CHANGE YOUR BOOKMARKS!!!

•9 April 2010 • 1 Comment

I’ve moved:

http://www.fragilelittlehuman.com

Beautiful Creatures Discussion Wrap-up

•28 March 2010 • 5 Comments

SPOILER WARNING: This post details the plot of the book Beautiful Creatures. If you have not read the book and don’t want to know what happens, don’t read any further.

I can’t believe this is over!!!!!! I really fell in love with this book and I’m so grateful to you both for hosting this discussion and encouraging me to read it. It’s an excellent story and I’m sorry that our time discussing it is coming to an end. :(
~ One Pushy Fox

Yes, ladies, this is the official end of the Beautiful Creatures book discussion. Many thanks to all our guest posters and commenters, because there would have been no discussion if not for you. And thanks to Greta, who kept this discussion flowing when I was sick.

I’m going to hand it over to Greta…see you again in a few :)

Journey through the Cards

It’s been very entertaining reading this book with you all. I have to admit that there were times when I just wanted to scream at Ethan and say “DUDE! NO!” but then there were times when I just wanted to let the boy swoon me. Here’s to hoping he just gets more dreamier in the books to come.

As most of you know I’m not your run of the mill kind of girl. When I noticed that Amma was into Tarot I have to admit that I squeed like a fan girl and jumped up and down with my Magic 8 Ball. So, I thought that I would just for the fun of it try to line some of the characters up from the Major Arcana just to see if it was possible if maybe… just maybe… the dear authors of Beautiful Creatures outlined the book or came up with some characters traits from one or two of the 22 cards in the deck.

Fool: This would be the starting point. The first card of a deck and the beginning of the story. With one foot about walking off a cliff he’s full of dreams. Remind you of anything?

Magician: Just as his names says this dude knows his Magick. I would almost bet money that this man would be Macon. He’s wise and powerful and just screams UNCLE to me.

High Priestess: The first person I thought when I looked at this card was NOT Amma but Marion. The High Priestess possesses knowledge that she uses to guide you. This led me to believe that Marion was based on her.

Empress: This card is the MOM card. Most mothers can relate to this card but I don’t see Ethan’s mom in this card. I saw Aunt Del and Amma. The real MOMS of the story, in my opinion.

Emperor: You would think this card means DAD if the EMPRESS means MOM. Well, this card can mean that, I guess, but it’s probably means RULER more (At least this is what I’ve been taught). Someone you want to get behind and have LEAD you into battle. But who? Who could be this card? Could it be Macon? Could it be Uncle Barclay? I for actually don’t see a man… I see a committee and a bunch of teenage girls. This is where the DAR, Mrs. Lincoln, and the Savannah Snows of the world come in. Remember… some rulers just get sick with power ;) and where there’s power there’s normally people who want in on a piece of it.

Hierophant: This card doesn’t always mean religion but can mean CONVENTIONAL. I have always seen it to mean someone who gets in your way. Say HELLO to Mrs. Lincoln! and on the other side… say hello to RIDLEY!

Lovers: Need I say more?

Chariot: This card normally means INTO BATTLE and a struggle. To me that represents Lena’s 16th birthday. This card is also LIGHT and DARK like a yin-yang. This could either stand for Castor Girl loves Human Boy or perhaps going light or dark.

Strength: And so the lion fell in love with the lamb. This card doesn’t always mean HERCULES HERCULES! It also means digging down in your heart and going after what you want. I think this card represents Ethan and Lena’s forbidden love but it could also represent the first set of lovers… Genevieve and CW Ethan.

Hermit: This could be MACON or Ethan’s Dad. They both tend to keep to their own homes, but if you think about what this card means its about someone who is gathering information and information within. It’s someone you would go to when you are in need to be guided. It is a wise member of your family who likes to keep to himself. I think this card mainly represents Macon just as I believe the Magician could. But if you think about it… the Hermit is always shown outside his house. Perhaps this is when Macon showed himself to Gatlin when his niece had to go in front of the school board. It was time for Macon to spread the knowledge of what he knew to the towns folks. Oh gasp!

Wheel of Fortune: Right-side up this card is great! Happily Ever After and happy happy birthday. Upside-down and this card is a total downer. Let’s get emo and sulk in the corner. This card would be 16 Moons. What’s in Lena’s future? Does she get to blow out her birthday candles or does she get to burn fire out of her eyes?

Justice: The scales. Trying to make a fair decision. Should Lena just let Ethan go? Should Ethan just let Lena go? What to do what to do? I think this card would be perfect when the two of them had their first little tiff in the wintertime… then as we all know ;) It turned out just fine:)

Hanged Man: You can’t always get what you want. But you can try sometimes… and you just might find… oh there we go. The Hanged Man is trying to do the impossible. He is trying to achieve a goal that just sounds so flat out crazy but there he goes trying to get all Houdini on us. In my mind this card represents Ethan. He’s determined to keep Lena human when he sees all the signs that she’s a Caster girl and natures is just going to take its course. He’s a determined little bugger though. He’s not giving up. No matter what’s thrown at him.

Death: This card doesn’t always mean KAPOOT! It means change is ahead. If Spring didn’t fade away into Autumn then we’d never have Winter. To me this card is Lena. Once she turns 16 there is not turning back. There is change in the wind and you’re just going to have to accept it. It will be ok, though. Doesn’t the caterpillar change into the butterfly? Lena just needs to find her wings.

Temperance: I’ve always had trouble with this card. The best possible meaning I could find for it was ‘A way of balancing opposites’. Lena and Ethan, Genevieve and CW Ethan, Macon and Amma, and even Link and Mrs. Lincoln. This book was full of opposites! But what is it that Paula Abdoul said when she danced with that wolf? I can’t recall….

Devil: Oh God you DEVIL!! Insert Sarafine my little lovely ducks! For this would be where she promises Lena that she can make Ethan her little muffin man. With the DEVIL card you are always reaching for something that is so OH LA LA but OH NO NO NO! Which do you chose? And can you get to it? Will your chains let you reach far enough? Or are you willing to sell you soul to get your grubby little hands on it?

Tower: This card is freaking scary! I mean HELLOS! It’s people falling out of a tower!! Turmoil and crash crash boom!! In my opinion this card are all the dreams that Ethan and Lena share.

Star: This card is hope and healing. This card is in my mind Ethan’s Mom. It would also be a great card for little Ryan.

Moon: Hello Boo. I know there is more to you than just a Caster dog. There has to be. This is also a dream card… and not in the SLEEPING BEAUTY sort of way. In the “I dreamt I was drowning” way.

Sun: This is a happy card. You want this card. This gives you your HAPPILY EVER AFTER. This could be anything from Ethan and Lena’s first kiss to Lena surviving her claiming. But perhaps… it has to deal with Ethan’s mother’s ring…. Lena wanted to keep it safe after her necklace broke. I’m sure that meant the world to Ethan. I’m sure his heart felt the heat of the sun. All that was needed to make this story complete were a couple of white horses and a kiss through a carriage window. You know it’s coming kids. At least I hope it is ;)

Judgement: The best way to describe this card is closing one door and opening another. This is the stroke of midnight. This is when Lena claimed herself. You have to take the good with the bad. You have to learn to go on. You have to adapt. Lena is now has to learn to live without Macon and live as a claimed woman. This card also means hard decisions and that was a doosey to make. Light or Dark, Lena? Which is it going to be? Who are you going to kill? Now, that’s a BIG decision!! This card can also mean Rebirth (which is my favorite meaning for it). I think that when Lena awoke with two different colored eyes that was her rebirth.

World: This one means so many things that all I can say is…. there are a lot of unanswered questions and I can’t wait to read the next book to see if it answers any of them.

It’s been fun kids! I’d like to thank Fragile for letting me help host this. It’s was very interesting to hear all our different thoughts and opinions on each section. Thanks for having me.

What Did You Think?

When I read Beautiful Creatures, I knew it was a book all my Twi friends would love. I’m so glad to see how many picked up the book and got sucked into it just as much as I did.

As a Southern girl, BC really resonated with me. It definitely reflected life in a small Southern town, and I just LOVE the idea that Ethan speaks with a (probably slight) Southern accent :) After Twilight, it was really nice to read a book from a male POV, and Ethan is just super swoony to boot. And Lena…where do I start? She so strong and conflicted, and her mental conversations with Ethan throughout the book are awesome. I’m anxious to see how Lena deals with losing Macon. It’s bound to put a strain on her relationship with Ethan.

So, what did you like about the book? What are you looking forward to in the sequel.

