Friday, June 22, 2012

Book Review: Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: June 12, 2012
Hardcover, 303 pages
ISBN: 9780385742016
My rating: 4.5/5.0

My Review:
I can't remember reading a book about merpeople before so this was a first for me. And it was a very good first. I was enthralled by the story that Ms. Brown creates in Lies Beneath and the backstory to the White family of mermaids and Calder the merman. I love that she interwove the backstory into the story so it wasn't all thrown at you at once, it unwound itself through the story and kept me interested through the whole book.

Calder was a great character. Torn between what he is supposed to be and how he feels, he is a great tortured hero. But he's not too tortured. He comes across a little more clueless at times, and that makes him a little more cute. But the truth is he know what he is and he knows he's not Disney's idea of a mermaid like Lily is thinking. And Lily. I love Lily, such an antithesis herself. She dresses like she thinks a poet should dress, she rebels in ways, but she adores her parents and would do anything for them. I love her. And her ideals are beautiful. There is a quote towards the end that I would love to share. I highlighted it as I read the book on my Kindle, but I don't want to share because I don't want to give anything away. But it shows the beauty of Lily's thinking. She's such a pure spirit to Calder's tortured soul. And she's happy so that's nice for a change. She's an interesting character that makes the book very enjoyable.

The characters do a great job pushing the story along, but the plot also does a great job. At the center of the plot is Calder and his three sisters who are the ultimate in bad guys. But you get the feeling there are varying degrees of badness in the sisters. I'll let you be the judge of that. The plot moves along swiftly and made it hard for me to put the book down after about 100 pages. The first 100 pages were interesting, don't get me wrong, but it really took off after that point. And by the end it moves so fast your head is spinning. But it's not a bad spin. It wasn't one of those, why did the author wait until the last minute spins, because she didn't, she wraps everything up nicely, but there is an opening for the book(s) that follow. I cannot wait to see where Ms. Brown takes this series next.

With fascinating characters and a fast-moving plot, Lies Beneath made the merpeople angle very interesting to me. Intense, interesting and hard-to-put-down are ways that I would describe this book. I don't want to give anything away because it's just one of those books you have to read to understand. And I suggest if you like YA with a darker side that you read this one. It's different, it's intense and it's a great read.

About the Book:

Lies Beneath (Lies Beneath #1)Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistable good looks and charm on ususpecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.

***I received this book through Netgalley for The Teen Book Scene for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  ***

Author Interview and Book Spotlight: Alma Katsu, The Reckoning

Today I welcome Alma Katsu, author of The Reckoning which came out this week and is the followup to the The Taker.  I have The Taker on my shelf and I need to read because it sounds so very amazing and I am dying to read The Reckoning as well.  So sit back, have a cuppa and enjoy this visit with Alma Katsu and then learn a little more about the new book, The Reckoning.

What's the first sentence of The Reckoning?

“We were nearly at the Victoria and Albert Museum when we saw the crowds spilling out of the entrance and across Cromwell Street, forcing our taxi to stop in the middle of the road.”

The “we” in this case is the heroine, immortal Lanore “Lanny” McIlvrae and her lover, Luke Findley. They’ve come to (secretly) see an exhibit of treasures Lanny collected over her lifetimes, now donated to the V&A as in an attempt to put her past to rest and start a new life.
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

I knew I wanted to be a writer from when I was twelve. I was a voracious reader as a kid. I grew up in a small town, in a crazy family and books were my escape. Since books were my world, it only made sense to try to create a niche of my own, right? I took it all very, very seriously, writing short stories in high school for my friends to read, and stringing for local newspapers. Everything changed when I graduate from college and ended up going to work in intelligence—yup, CIA and the National Security Agency. I came back to writing fiction later in life, and was lucky, lucky, lucky to sell The Taker and two more books to Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster. Just goes to show that you should never give up on your dreams.
If you had to pick a character who really spoke to you in The Reckoning who would it be?

That’s hard! I tried to bring in as many new characters (if in minor roles) as characters returning from The Taker… Obviously, I got to be very close to Adair and ended up feeling pretty sorry for him—he goes through such an incredible transformation! It’s probably pretty evident that The Reckoning is based on Beauty and the Beast and Adair gets to be the poor confused Beast, tormented in his own right, a monster helpless in the face of love.
How did you feel when you finished The Reckoning?

Relieved! They say the second book is the hardest to write, what with expectations (mostly in the writer’s head) and fears. Plus, you don’t really know how to write novels—you know how you wrote one novel, your first one. Luckily, I have an excellent editor and she kept my nose to the grindstone and made sure The Reckoning is every bit as magical and twisty as The Taker.
What do you have in the works right now?

I’m finishing the third book in the trilogy, The Descent, right now. I’ve been anticipating bringing the story to its conclusion and have to say it’s been tremendously satisfying writing this book! Then there’s something I’ve been calling a spin-off book: it’s not part of The Taker story but picks up a thread in the Reckoning about a group of heretical monks who stumble across a piece of real magic—and how it corrupts them. Lastly, I hope to finish up a YA novel I started recently. I got the idea to try YA from Melissa Marr. She is so incredible brilliant you’d be a fool not to take her advice!

Thanks Alma for taking the time to join us for an interview today!

Alma Katsu's website

About The Reckoning
Publisher: Gallery Books
Hardcover, 352 pages
ISBN-13: 9781451651805

Lanore McIlvrae is the kind of woman who will do anything for love. Including imprisoning the man who loves her behind a wall of brick and stone.

She had no choice but to entomb Adair, her nemesis, to save Jonathan, the boy she grew up with in a remote Maine town in the early 1800s and the man she thought she would be with forever. But Adair had other plans for her. He used his mysterious, otherworldly powers to give her eternal life, but Lanore learned too late that there was a price for this gift: to spend eternity with him. And though he is handsome and charming, behind Adair’s seductive façade is the stuff of nightmares. He is a monster in the flesh, and he wants Lanore to love him for all of time.

Now, two hundred years after imprisoning Adair, Lanore is trying to atone for her sins. She has given away the treasures she’s collected over her many lifetimes in order to purge her past and clear the way for a future with her new lover, Luke Findley. But, while viewing these items at an exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Lanore suddenly is aware that the thing she’s been dreading for two hundred years has caught up to her: Adair has escaped from his prison. He’s free— and he will come looking for her. And she has no idea how she will save herself.

With the stunningly imaginative storytelling and rich characterizations that fascinated readers worldwide and made The Taker a singular and memorable literary debut and an international sensation, Alma Katsu once again delivers “a powerful evocation of the dark side of romantic love” (Publishers Weekly) in her breathtaking new novel.