Tag Archives: Beautiful Creatures

YA – My top 10

Hello, Hope this post finds you all well! So much is happening in real life that I’m struggling to find time to post to all you lovely people. My sister is getting married in just under 1 week  so it is a very exciting time for the family :).

Young Adult literature can be traced back to WWII where our teens found themselves needing a form of book that could bridge the gap between childhood and adulthood. Many books can be seen as YA (The Lord of the Rings, Catcher in the Rye) but it has been the sudden increase in popularity (thanks to Harry Potter) that has seen an emergence of some great YA books.

Today I thought I would share my top 10 of YA books and series. Some of them will have been reviewed on here but some haven’t so take a look and see if you would add any to this list! (not in a particular order)

#1 – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Yes I thought I would start with the most obvious YA series and one that is on everyone’s list. The Hunger Games is a great trilogy and I feel that the films are just as good (quite an anomaly). It follows Katniss as she volunteers for her sister in the 74th annual Hunger Games, a disgusting reminder of the power the Capitol has over the districts of Panem after the destruction of the USA and the uprising that occurred. Portrayed as a ‘competition’, this is really a way for the government to remind the citizens that they can kill anyone who crosses out of line. Unfortunately for Katniss, in trying to keep alive she unwittingly becomes the face of the new revolution.

#2 – Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

An excellent series that has spawned the spin off of Dangerous Creatures. Far superior to the film (which completely changes the ending). Whilst I haven’t really enjoyed Garcia and Stohl’s stand alone novels, Beautiful Creatures has great main and supporting characters, interesting plot and well crafted romances.

#3 – Shiver Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater

This trilogy was just equisitly written. A werewolf romance story is the basic storyline but it is so much more. When the tempreture gets below a certain level, Sam has no choice but to be a wolf. He is ripped from his human form no matter the place or time. If he wishes to stay human for longer, then he needs to stay warm and not just pull a jumper on warm. Grace has always seen the wolves near her garden, in fact she had a strange interaction with one when she was little and now always sees him as her wolf. When she discovers what he is, they fall in love but can they cope with the pressures of this lifestyle and can Sam keep returning into his human form?

#4 – Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

From my last post you could have probably surmise that Vampire Academy was going to make it onto this list. The story of friendship, love and high school mixed with vampires and guardians makes Mead’s first foray into YA a truly great one. The characters are great, the twists surprising and the plots enjoyable. A series of 6 and it seems to end too soon.

#5 – Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Luckily, Mead must have thought it ended too soon to as she carries on the world forged in Vampire Academy in Bloodlines. Instead of following Rose, Dimitri and Lissa, we follow Sydney, Adrian and Jill. Sydney was a secondary character appearing in a few of the VA books. It’s interesting to see her as she is so anti-Vampires to begin with and has to overcome this prejudice but in return is shunned by her own people for this acceptance. A very different problem to that of VA but one that seems much more realistic and poignant in today’s world.

#6 – The Girl in the Box series by Robert J Crane

Robert J Crane is a self-published author and someone who has been kind enough to help me with my MA. He recently answered some questions for me towards one of my case studies. Besides being a lovely man, he is also a great writer. The Girl in the Box Series is excellently written, edited and set out. It’s very professionally done and I would highly recommend that if you have never read a self published work before, start with Crane’s. Writing with a female protagonist as a man must be hard but Crane has managed to get all the teenage girl angst so true and congratulations to him for being the only male writer on this list!

#7 – Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu

The Legend Trilogy is like a cross between The Hunger Games and The Divergent Trilogy. There is the shunned part of the city (as District 12 is) and the elite part of the city (think Panem). However, there are classes like there are in Divergent that the elite can partake in. We see that this new country is flawed and our two protagonists are thrown together. The ending is better than both of the above mentioned books. It doesn’t let you down as much as The Hunger Games does and it doesn’t destroy you as Divergent does. Great solid trilogy and a worthy option within this list.

 

#8 – Duff by Kody Keplinger

This is coming out this year as a film and I felt I should get the book in before that occurred. From the trailers I can already see that they have changed certain parts of the book so I am not too happy about that. This book is one that I feel all girls will be able to relate to. Duff stands for Designated Ugly Fat Friend and whilst the Duff doesn’t need to be fat or particularly ugly, she is the one who isn’t as pretty as her friends. However, we see that all girls feel that they are the Duff at some point in their lives. All girls seem to have this ability to only see the bad in themselves and see how perfect that is in one of our friends whether it be they have better legs or eyes, when in reality you have better hair and smile. As a girl, give this a go and as a boy, read it to discover that what bad you say will stick with girls longer than the multitude of good things you say and do.