Thought it was a great book. Really kept you guessing. Can’t wait for the next one to come out. I’m not sure what to expect to happen next.
~ Michelle

I really loved the mystery of this story. I’m really interested in the parts still unsolved, particularly Ethan’s mom’s role, her death and the significance of the portrait of Genevieve’s Ethan in our Ethan’s father’s study.
~ One Pushy Fox

This is silly but I liked the descriptions of food the best. I was really sick when I was reading the first book and I may be in hospital when the second one is released, so I’m hoping the next one will be just as good to take my mind off things!
~ Lauren

Favorites – There was quite a bit I liked about this book – the characters were developed well, the mythology (while still fuzzy in spots) was intriguing, and it’s hard not to root for star-crossed lovers, especially when they’re echoing another pair of doomed lovers. I think my favorite thing remains Ethan, however. I love that we viewed this story through his POV (primarily), and he was a sympathetic character that I was rooting for all the way. I’m intrigued to see where the series will go from here – although we’ve passed the 16th moon, it’s clear there’s still a lot more to Lena and Ethan’s story. I hope we’ll see more about the Casters and how they function, learn more about Ethan (and his mother – I still think there’s a story there), and of course how Lena and Ethan will move forward knowing the limits of their relationship.
~ SophiaAnne

I liked at lot that Ethan here was the strong part, a guy who would do anything to save the girl he loves. That’s beautiful. And this against everyone, he didn’t loose focus. It was refreshing reading a Guys POV, since most of the stories are writing from a girls POV. I love about the book, that Dark and Light – Good and Bad are not clear cut here. Look at Macon: for me, he was somehow in between. We have a grey zone here that makes the story more interesting. Also Lena, he’s not all sunshine!! She will have great power and just started to explore her powers and I have the suspicion that she will do some shocking things in the upcoming books, it’s just a feeling though and she will need Ethan to get her back.

I felt a bit lost at the end of the book to be honest, I think this was before I realized that there is sequel and I just wanted to scream at the book!!! But fortunately we get more, unfortunately we have to wait!!!!
I’m excited for the next books and I hope they will prove me wrong and get Macon back! I’m curious about how Lena and Ethan will be able to be together since this is apparently NOT possible.

And: What’s up with Ethan , was it he? And what role does his mom plays?

But I fear that we will not get all answers in the next book, since there will be 3 more books until we (hopefully) get our happily ever after…

Oh and you know what I also loved about the book? It’s not the book itself, it’s again all of us discussing one book that brings us again together and this is wonderful. Apart from that the two lovely authors are just wonderful and I still find it awesome to interact with them in Twitter, this brings such a book even closer to my heart, if that makes any sense. ;)
~ Mrs. Vanquish

I loved the magic of the book! It was very different from any book I have ever read, in a good and refreshing way!

I am totally looking forward to seeing how Lena & Ethan’s relationship grows and how they are going to get around the whole physical aspect of being together. I am looking forward to seeing ultimately how Lena turns (hoping for Light) and hearing more about whether Ethan or his mother had special powers.
~ MyTwilife

I’m a complete sap, thus I heart Ethan and Lena like whoo-hoo plus I’m a huge fan of the lack of a love triangle in this beautiful story. I also adored the rich Southern background and the brilliant cast of characters. Overall, I’m just ready to jump right back into Lena and Ethan’s story and learn where they go next and hope against hope that one day they will be able to be together without fear of a claiming or poor Ethan’s heart stopping! And that Ethan sees all those places on that map of his! And maybe that is dad could get better?! And what if *slaps hand over mouth*
~ Cutie

I loved the ‘culture’ of this book – all the magic and the idea of it. There are still so many questions to be answered, and hopefully the next book will address them. And, I really want these 2 kids to fall harder into love…..
~ uhyesplease

This was the first of the supernatural- fantasy based books I have read that was written from a male POV. It was a nice change to read a story where the main character is strong willed and determined throughtout the entire book. I’m looking forward to learning more about Ethan’s Mom. I really would like to know how she was entangled in the world of Casters. I would also like to see Ethan’s father break out of his funk and participate in Ethan’s life. Maybe Ridley’s attempted murder of him will snap him out of it?
~ Heather (Call of Duty Widow)

BC Giveaways

Remember the BC giveaways we’ve been pimping for the last several weeks? Well, there are winners!!

Let’s Ride the Vanquish BC Bracelet Giveaway: bierbeck

Bewitched Bookworms Signed BC Giveaway: nebilet

Congratulations to the winners!

But we’re not done yet! My super secret surprise? I have two copies of the Twilight graphic novel I’m giving away: one to a guest poster and one to a commenter.

It started with the list. For each time someone commented, they got another entry in the commenter giveaway.

Then I cut all the squares out and folded them up and threw them in a hat. This hat to be specific:

The first group I picked a name from was the guest posters, and you know who’s name I picked?

Woohoo!! Congratulations Ruby!!

Then, I picked a name from all the commenters. I thought it was awesome that one of the most faithful commenters was the winner:

Woohoo!! Congratulations SophiaAnne!!

The End?

In the next few months, there will be two great book discussions to participate in:

Annie’s Eclipse book discussion starts in April @ The Danger Magnet

Cutie’s Hush, Hush book discussion starts in July @ Super Secret Twilight Blog

I encourage you to join in on these discussions. Both ladies have hosted awesome discussions in the past, and I know these upcoming discussions will be just as great!

But what about the next Caster Chronicles book?

On October 26th, the next book in the Caster Chronicles will be released. You can already pre-order Beautiful Darkness at Amazon, and I was THRILLED when I read the description:

Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena’s family of powerful supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.

Sometimes life-ending.

Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan’s eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there’s no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town’s tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.

You know what that means, don’t you? That’s right! Return to this blog for a Beautiful Darkness book discussion in November!!

Again, thanks everyone for participating in the book discussion, posting about it on their blogs, and pimping it on Twitter. Kami and Margaret also followed the discussion, and I know they appreciate everyone’s love for the book, Ethan, and Lena :)

Beautiful Creatures Discussion Recap – Week 9

•25 March 2010 • 2 Comments

SPOILER WARNING: This post discusses the plot of the bookBeautiful Creatures. If you have not read the book and don’t want to know what happens, don’t read any further.

I can’t believe we’re here! Nine weeks went by SO FAST! Well, no more tears – let’s get to it.

1. Do you think anything that Sarafine tells Lena is true? Is she just telling Lena what she must to get her to turn Dark?

Well, it’s unanimous: none of us like Sarafine. Most of us think she’s an outright liar or not exactly or even close to truthful.

I think she is a LIAR LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE! Which makes her a good super evil bad guy.
~ uhyesplease

I don’t know if I would believe anything Sarafine says. I think she is just telling her what she thinks Lena wants to hear to make her go dark.
~ Michelle

Honestly, I wouldn’t trust her – at all!! She would say anything to get Lena on her site! Although I think part of it might be true but I’m also pretty sure that there will be some possibilities to get around it!
~ Mrs. Vanquish

I think Serafine was only telling part of the truth to get Lena to join her side. I wouldn’t be surprised if she left some important details or a workaround out.
~ Lauren

First of all I would not trust her…ever. She wants Lena on her side no matter what the cost. I did think some of what she was saying was true…like about there being a way for Lena and Ethan to be together, but I don’t believe becoming dark is the only way.
~ MyTwilife

I don’t think anyone can trust a word that Sarafine says, do you? Besides the fact that she’s Dark and trying to save her skin, she’s DARK!!!! Of course she’d say anything to get her way. She killed her own husband, people! She has ZERO credibility!
~ One Pushy Fox

I think that Sarafine, like most truly evil characters, is telling the truth. She is however, only giving away the little truths that can manipulate Lena into doing what Sarafine wants.
~ Heather (Call of Duty Widow)

The best con-mans always stick to the truth as best they can as they weave their lies. But of course, their truths are often edited, leaving some of the most important information out. I believe Sarafine is walking the line of truth, siding heavily on the lying side.
~ Cutie

Grr Sarafine pisses me off to no end! Can someone kill her, please?
~ Ruby

Sarafine – Liar, liar pants on fire? I actually don’t think Sarafine’s lying about everything, although I think she’s probably puts her spin on things. Macon confirms what Sarafine is saying when he shows up, about her having the chance to choose, although at a high price. I do think there may be some seed of truth that they’ve found some way Lena and Ethan can be together, although I’m sure there’s a price for that. Book 2 maybe?
~ SophiaAnne

2. What do you think the consequences of the Lena’s cast will be?

Amma tells Lena that there will be consequences of her cast to bring Ethan back, but somehow I don’t think that Macon’s death is the only consequence she’s talking about. What do you think?

