Between the Bookcovers

Blogging About the Books I Read

Authors: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Published: October 12, 2010
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Romance
Pages: 512
Rating: 4/5 stars

Description from Goodreads:

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.

My Review:

This is the sequel to Beautiful Creatures and picks up Ethan's story the day after the events that occurred on Lena's birthday. While you can read this book without having read Beautiful Creatures, the story will make more sense if you have the background knowledge of the first book.

The story takes us back to Gatlin and finds Lena in despair over the death of her uncle on her sixteenth birthday. Ethan does not remember the events that happened that night or how Lena saved his life, so he does not understand her ambivalence toward him. While she loves him, she feels guilty that by saving him her uncle had to die. Her grief is driving a wedge between them and their relationship is very strained. In order to help Lena pull out of her grief and to find answers of his own about his mother's death, Ethan explores the Caster world under Gatlin and beyond. The book finally answers many questions I had in the first book. We find out what really happened to Ethan's mother, as well as what her connection to the Cater world was. We also find out what special powers Ethan has and how he relates to the Caster world around him. I was surprised more than once at relationships between the many characters in this book, and loved how the authors wove events from the past into what is happening in the present.

This is another epic novel at 512 pages, but once again it allowed the story to develop in a way that left me satisfied and the action kept my interest throughout the book. It is darker than the first book, with much of the book set in the underground and the continued battle between Light vs Dark. The sequel is every bit as good as the first in the series and left me wanting more. Fortunately it looks like we can expect two additional sequels, the next in the Fall of 2011. The authors have a website where you can find more information: Beautiful Creatures the Book.


An excellent, fun read you will enjoy

Kristi at The Story Siren hosts In My Mailbox every week. I decided to join in and let you see what I received this week. I have some good ones this week and can't wait to read them:

The first three came from my favorite book source, Amazon. The Blizzard came from the author. Looks like some good reading! And a nice mix too. What was in your mailbox this week?

Authors: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Published: September 14, 2010
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Romance
Pages: 592
Rating: 4/5 stars

Description from Goodreads:

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.

Ethan Wate cannot wait to get out of his small hometown, Gatlin, South Carolina, where things have remained the same since the War Between the States. But as he starts his junior year in high school things begin to change. He is grieving the death of his mother in a car accident. A new girl has started school and she immediately catches his attention. Lena is the niece of Macon Ravenwood, the town recluse. Soon everything he thought he knew about his small town will be turned upside down and he will never be the same.

When Lena arrives Ethan begins to have strange dreams about her. When they finally meet he realizes that they can communicate in their minds without speaking. Strange events start happening and Lena finally reveals that she is a Caster, or a modern day witch hiding in plain sight. She introduces Ethan to the parallel world of the supernatural that exists right in the streets of Gatlin, alongside the normal ordinary world that he has always known. Lena is about to turn sixteen and when she does her fate as a either a Light (good) or Dark (evil) Caster will be determined. But as the day approaches events occur that will change them both forever. To get into more detail would spoil the book, just know that there are lots of surprises along the way.

This is a tender, realistic love story that is told in the first person by Ethan, an unusual twist as these types of stories are usually told from the female point of view. The writing in the book is wonderful and a treat to read. Set in the Deep South, the authors make the town come alive with detailed descriptions, traditions and social norms one would expect to see in a small southern town. The fast moving events held my interest and kept me wondering what would happen until the very end. Also included is the theme of cruelty to anyone who is different than the norm, a timely topic with the current focus on bullies. The hypocrisy found in small minded people is also explored. At 592 pages, it is quite a bit longer than similar YA novels, but it allows for full story development and I enjoyed having the story told in such detail. I never felt like the story was too long or that pages were added just to make the novel longer.

The book was named a New York Times best youth book for 2009, a well deserved award. The ending screams for a sequel, and one has been released, Beautiful Darkness, which I will review later next week.

Rating: An excellent, fun read, you will enjoy this one

Each year the CYBILS (Children and Young Adult Blogger's Literary Awards) are awarded to books that combine literary merit with kid appeal, resulting in great books that kids can't wait to read. Winners for 2010 were announced on February 14 and they are:

Young Adult Non-Fiction:

The Secret of the Yellow Death: A True Story of Medical Sleuthing

Author: Suzanne Jurmain

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Red oozes from the patient's gums. He has a rushing headache and the whites of his eyes look like lemons. He will likely die within days.

Here is the true story of how four Americans and one Cuban tracked down a killer, one of the word's most vicious plagues: yellow fever. Set in fever-stricken Cuba, the reader feels the heavy air, smell the stench of disease, hear the whine of mosquitoes biting human volunteers during the surreal experiments. Exploring themes of courage, cooperation, and the ethics of human experimentation, this gripping account is ultimately a story of the triumph of science.

