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BOOK REVIEW – Dangerous Creatures (Dangerous Creatures #1) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

BOOK REVIEW – Dangerous Creatures (Dangerous Creatures #1) by Kami Garcia & Margaret StohlDangerous Creatures (Dangerous Creatures #1)
by Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl
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Let’s get something straight. I’m supposed to be the bad guy. I will always disappoint you. Your parents will hate me. You should not root for me. I am not your role model.
I don’t know why everyone seems to forget that. I never do.

This is both an easy and hard book to review. Easy because, of course I loved being back into Ridley, Link, Ethan and Lena’s world. Hard because, well, again I did not have time to fully immerse myself into the story. I would get a good bit to read, and I would totally get into the story and become very excited, and then I would lose time again. It was a vicious cycle and I was very unhappy that this book I’ve waited forever on had no time to fully develop for me.

Instead, she slept on, dreaming of things that were far eerier than a ring. Even eerier than an unknown cast-forever binding a Siren, a Natural, a Keeper, a Wayward, and two Incubuses-under a full summer moon in a Caster county.
A full moon was for making magic.
Magic and memories.

The subjects of the book, Ridley and Link, were always favorite characters of mine. They were great side kicks and I loved seeing what all they were willing to do for their friends (In Ridley’s case, her cousin and friend). But, admittedly, it scared the shit out of me that they were getting their own story. What could they possibly do for a whole book? Or whole spin-off series, for that matter? But, rest assured, they got themselves into trouble all on their own even without Ethan and Lena around.

He looked at Necro. “What’s up, Gaga?”
Ridley snorted. “Link. Don’t be rude. It’s not Gaga. I’m not even sure it’s a lady.”
“It? are you talking about me?” Necro examined her fist like she was examining her options. “Ouch, Barbie. Where’d you learn your manners?”

Ridley has screwed up-she lost a deadly hand at a club named Suffer and she now owes 3 markers. One of those, coincidentally, is that this guy needs a drummer for his new club in New York. Hmmm…where does Ridley know a drummer? The other marker…well…let’s just say that one could cost her her life.

“Did I say Link Floyd?” Ridley shook her head. “I meant Supertramp.”
She glared meaningfully at the blond chick staring at her boyfriend.
Back off.
Floyd bumped fists with Link and added, “Or Superhot.”
Excuse me?
Ridley frowned. This wasn’t what she was expecting. “Did I say Supertramp? I meant bitch.”
Link’s eyes flickered over to her, surprised. Even Floyd looked at her like she was psycho.
Rid shrugged. “What? It’s a band. Look it up.” She stifled the urge to kick the coffee table to pieces. It would be bad for her boots.

One of my only complaints would have to be the cast of characters. I didn’t like the new crew. I missed Rid and Link and Ethan and Lena and Olivia and John…and Amma…and Ethan’s old aunts. I just missed them. I know this is Rid and Link’s journey, but I just kind of hated the band Link got with. Necro and, I think it was Floyd (which, is a GIRL, btw) just bored me to tears and they drove me insane. That isn’t to say I didn’t like other additions-like Lucille Ball’s reappearance (the Aunts’ awesome cat) and Lennox Gates-he was a cool character. But because I missed those other characters so much, I wanted their shoes to be filled and to not miss them much. But, as it was, I did.

“Why don’t you ever believe me when I say I’m sorry?” Ridley attempted to appear sorry, but she was having trouble remembering how that particular expression looked. She went with sick instead, because she’d faked that one enough times growing up that it was almost second nature.

The writing was, as always, great. I’ve always loved the way these authors have composed their works together, but, I didn’t connect quite like I did with Ethan. Ethan just was one of my favorite voices ever, so Ridley had a lot to compete with. Also, part of my resistance was probably the beginning where I was trying to get used to the switch of characters and POV and also, I really didn’t like when the writing referred to Ridley as ‘Rid.’ I just felt like when it wasn’t Link talking or someone who might call her that, it was a tad juvenile. But maybe that’s just me. I just didn’t connect with that abbreviation in reference to our strong, witty, and hilarious main character.