I have no idea!
~ Lauren

I have no idea what kind of consequences Lena’s cast will have on them.
~ Michelle

Are we talking about getting Ethan back? If so I believe like it is said you can’t get something from the book without giving it something in return (even if you don’t know what that something is) and in this case Lena gets Ethan back and the book takes Macon. I couldn’t believe it when it happened and I wonder if he is really gone.
~ MyTwilife

I think she payed already the price here with Macons death and I have to say I’m shocked!!!! Why must he die!! Not fair, I loved him. But on the other hand I totally appreciate that the lovely authors made also popular characters die. I guess it was a hard decision! I have to ask them at some point…
~ Mrs. Vanquish

Consequences – Oh, I think there’s going to be bigger price still to pay for Lena’s cast – more than just the loss of Macon. Genevieve’s cast has impacted generations – it’s hard to think Lena’s won’t have weighty consequences. The green and gold seem to signal that Lena’s going to be warring within for some time to come.
~ SophiaAnne

Oooohhh…good one. And I have to say that I see ripple of this going farther than just the second novel. Hmm…..I guess, immediately, the result is pushing back the decision for Dark or Light for another year (I know, lame and obvious, but…). Long term? I think we’re going to see that Lena wishes she had Macon around more and more. Not that she doesn’t love Ethan! And not that she regrets her decision to save him. But Macon was the voice of reason and experience in her world. To lose that is devastating on a whole other level.
~ One Pushy Fox

Book 2. hehe I know I’m a funny one. But honestly, I think book 2 will be dealing heavily with the consequences of Lena’s cast and what it meant to the future of everyone involved.
~ Cutie

The immediate consequence was Ethan’s restored life in exchange for Uncle Macon’s life. The longer term consequences will be explored in the next books I’m sure, like Lena missing her uncle and blaming Ethan for his death.
~ Heather (Call of Duty Widow)

I think we’ll have to just find out in the next book. Tho losing Macon was pretty big. But I’m wondering if it was enough…
~ uhyesplease

And now, let’s have a moment of silence for Macon. *hat off head and over heart*

3. Do you believe, like Ethan, that Macon isn’t really gone?

The people we love aren’t gone as long as we don’t forget them.
~ Lauren

I think Macon isn’t really gone. He’ll still be around to help them figure things out like Ethan’s mom.
~ Michelle

As sad as it is: I think Macon is dead. He’s not coming back, he died so that Ethan can live… Maybe he can appear in dreams?
~ Mrs. Vanquish

I cried so hard over this part…. Truly I don’t want to believe he’s gone. I have the hugest soft spot for the Sandman… *sniffles* But yes… I do think Macon is gone. Poor Marian and he will never be together…
~ Cutie

I have to say that I find it hard to believe Macon’s gone. I want to believe that he’s managed to survive, somehow, some way. My fear, however, is that all that remains of him, besides memories of him, is in Boo.
~ One Pushy Fox

I am not sure. I like to believe that he is not…that maybe somehow he will be back in the next books, but I am not sure. Macon would do anything for Lena, and maybe dying for her so she could have Ethan and the chance at being light was his gift to her.
~ MyTwilife

Macon…ughhhh *sobs* I can’t believe the choices that are put before Lena. I wouldn’t be able to choose.
~ Ruby

Where’s Macon? I hope Macon’s not gone. I really liked him, especially at the end. I understand from his perspective why he wanted to keep the choice from Lena – having to choose between killing one half of your family who you love over the other is a Hobson’s choice no one would want, and a huge burden for a 15 year old. So I can understand why Macon thought he should Lena believe she was like all the rest. We’ve learned that Macon’s a Lilum, but we don’t know much about what that means, although I was left with the impression that Macon and Hunting were born that way. Casters are apparently not immortal, but they’re also not mortal – so I think it’s possible Macon may turn back up in some way as the story continues.
~ SophiaAnne

I’m not sure…I could see it both ways. It seems a big odd that such a huge character would be killed off. Esp since he wasn’t exactly human. I guess we’ll have to just see in the next book!
~ uhyesplease

I really hope that Uncle Macon isn’t really gone. Since he was a supernatural being, maybe he can be resurrected or is conveniently spending time in the underworld.
~ Heather (Call of Duty Widow)

4. What do you make of Lena’s different colored eyes, and how does this relate to her misquote of Frost?

My father’s favorite poet is Robert Frost, and he fostered a healthy love of Frost’s poetry in me (my favorite Frost poem). Reading the Frost reference made me think of my father reciting Frost poems from memory to the captive audience of our family.

I had to look up this poem:

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Gosh I love Frost. Anyway–

So how do I believe the misquote relates to Lena and her different eye colors? Lena is forever changed, just as the Spring brings rebirth, Lena has had a rebirth. I believe the reference here goes deeper than just eye color but what has changed inside of Lena. “something in me died, something in me was born…” And the green was replaced by gold never to be the same again. I agree with Pushy. Lena is in a strange gray area with a potential for evil that wasn’t there before. Either way there is no going back, and one wonders if she can ever truly be all light or all dark.
~ Cutie

Green and Gold – Lena’s evasion of the Casting Moon coupled with her casting to save Ethan have clearly put her in an unusual place. It seems like she’s split now – both Light and Dark, and as I said earlier, I suspect Lena’s going to have an internal war as to which side will win. Her reversal of the Frost quote seems to suggest that she thinks it’s a battle she can’t win.
~ SophiaAnne

Lena is now both light and dark since she isn’t claimed yet, she still can be anything. I think he will have to decide next year again since I don’t think something like “being in between” is possible, you need to be on one side.
~ Mrs. Vanquish

I think Lena’s different colored eyes mean she’s good maybe with a little bad in her.
~ Michelle

In regards to Lena ‘misinterpreting’ the lines, I think she was referring to her good side, and her green eye. She’s afraid she’ll turn completely ‘gold’ and lose the good inside herself.
~ Lauren

I think the symbolism here is that at the end of the book she’s even more intimately entwined in both Light and Dark than she was at the beginning of the book. Whereas a the beginning she merely had the potential to be Light or Dark, she is now made up of both. And I agree with Lauren that the misquote of the Frost part is about her fear. Even though she knows she has free choice next year at her claiming, she still fears she’ll wind up Dark. Which is chilling to me and makes me wonder if she feels a) by casting the spell that saved Ethan and killed Macon, she’s already chosen Dark or b) that the ability to choose is really an illusion and that she has no control over her fate still.
~ One Pushy Fox

I think it has something to do with the fact that she is teetering on the brink of light and dark. I believe her eyes will one day be the same color again depending on which way she goes…light or dark.
~MyTwilife

Like everyone else, I think Lena is definitely firmly in the grey area between Light and Dark. She now has a year before she has to decide which direction she will go, but that year is going to be very difficult.
~ Heather (Call of Duty Widow)

I dunno – that was a really interesting touch – and is such a buildup for the next book. i have to admit i was a bit disappointed that the huge buildup of light/dark didn’t happen and we have to wait.
~ uhyesplease

Since several of you were so kind as to bring up the second book in the Caster Chronicles series, check out my post on the Bewitched Bookworms blog to see the cover of the next book and find out it’s release date.

Don’t forget to enter Mrs. Vanquish’s BC giveaway, where she’s going to give an awesome bracelet by Mary Tippett Designs to one lucky discussion participant! You’re running out of time to enter – the giveaway is tomorrow!

You’ve also got a chance to win a signed copy of BC from the Bewitched Bookworms blog! The giveaway is March 28th.

Last but not least, thank you to all our wonderful commenters this week!

Lauren ~ One Pushy Fox ~ Mrs. Vanquish
MyTwilife ~ Cutie ~ Ruby ~ SophiaAnne
Heather (Call of Duty Widow) ~ uhyesplease ~ Michelle

Don’t forget to come back for Sunday’s wrap-up post and a big surprise!

A present for Bex

•23 March 2010 • Leave a Comment

Once upon a time, there was a Christmas gift exchange hosted by The Lemon Sisters.  When the TLS elves sent me the name of my giftee, it was Bex, an awesome lady from the UK. I sent her a box packed with grits, Easy Mac, and vanilla Tootsie Rolls. I also included a gift certificate for a one-shot of her choosing.

This is the prompt she tweeted me:

Becky_Boodles: Ok so I was thinking a chance encounter in the supermarket over the last tub of Chunky Munkey ice cream? X
Becky_Boodles: Yeah E & B :) Is that ok? You happy to write that? Rate that badboy M? Lots of smut, cussing & humour? :) Perhaps they could compromise &
Becky_Boodles: Share the ice cream……in bed… ;)

And, although I’m sure she thinks I’ve forgotten all about it, here’s the one-shot I wrote for her:

Yes, I know, it’s the worst banner EVER…cut me some slack ;)

It is BY FAR the smuttiest thing I’ve ever written. Here’s the summary:

Will a chance meeting with an old friend and a pint of Chunky Monkey make Bella’s day better or worse? AH, M for language and a big, huge lemon.

Bex, sorry it took so long, but I totally didn’t forget you – hope you like the story!

Chunky Monkey on FFn

Beautiful Creatures Book Discussion – Week 9

•21 March 2010 • 13 Comments

OMG, can you believe it’s the last week of our discussion! I hope lots of people were able to discover a most excellent book, and, along the way, get addicted to it right along with the rest of us.

This week, we’re doing the discussion ourselves (Greta = normal font, me = blue). Hope you like it!  But as always, a warning:

SPOILER WARNING: This post details the plot of the book Beautiful Creatures. If you have not read the book and don’t want to know what happens, don’t read any further.

