Tag Archives: supernatural fiction

Guest Reviewer: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Guest Reviews
January 28, 2010 posted by Nikki

Guest Reviewer: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

In keeping with our Book of the Month promotion here for January, featured authors of the new supernatural hit, Beautiful Creatures, Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, chose a Young Adult book and penned a joint guest review for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Description from Goodreads:

Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns . . .

Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. Fortunately, they’ve been extinct for a hundred and fifty years.

Or not.

Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother’s stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend—thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the prom—Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries.
However, at the cloisters all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from the crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to—perhaps most dangerously of all—her growing attraction to a handsome art student . . . an attraction that could jeopardize everything.

From Margie:

There is a special shelf in our office – and by that I mean our hearts – for books that Kami and I feel the same way about. We don’t always agree. I tilt towards high fantasy and Kami to the urban supernatural. Because I read as fast as I drink Diet Cokes, I approach bookstores as an all you can eat buffet. Because Kami not only writes books but raises two small children and teaches reading, she’s pickier, more of an a la carte reader.

But, when the stars align, we’ll agree on a book that we trade back and forth, recommend and fight over, and alternately claim to have discovered for ourselves. This year, we felt that way about Rampant, so when YA Reads asked us to do a joint review, it leapt off our Special Collections shelf.

There will be the reader, like myself, who hears the words “Killer Unicorns” and says, “I’m in.” It sounds like a parody, but Peterfreund’s take on the mythical beast is straight and deadly serious. The result is an entirely girl-powered mythology of her own, that builds more into what I would consider an Epic than a Series.

Peterfreund’s Astrid, the virginal killer unicorn slayer, is heir to the empty throne in her unicorn-slaying convent qua dorm – with the most kickass bloodline and the most powerful warrior-jitzu that Rome has seen in years. But she’s heir to more than that. On the YA supernatural shelf, Astrid is the heir to the empty throne that Buffy Summers has left waiting after seven long seasons of absolute dominion. Though many will claim the crown, there is only one Slayer in any generation (If you don’t count The Dushku, because really, who does?) and I’m not sure if it’s Astrid or Diana, but between them, the throne is empty no longer.

I recommend this book (as I do) for every teen – or grown-up teen – girl you know, because as it turns out, we’re all a little Slayer on the inside.

From Kami:

When Margie handed me Rampant and said, “You HAVE to read this book,” I started that night. I can’t speed read like M, but I finished it fast because I literally couldn’t put it down. Rampant was the perfect storm for me – urban fantasy with a totally original premise, a completely developed universe, and, most importantly, a strong female protagonist that embraces her power. The fact is, I’m a writer, but I’m also a teacher, and I believe the books children and teens read shape their identities and influence them profoundly.  I won’t hand one of my teen students a book in which a girl defines herself in terms of a boy. Or worse, is willing to give up who she is for a boy.

I’m tired of reading about girls spending all their time pining for a boy. I want to see her face unicorns the size of elephants and slay them. I want to see her walk away from a guy who hasn’t earned the right to be with her. I want to read about a girl with supernatural powers, who isn’t afraid to use them. Because as a teacher, I watch girls hide their intelligence and skill, their capabilities and talents, all the time. Just so they can be more appealing to a boy.

How do we change this? If you’re Diana Peterfreund, you write a book with a strong female heroine, and you let her slay some pretty badass unicorns. Will this solve the problem, and make every girl feel empowered to be herself and slay her own beasts? No. But it will make SOME girls brave enough to try.

And if a book can do that, it should have a place on every girl’s Special Collections self. Or in her purse, with her wooden stake.

You can keep up with Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl at www.BeautifulCreaturestheBook.com.

Join the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES US fansite at www.CasterGirls.com.

Meridian – Amber Kizer
Book Reviews
September 7, 2009 posted by Nikki

Meridian – Amber Kizer

Half-human, half-angel, Meridian Sozu has a dark responsibility.

