it. I truly want to know more of Meira.
I also felt that when it came to the world-building, Raasch did a little too much telling, and not enough letting my mind “show” me what the world looked like. It caused me too much confusion, and feel that it was rehashed too many times what the world was like. Especially since the major kingdoms are season kingdoms and reflect the characteristics of their said season. Regardless, I really enjoy the world she has created and I definitely look forward to spending more time here once the second book in the series is released. 
It doesn’t happen very often, but I found myself very intrigued by the villain in this story. Angra has been able to take in dark matter/magic “decay” and make himself a sort of “conduit” and that is how he carries out his evil deeds. He is a dark, evil character that I’m so interested in that I cannot WAIT to see what happens in the rest of the series. If Meira can become this amazing, kick-ass heroine that I think she has the potential to be, it could make for an interesting fight between the two.

Review Summary
A less than impressive introduction to this fantasy series, but enough excitement, action, intrigue and potential to make me excited for book two.
Would I Recommend This Book? Yes. If you love YA Fantasy with magical themes and evil villains with a heroine who has tons of potential. There is lots of action and adventure; magic and romance mingled in to keep anyone fully engaged.
SIMILAR READS: The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas |  Winterspell by Claire Legrand | Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White | Lark Rising by Sandra Waugh | Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburn

Happy Reading!
Laura

REVIEW {31} BOOK CLUB REVIEW {1} FALLING KINGDOMS by Morgan Rhodes

FALLING KINGDOMS
SERIES: Falling Kingdoms #1 | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Rebel Spring #2 [Releases: 12/3/13]
AUTHOR: Morgan Rhodes [Michelle Rowen]
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: December 11th 2012 by Razorbill
EDITION: Hardcover, 412 pages
ACQUISION: Borrowed | Library
CATEGORIES: Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic, Romance, 3 Stars, Razorbill, Review, Book Club Book, Falling Kingdoms
RATING: 3.00/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 3.82/5.00
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT: The gripping New York Times  bestseller that is Game of Thrones for teens.
In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power—brutally transforming their subjects’ lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:
Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.
Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.
Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.
Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword. . . .
The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

MY THOUGHTS: So for our first book club meeting, we decided to read this fantasy book by adult author Michelle Rowen, whom I have not read before. I started this book before I left for BEA (at the end of May) and when I got back I was so into The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken, that I never picked it back up… until it was chosen for our book club book for July!
I am glad that I ended up finishing it because it turned out to be pretty good.
I saw on GoodReads that someone had referred to it as; ‘Fantasy-Lite’ and I believe I agree with that. While definitely a fantasy, I do not think it was a high fantasy, or anywhere near the level of Game of Thrones, which it is compared to.
The world that Falling Kingdoms takes place in is called Mytica. Mytica is divided into three kingdoms; Auranos, Paelsia, and Limeros, and also The Sanctuary. While it’s told in multiple points-of-view, I feel like Cleo, the princess of Auranos, is the main character. The book quickly throws you in the midst of the events that set up the theme for the rest of the story, and while there were times that I felt it moved just a little slowly, for the most part the pacing was fine.
Since most fantasies do have multiple narrators, I feel that this one could’ve been stronger in each narration. While I felt I was being told a story, save for a few parts, I didn’t feel a ton of emotion. If I want to laugh, cry, or throw a book across the room because I’m so mad at what just happened, then I know it’s an amazing book! I did find myself getting a little worked up at certain parts, but again, it just didn’t wow me.
This book has a lot going on, and I felt that the different characters didn’t have unique enough voices to really stand out and stand apart from each other for me. I didn’t have a favorite character, but would choose Jonas if I had to.
I also had issues with the world-building. I got the differences in the kingdoms, and could tell what was different between them, but I didn’t really see the world in my mind. I couldn’t really imagine what it was completely like, and found I was hoping for just a little more.
Overall, I did enjoy the story for the adventure and fantasy aspects, and I will read the rest of the books that come out in this series. I believe it has potential to get really good and I have a feeling the characters are going to grow and change a lot in the next book.