2.11 Family Reunion

After putting Ethan’s Dad safely into the hands of the reenactment medics, Ethan started to run. He wanted to get to Lena as quickly as possible. He wanted to protect her from who knows what. He couldn’t run fast enough.

Just like in every story key things have to fall into place. You have to make up with your best friend in hopes of having a happy ending with your bro-mance. Check, cue Link following at Ethan’s heels and telling Ethan how right he was about Ridley.

There has to be a mysterious figure to chase after. Check, cue Larkin in the shadows leading the way.

There has to be something that makes you gasp. Check, cue Mrs. Lincoln standing near Lena and Larkin at Greenbrier near Genevieve’s grave.

Things were not as they seemed. Ethan tried to speak to Lena inside her head but she wouldn’t answer. Something wasn’t right. Something was terribly wrong. Someone could smell the rat from a mile away. Mrs. Lincoln wasn’t who she appeared to be. She smiled at the boys and spoke like a Stepford Wife.. all robotic and TUT TUT DEAR. THEN! Then then then she called her WESLEY – LINK-

Red alert! All hands to battle stations.

Oh snap!! Did any of you catch that before Ethan thought it? I sure did. So, who on earth is inside Mrs. Lincoln’s body? Did she just decide that there’s no use in fighting a Ravenwood and to come on down from off her bake sale high horse and make friends? Did she decide that teenagers want a sense of individuality and thus decided to give into her son’s nickname that she has openly hated for years and years? Or…could it be? Well, of course it could be!! A story wouldn’t be a story without a climatic battle with the wicked witch. Sarafine took over Mrs. Lincoln’s body.

Sarafine cooed to her baby girl as she made the bright lights of the sky blaze overhead. Sending bolts of lightening all around then right on top of Lena, herself.

Lena hissed at her mother and renounced their relationship. Of course this is what any teen would do, mortal or not. When your mom is nuts it’s best to keep your distance. When your mom is short a bag of hammers…well, it’s probably best to steer clear. When you’re not sure if you’re going to take another breath in 10 seconds because your mom might just kill you…well, you probably should hope for your sake that you have some casting blood inside your veins because chances are you’re going to need it.

I had been thinking this whole time that Mrs. Lincoln was some sort of supernatural being. I really thought there was a hidden story behind her. There was, but not like I expected. Seems like all those times where we all scratched our heads and whispered to each other about Mrs. Lincoln acting wacky were times when Sarafine was inside her body leading her around like an avatar (not the airbendy type). Now, the story is starting to make sense. It wasn’t Mrs. Lincoln that was out to get Ethan and Lena… it was SARAFINE!! And what a disguise!! Who in their right mind would think twice about a Volvo Driving Soccer Mom going all ballistic about odd things happening at school. Bring out the Steal Magnolia’s cast… you know you’ve seen them. The big haired ladies that just want to cause drama. Trust me… when you live in the south those ladies are always behind something that makes a child’s life a bit more difficult. I would have never thought twice about Mrs. Lincoln back when I was in school. Good disguise, Sarafine!! Good disguise!

And then we learn that’s exactly what Mrs. Lincoln was…a good disguise. For you see my little ducks…Mrs. Lincoln’s body split in two, just like you were taking off your jacket by its zipper…Mrs. Lincoln’s body was falling in half. Once dropped to the ground in a pile of flesh there stood the mother of Lena in all her dark caster glory. Now, I was a little excited that we might have just witnessed the death of Mrs. Lincoln and that Link was now an orphan who might want to seek revenge on the caster world…but dangs it!! That didn’t happen. Mrs. Lincoln’s body became whole again, and Sarafine guaranteed Link that his Mommy would be alright once she woke up.

As soon as Sarafine has shed Mrs. Lincoln’s skin, she asked Larkin to bleed out those beautiful colored eyes of his and show the yellow ones within. That’s right kids!! Larkin has gone dark. The one cousin that Ethan trusted was in on it all along. Now, that makes for a clever twist.

Of course Lena and Ethan are both gasping that Larkin is a bad boy. What? The leather jacket didn’t give him away? And wasn’t the snake in the Bible a bad influence? Yeah, we probably should have seen this one coming.

Sarafine explains that since she was the first Natural to be born in the family it was mandatory that she goes dark. That’s kind of odd but ok… it makes for good storytelling. But the second generation gets to choose. Here we go kids… CLAIM YOURSELF…

While Sarafine explains that good ol’ Uncle Macon has lied to Lena all these years she tells her daughter how there is a choice to be made. That when you are a second generation naturalist you get to pick which side you want to play on. You can either be a hero or a villain. You don’t have to play the Joker if you don’t want to. If you want to be a Power Ranger then kudos to you. But you get to decide.

This strikes a nerve with Lena. She can’t believe that her uncle has never told her and just as if it was staged…WOOSH!!…in materializes Macon from out of the blue with Boo. Macon tells Sarafine she isn’t welcome to tonight’s festivities, and while this is what Sarafine expected to hear she tells Macon that her party guest is going to be rather upset. And do you know what happens? Why another LEATHER COAT materializes and in walks Macon’s brother, Hunting.

What do these author’s have against leather? Is it bad boy code that you have to wear one? Well, maybe.

RAWR

Hunting has a nice little family reunion with his brother and tells him how he’s a dark creature and needs to accept who he really is. Lena’s not really interested in hearing those two bicker with each other so she starts asking if Sarafine is telling the truth. With a pause and a gulp she learns that her mom was right. There is a choice. Lena is filled with joy to hear this new possible turn of events but now who does she listen to? The mother she just met or the uncle who has been trying to protect her with lies her entire life?

Of course Lena is probably thinking, “Hey, I’ll just go light. That’s what I want.” But tut tut tut girlfriend. Not so fast. There are rules. I know I know. It’s not as simple as buying a vowel and solving the puzzle. Oh noes. That would be a tad bit too simple and the book would come to an end right then and there. We have two more chapters to go. There has to be some obstacles in the way.

If Lena goes LIGHT then all the DARK CASTERS and LILUM in the fam will die. This means bye bye Mommy and Uncle Macon.

If Lena chooses to go DARK then all the Light Casters will kick the bucket and she gets to keep Uncle Macon in her life.

Like I said, it would be too easy to end it with a happily ever after. Where would the sequel be in that?

Just like Dumbledore or the Wizard of Oz, Macon rushes to Lena and tells her that he knew. For this was the secret he has been hiding. Go dark and let him go, it’s the only way.

Ok…back up. Now, I seriously think that if LENA chooses to go LIGHT that MACON will live because he’s a good guy, even if everyone is labeling him with a bad title. Just like the Tin Man there’s a heart of gold inside him. He’s just in the wrong shell. But I can’t tell you what happens till later. It wouldn’t be fair now would it?

Lena is all gasping and going all Kstew in the hospital bed with PattyCake. *sigh* Really? Well, I guess it makes for a good story but if we do this in the movie I’m gonna be a tad bit upset. And then Mommy dearest lays it on thick. Oh what a cliffy. She slinks up to her daughter and whispers in her ear how there is a way for Ethan and her to be with each other. Lena is all “What the french toast mom? We’re already together?” But Mommy then gets out her number two pencil and educates her dear one. Class, today’s lesson is about Casters and Mortals. It doesn’t end well. It always ends in death. “Lena, honey child, you stay with Ethan and he’s gonna wind up dead.”

Now, that my friends, makes for a great cliffy.

2.11 The Claiming

Casters cannot be with Mortals without killing them.

It all made sense now. The elemental connection between us. The electricity, the shortness of breath whenever we kissed, the heart attack that had almost killed me – we couldn’t be together physically?

What?! Okay now, I know there’s three more books in this series, and, being a Twihard, I’m familiar with UST. But come on, wouldn’t a portable defibrillator take care of this little problem? ;)

As Ethan stands there, he realized that this is the truth, that it’s what Macon and Amma have been trying to tell them all along. Lena realizes it, too. Sarafine continues to twist the knife, telling them they can never marry or have children, that a normal life is not possible for them. Macon tells them he didn’t say anything because he didn’t realize the connection was so strong until it was too late.

Although Macon says she’s lying, Sarafine tells Lena that, if she turns dark, there’s a way that she and Ethan could be together, in all the ways they want. Can Lena allow all the Light members of her family to die in order to be with Ethan?

And the storm clouds continue to gather.

Macon explains that, once she’s dark, Lena’s heart will be dark, too, and she likely won’t care anything about Ethan anymore. He then challenges Sarafine to tell Lena what happened to her father. When Sarafine glosses over the story, Macon tells them that he died from a fire…a fire Sarafine set.

With this, Sarafine decides Macon has interfered enough, and sends Hunting to deal with him. In a fierce fight, both Casters disappearing and reappearing on top of each other, Hunting bites Macon’s neck, and they both disappeared then reappeared.

