Friday, October 5, 2012

Review: Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

 Release date: September 6th, 2011
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Age group: Young Adult
Pages: 345
Flirt Factor: Chaste
Overall: 4/5 stars

Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it’s also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster.

Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, especially on a school night, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though.

Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they're triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters.

These three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful gorgon maligned by myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight. (Summary taken from Goodreads)

I'm definitely a sucker for a good Greek mythology YA book. So when I was looking for something to read and saw Sweet Venom sitting on my TBR shelf I knew that was my next read. Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs is not your standard Greek mythology retelling, either. Tera Lynn Childs took a lesser-known (but still popular) myth and wrote it in an interesting and modern way. Sweet Venom follows the lives of three (unbeknownst to them) sisters who are descendants of Medusa. It's told in first person and alternates between the three sisters: Grace, Gretchen, and Greer.
I was kind of curious to see how Childs would differentiate between the three main characters since they are triplets that share the same fate. However, I thought she did a good job developing all three of them completely. Even Greer, who only narrates a couple of chapters, had her own different viewpoints and opinions.
One of my favorite aspects of the book was how Childs integrated the greek mythology into the novel. Obviously, it wasn't just a Medusa retelling. So rather than reading a traditional retelling you got a fresh, modern spin off of a classic Greek myth. The best part of this was that you got to discover the different parts of the myth the same time the characters did. They're all teenagers, so a big part of the book is discovering their background and their significance to the Medusa myth and guarding the entrance to their world.
However, I felt like at times there wasn't enough action in the book. There would be little significant scenes, but then Childs wouldn't go very far with them. There were also a lot of little sub plots that weren't incorporated very well. Gretchen and Grace both had romantic interests that you saw only a couple of times. Then you were left wondering what happened to them. There just wasn't enough time to develop those subplots. Also, there is a subplot with Grace's brother, but throughout the book you're not entirely sure what it means. However, this is a series, so hopefully that will be explored further in the next book.

On that note, I really liked the ending. I felt like the end was the only part of the book where you really saw a lot of important things happening. It was also very shocking and mysterious and set up for the next book extremely well. Overall, the writing was nice and the book flowed smoothly. There were some parts that were shocking, some were funny, and some were endearing and heartwarming. Even though there are times where there isn't a ton of stuff going on in the book, I felt like there was still enough so you didn't get bored.

I wish there had been a little more action and more exploration of the romances, but overall this was a fun take on a Greek myth and I really enjoyed it. I feel like the next book will explore the different subplots established in this book and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Writing: 4/5
Plot: 3/5
Characters: 5/5
Ending: 5/5

Love always,

Monday, October 1, 2012

Review: Bewitching by Alex Flinn

Release Date: Febuary 14th, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen

Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 336
Flirt Factor: Chaste
Overall: 5/5 stars

Once, I put a curse on a beastly and arrogant high school boy. That one turned out all right. Others didn't.
I go to a new school now--one where no one knows that I should have graduated long ago. I'm not still here because I'm stupid; I just don't age.
You see, I'm immortal. And I pretty much know everything after hundreds of years--except for when to take my powers and butt out.
I want to help, but things just go awry in ways I could never predict. Like when I tried to free some children from a gingerbread house and ended up being hanged. After I came back from the dead (immortal, remember?), I tried to play matchmaker for a French prince and ended up banished from France forever. And that little mermaid I found in the "Titanic" lifeboat? I don't even want to think about it.
Now a girl named Emma needs me. I probably shouldn't get involved, but her gorgeous stepsister is conniving to the core. I think I have just the thing to fix that girl--and it isn't an enchanted pumpkin. Although you never know what will happen when I start . . . bewitching.

Alex Flinn is probably one of my favorite authors. I love retellings of fairy tales and she does the perfect job at them. Bewitching contained a retelling of Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, The Princess and the Pea, and The Little Mermaid all wrapped up into one story and it was perfection.

The story is focused on a witch named Kendra, who was the enchantress in Beastly for those of you who read that one, who enjoys helping people find their happy ending. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it goes terribly wrong. While the story is focused on her, there are three different speakers all in first person. There is Kendra, Emma who is the second main character and has a life based on Cinderella, and Doria who is this story's Little Mermaid. One of my favorite parts of the book was the Doria interlude because of the way Flinn combines The Little Mermaid and Titanic is magical.

The worst thing for me that a book can be is predictable, I am a huge unexpected twists and turns. Flinn did an amazing job doing this in Bewitching through the complex characters she created. The most complex characters were Lisette and Emma. The two girls suddenly become step sisters and throughout the book you see how their feelings change towards the situation. Emma is this average girl who most girls can relate to. She doesn't have many friends and she thinks of herself as ugly and weird, constantly comparing herself to her new gorgeous step sister Lisette. Most teenage girls are constantly comparing themselves, and to see Emma go through the journey of learning to love who she is, is incredibly relatable. Lisette on the other hand is a girl you feel bad to hate because everything she does is filled with wickedness yet she had a terrible life and you can see where she is coming from. My feelings towards her were conflicted the entire book.

You also can't have a fairy tale without a love story, and this love story was one that I believe could actually happen. I don't want to talk too much about the love story because I don't want to ruin it for you.

The only thing I would change about this was the ending seemed a little too abrupt because a new plotline was started and ended in the last two chapters. I was really enjoying the new plot line and wanted to learn more about it but there wasn't any time. I'm crossing my fingers for a sequel.