Then, as quickly as Ridley had caught him, she threw him back, breathless and stammering. When she pulled away, Link looked like he was going to pass out.
“Bye, then,” Rid said sweetly.
Link stumbled toward his car. His mother came after him with two open arms, then let them drop, disgusted.
“Well, Wesley Lincoln, are you happy now? What kind a mother could kiss her own son after a sordid display like that?” Mrs. Lincoln snapped. “You’d better go in the house and wash your mouth out or I’ll never be able to kiss you again.”
“Aww now, wouldn’t that be a shame,” Ridley purred.

As I think it on it, though, Ridley’s inner dialogue broke my heart. She was good but she got dealt a bad stick-I mean she’s a Siren for Chrissakes. What’s she supposed to do? Not EVER use her mojo? (By that I mean persuasion with the help of cherry red suckers-LOVE that) She fights her nature everyday-she fights the urge to compel people and make them bend to her will. She fights persuading Link to be one way when they are arguing, and she hates when he thinks she is doing it to him anyway. She is very hard on herself, and we never knew that before. She has a sassy snark to her that I hope she never loses-it makes her her, and while it leans her towards the dark caster she is, it only proves one thing: she is putting on a front. Oh, and she does have a ‘tude anyway. She is hilarious. I found myself more than once smiling when I didn’t realize and laughing when she bantered with Link or his evil mother. I really did enjoy her POV-it was definitely not what I was expecting.

What can I say? Payback’s a bitch.
But here’s the thing:
So am I.

So, all in all I really loved being back in this world again. I love the way Ridley can call someone “Darlin'” and it doesn’t come off cheesy or out of place. It fits with her tone and the way she is either being sweet to someone (Link) or putting them down (Floyd). And Link-all his zaney words and pet names for Ridley have always been out there, but, oddly, they worked in this story. Nothing was overdone and he was just the right amount of jealous (which I love). I hated when he would get mad at her when all she was trying to do was make things right, but I guess that angst is necessary for a story to have a little substance. So. Anyway. Loved the story, loved the world and trouble they created, and loved them. Who’d a thunk it??

BOOK REVIEW – Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles #2) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

BOOK REVIEW – Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles #2) by Kami Garcia & Margaret StohlBeautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles #2)
by Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.

Sometimes life-ending.

Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.

Review:

I so wanted to fall in love with Beautiful Darkness. Sadly, that did not happen and I won’t be finishing this series. What I liked and tolerated in the first book, ended up rubbing me the wrong way in BD. The slow pace that was once sweet, satisfying and left me so happy now has become something that made me not want to pick up the book each time I placed it down. The actions of the main characters made me fall out of love with them and I ended up preferring the secondary characters more. And lastly, the thing that made my final decision for not continuing this series was that the ending crumbled into a pile of too easy and too many coincidences.

We start out the book with Lena starting to withdraw from Ethan. She is in a world of pain for using The Book Of Moons. One life for another. The weight of that consequence is pushing her so far into the ground that her lightness and happiness is fading and fading fast. She seems to be distancing herself from Ethan and it’s not only breaking her apart, but Ethan at the same time. I more than understand her reasoning and plight but I just felt that it was drawn out way longer than necessary, therefore making me start to lose my interests.

Ethan is in the dark. He doesn’t remember what happened on the night of Lena’s sixteenth moon. He doesn’t remember dying and therefor doesn’t understand the consequences. He is left reeling why the girl he loves is pulling away other than she is in a severe depression over Macon. Ethan is still sweet as ever but his actions bothered me. Not asking Amma questions, not telling her things that were happening and his interactions with Liv all disturbed me and slowly made me fall out of love with him.

The ending, unfortunately, is what made my final decision about this book. The fact that Ethan struggled for something to happen, but it was a cakewalkView Spoiler ». It made me not understand why half of the book happened in the first place. It negated everything that happened and made me so depressed. Even though I know some of my friends loved this series, I just can’t continue. While I’m curious to know what happens, I just can’t push myself to finish this series.