#9 – The Host by Stephanie Mayer 

If anyone has read my review of The Host will know, I found this highly superior to the Twilight series. The storyline of a love box in three bodies is excellent. How you are never confused between Wanda and Melanie shows just how strong the characters are when they share the same body and space. Mayer may have hit gold with Twilight in terms of fans and money but it is this book that should be her crowning moment. Better written, better characters and a nicer love story, The Host is the Mayer book you should be reading.

#10 – The Testing Trilogy by Joelle Charbonneau

A very recent read of mine and an excellent one at that. Similar to the other’s in that it is dystopia, we find people who are chosen by the city to be potentially educated at the University. Here, the 16 year olds must pass tests of logic, memory, ruthlessness and leadership. They forge alliances, create friendships, enemies and learn how far they are willing to go. Once successful, their memories wiped and they know nothing of the horrors of what they have done… or do they? A brilliant read.

I could have added Harry Potter but I feel everyone knows that this will always be in any book lovers top 10 so I felt it needed to let other books take centre stage! If there are any you think I should have added, let me know in the comments!

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Richelle Mead

All I ever seem to do on this blog is apologise for the delay in writing a new post but as it is has been the festive period I won’t this time. Christmas and New Year are the busiest time to be working in any form of customer service and working in a nightclub just adds to this. So yes, I have been busy working and studying (*cough* relaxing *cough*).

So as the perceptive of you would have noticed, there is no book title above. Just “Richelle Mead”. No I haven’t forgotten to put one up there, I just don’t see the need to with Mead. So far I have read 20/23 of her books and I cannot give any a lesser mark than the other. If you have read my Vampire Academy review, you can see how much I gushed over that and the following series’ have been the same. You may be wondering why I haven’t just written about an author before but the answer is simple. Richelle Mead is the first author since Enid Blyton that I can honestly say I will read any of their work. I kid you not. I love Rizzoli and Isles but haven’t read any of Gerritsen’s others; Harry Potter is one of the greatest series’ ever written but I am not enthralled by Rowling’s other narratives; I could perhaps say they same thing about Stephanie Mayer later if she writes any more but only due to my love of The HostTwilight never really putting itself into the ‘must read every year’ category on my shelves.  From this we can surmise that I love characters. I will follow them to the ends of the earth and back. Their relationships, quests and challenges enthral and amuse but I often find authors to be disappointing in other areas. Take Garci and Stohl from Beautiful CreaturesTogether they have created these characters and world that mesmerises and amazes, yet separately and on separate stories, I found them uninteresting.

Back to Mead. It started with Vampire Academy which lead onto the spin off series of Bloodlines. From there I decided to give the Georgina Kincaid series a go and then The Age of X and now, finally, The Dark Swan series. I am literally devouring every one of her novels as quickly as she can produce them and have even accepted the £5+ charge for the e-book editions (something I usual avoid doing – you don’t get the physical book so why pay more than £3?) Every single one has had a developed plot line, interesting main AND support characters and twists that are sometimes completely out of the blue (I’m looking at you Dimitri from VA!) The first two mentioned are YA books but this doesn’t take away from a developed Adult writer. All Mead did was tone down the sex scenes (which are quite detailed in some of the books – when you write about a succubus who feeds off of sex that tends to happen) and take out the swear words. The essence of Mead’s work stays the same, excellent dialogue and believable stories.

In conclusion; if you are struggling for a book to read, a friend to buy for or just want to explore a new author give Richelle Mead a go. Every one of her books are easily a 10/10. Trust me, you wont be disappointed!

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Filed under Book Review, Fantasy, Richelle Mead, Vampire Academy, YA

Beautiful Creatures – Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

I first found Beautiful Creatures as a film. Although it took me a while to get into the film, I found it to be very enjoyable so obviously, once I saw the film was based on a book, I had to have it. I then found out it was a book series of four; Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos and Beautiful Redemption. As I bought the series as one for my e-reader I shall review them as one.

These books are written by two authors. Unusual but not unheard of. In fact, some of my favourite series’ are written by two authors. Women’s Murder Club has two and PJ Tracy is the mother/daughter writing duo. Therefore this duel authorship is nothing to deter readers.