What was he doing? Was he feeding? I didn’t know enough to know how or if it was even possible. But whatever Hunting was taking, it seemed to be draining Macon.

When Hunting releases him, Macon falls the ground. As the noises of the approaching reenactment get louder, so do the growls and howls of Boo Radley, who jumps at Hunting. Larkin morphs into a pile of vipers, scaring Boo back. Hunting appears behind the frightened animal and chokes him until he goes limp, tossing him next to his master’s body.

Ethan can see that Lena isn’t going to join her dark relatives, and, as they form a line to face her, Lena stops them by creating a fire time between them. Sarafine tells Lena that she’ll never lie and can give Lena a future with “the Mortal.”

Lena surrounds the Dark ones with flames and laughs.

A dark laugh, like her mother’s. Even from across the clearing, it made me shiver.

And, the part that made me do a fist pump? Lena to Sarafine:

We all know what a bitch you are, Mother. It’s the one thing I think we can all agree on.

Sarafine blows and spreads the fire until it surrounds Lena. It’s a wild west Caster stand off.

Lena takes a ball of fire into her hands and throws it into the tree behind Ethan, breaking the force field around him and Link. Ethan moves toward Lena, Link toward his mother. Walking over to Lena, Ethan touches her shoulder and, in his head, tells her he loves her. Lena tells him not to say anything because Sarafine can hear them and probably always has. Looking across the flames, Ethan can see the Dark ones and knows they want to kill them.

Lena sends Ethan after Ryan, wanting to help Macon. Ethan runs, concentrating on his and Lena’s love.

Whatever Sarafine had done to sever the connection between us, it no longer mattered. Lena was back in my heart and my head. As I ran through the uneven fields, that was all I cared about.

Except for the fact that it was almost midnight. I ran faster.

I love you, too. Hurry

*swoon*

When Ethan looks at his cell it’s 11:25 PM. Running to Ravenwood, he can’t get in the house. Link follows, still wondering if anything he’s seen is real. Realizing he can’t get the help of the Light Casters, Ethan calls the one person he knows will help him: Amma. But Amma doesn’t answer, so he tries Marian at the library. No answer there, either. Link reminds Ethan it’s a holiday, and the library isn’t open because it’s a holiday. Then Ethan remembers: she’s at the Caster library! Ethan and Link jump in the Beater and head for library. When they arrive, it’s 11:45 PM.

Running into the library, Ethan calls out for Marian, who sneaks up behind him, scaring him and Link. Ethan tells Marian what’s going on and that he needs to use the tunnels to get into Ravenwood. When Marian tells Ethan that she can’t get involved, he tells her he simply needs her to do her job: deliver a book to Ravenwood. Marian takes the book and begins to lead Ethan and Link through a maze of tunnels.

Finally reaching Ravenwood, Ethan turns to take the book from Marian, who says he doesn’t have a valid library card and says she must deliver the book herself. When he looks at his cell, it’s still 11:45 PM, and he’s confused. You can almost imagine Marian rolling her eyes.

Lunar time. You kids never listen. Things aren’t always as they seem, down below.

Entering Ravenwood’s main hall, Ethan calls for the Light Casters, who all appeared ready to take out the enemy. They’re relieve to see Ethan and Marian, and everyone asks Ethan what’s going on. When Ethan asks Ryan for help, Gramma pats her on the cheek and tells Ethan, “For tonight, I am Ryan, Ethan.” She’s an empath and can borrow the powers of others. She’s borrowed Ryan’s power so the girl won’t go outside and be in danger.

It’s now 11:49 PM.

In order to make it to Lena in time, Aunt Del leads Ethan, Marian, and the others back into the tunnels toward Greenbrier. Aunt Del finds the door, which Marian unlocks, and it leads into the crypt! And the Book is lying on the table!

Surrounded by fire, Ethan struggles to find Lena. Lena tells him to help Macon…and it’s only seven minutes until midnight.

Gramma grabs Ethan’s hand and they run to find Macon. The entire garden is burning, and they run through the smoke, finding Macon. Gramma says he weak but will be okay. Macon stirs and asks where Lena is. They then move to help Mrs. Lincoln. As she helps Link’s mother, Ethan hears Lena in his head, telling him she’s stuck on the roof of the crypt.

Running through the flames, Ethan can feel his skin burning. He climbs on top of a gravestone and onto a wall, grabbing onto a statue on top of the crypt. When he reaches the top, he comes face to face with Sarafine.

And she stabs him!

This is the part of the book where this happens to me:

Me: *GASP* OMFG! (except I didn’t use the letters…I’m a bad, bad girl.)

DH: What?! What’s wrong?! Are you okay?!

Me: She stabbed Ethan! *sob* The bitch stabbed Ethan! *sob*

DH: *shaking head* *rolling eyes*

As Ethan falls, Sarafine is in his head.

Let her try to stay Light now.

Ethan lies dying, thinking of how much he’s like Ethan Carter Wate.

Dreaming about a Caster girl I would always love. Just like the other Ethan.

And suddenly, we’re in Lena’s head.

Seeing her mother stab Ethan, Lena can’t move, everything around her is frozen. She sees Ethan’s lifeless body and goes to take his hand, dangling off the crypt in hers.

I sobbed until I couldn’t breathe and my fingers slipped through his, knowing I would never feel those fingers in my hair again.

*heartfail*

Lena begins to say the words from the Book of Moons, and she hears a voice and looks to see Amma standing beside her. Amma says that Lena, not the Greats, brought her there; Lena doesn’t understand the depths of her powers. Amma tells Lena that she’s not Dark, but not Light either. When Lena looks up, there is no Moon, and Amma says that there likely cannot be a claiming if there’s no Moon at midnight.

They open the Book. Amma tells Lena that what she wants to do might not work and that there will be consequences, but her great-great-aunt Ivy and the Greats will help if they can. Lena realizes that Amma brought the Book of Moons to the crypt.

Amma pulls Lila’s ring from under Lena’s sweatshirt and tells Lena Ethan must have loved her “somethin’ fierce” to give it to her. Amma thinks Lila has been trying to help them all along. Taking the ring off Lena’s necklace, Amma puts it on Lena’s finger and tells her that she had something Genevieve never had: the love of two families.

Grabbing the locket form Ethan’s pocket, Amma puts it on the Book, to “remind everyone that you’ve already got the curse.” Then she also lays her own charm on the Book to “remind everyone, if they’re messin’ with my boy, they’re messin’ with me.”

Lena begins to chant, her hands on the pages, and Amma takes her hands and chants with Lena as she repeats the Cast:

A love song — to Ethan Lawson Wate, from the two people who love him most. And we would miss him most if we failed.

Lena, Amma, the Book, and the crypt are struck by what seems like lightening. As Amma is thrown back, Lena can feel Ethan and their love for each other. Lena sees a golden light, which appears to be coming from her, and Ethan is bathed in it. Lena thinks the Cast didn’t work.

Angry, Lena raises her hands to the sky, divining bolts of lightening that strike Hunting, Larkin, and Sarafine. They all disappear in flame, and rain begins to fall. When Lena turns back to the crypt, Ethan is gone. Macon is there in his place. Amma is staring at Macon, wondering how she will bear the weight of the world without him. Lena shakes her, and Amma explains that you can’t get something for nothing.

Letting her anger stir the weather around her, Lena realizes the Book made a trade. She runs to Ethan, who is lying in the garden next to Boo, but, when she touches him, he’s cold. She cries, refusing to say goodbye. Then she feels Ethan’s fingers begin to move.

2.12 Silver Lining

With one minute to go before the end of the day (that’s just a fancy way of saying it’s almost midnight lol), Ethan rouses himself and through a wet drizzle of rain and a display of weak fireworks in the sky his mind is as foggy as a morning in April after a night of rain (that’s pretty foggy, folks). He can’t remember quite what happened after being thrown from the angel statue he was trying to climb to get to the top of the crypt. All he knows for sure is Macon is dead and Lena is in tears.

The next morning, Ethan figures out what happened the previous night. Gramma explains that Macon was not as strong as Hunting because he fed on dreams rather than blood.

Macon always said he would do anything for Lena. In the end, he was a man of his word.

Everyone else is okay and back at Ravenwood. No one can bring themselves to tell Aunt Del that Larkin was Dark. Mrs. Lincoln remembers nothing and is at least civil to to everyone. Ethan plans to try to explain things to Link at school.

Ethan knows that Sarafine, Hunting, and Larking are gone, but he doesn’t know what happened to them. He knows that Lena managed to block the Moon and as a result the Claiming, but Lena isn’t telling him anything or talking much in general. They had fallen asleep, hand-in-hand, on Lena’s floor, but Ethan wakes up alone, finding all her bedroom walls blank save one. Even though the writing looks different, Ethan knows it’s Lena’s. It is a lament for Macon and everything that had died the night before.

something in me died, something in me was born, i only knew
the girl was gone
whoever i was now, i would never be her again this is the way
the world ends not with a band but a whimper

He notices Lena gets a Frost quote wrong, saying nothing green can stay.