SIMILAR READS: Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst | The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke | Venom by Fiona Paul | Poison by Bridget Zinn | The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Happy Reading!

Review {28} Boundless by Cynthia Hand

BOUNDLESS
SERIES: Unearthly #3 | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Unearthly #1; Hallowed #2
AUTHOR: Cynthia Hand
ACQUIRED: Borrowed | Library
EDITION: Hardcover, 438 pages
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: January 22nd 2013 by HarperTeen
CATEGORIES: Young Adult, Paranormal, Angels, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, Romance, 3 Stars, Cynthia Hand, HarperTeen, 2013 Release, 2013 Read, Review
RATING: 3.00/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 4.18/5.00
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT: The past few years have held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner could ever have anticipated. Yet from the dizzying highs of first love, to the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, the one thing she can no longer deny is that she was never meant to live a normal life.

Since discovering the special role she plays among the other angel-bloods, Clara has been determined to protect Tucker Avery from the evil that follows her . . . even if it means breaking both their hearts. Leaving town seems like the best option, so she’s headed back to California – and so is Christian Prescott, the irresistible boy from the vision that started her on this journey in the first place.


As Clara makes her way in a world that is frighteningly new, she discovers that the fallen angel who attacked her is watching her every move. And he’s not the only one. . . . With the battle against the Black Wings looming, Clara knows she must finally fulfill her destiny. But it won’t come without sacrifices and betrayal.


In the riveting finale of the Unearthly series, Clara must decide her fate once and for all.

MY THOUGHTS: I enjoyed the first two books in this series – didn’t love them, definitely didn’t hate them; so I guess I just plain liked them. I picked up the third book in the trilogy when I saw it at the library the last time I was there, since I hadn’t purchased either of the other two books (and didn’t need to purchase #3 to complete my set) I decided to grab it. 
I was immediately transported back to Wyoming, and into the life of Clara Gardner, her brother Jeffrey, her “aunt” Billy, her friend Angela, and her two love interests, Tucker Avery and Christian Prescott. I had remembered pretty much everything from Unearthly and Hallowed (Which is a miracle!) and what I had forgotten about was triggered when mentioned or referred to in Boundless.
I felt that this final installment in the series was slow paced, and a little boring at times. I remember in writing my review for Hallowed, saying how I felt that time went by too quickly. It did again in Boundless, each chapter sometimes being weeks or months in the future, yet still dealing with the actions of the previous chapter. I found that it felt a little disjointed to me. Also, the characters seemed to accomplish little in these large gaps of time. I think that the characters themselves remained true to who they were in the previous books, but each has grown and changed in their own ways – which I enjoyed reading about.
One thing that I absolutely hate when a series ends, is when it feels too “Happily Ever After” at the end. Sure, the characters suffered over the course of the three books, but I feel like when I closed Boundless, I was like, “Oh, okay. So that’s how it ends.” I wasn’t happy, or sad, I really didn’t feel anything. It just is what it is. Which kind of disappoints me just a bit. I love endings where you feel these crazy rush of emotions, but this one just didn’t do it for me. 
I believe that Hand has interesting concepts of angels, Hell, the hierarchy of the angels, and basically her  ideals of what the contrast between Heaven/Hell, God and Fallen Angels are. Religion is one of those topics for me that is so touchy and so easily boundaries can be overstepped and turn either preachy or overly-religious to just unbelievable. I think that Hand did a good job keeping a decent balance to where I think the book is enjoyable by those looking for the angel/religion theme and those that enjoy reading about Good/Evil and angels without the religious aspect, like me.
Overall, I think the series told a good story with likable characters and creative themes and ideas that added up to three decent books that I would definitely recommend for it’s enjoyment factor. It may not have wowed me, but I still enjoyed the ride.
SIMILAR READS: Everbound by Brodi Ashton | Asunder by Jodi Meadows | If I Should Die by Amy Plum | Shadows in the Silence by Courtney Allison Moulton | Goddess by Josephine Angelini
HAPPY READING!

