Monday, November 30, 2009

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

Mary Anning has been a unique girl ever since she survived being struck by lightning as a baby. She has a special knack for finding rare fossils of unknown creatures on the beaches near her home. Elizabeth Philpot is a young spinster when she meets Mary, instantly taking an interest in fossils herself. From this moment, we watch the friendship grow between these two different women as they navigate family, love, society, and the male dominated world of Fossils.

Chevalier has a uncommon ability to make people from a very specific time and place come alive once more. I had to pause a few times to remind myself that these characters lived long ago, as they felt so real and tangible to me. She has a writing style full of prose so beautiful and soft, it will make the vision at the edges of your sight blur until the only thing in focus is the page in front of you.

Unusual side effect: reading this book made me want to go scour the beaches for my own fossil finds!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Ethan Wate lives in the boring county of Gaitlin, South Carolina, where everyone knows everyone and nothing has changed for decades. Then the arrival of Lena Ducchanes shakes up the sleepy town as she storms into Ethan's heart. From the day she starts school at Jackson High, she and Ethan realize there is more to their meeting than simple chance. Together, they set out to uncover hidden truths and mysteries of a centuries old story.

I did not really know what to expect from this one, and was surprised by the scope of the book. The thick Southern references to the Civil War were neat to see mixed with paranormal elements. The character names in the book were interesting too, especially where they overlapped To Kill A Mockingbird. Macon Ravenwood was uniquely fascinating - I would love to read a prequel about him!

An intriguing debut from Garcia and Stohl.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Lucinda (Luce) is starting at Sword & Cross reform school in Georgia after a mysterious incident at her old school got her kicked out. She makes instant friends with Arriane and Penn, two of the friendlier girls at the school. She also catches the eyes of two different boys right away - one who genuinely seems to like her and another who makes it clear he wants nothing to do with her. It is the latter, named Daniel, whom she can't deny a connection to. But the deeper she digs into these curious feelings, the darker her life becomes.

I must admit: I was nervous that all the hype for FALLEN was unwarranted. That it would not live up to the exciting things I heard about it. Boy was I proven wrong! Once I had read the first few chapters, I found it very hard to put this book down. I felt the school was both romantic and gothic. I loved the secondary characters of Arriane, Penn, and Miss Sophia. I did not fall for Daniel quite as hard as Luce did, but could absolutely see what made him so alluring. The only odd piece of the story was that for a reform school of crazy/wayward kids, they don't come across any different than any other high school.

FALLEN was a fantastic start from Lauren Kate. I am looking forward to TORMENT, coming out fall 2010!