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BOOK REVIEW – Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

BOOK REVIEW – Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1) by Kami Garcia & Margaret StohlBeautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1)
by Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

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. WhenLena 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.

Review:

**Unfortunately, I won’t be finishing this series. What I liked and tolerated in the first book, ended up rubbing me the wrong way in BD.***

This book was slow and steady, just like when you pour honey out of a jar. You want it to be faster, but if you change the properties of it then it just won’t have the same effect. No matter how much the slow pace is a nuisance, for people like me, it is so worth it! It’s sweet, satisfying and leaves you so happy. Ethan is one of the reasons for that. He was one of the sweetest boys I have ever read about. He’s not my type, but his attitude and morals are nothing but enjoyable and just adds to the pleasant feel of Beautiful Creatures. Honestly, I’m shocked. In the beginning, I couldn’t see myself continuing this series. But then I found myself sucked in and falling for Ethan and the world he lives in. By the time I got to the end of the book, it was no surprise that I cried as much as I did. I fell for this book, and I fell for it hard.

So that was my secret, all there was to tell. I was sixteen years old, I was falling in love with a girl who didn’t exist, and I was slowly losing my mind.

I went into this book not remembering anything about the blurb that I had read years ago. To be honest, I thought it had something to do with dragons. That’s how clueless I was. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised. We start out the book being introduced to Ethan. He has these recurring dreams that are vividly real. So real that he wakes up with mud under his fingernails, just like in the dreams. They have become something that he has learned to accept and live with. Except that he is haunted by the female that is in the dreams. He is completely intoxicated by her and yet he hasn’t even met her. He’s a pretty typical boy besides the dreams – plays basketball, has a good group of friends and goes through life always hoping that he’ll eventually find someone that actually gets him. His home life is a little depressing. His dad has become a recluse since his mom passed away and the home keeper, Amma, is now the one that raises him. I loved Amma! She was sassy and fun! Ethan seems to have a lot of female influence in his life. Between Amma, his funny Great Aunt’s and learning a little about how his mother was, I finally started to understand where his feminine personality comes from. It bugged me a little in the beginning, but once I started to realize that it fits with his lifestyle, surroundings and his role models it started to make more sense. Ethan is honorable, loyal, softhearted, smart and even though he wasn’t a bad boy, I still found myself falling for him.

She looked up at me, and the whole world disappeared. Like there was just us, like there would always be just us, and we didn’t need magic for that. It was sort of happy and sad, all at the same time. I couldn’t be around her without feeling things, without feeling everything.

Lena Duchannes arrives in town with huge strikes against her. She doesn’t wear cool clothes, she isn’t tan, and she’s the niece of the shut-in that lives in the creepy mansion. Lena was a tough cookie to connect with sometimes, but I really enjoyed her. She was driven, courageous, spunky and tried her hardest to be the best that she could be. And when sweet Ethan meets spunky Lena you just knew that their relationship was one that you would be rooting and hoping for. Watching them throughout the book was like watching your first love re-bloom. Their relationship evolved gently, sometimes awkwardly and was so innocent. No matter how dark the world got around them they had this pureness between the two of them that was just perfectly beautiful.

I never loved you any more than I do, right this second. And I’ll never love you any less than I do, right this second.

I enjoyed this book way more than I thought I would. Even though I prefer something that is fast paced and has a bad boy as one of the main characters, I still liked this book. The slow pace became mesmerizing and Ethan’s sweet boy attitude made me fall for him and his relationship with Lena even more. I can’t wait to start the next book to continue figuring out what’s going on and what’s going to happen with everyone!

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BOOK REVIEW – Beautiful Redemption (Caster Chronicles #4) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

BOOK REVIEW – Beautiful Redemption (Caster Chronicles #4) by Kami Garcia & Margaret StohlBeautiful Redemption (Caster Chronicles #4)
by Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Wow…what an ending to Ethan and Lena’s perilous journey. On the edge of my seat, as always, when reading this series, I could not devour these pages fast enough to see what was to become of all the characters I grew to love and admire. I just knew the authors weren’t going to end it the way they should for each character, and yet, somehow they did-thank god for that.