Movie Review {1} Anna Karenina

Release Date (US): November 16th 2012
Directed By: Joe Wright | Also Directed: Pride & Prejudice & Atonement
Produced By: Focus Features
Cast: Keira Knightley as Anna Karenina | Jude Law as Aleksei Karenin |Aaron Johnson as Count Vronsky |Matthew MacFadyen as Oblonsky |Alicia Vikander as Kitty | Domhnall Gleeson as Levin
Summary: The story powerfully explores the capacity for love that surges through the human heart. As Anna questions her happiness and marriage, change comes to all around her.
Rating: R
Categories: Drama, Romance
Run Time: 2h 10m
My Thoughts: So I went into the theater expecting a movie similar to other historical dramas that Knightley has starred in. That’s not what I got, though. At first, when the movie started out – I was confused. Like, ‘what the…(insert nifty, creative expletive here)’ confused.
So the movie is played out like a play would be. This really does nothing to help explain it, and I’m sorry – but it’s so hard to explain! Basically, the movie opens up to a stage where there are a couple of characters. Eventually the stage fades away, but randomly appeared again throughout. And instead of scenes outside on sidewalks and streets – the characters would walk along the stage planks and back stage type areas that would typically be in an auditorium/playhouse. And if a scene ended with a character opening a door, the next scene began with that ending but the door was opening and the character was coming into the next scene. Yes, it is really hard to put into words!
Character-wise, I ADORED Jude Law! I mean, if I could’ve crawled into the movie, kidnapped him, and brought him home with me – yeah, I so would have! He absolutely rocked his role, and I’ve always liked him in his past films, but there was just something about this role that just made me swoon. Keira did a fabulous job, as always – wouldn’t expect any less from her! And the actor that played her lover did great too. At first I didn’t think they had chemistry, but then when things started getting steamy – there was definite chemistry! The side story between Levin & Kitty was eh. It was sweet and just okay. A nice interlude from the main story.
Would I recommend this movie? I think to the right person, yes. Someone who is into very abstract, unorthodox movies would enjoy it. And from the two chapters of the book that I read, it appears Wright did justice to Tolstoy’s esteemed work.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 61% = 3.05 Stars
My Rating: 3 Stars
Happy Reading (& Movie Watching!)

