Generations I: Book of Enlightenment by Mia Castile

For my first post-holiday review, I couldn’t have picked a more ideal read than Mia Castile’s Generations I: Book of Enlightenment. This novel is easy to follow with interesting characters and an engaging plot.  Opening with Ellie, the main character, and her brother, Gideon, applying to be their own guardians, the novel immediately sets itself apart by establishing the heroine (and, of course, her brother) as being orphaned and, thus, in charge of themselves.  This deviates from the standard plot aspect of “girl whose parents are against her current boyfriend or lifestyle” that is so common in YA paranormal fiction.

From the beginning, I wondered how this parent-less aspect of Ellie’s character was going to play out. While the author doesn’t immediately give it away, it turns out that everything about Ellie and Gideon’s lives is due to and revolving around their parents and the circumstances surrounding their deaths. As you follow along with their new journey in life from living on their own for the first time, getting jobs, finding love and, eventually, secrets, you find that you are really pulling for these two kids as much as the supporting characters are.

Speaking of supporting characters, I really like the people that Castille brings in.  Some are lovable, some are annoying, but they all have a very intricate function in what makes up a “Generation”.  What is a generation, you ask? Without giving away too much, it is a grouping of 6 ethereal beings who are destined to work as a team throughout history over and over again.  Think reincarnation meets the movie Hancock.  I will say that, for me, the girl torn between two boys is a bit played out in paranormal fiction, but I’ll accept it as necessary for this story line.  Also, in the beginning, I found the concept of Ellie dreaming night after night of this gorgeous guy and not living her love life at all in the real world kind of hokey, BUT it does play into the storyline eventually.  Once that works itself out, I was actually hooked.

Castille’s world, which was apparently based on a series of dreams a la Stefanie Meyer, easily lends itself to a big series.  There are so many details to work out just in this novel, imagine the number of things that have to develop and evolve with these people in this particular generation who will be starting over and over again for the rest of eternity! Not to mention other “generations” that we don’t know about yet. It’s a great concept; in fact, I wish I had dreamed it up myself.

Unfortunately, the novel ends abruptly with the next novel not coming out until 2013, so pretty much every single thing is left unresolved, all questions left unanswered. That is a trick of the trade that many writers use to keep you coming back for more, but I felt very unsatisfied at the end in this case. It just didn’t seem the most logical point to cut it off.  However, I have faith that the author is really going to let loose in the sequel, and I can’t lie…I will be happy to purchase it when it does come out.

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Considering that I just discovered Cassandra Clare and her shadowhunter world less than 6 months ago, it might come as a shock that Clockwork Prince was my most anticipated read of the year, and even more so when considering that I was reluctant to even begin reading the Infernal Devices series (based solely on my extreme partiality to Clary Fray from The Mortal Instruments and my Taurean nature that is adverse to change).

Nevertheless, after Clockwork Angel, I thought I was going to die before December 6th got here! I didn’t die, but I did get a Kindle Fire as an early Christmas present so I knew just what I was going to download first.  😉 And when I started the book, I just died!

There is only one way I know to describe Clockwork Prince. It’s just like falling in love again for the first time.  You know how you get in a relationship with somebody new who just gets you and you think they are so fascinating? You think about them nonstop and doodle their name on every scrap napkin on your desk? And when you do, you get that feeling in your stomach, like a million butterflies covered in fairy dust on a sugar high? Read this novel, and you will feel it again.  In fact, I think my “Jem Carstairs” doodles almost ruined my marriage. Seriously. Jem makes me sigh out loud while I’m reading; my husband is suspicious.

The story returns us to the London Institute where the Branwells are desperately trying to save Charlotte’s role as head of the institute, Tessa is settling in as if she, too, is Nephilim, and Will is up to something with everyone’s favorite warlock, Magnus Bane.  The pursuit of the magister is still on with more and more pieces falling into place.  Is there time for the Nephilim to solve the mystery before the institute falls? Can Tessa fit into the world of shadowhunters so seamlessly, or does something drastic have to happen to secure her place? All of this and more is answered within the pages of Clockwork Prince.

We come a few steps closer to knowing the truth about who or what Tessa really is.  (The only person more excited to know than Tessa herself is probably me.  I still haven’t figured it out yet!)  We also get to see a stronger side of Charlotte and Henry, both individually and as a couple, and we find even more reason to deplore Jessie and Nate, which was pretty much set for me after the first novel.  The London backdrop that Clare describes is, once again, amazing, and it makes me almost homesick of London, a place I have never visited.  I find the heroin den setting to be devilish and delicious. 🙂

Additionally, I loved (with a capital LOVE) how Clare stepped up the romance in this novel.  The love scenes between Tessa and Jem and Tessa and Will are breathtaking.  In fact, one was downright smoking hot.  It never gets inappropriate by today’s standards, but the really sexy thing about the level of intimacy is that it would have been beyond inappropriate during Tessa’s time. As it is, I am dying for my husband to suggest that he take “liberties” with me just so I can say, “Take them.” (File this under things that are never going to happen.)

Finally, Clare always leaves about a million loose ends, but she does it so perfectly. She is honestly one of the best at this in the genre.  It’s never awkward or obvious; it’s pure magic.  I dove into this book and finished it in less than 12 hours, and that was only because I had to sleep and pretend to be a mother and wife for a bit.  I was pleasantly vexed when it ended without really ending anything, and if she weren’t coming to Germany in March, I’d probably begin to internet stalk her for more details.

Go. Buy. It. Now.

(Then, somebody please find the name of the guy who does the cover work for this series because he is YUMTASTIC. I want to have a new inappropriate and totally underage fantasy crush since Taylor Lautner has come of age.)

Review: Evidence of Trust by Stacey Joy Netzel

Yet another amazing love story told by none other than the brilliant Stacey Joy Netzel! Did I start off to strong? An instant boast isn’t always the way to go I know, but when it comes to the work of Stacey Joy Netzel I can’t help but want to shout from the roof tops “THESE NOVELS WILL NOT DISAPPOINT YOU”, or just shout it from the pages of this blog. Stacey is a writing force to be reckoned with. Stacey creates love stories that contain a building chemistry, with an edge of mystery, and suspense that will keep you wanting more.

The thing I love most about Stacey’s writing, I know when I pick up one of her novels I am not just picking up a love story. I am diving into an adventure, I am going on a journey, I am solving a mystery and along the way I will fall in love. Evidence of Trust did not disappoint.

Ranger Joel Morgan is searching for a poacher in Rocky Mountain National Park. Everyone Joel comes across is considered a suspect until the poacher is caught. One particular suspect named Brittany seems to push all of Ranger Joel’s buttons, and the feeling seems to be mutual. These two embark on a mystery to uncover the poacher and along the way they find a bit more than either was looking for.

I thoroughly enjoyed Brittany as a heroine. Brittany is headstrong and refuses to bow down to anyone. Brittany is a save herself heroine, not some damsel in distress awaiting her knight in shining armor.  Oh and Joel, my newest book boyfriend. Joel has this country boy feel to him that made me just fall in love with him. These two together form the perfect amount of chemistry that builds stronger throughout the story.

The love story is great believe me I have to have a great love story in my books. But the mystery behind who the poacher is or isn’t, is what kept me flipping the pages in this story. As the story progresses so many things happen and so many clues unfold I just had to know who it was. I just had to know how the story was going to end.

So of course I recommended this story to readers. How could I not? I recommend this story to readers and lovers of contemporary romance.