A story centered around a love so strong, that even being worlds apart doesn’t alter their feelings or drive for one another. Invoking a journey that is so passionate, so foolhardy, literally risking it all to be with the one you love. Who says death is the only outcome?

In this novel, there is so much worse than death, and Lena and Ethan are both willing to risk it all for one another. I was so drawn to this novel…all of them really.

There are so many love stories out there, and even more paranormal love stories. But few, for me, have compared to this. The love they share is so raw, so emotional, and I can’t help but be consumed by it. This series has literally broken my heart (just with Ethan’s thoughts), torn it apart, and then pieced it back together again. I have cried more with this last novel than I ever had reading a book-it’s actually a little embarrassing. No one will probably respond as I did, but that’s what makes this one of MY favorite series. This story, above others, spoke to me, and I love it for that reason.

Hoping for a decent ending, because in these books, a decent ending would be more than fair, I was fulfilled and felt at peace with the final pages. While there is some sadness, there is a sense of joyfulness that cannot be overshadowed by the final bits of tragedy that the authors chose to bestow upon us. It’s like everything went the way it was supposed to and all the puzzle pieces fell in place-all is just in the world-as much as it can be in a Caster world centered around Gatlin.

So many other series end with a cop out or never finish what they started, leaving unanswered questions that plague us everytime we think about them. Not with this novel. The authors stitched everything up..literally. They left us with an explanatory last chapter and an epilogue, and they even revealed what Link was doing in Ethan’s basement when he was nine years old…lol…I thought they’d never tell us! I am very happy I finally decided to read this series and I will think about it frequently and fondly in the future. It will, now and always, be one of my favorite series.

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BOOK REVIEW – Beautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles #3) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

BOOK REVIEW – Beautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles #3) by Kami Garcia & Margaret StohlBeautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles #3)
by Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

“A million thoughts ran through my head. That when she looked at me, it was like there was no one else in the world. That when I looked at her, I noticed every detail about her while everything else faded away. That I was only myself when we were together.”

By far my absolute favorite in the series-The depth and emotion in this novel is astonishing, and I couldn’t have loved it more. There wasn’t a slow/fast enough pace to read and gain everything I wanted from this story and I couldn’t seem to tear myself away from this page turner…it might have even bordered on obsession, I’m not quite sure.

For once, everyone is in the same place at the same time, but something is wrong with Gatlin-there is a terrible heat wave with no relief even during the winter, and lubbers (locust type things) are covering everything in sight. It seems there is disorder among the balance that stems from Lena’s seventeenth moon.

I just really enjoyed this novel. It had the same intensity that the second half of the first novel, Beautiful Creatures, did, and that’s why I fell in love with the series in the first place. So naturally, I am going to be drawn to this third installment. Ethan and Lena are once again trying to put all the pieces together, because this time, a sacrifice must be made to restore the balance, and it could be any of their close family or friends-including themselves. On top of that, Amma is acting stranger and darker than ever, running out in the middle of the night again. Link and Ridley are adapting to their changes, and attempting to adapt to everyday life with the cards they have drawn.

The love between Lena and Ethan is so palpable and the strongest it has ever been. It draws you in and consumes you, especially toward the dramatic ending. Can they write one of these without a crazy cliffhanger ending? This one, might I add, being the worst so far. I couldn’t help but to tear up for much of this novel, because it definitely tugs on the heartstrings quite a bit throughout and contains some sad subject matter.

For those who found the prior two novels in the BC series to be rather boring or containing too many boring parts, I think this one has the least drag factor. There is a lot more normalcy, even though it’s not really a normal town or situation, and there is so much more to the story. I have loved each book equally, my two favorites being the first and this one, but I believe Beautiful Chaos is an absolute winner and those who doubted the first two will be satisfied when they finish this story.

I will always love you
Ethan

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