Retro Review {2} Evermore by Alison Noel

Evermore
AUTHOR: Alyson Noel
SERIES: The Immortals #1 | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Blue Moon, Shadowland, Dark Flame, Night Star, Everlasting
EDITION: Paperback, 301 pages
ACQUIRED: Own / Purchased
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: February 3rd 2009 by St. Martin’s Griffin
CATEGORIES: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy
RATING: 3.00/5.00  | Goodreads: 3.59/5.00
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WHAT THE BACK OF THE BOOK SAYS: The first book in Alyson Noel’s extraordinary new Immortals series. Enter an enchanting new world, where true love never dies…
After a horrible car accident claims the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever Bloom can see people’s auras, hear their thoughts, and know someone’s entire life story by touching them. Going out of her way to avoid human contact to suppress her abilities, she has been branded a freak at her new high school – but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste.
Damen is gorgeous, exotic, and wealthy. He’s the only one who can silence the noise and random energy in her head – wielding a magic so intense, it’s as though he can peer straight into her soul. As Ever is drawn deeper into his enticing world of secrets and mystery, she’s left with more questions than answers. And she has no idea just who he really is – or what he is. The only thing she knows to be true is that she’s falling deeply and helplessly in love with him.
MY THOUGHTS: I originally read this back in 2009 when it first released. It was one of my first YA Paranormal titles, and I literally found it on Goodreads and left my house immediately to go and buy it at Borders. The cover, which I think is done wonderfully, also helped to pique my curiosity. 
There are many things going on in this series, though I still need to read the last two books. I enjoy Ever’s character, however I felt her relationship with Damen was too “insta-love”. While I wasn’t a huge fan of that, it didn’t really take away from the book too much once you get to the second book and things change drastically for the duo.
Ever’s two BFFs, Haven and Miles, are good sidekicks. Miles is a decent comic relief, if not a bit of the token, stereotypical gay kid. Think Kurt from Glee. At her old school, Ever was popular, a cheerleader, and surrounded by friends at all times. Now, she is reclusive, keeps to herself, wears a hoodie and her iPod at all times, deeming her the weird freak new kid at school. Ever is fighting with seeing auras and reading thoughts, which really plague her. She’s also having trouble adjusting to her new life living with her aunt after her parents, sister, and dog die in a car accident that she survived. Her deceased sister, Riley, comes and visits her, and those tend to be lighthearted, heartwarming, comedic scenes – which lead to the development of her own spin-off series. 
Just when Ever thinks things can’t get any worse – relief in the form of a gorgeous guy named Damen appears. Damen is just what a lot of YA love interests are, a bit cliche, in that he’s hiding deep, dark secrets about who and what he truly is. Especially when his ex, Drina, is around stirring up as much trouble as she possibly can. Also, Damen has unlimited wealth, which was a turn off for me. But ultimately once we start getting Damen’s back story, it’s easy to forget about the material possessions.
Overall, this was a decent first-in-the-series book, leading to even more action, drama, and adventure in the subsequent books to come. 
LITERARY AWARDS: Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Favorite Book & Young Adult Series (2009), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2011)
IF YOU LIKE THIS, TRY THIS: Stargazer by Claudia Gray | Dark Visions by LJ Smith | The Van Alen Legacy by Melissa de la Cruz | Kissed by an Angel by Elizabeth Chandler | Need by Carrie Jones
Happy Reading!

Review {13} Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

Carnival of Souls
Author: Melissa Marr
Publication Information: September 4th 2012 by HarperCollins
Edition: Hardcover, 306 pages
Acquisition: Borrowed/Library
Categories: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Magic, Demons, Witches, Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Rating: 3.25/5.00 | Goodreads Rating: 3.82/5.00
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What the Back of the Book Says: In a city of daimons, rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition, Aya and Kaled would both face bleak futures – if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.
All Mallory knows of The City is that her father – and every other witch there – fled it for a life in exile in the human world. Instead of typical teenage life full of friends and maybe even a little romance, Mallory scans quiet streets for threats, hides herself away, and trains to be lethal. She knows it’s only a matter of time until a daimon finds her and her father, so she readies herself for the inevitable. While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls.
My Thoughts: The incredible world-building that made me fall in love with Marr’s Wicked Lovely series is what hooked me from the beginning of Carnival of Souls and kept me going to the last page. I was absolutely blown away by The City, the world that Marr created that is inhabited by daimons. The story alternates between Aya, Kaleb, and Mallory. I didn’t really connect with the characters as much as I’d hoped. If any character stood out to me, it would be Kaleb. He was the most three dimensional with tons of emotions and strength. He was willing to do anything to keep himself and his packmate, Zevi, safe and his love for Mallory is tangible.
Mallory wasn’t a character I could really connect with. She was kept in the dark as to who her father is, and what her true heritage is. That part is understandable, but the scenes with Mallory just really didn’t do anything to make me like her. Aya was a decent character, I liked her and could get into her story. She has tons of secrets and there is so much going on that isn’t within her control. 
The plot of the story was completely unique and not like anything I’d ever read before, which kept me motivated to devour the entire book as quickly as possible. I did find a few things predictable, and there wasn’t a whole lot of action other than the fights in the Carnival of Souls, which was the first half of the book. I felt that the book lost just a tiny bit of steam in the second half. There are so many themes and elements that are different than most other books so it stays fresh and new through the entire book. I felt that the book deserved more than a 3 star rating, because I really did enjoy it. I didn’t love it enough for 4 stars though, so I felt that a 3.25 rating is perfect, even though I try not to give out odd ratings! I love the cover of the book and everything about it, and I’m excited to see what happens in book #2.
If you liked this, read this: The Gathering Dark by Christine Johnson | Loki’s Wolves by KL Armstrong | The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd | Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff | Sorrow’s Knot by Erin Bow
Happy Reading!

