Look what I got!

So I got my proofs for Foxfire in the mail recently, and was in the middle of scouring those pages for misplaced commas or weird typos or other mystifying mistakes when… (drumroll)… something else came in the mail.

Look! A pretty advanced review copy of Foxfire. (pets) Do you want one? You can head over to NetGalley to request an e-galley of Foxfire right now!

Review: ABANDON by Meg Cabot

 

I received an ARC of Abandon from the publisher, and was intrigued enough by the premise to dive in. It’s marketed as “the myth of Persephone… darkly reimagined.”

For those not familiar with the myth, Persephone is the daughter of Zeus, King of the Gods, and Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest. While Persephone is out in a meadow, picking flowers or something, a chasm splits the earth and out rides Hades, God of the Dead and King of the Underworld. He wants her to become his bride, so he abducts her and drags her down to the Underworld. While down in the Underworld, Hades tricks Persephone into doing what a living soul should never do in the Land of the Dead–eating some of the food. She swallows about five pomegranate seeds (it depends on the retelling), and these seeds force her to return to the Underworld for that many months out of the year. Her mother, Demeter, gets so upset each time that she makes the earth barren while her daughter is gone. Hence, the seasons.

Now, before you cry, “Spoilers!” and clap your hands over your eyes, Abandon most definitely reimagines this myth. That is, even if you know the myth inside and out, the book deviates far from that story and inserts metaphors of its own. Persephone, in this case, is Pierce Oliviera, the daughter of the short-tempered CEO of a huge corporation and a scientist/philanthropist obsessed with saving the habitat of the roseate spoonbill. Not exactly Zeus and Demeter, though now that I think about it, there are some subtle parallels. And yes, Pierce dies and comes back. But there’s no pomegranate, and Hades… well, we have tall, dark, and silver-eyed John Hayden, who spends a fair amount of the book being wild and mysterious.

While reading Abandon, I enjoyed my time on Isla Huesos, a lushly described island south of Florida with deathly secrets of its own, and kept wondering when we would know more about John’s past–most of his personality is mystery. The story intrigued me with its hints of bigger things to come, but when I got to the end, the bigger things still hadn’t come. It feels like the real story doesn’t start till book two. Sigh. I’ll be checking out the sequel, though I wish Abandon could have promised less and given more. Overall, a skillfully-written story with appeal for fans of Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush.

Review: BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

 

If you’ve read my review for Beautiful Creatures, the first book in the Caster Chronicles series, you will know that I gobbled up that book like delicious cake. Therefore, when I discovered ARCs of Book #2 at the ALA Annual Conference, I may have squealed with glee and snatched a copy greedily. (Okay, so I did.) Afterward, I lovingly squirreled away the book as a special treat for when I finished my revisions on my own novel. That didn’t last very long.

Beautiful Darkness is 512 pages, a fact that alarms me when I consider that I read the book in two sittings. I couldn’t help myself, though, because the story wormed its way into my imagination even when I was doing mundane activities like eating cereal or watching TV. If you haven’t read Book #1, go read my review for that. If you have read Book #1, then continue reading this review for Book #2.

Beautiful Darkness satisfies my need for:

(1) Twisted magic that draws upon voodoo and curses from the Civil War. Also, twisted magic in the hands of a likely dangerous girl, rather than a ubiquitous brooding guy.

(2) Romance. But not easy-peasy, standard-issue, star-crossed “we must be together every second of our waking existences!” romance, the bittersweet kind that involves people getting pissed and not talking to each other for realistic reasons.

(3) New characters who are just as crazy fun as the last batch. Though I will admit to liking the new L better than the old L. (Shhh! No spoilers.) Just because the new L is fabulous.

(4) More exploration of the South and its patchwork of cultures. For example:”Decorating graves was another one of Gatlin’s contests–a way to prove that you and your family members, even the dead ones, were better than your neighbors and theirs. People went all out. Plastic wreaths wrapped in green nylon vines, shiny rabbits and squirrels, even birdbaths, so hot from the sun they could burn the skin right off your fingers. There was no overdoing it. The tackier, the better.” I adore paranormal fiction well-rooted in reality.

I will stop this review right here, since I don’t want to tread into the realm of spoilers, and believe me, Beautiful Darkness is chock-full of twists that you will just have to discover on your own.

(I got this as an ARC from ALA, if you didn’t see that above.)