Going into the kitchen, Ethan hears Aunt Del and Gramma talking about arrangements, and it reminds him of when his mother died. Asking them where Lena is, Gramma tells him he knows.

On top of the crypt where Macon took his last breath is where he found his Lena. It made sense for her to want to be close to Macon even if he wasn’t there physically. Ethan is sure that a part of Macon will always be there. Wanting to take the pain away from Lena beating herself up over Macon’d death, he did the best thing that any teenage boy could do. Taking her hand he kissed every finger until he came to one with a ring…. his mother’s ring. Learning that Lena’s necklace of treasures broke the night before Ethan’s love for her almost burst. She wanted to keep the ring safe. She didn’t want to loose it. And just like the fairytale goes…. they don’t want to lose each other.

I never loved you any more than I do, right this second. And I’ll never love you any less than i do, right this second.

Ok kids… Did you swoon? Oh my my my…. I know I did!! That whole section… JEPPERS!! What a swoontacular section!

But… now… dig this…. One of Lena’s eyes is her lovely green and another one of her eyes is a hazely gold. Owwws!! Foreshadowing perhaps? Could she be half good and half bad?

Heading home around noon, Ethan decides to walk, needing to clear his head. He feels the locket in his pocket and decides he needs to give it back to the other Ethan, just as Genevieve wanted. He hopes it gives Ethan Carter some peace. Walking home, he thinks about the first drive and the first storm, about almost losing his dad and Lena, and about losing Macon. He knows things with be hard for Lena without Macon and will help her through it. Ethan thinks, though, that Macon isn’t really gone but is somewhere still looking out for them.

The right thing and the easy thing are never the same. No one knew that better than Macon.

Pulling his iPod out of his pocket, Ethan finds a new song and clicks on it.

It’s called Seventeen Moons.

Seventeen moons, seventeen years,
Eyes where Dark or Light appears,
Gold for yes and green for no,
Seventeen the last to know.

THE END?

Questions

1. Do you think anything that Sarafine tells Lena is true? Is she just telling Lena what she must to get her to turn Dark?

2. What do you think the consequences of the Lena’s cast will be?

3. Do you believe, like Ethan, that Macon isn’t really gone?

4. What do you make of Lena’s different colored eyes, and how does this relate to her misquote of Frost?

5. Okay, this is for the wrap up post next Sunday. Tell us what you liked most about this book and what you’re looking forward to in the sequels.

Oh, and you must be sure to come back next Sunday. I have (to borrow a phrase from Cutie) a super secret surprise!! :)

Beautiful Creatures Discussion Recap – Week 8

•18 March 2010 • 2 Comments

SPOILER WARNING: This post discusses the plot of the book Beautiful Creatures. If you have not read the book and don’t want to know what happens, don’t read any further.

It’s so hard to believe that we’re only a week away from the last recap post! *sniffle* Where in the world has the last 8 weeks gone?

Many thanks again to Cutie for her completely awesome discussion post! And she may have mentioned that later this year she’s doing a Hush, Hush discussion on her blog – make sure to keep an eye out for it!

So, here we go with our next to last recap *sob*

1. What do you make of Macon’s confessions to Ethan? And do you, like Ethan, feel that he is holding back an essential piece of the puzzle?

Oh, that Macon! Just when you think you might kinda sorta a little bit have him figured out, he dumps even more weirdness into your lap! I don’t trust him as far as I can throw him. What do y’all think?

I was FLOORED by Macon’s appearance in Ethan’s room and his confession as to WHAT he truly is. I do think Macon holds information back from Ethan here, it definitely seems to be his standard M.O. but I loved the sense of loss and longing in his speech about the beautiful creatures. It almost seems to me that he had loved and lost his own beautiful creature. It’s something I’ve been wondering about ever since I read the book and a question I hope is answered one way or another in the later books.
~ One Pushy Fox

I totally think that MACON is holding back. It wouldn’t be a series if there wasn’t more to the story. I sometimes thought that MACON might be Lena’s real dad. You think?

I don’t get why MACON is trying to keep all the ending from Ethan’s dreams out of his head. What is he so worried about? It must be something big. Perhaps Macon has been there before. Maybe there was a girl in the past that he wasn’t able to keep and he’s just trying to keep both kids safe. I don’t think he’s trying to be mean… I think he’s just trying to keep a watchful eye on things.
~ Greta

Well knowing that Macon’s an Incubus, and not a Caster, but enlightens and confuses me. He has seemed to have different powers, but he’s related to Lena – so is being a Caster not genetic? Are they not actually a separate “species” at CW Ethan out it? Curiouser and curiouser. I think Macon is doing what he thinks is best for Lena – I an convinced that he truly cares for her and wants to protect her – so while I think he’s holding back something, I’m not sure that it’s an essential piece that could save her. I think it’s more likely that he’s holding back something that he thinks will frighten Ethan completely away, and whatever power it is that Ethan has that might help with Lena’s situation would be lost. That’s working off a big assumption that Macon’s acting in what he believes are Lena’s best interest, but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt for now – he’s definitely grown on me.
~ SophiaAnne

Macon has been stealing the ending of Ethan’s dreams for months, he knows much more than he’s letting on. I still don’t get how Macon is related to Lena and everybody when they are Caster’s and he is an Incubus.
~ Heather (Call of Duty Widow)

I think that Mason is basically good even though is is kind of scary and creepy. I do think he is holding something back. I do not know what it is, and I think he has good intentions by holding back. I think he truly cares for her and wants whats best for her. I think there is alot more to learn about Macon.
~ bierbeck

2. Having read The Heart of Darkness (if you have seen Apocalypse Now the movie is based off the short story) and knowing the story of Glacitica swallowing the universe, it was clear to me that Ethan was not escaping by reading but wallowing in his own depression. Interestingly enough, the so called stronger species in this story (Lena) is unable to handle the stress she faces, while Ethan man’s up and wallows in private where he cannot hurt her. Which got me thinking, who do you view as the strongest person in Lena and Ethan’s relationship? Ethan? Lena? Or are they pretty even? And in the end, how will this effect the outcome of the story?

I have to admit that I usually see Ethan as the stronger of the two. He seems to be willing to tough it out when Lena is ready to throw in the towel. Then again, Lena’s got a lot of crap on her shoulders, and she has to be strong just to get through it.

Some of you thought Ethan was the stronger of the two:

I always thought of Ethan being the stronger one. Maybe it was always his positive attitude but he just seemed like the more powerful to me, especially in his belief that everything will turn out ok.
~ One Pushy Fox

I think Ethan is the stronger of the two. Like I said last week, I think Lena is been kind of whiney and Ethan has been holding it together much better. Also Ethan can leave this situation any time, but he chooses to stay and work through it. Lena is strong because she has to deal with this possibly terrible thing that is coming. When you have no choice in the matter you will find the strength to figure it out. But Ethan does not have to stay, but has found the strength to stay. I know I am rambling. Does that make sense?
~ bierbeck

Ethan is definitely by far the strongest in their relationship. He has been the one time and time again to hold strong and soldier forward while Lena is always retreating and standing down. She is resigned to her fate, while Ethan knows that you make your own fate from the beginning. As to how this affects the outcome of the story, Lena must make the giant leap in becoming much stronger as a person. She has to step up to Ethan’s level or their relationship is doomed. Such an inequity in human will can be a deal breaker eventually.
~ Heather (Call of Duty Widow)

One thought it was Lena:

I think Lena is the strongest. I think she wants ETHAN to be the man of the relationship and hold her hand through times becuase believe it or not… that is the girl thing to do. I think in the end it will be ETHAN who will be the one falling and not LENA.
~ Greta

And one was indecisive like me ;) :

This is kind of hard for me to tell, because we have the advantage of being in Ethan’s POV, not Lena’s, so we viewing her through his filter. And she’s also the one things are about to happen to – Ethan loves her, whatever happens will impact him, but he’s not the one about to be claimed. So they’re facing two different things – she’s facing loss of self and identity, in addition to possibly losing her first love, and he’s just facing the latter. So . . . given all that, although Lena’s definitely not handling everything that well, in some ways the fact that she’s still there at all indicates how strong she is. Although Ethan is too. I don’t know! Pretty even, I think! I think they’re both doing better than I would! In the end, I think the fact that they’re both pretty even will be important, that they’ll both have to make choices and possibly sacrifices to try to deal with this curse, and they’ll both need to be strong to do so.
~ SophiaAnne

3. If Lena had never met Ethan, do you think she’d had the strength necessary to face her birthday? Or were the two destined to meet?

Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.
~ Marcus Aurelius

Were our young lovers brought together by destiny or chance?  I’m a sucker for destiny, but what do you think?