Review {9} Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Creatures
By: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Series: Caster Chronicles #1
Additional Books in the Series: Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos, Dream Dark, Beautiful Redemption
Edition: Hardcover, 563 pages | Published: December 1st, 2009 by Little, Brown and Co.
Obtained: Own | Recommend: Borrow/Buy Used
Categories: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Fantasy, Magic, Supernatural, Witches, Urban Fantasy
Read From: September 20th – October 3rd, 2012
Rating: 3 Stars

What the Back of the Book Says: There were no surprises in Gatlin County. 

We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that’s what I thought.

Turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

There was a curse.

There was a girl.

And in the end, there was a grave.


Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.


Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.


In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.


My Thoughts: I’ve had this book on my To Be Read list since I purchased it way back in December 2009 when it was first released. With the release date for the upcoming Beautiful Creatures movie getting closer, I decided it was time to finally read it.

I was sucked into the story pretty quickly, and must admit this is the first male-narrated story I’ve read in quite awhile. Ethan Wate is a decent enough character, one who wants nothing more than to get out of the tiny town he’s lived in his whole life – and who’s ancestry goes back to Civil War days. The entire southern town is stuck in a vicious cycle of reliving history but Ethan’s so over it. So just when he is at his lowest, in steps Lena Duchannes, niece to the town recluse, Macon Ravenwood, and the girl who jump starts his heart.
The world building is impressive, and I was easily able to visualize Gatlin, with it’s rich history and vibrant characters. I found the high school characters, namely Savannah, Emily, Eden, and the basketball team to be vicious, nasty people who taunted and tortured poor Lena. They were nasty, vindictive and conniving and not in the entertaining, Gossip Girl way. Each time I would read a scene taking place in the halls of Jackson High I would cringe. It’s sad that these close-knit small towns treat outsiders, but I can see that happening. I grew up in a very small town, my graduating class being under one hundred students, it wasn’t often that we had a new kid in town, and it may have taken them a bit to feel out the students and choose where they best fit, they were never outwardly shunned. To see this happening in a book was shocking and left me hoping that it was exaggerated for the story’s sake – and that this doesn’t happen in real life!
I devoured the book rather quickly, however the last hundred pages were slow for me. I felt that there were too many secrets kept that were continuously brought up in almost a taunting way to the reader – like, ‘ha ha we know what’s going to happen and we are going to keep telling you that secrets are being kept but you can’t know them! – it didn’t make me dislike the story at all, but it did drive me nuts occasionally. Also, Lena’s family is voluminous in number, each with their own special powers which got to be a little confusing. They were almost lost on me, trying to keep track of who was who and could do what, etc. Again, it didn’t pull from the overall enjoyment of the story, but did feel jumbled at some parts.
The magical aspect and the different types of magic (Light vs Dark; and what each family member/Caster can do) is very intriguing and I was fully engaged in learning more. I’m hoping to get more individualized and detailed pictures of what Casters can do in the remaining books to come in the series.
There weren’t very many surprises that blew me away, but there was enough suspense and small twists to keep me fully engaged from page one through the end. I absolutely adore Lena, and look forward to continuing her story in the second book in the series (which I’ve already gotten from the library!) since there are lots of loose ends left for her (and Ethan… and Gatlin, for that matter) to deal with, which I’m very curious to see how they tie up.
Additional Info: