Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Amy and Phin Goodnight are spending the summer housesitting for their aunt Hyacinth. Both Amy and Phin are witches, as are all Goodnight women, though Amy would much rather have a normal life. But there are times when witchcraft and psychic powers come in handy—like, say, when there’s a ghost supposedly haunting the area.
Texas Gothic reminded me of Highway to Hell, Rosemary Clement-Moore’s third Maggie Quinn book. So if you enjoyed that one, there’s a lot that will appeal here, namely romance, humor, mystery, and the supernatural. Yeah, these were present in Prom Dates from Hell and Hell Week, but what really unites Texas Gothic and Highway to Hell (from what I remember, at least) is how their supernatural elements are rooted in broader historical events or legends. By this I mean the supernatural events are not just a generic “a person was killed here and their vengeful spirit has been haunting it ever since”-type thing that could take place anywhere (even if a particular setting is well-drawn), but are instead tied to a particular place and its own specific history.
Overall, I liked Texas Gothic but didn’t love it. Mostly because I was lot more interested in the Phin-Mark romance than Amy-Ben, which I never completely bought into.
Wildcat Fireflies by Amber Kizer
Speaking of plots centered on local history…
Anyway, so after the events of Meridian, Meridian and Tens are on the road, looking for another Fenestra. They end up in Carmel, Indiana, still unsure of how much they can trust other people. Meanwhile, alternating with Meridian’s narration is that of Juliet, who lives in a group home under horrific conditions, not knowing that she is a Fenestra.
It’s been a couple of years since I read Meridian, and while I didn’t remember much about the story, Kizer provides enough background that I didn’t feel lost. As for the story itself, I’m a bit torn. It’s a long novel, but while I was reading it, it didn’t seem to drag, even though it’s a while before Meridian and Juliet finally connect. After reading it, and without knowing what will happen in the rest of the series, my reaction now is, that was a lot of pages without as much plot as you’d think would be in a 500+ page novel. Oh well, I do plan on at least reading the next book and I wasn’t bothered by the length while reading, so I’ll be generous here.
Oh, and yay, no love triangle! But what happened to [name redacted just to be on the safe side of spoilers] at the end of the story?
Most of all, what really struck me about Wildcat Fireflies is how it contrasts with Angel Burn. I mean, Angel Burn and Wildcat Fireflies share some similarities in their respective angel/protector road romance storylines. However, whereas there’s a notable lack of action (you know, *that* kind of action) during Angel Burn’s idyllic interlude, Kizer tackles this head-on, with Meridian having sexual desires, Meridian and Tens actually talking about sex, even touching on the complications of loving someone who is, well, bound to you for supernatural reasons.
Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
I started skimming the Vampire Academy books around the time they moved to hardcover, so I had a bunch of “Who?”/“Wait, what happened earlier?”/“Oh, is that what happened?” moments while reading the opening chapters of Bloodlines, the first book in the new VA spinoff. Reading being the keyword here, since I actually read Bloodlines in its entirety (probably because, despite its length, it didn’t feel bloated like the later VA books).
In the world of VA, Alchemists are responsible for keeping the existence of vampires a secret. Although Sydney got in trouble on her last assignment for the Alchemists, she convinces the higher ups to let her take part in an important new assignment: to help protect a Moroi vampire enrolling at a human boarding school. Solving problems is part of her job, so perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that Sydney can’t help but try to unravel a few mysteries she stumbles upon, as well.
My biggest problem with Bloodlines was Sydney whining about being a size 4, because it’s soooooo much bigger (and worse) than a size 2. NO, IT IS NOT. What I liked the most? Adrian. If you read Vampire Academy and are an Adrian fan, read this book.
I borrowed all three books from the public library.