I’m completely on the destiny bandwagon. Those two have been pulled together like magnets before they ever met, and there have been too many “coincidences” for them to actually be coincidences – they were meant to be. I think Ethan was her destiny so that she’d have the strength to face her birthday.
~ SophiaAnne

If Lena had never met Ethan, she would have waited depressingly for her birthday thinking there is nothing that she can do about her fate. She would not even contemplate the possibility of being able to claim herself. I do believe that the two were destined to meet. Too many coincidences brought them together and helped them many times to be just random occurrences.
~ Heather (Call of Duty Widow)

I do think Lena would have found the strength to handle it even without Ethan. As I stated in my last comment- I think people find the strength to deal with things when they have to. I state this from personal experience. However, saying that, I do think Ethan and Lena were destined to meet and he definitly makes a big difference in helping her find more strength. Even if you have to face something alone, its nice to have someone to share it with.
~ bierbeck

I definitely believe that Ethan and Lena were fated to meet. I think they are each others fates and I agree with Greta that there’s something about their love that seems to echo that of Ethan and Genevieve in a reincarnation sort of way. BUT if Lena didn’t have Ethan to lean on, I still think she would have faced these changes. For one thing, she doesn’t have much choice, but also, she has Macon and the GOOD Casters in her family to help her.
~ One Pushy Fox

I think the two were destined to meet. I mean they have been dreaming about each other for now and a day… it was bound to happen.
~ Greta

4. After the real kiss, Ethan declares “We’re really going to have to figure out what to do about that.” What exactly is that? What do you make of the heart attacks and crazy happenings whenever Ethan and Lena touch or kiss?

Okay, I’ve read and written enough fanfic to know that true lovers always feel a shock when they touch, but this is going a bit far, don’t you think? Is it a sign of Lena’s power or one big warning sign that maybe they should keep their hands off each other?

I think there is still more to Ethan than we know. I think there is some of power in him that he has not figured out. Maybe their powers clash in some way? I think there is alot more to learn about Ethan.
~ bierbeck

Every time they get hot and heavy, Ethan is electrocuted and his heart starts to fail. I think that as a mortal, Ethan is a sort of lightning rod for Lena’s magic which manifests itself as electricity.
~ Heather (Call of Duty Widow)

I think the electricity that pours through Ethan when he kisses Lena is a direct result of her power unleashing when she’s in a vulnerable place. I know that Macon would point to it and say that it’s one more reason they can’t be together, but I’d be willing to bet that it’s something Lena can learn to harness and control.
~ One Pushy Fox

I always took it to be something like Bella and Edward. You know.. the feeling of young love and the electricity that runs through the bits. Uhhh what? Oh yeah, baby.. I said it. But, since LENA is one for shattering windows and starting up storms I figure that her getting a little tongue action from Ethan just makes her loose her concentration and BAMO. I would think STORM or ROGUE form the Xmen would do the same thing.
~ Greta

I’ve been putting down Ethan and Lena’s “electric connection” to her budding powers and not really having everything under control quite yet. We know Ridley has been interacting with Linc, so there’s another human/Caster relationship (of sorts) going on, and Linc’s not dead (yet), so I’m assuming that it won’t literally kill a human and Caster to be together. I think this must tie into Lena’s particular gifts as a Natural that she doesn’t have a handle on yet, especially since there seem to often be quite a few side effects when they kiss besides Ethan’s heart problems!
~ SophiaAnne

5. Why did Ridley relent and let Ethan’s dad live? Was it due solely to Link? Bordem? A moment of compassion? And what does this say about the claiming and it’s power? Is there a way to defeat the curse?

I think that, deep down, Ridley isn’t as bad as she tries to be on the outside. She didn’t want to be Dark, and I think, if she really tried (and if someone encouraged her to), she might just break the curse.

I love that Ridley, despite claimed for Dark still has a conscience. I firmly believe she relented because she felt the human emotion of regret. She didn’t get to know her parents. She never had time with her father. And I think the idea of killing someone else’s parent was abhorrent to her. In addition to that, I think that she doesn’t want to hurt Ethan because 1) he was kind to her, even though he knows what she is and even if his kindness was partially siren induced and 2) Ethan is Lena’s beloved and she does still care for Lena, I’d bet the farm on that.
~ One Pushy Fox

I think RIDLEY let ETHAN’S dad live because she really does dig LINK and she just was able to overpower her bad mojo and be a girl for a few minutes.

I really think that the curse can be defeated but maybe in small doses.
~ Greta

I know Ridley’s supposed to be the bad guy, but I feel for her. I don’t think letting Ethan’s dad live was out of boredom – I think there was some compassion, and maybe even some emotion for Link that made her do it. Ridley went Dark, but she has these little lost girl flashes at times that make you wonder exactly what that even means – if she’d gone light, wouldn’t she still have been a Siren? Is there a “light” way to seduce people into doing what you want? Does being Dark = evil, or are there other layers here? We’ve seen that Macon’s not exactly pure as the driven snow and not above manipulating people, even those he loves, and these others have remained peripheral enough characters that I’m not sure what being light entails for them, exactly. Ridley’s not so complete darkness does suggest that maybe the curse isn’t complete though and that someone who’s dark may still be able to be good sometimes.
~ SophiaAnne

I truly believe that Ridley is not completely evil. It’s pretty clear that she wasn’t using Link only for “business” and she does have feelings for him. The fact that Ridley shows some compassion with her actions, although not with her words, proves that the claiming is not absolute. You can be claimed Dark and not be completely evil. I’m sure there’s a way to break the curse. Isn’t there always?
~ Heather (Call of Duty Widow)

I truly think Ridley is not as evil as she is supposed to be. I think somewhere inside the old person she used to be is still there and fighting the darkness. Even if it was all for Link, that still shows compassion. She also showed compassion for Lena at the dance by defending her against the kids at school, even if it was in a terrible way. I do think there is some good in there, and hopefully we will learn more about here in future books. There is something about her I like, not sure why.
~ bierbeck

Don’t forget to enter Mrs. Vanquish’s BC giveaway, where she’s going to give an awesome bracelet by Mary Tippett Designs to one lucky discussion participant! You’re running out of time to enter – the giveaway is on March 26th!

You’ve also got a chance to win a signed copy of BC from the Bewitched Bookworms blog! The giveaway is March 28th.

And thank you so much to this week’s wonderful commenters – without you, there’s no discussion!

One Pushy Fox ~ SophiaAnne
Heather (Call of Duty Widow)bierbeck

Beautiful Creatures Book Discussion – Week 8

•14 March 2010 • 8 Comments

We’re are so excited to have Cutie from the awesome Super Secret Twilight Blog as our last guest poster for our book discussion (next week it’s me & Greta again). When we were talking about having this discussion, Cutie gave us a lot of great advice, having conducted the great Wide Awake discussion, and we’re grateful, as always, for her help.

Firstly, thank you to fragile and erikasbuddy for hosting this fan-freaking-tastic discussion. Putting together a discussion is a ton of hard work and I am grateful to you both for being so dedicated. *gathers into group hug* Thank you to all the fabulous posters who came before me. There is no way my post will come close to the awesomeness of y’all. Thank you to the authors for lurkin’ about and making us all feel insanely cool beans for checking out what we think about their amazing book. The sequel can’t get here fast enough… no truly it can’t. *winks teasingly* Thank you to fragile for demanding I read said book and for giving me first pick at the chapters I wanted to discuss. And lastly, thank you to everyone whose been reading every week, either silently contributing to this discussion *points at self* or sharing their thoughts.

SPOILER WARNING: This post details the plot of the book Beautiful Creatures. If you have not read the book and don’t want to know what happens, don’t read any further.

Nooooow, last week the lovely Rudy (aka Just The Librarian) left us with a feeling of desperation, for Ethan makes a promise to Lena that is not his to make. As Lena whispers in his mind: … I could lose you. Ethan impulsively response: That’s not going to happen. He promises so and then burns his hand. Foreshadowing? Me thinks so. With these heart-wrenching thoughts we move forward and meet the Sandman…

Sweet dreams are made of these

The final countdown has begun.

Lena’s birthday was in a week
Seven days.
One hundred and sixty-eight hours.
Ten thousand and eight seconds.

While Lena and Ethan desperately search The Book of Moons for a cast that would save one’s girlfriend (that they FINALLY have) before it’s too late, Ethan tries to remain relaxed and in control of his fraying emotions. As Lena spirals into a frantic depression, Ethan pushes aside his worries in the face of her trials and forces a calm he does not feel. However, Ethan cannot hide from his dreams. Dreams that rage against him. Dreams that remind him just how powerless he truly is. Looking for a distraction, Ethan takes up a little lite reading. But even the over the top angst and terror of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness or the Silver Surfer’s inability to stop Galactus from swallowing the universe can hold off Ethan’s own feelings of inadequacy, helplessness, and sadness. And the nightmares rage on…

Burning.
There was fire everywhere.
And smoke. I chocked on the smoke and ash. It was pitch-black impossible to see. And the heat was like sandpaper scraping against my skin.