Sixteen-year-old Meridian has been surrounded by death ever since she can remember. As a child, insects, mice, and salamanders would burrow into her bedclothes and die. At her elementary school, she was blamed for a classmate’s tragic accident. And on her sixteenth birthday, a car crashes in front of her family home—and Meridian’s body explodes in pain.

Before she can fully recover, Meridian is told that she’s a danger to her family and hustled off to her great-aunt’s house in Revelation, Colorado. It’s there that she learns that she is a Fenestra—the half-angel, half-human link between the living and the dead. But Meridian and her sworn protector and love, Tens, face great danger from the Aternocti, a band of dark forces who capture vulnerable souls on the brink of death and cause chaos.

On Meridian’s sixteenth birthday, life takes an unexpected change. Imagine waking up only to be told that you’re not normal – not even human, in fact. Fenestra is not a word that she’s familiar with, but when she learns what they are, things suddenly start making a whole lot of sense. She’s like the window to the other world, people (and things) need the Fenestra in order to pass from this life into the next.

So that’s why things have always died around her… she’d always thought that there was something cosmically wrong with her, that they were dying because of her. It is comforting for Meridian (in a creepy kind of way) to learn that they don’t die because of her, but because they need her. Helping people cross to the other side is dangerous stuff, though, and Meridian must learn how to harness and control her powers. Nothing would suck more than getting dragged into the other world by a soul who doesn’t know how to let go…

And now, more than ever, Meridian has reasons to stay in this world.

Meet Tens. He’s Meridian’s assigned protector. It’s his destiny, his purpose in life, but what he doesn’t tell Meridian is that if he dies trying to protect her, she dies too. This is a relationship of an entirely different calibre. They’re going to be spending their entire lives together, trying to keep each other alive, so it’s a good thing they seem to be falling deeply in love with each other, too. I can’t imagine having to spend my whole life with someone that I didn’t love… can you? It’s not all roses and candy, though, and learning to trust someone with your life doesn’t come so easily.

How will Meridian cope with her new responsibilities as a Fenestra, and will she be able to carry the torch after her mentor is dead and gone?

Upon arriving at her Aunts house, considering her circumstances, I thought she learned to trust her new friends all too quickly. While I understand that Auntie is the kind of character that makes people feel comfortable immediately, I thought Meridian could have spent a little more time questioning her motives. She was, after all, ripped from her family and told she may never see them again. Her relationship with Tens develops at a nice pace, though. Readers are kept waiting just long enough to incite a bit of a frenzy within.

Meridian has all the elements of a good supernatural story. Readers both young and old will love this one! I’m interested to hear what you guys think about this one!

Rating:: ★★★★☆

July Bookclub Announcement: Strange Angels
Site Updates
June 28, 2009 posted by Nikki

July Bookclub Announcement: Strange Angels

For those that are interested, the book our forum members chose to read as their bookclub selection for July is Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow. If you’re interested in this book, why don’t you head on over to the forum on July 1 and join the discussion. Strange Angels will remain the bookclub selection until the 1st of August.

Never seen or heard of this book? Here is a product description from amazon.com:

Dru Anderson has what her grandmother called “the touch.” (Comes in handy when you’re traveling from town to town with your dad, hunting ghosts, suckers, wulfen, and the occasional zombie.) Then her dad turns up dead—but still walking—and Dru knows she’s next. Even worse, she’s got two guys hungry for her affections, and they’re not about to let the fiercely independent Dru go it alone. Will Dru discover just how special she really is before coming face-to-fang with whatever—or whoever— is hunting her?

Stay tuned for our review coming your way soon!

Holly Black Appearance
News
June 21, 2009 posted by Nikki

Holly Black Appearance

Holly Black, author of the Spiderwick Chronicles and Tithe: A Modern Faery Tale , is appearing at Amherst as part of the Juniper Festival. She’ll be reading from her upcoming book The White Cat at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The reading starts at 7.30pm in the Benzanson Recital Hall and is open to all members of the public.

The White Cat is scheduled for release in 2010 through Simon & Schuster. Stay tuned for more White Cat news as it comes to press!