Young Adult Graphic Novels:

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty

Author: G. Neri

Illustrator: Randy DuBurke

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In August of 1994, 11-year-old Robert “Yummy” Sandifer — nicknamed for his love of sweets — fired a gun at a group of rival gangmembers, accidentally killing a neighborhood girl, Shavon Dean. Police searched Chicago’s southside for three days before finding Yummy dead in a railway tunnel, killed by members of the drug gang he’d sought to impress. The story made such an impact that Yummy appeared on the cover of TIME magazine, drawing national attention to the problems of inner city youth in America.

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty relives the confusion of these traumatic days from the point of view of Roger, a neighborhood boy who struggles to understand the senseless violence swirling through the streets around him. Awakened by the tragedy, Roger seeks out answers to difficult questions — was Yummy a killer or a victim? Was he responsible for his actions or are others to blame?

Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction:

Rot & Ruin

Author: Jonathan Mayberry

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.

Young Adult Fiction:


Author: Swati Avashti

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Sixteen-Year-Old Jace Witherspoon arrives at the doorstep of his estranged brother Christian with a re-landscaped face (courtesy of his father’s fist), $3.84, and a secret.

He tries to move on, going for new friends, a new school, and a new job, but all his changes can’t make him forget what he left behind—his mother, who is still trapped with his dad, and his ex-girlfriend, who is keeping his secret.

At least so far.

Worst of all, Jace realizes that if he really wants to move forward, he may first have to do what scares him most: He may have to go back. First-time novelist Swati Avasthi has created a riveting and remarkably nuanced portrait of what happens after. After you’ve said enough, after you’ve run, after you’ve made the split—how do you begin to live again? Readers won’t be able to put this intense page-turner down.

If you are looking for a good read, check these out. I will be posting reviews in the coming weeks.

Author: Charile Higson
Release Date (U.S.): May 11, 2010
Hyperion Book CH
Genre: Science Fiction,Fantasy, Horror
Pages: 448
Rating: 5/5 stars

Description From Goodreads:
They'll chase you. They'll rip you open. They'll feed on you...When the sickness came, every parent, policeman, politician - every adult - fell ill. The lucky ones died. The others are crazed, confused and hungry. Only children under fourteen remain, and they're fighting to survive. Now there are rumors of a safe place to hide. And so a gang of children begin their quest across London, where all through the city - down alleyways, in deserted houses, underground - the grown-ups lie in wait. But can they make it there - alive?

The world has been hit with an unknown disease that turns everyone over 16 into zombie like creatures that seek to kill the children they left behind. The book is set in London and follows the saga of a ragtag group of kids as they try to stay alive in a world turned upside down.

The kids have found refuge in a local supermarket. They have been there a year, but things are getting desperate as the older kids have to travel father from their store base to find food to keep them alive. The older kids know it is only a matter of time until they cannot hold out any longer and are looking for a way out. They find it when an older boy arrives telling them to come to Buckingham Palace, where they have set up a safe zone, with food and comfort within the palace walls. Knowing their plight is grim, the older kids decide they should leave the shelter of the store and make a dash to the palace. The story follows them as they make their way across London. Who will survive the trip and when they get there what will they find?

Another part of the story is little Sam, a nine-year-old with an imagination who is stolen from the supermarket grounds by the grownups in the opening pages of the books. He keeps his wits about him and is able to escape only to find himself alone in the big city of London. The book follows his adventures as he strives to stay alive and make his way back to the little sister he left behind in the supermarket. He is a wonderful character who just wants to be a kid again, but is forced to grow up too fast in a world where everyone must take care of themselves.

The book is fast paced with plenty of zombie type violence. The world created in the novel is a dangerous and many characters do not survive their odyssey. We never learn why the new disease has affected grownups, but it really doesn't matter. These decomposing, flesh eating creatures are the things nightmares are made of. But they are not the only thing the kids have to worry about. All is not as it seems at Buckingham Palace and the kids have to determine who besides the diseased grownups are the enemy.

At its core the book makes one think about how children and young teens would be able to cope and survive if left in a world without adult authority. The characters find themselves longing for the structure and love their families provided, and note the unfairness of how they had to grow up too fast. The characters are wonderfully developed and this allows the reader to care about, cheer for and mourn with them. There were twists and turns in the novel I didn't see coming, something that is refreshing. I really enjoyed this book and found it hard to put down. There is a prequel book that will be published in North America later this year. I can't wait to read more about the fascinating world Charlie Higson has created in this series.

Rating: An outstanding read, don't miss this one

Welcome to my blog! I hope to be able to bring you quality reviews of the books I read and in the future to add author interviews, book giveaways and contests. The only way I can provide you with the things you like to see in a blog is with comments, so please let me know how I can make this a place you want to come to.

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About This Blog

I review mostly Young Adult literature, any genre. I also review other fiction, especially horror, science fiction and historical novels. I also have occasional giveaways.