Book Review

Review of Beautiful Creatures

Today’s review is by guest blogger Mindy Lavender. Mindy is my sister and best friend. She is also, in her words a “Youth Director. Photographer. Wife. Historian. Feminist. Lutheran.”spike

She is much more than that short list of words though. She is the person I use as my sounding board. I invited her to post on my site because she offered me the chance to post on hers, but in addition, this gives me an opportunity to share with you a better variety of book reviews. She reads more Young Adult fiction than I do, so she is better suited to review it than me.

Her blog Lovely Lavender is about life, being a youth director, and photography. Check it out.


Truth: I love Youth Adult literature and am almost 31 years old.

Truth: I did not like Twilight. This has nothing to do with the films. I stopped reading after the second book.

Truth: I love the first installment of the Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohi.

The book takes place in the small town of Gatlin, South Carolina. One day Ethan Wate, the town basketball star, meets Lena Duchannes, niece to the town’s shut-in Macon Melchizedek Ravenwood. What ensues is a forbidden romance full of witches, magic, and small town snobbery (or should I say Southern hospitality).

This is why you should read Beautiful Creatures. First of all, you want to be Lena. She’s cool; she’s super powerful; she’s an outcast that your locked away teenage soul can relate to. Secondly, Ethan is very likable. Even though he is the basketball star his family has some pretty dark secrets. Plus, Ethan’s family has real problems. Case in point, Ethan’s father hasn’t left his study since his wife died. There is also an awesome cast of supporting characters. Including, Uncle Macon, who will remind To Kill a Mockingbird fans of Boo Radley, until you get to meet him. Last but not least, it is not Twilight. Yes, it is the same genre but it is a very different story.

This book will not change your life. Chances are it will not bring a new understanding to your vast knowledge of vampires, witches, and the occult that has been beat into your  American psyche by the media over the past few years. However, Garcia and Stohl take the reader into the life of a small southern town and bring in the unexpected.

p.s. My youth group said to not see the movie! Lame! (Their words not mine.)

Mindy Lavender

Book Review

Review of Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy

I admit that I watched the Netflix series and then decided to read this book. I didn’t think the book was any better or worse than the show. In fact, Hemlock Grove may be one of the few cases where the show was a lot like the book. I think that whoever did the script writing did a great job at translating the book into a series.bookshot_mcgreevy_hemlockgrov

Even though I think the book and show were similar, they weren’t necessarily my favorite things in the world. I don’t read a lot of vampire and werewolf stories. I liked that Hemlock Grove was a little darker than some that I’m familiar with. I also liked the fact that the main character wasn’t some moon eyed girl falling in love with a handsome yet dangerous supernatural being.

Hemlock Grove is actually about solving a murder. In typical vampire and werewolf style, the main characters are teenagers, but the ones in this novel are a bit less worried about romance and more concerned with the mysterious elements of the world they live in. Just about every grown up in the town they live in has a secret and the two boys set about trying to solve the murder and uncover a lot of the hidden lies around them.

One thing I didn’t like about this story was that there were moments where I think the author was trying to be shocking, but his writing didn’t actual shock me. Maybe it’s just me though. As I said, he is trying to write a darker, more graphic tale than most teenage paranormal tales, but still, some of the graphic descriptions seemed unnecessary and pointless.

One element of this book that I really liked though was the character Shelley. I love the novel Frankenstein, and I actually thought the spin-off allusion to the creature in Hemlock Grove was intriguing. I would like to see more from this character if / when there is a second novel.Poster_for_Hemlock_Grove

Some parts of the story were left unfinished, which leads me to believe there will be a second novel. I will probably read it. It might not be great literature, but it is very entertaining. Plus, I have to know what that weirdo scientist guy is up to.

Book Review

Review of The Child Thief by Brom

This book is a dark retelling of the Peter Pan story. I know there are many retellings of Peter Pan, and some are better than others. Some are not that great. This one though is worth reading. It doesn’t just retell the story of Peter Pan that we are all familiar with; it creates a new way of looking at the classic tale.

That being said, you should know before you start reading that this story is dark. At one point, I was simultaneously thinking, “This story is awesome” and “Wow! That’s messed up.” This story is violent and a little graphic. I don’t think this is a retelling meant for children.The Child Thief

When I was reading this story, I was trying to think of what it reminded me of. The closest thing I could think of was the movie Pan’s Labyrinth. If you liked that movie, you will probably like this book and vice versa.

So far all I’ve said is that this book is dark. What you really want to know is how it is different than any other version of Peter Pan? I don’t want to tell you the whole plot, but I will say that Peter is not necessarily a “good” guy in this version. His motive for coming to our world is to steal children. That’s right; he tricks kids into following him to never, never land. And that’s just the beginning of how this book is different than the Disney version we are all familiar with.

The world Peter is from is creepy and the god-like beings who rule there are straight up CRAZY. I loved every moment of the dark world created by Brom.

The characters are another reason to read this novel. Peter is dark and selfish and you still end up rooting for him against all the odds. The crazy inhabitants of faerie land make you want to scream because they all need to help each other. And then there are the lost children.

The lost children are by far the strongest part of this novel. You will huzzah when they win a battle. You will cry when they die. And you will want to scream when one of their own betrays them!

In closing, this book may not be for everyone, but I really enjoyed it. I recommend it. You won’t be disappointed.