When deciding whether to buy the books as a whole or see if I should just buy the first to see if I liked it and would want to carry on reading the series, I stumbled onto a review. This reviewer said if you liked the Twilight Saga and  The Hunger Games Trilogy then these were the books for you. I agree and I’ll add my own to that mix too. If you like these and the Inheritance Cycle, then you will also like Beautiful Creatures. Its an epic love story, a struggle against evil/darkness, mythical creatures, a mythical world and much more.

Plot

We start of meeting Ethan Wate living in a small country town in the heart of America’s Southern states. Mainstream bible basher belt. Like all towns in this area, change is slow and hard to adjust too. Ethan is a high school jock who plays basketball but has a secret love of reading. His best friend, Link knows all of his secrets and just rolls with them all – a true best friend! One day, the niece of old man Ravenwood arrives and joins school. Ethan has literally met the girl of his dreams and obviously wants to know more about her. He tries to do so and ends up falling in love. Little does he know that she is really an adolescent castor, waiting until her 16th birthday to find out if she will go “dark” or “light”. Alongside this main storyline, there is the story of the “curse”. One that involves Lena’s ancestors and Ethan’s. This adds an extra twist to Lena’s future moral compass.

Beautiful Darkness carries on from the last and we see the town dealing with the shock of Macon Ravenwood’s death. In particular, we see Lena struggling with her Uncle’s death and obviously blames herself for his death. This puts a strain on Lena and Ethan’s relationship and she begins to hang around with Ridley and another boy, John. Liv moves to town and becomes a trainee Keeper under the tutelage of Marion. Lena runs away with John and Ridley, leaving Ethan little choice but to follow his one true love. However, Liv and Ethan begin to have feelings for one another and Ethan realises that if this secret world never existed, he and Liv would have been soul mates. Lena also realises this and this hurt sends her further away from Ethan. We discover that Ethan is a Wayward in this world, a mortal who can find a way to things in the castor one. A human SatNav. Handy when no one knows where Lena is going. We end up at the edge of the magical world, once again fighting for Lena’s moral compass, Dark or light?

Beautiful Chaos again carries on where the last one left. Lena has chosen to be File:BeautifulChaos2011book.jpgboth Dark and Light, Link is now part Incubus, Ridley is mortal, Liv is no longer a Keeper in training and Macon is living his second life, this time as Castor. The world is now in Chaos and mortals even recognise this to be so. Link’s mum believes it to be the final reckoning from God. Ethan keeps having dreams about himself. However, he and Lena are now back together though still unable to touch for longer than a few seconds without Ethan’s heart stopping (a problem when a Castor and Mortal try to be together romantically). This problem seems to be getting worse. Ethan’s mother is once again sending him messages through songs and this time it seems to be telling him that the one who is two is the only one to save earth by killing themselves. Ethan also learns that he left half of himself in the underworld when he died and Lena brought him back. John Breed thinks that he is the saviour so he throws himself off the water tower. However, fate does not agree and Ethan discovers that it is him.

File:BeautifulRedemption2012HBCover.jpg

In Beautiful Redemption we find Ethan in the afterlife. We also meet his mother. Aunt Pru, who passed away in the previous book, tells Ethan of way to return to the living by taking his page out of the Caster Chronicles and destroying it. However, he needs a few things from the world of the living so he sends messages to Lena via the crossword in the local paper. Ethan continues on his journey through the underworld.

Opinion

Like I said, these books are a mixture of Twilight, The Hunger Games and The Inheritance Cycle. Star crossed lovers from different backgrounds trying to be together under impossible circumstances. An epic battle against the laws of the Castor world. A unique connection between two people. All of these throw hints at the previously said books. However, these are unique in their own right. The duo of Garcia and Stohl have a good partnership and their writing as a team is almost flawless. Lena and Ethan’s connection is excellent and does remind me of Eragon and Saphira’s from The Inheritance Cycle. Each character brings something unique to the story. Liv and Link are some of the best supporting characters I have ever seen in a book. I found book 1 to have confusing elements and certain aspects to not be explained well. Maybe because of the duel authors but something wasn’t quite right. The editing team should also have picked up on this so perhaps they were changed for the remaining three as there was nothing similar in them. Seeing as how that is my main gripe with these books, it’s doing something right.

My verdict; 8/10 if not for the first books inconsistencies it could have been higher. Great books overall and well worth a read!

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Filed under Beautiful Creatures, Book Review, Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, Twilight, Young Adult