It’s hard for me not to see a parallel here. The fire being Lena’s fate, a fate Ethan cannot see, cannot understand. A fate that is taking over his life, that will determine his future, as well. A fate he is powerless to control, but he is desperate to both embrace and escape. Yet the end of these dreams always eludes him, taunting and frustrating him, slipping from him as easily as Lena slips from his grasp…

Bolting upright in his bed and awaking from his fiery dream, Ethan comes to the realization that he is not alone, someone is in the room with him. That someone is none other than Macon Ravenwood. Ethan demands to know why Macon is in his room and refuses to accept “It’s complicated.””Uncomplicate it,” he demands. But what Macon confesses is more than Ethan was expecting and a mystery is finally relieved to us the readers. Macon shares that he is neither a caster, alien, nor vampire, but a Incubus (Click here for a description of an Incubus. Thank you Wiki for always helpin’ a girl out when she’s confused about a mythical creature). Unlike a blood Incubus, Macon feeds on dreams, ideas, desires, fears, and memories. He takes things that “Morals have in abundance, something you don’t even need.” Unless, of course, the very thing he is stealing from you is the one thing you are desperate to learn, like say the outcome of a dream that has been haunting you and your cursed girlfriend for a while now.

And has Macon been stealing parts of Ethan’s dreams intentionally? Yes. In an effort to protect Ethan and Lena from some truth that they are not ready for. Macon informs Ethan that he and Lena would one day understand that they are just too different and should not be together. Ethan remembers the fate filled words of his great uncle when he wrote that he and his love where “A Species Apart.” However, even in the face of impending and inescapable doom, Ethan still has hope declaring he and Lena are not so different and that Macon is wrong. Macon’s response:

Mortals. I envy you. You think you can change things. Stop the universe. Undo what was done long before you came along. You are such beautiful creatures.

Excusing himself from both Amma (who had found Macon in Ethan’s room and was sorta upset at his being there) and Ethan, Macon turns in a swirl of overcoats and vanishes from the room. Leaving in his wake an even more baffled, scared, and unsure Ethan.

The calm before the storm

Ethan awakes with a sobering thought the next morning. He is unable to hide from reality any more, unable to kid himself that all the bad things in life would just disappear, melting into merely nightmares:

This time around, I knew if it seemed like everything had changed, it was because it had. It if seemed like things were getting weirder and weirder, it was because they were. If it seemed like Lena and I were running out of time, it was because we were.

With six more days and counting left, time was flying by and held no promise of good things to come. Lena and Ethan knew there was no escape, so they embrace their time together stealing ever moment they could:

We held hands in the hallway. We kissed by the back lockers until our lips ached and I felt close to being electrocuted. We stayed in our bubble, enjoyed what we tried to pretend were our ordinary lives, or what little we had left of them.

As the days tick by, Ethan struggles to find a cure all for their situation and spends every moment he can with the girl he loves. Meanwhile, Lena slips further and further into her depression, feeling literally imprisoned by her fate. Reaching a breaking point, the two fight and Ethan storms off with a mere 24 hours to go before her birthday. Ethan is left clueless as he ponders what to do:

I hadn’t had a girlfriend before so I wasn’t prepared to deal with all this – I didn’t even know what to call it. Especially not with a Caster girl.

Our poor, sweet Ethan is not just dealing with a girl whose having a bad hair day, but one who is facing losing her very self. With 24 hours to go, the Battle of Honey Hill and Lena’s sixteenth birthday looms before him. Adding more worry to his already overflowing basket of woes, Ethan learns from Luke that the Lolly-Pop Girl (aka Ridley) are planning a surprise party at Ravenwood for her cousin. Yet another event he is helpless to stop…

Amid all this, the two oldest houses in Gatlin are preparing for The Battle of Honey Hill and the other a cursed sweet sixteen birthday party. However, only one event took center stage in Ethan’s mind:

As for the eight casualties of Honey Hill, I couldn’t really compare. I was only worried about one. Because if I lost her, I would be lost, too.

So forget the Battle of Honey Hill. To me, this felt more like D-day.

D-day

“At the edge of the cliffs, the wind is a smack, and D-day becomes wildly clear: climbing that cutting edge into the bullets.”
- John Vinocur

Day One: We could stop waiting for the end to come.
The end was here.

Waking to the sounds of Lena losing it, Ethan finds that The Book of Moons is gone from his room. But he has no time to look for it, as Lena beings quoting Mr. T.S. Elliot:

this is the way the world ends not with a bang but a whimper

Ethan races to Ravenwood and finds that someone, either Lena or Macon, had redecorated yet again:

If you could imagine the color of anger, it had been splashed over every wall. Rage, something dense and seething, was hanging from every chandelier, resentment woven into thick carpets padding the room, hatred flickering underneath every lampshade….

What follows is so heart wrenchingly bittersweet I was forced to fall head over heels in love with Ethan and I longed for the world to make sense for Lena. Lena’s depression has reach an epoch, she is lashing out at the world. In the face of her overwhelming anger, Ethan stays the course, determined to be by her side. He races towards her, heedless of the dangers he faces. He is willing to take whatever she will allow:

Now I was standing at her bedroom door, leaning my cheek against the cold white wood of the paneling. I wanted to be with her, as close to her as I could get without having another heart attack. And if this was as near as she would let me get, if was enough for me, for now.

Swoon worthy, for sure. *sighs* But wait, it doesn’t stop there. And as I read, this chapter quickly became my favorite in the whole book.

Are you there, Ethan?
I’m right here.
I’m afraid.
I know, L.
I don’t want you to get hurt.
I won’t.
Ethan, I don’t want to leave you.
You won’t.
What if I do?
I’ll wait for you.
Even if I’m Dark?
Even if you’re very, very Dark.

*dabs at tears* Lena finally relents, because she believes him, just as I do. Letting him into her room, he holds her and soothes her as the prophetic music plays on. A new verse is added, one Lena has decided to ignore. She just wants to be with Ethan, the boy who makes her feel safe and loved. She wants to forget she’s cursed and be normal if only for a little while. And let me tell you, the over the top sugary sweetness that takes place makes my heart sing:

We fell onto her bed and curled into one ball, until it would have been hard to sort out whose limbs were whose. We weren’t kissing but it was like we were. We were closer than I’d ever realized two people could be.

I guess this is what if felt like to love someone, and feel like you had lost them. Even when you were still holding them in your arms.

Wishing to block out the world, they make their own little cave, one that Lena asked if they could never leave. Ethan gives her a present, something of his mother’s, something to show Lena that he does in fact love her. As he looks at her necklace of “junk” he realizes that it had become his junk, as well. That everywhere Lena went she carried little pieces of him with her. They come just short of saying the I love you’s we’ve been waiting for, and, I must confess, I am glad they just know it, feel it, and don’t need to say it at this point. What happens next is “a real kiss.” One that fixes the chaos of Lena’s room (and by extension her heart me thinks), un-shattering windows, putting clothing back on their hangers, and setting a fire off in the fire place. Not to mention shocking the hell out of Ethan.

Their stolen moments are quickly over. Ethan and Lena, hand in hand, must face their fate. Joining her family for her Binding, Lena gives herself a pep talk. The family starts the Binding, with Lena’s just arrived Grandma in the mix, when they are interrupted by a pounding at the door. The very magical living room morphs into an ordinary birthday party, complete with a birthday cake, within the blink of an eye.

Whose at the door? Why Ridley, Link, and everyone from school, but of course, here to surprise Lena with her birthday party, complete with a rock band and dance floor. Despite knowing she shouldn’t go, that Ridley is charming all her classmates into liking her, Lena longs to be a normal girl, with a normal life, and a normal sweet sixteen birthday party. In the face of Macon refusing to let her go, Lena sneaks out with Larkin’s help and Lena and Ethan (who also thinks its a bad idea for her to be at the party) enjoy themselves, dancing, holding one another, and being normal. And in the face of this normality, Lena is finally able to say those three little words to Ethan that she’s been denying herself of… “I love you.” Ethan’s response, “I love you, too, L. I think I always have.” It’s amazing how freeing those three little words can be. Standing with his arms around her, her hair against his chin, Ethan feels something (now ladies get your head out of the gutter! *smiles knowingly*):

… I felt something else. That part of her I thought I would never be able to reach, the part she kept closed off to the world. I felt it open up, just long enough to let me in. She was giving me a piece of herself, the only piece that was really hers.

Talk about a proud Mama Bear moment here. Our little Lena is finally feeling hope… To bad it only lasted five more minutes…

Her kiss is sweeter than cherry pie

Lena and Ethan’s little bubble of happiness is burst by Link, who rushes over to Ethan to let him know his dad is on the balcony of the Fallen Soldiers, in his pjs, and lookin’ as if he were about to jump. Mixed emotions of shame and pain overwhelm Ethan. Despite his father’s break with reality, Ethan truly loves his dad. Plus, he’s all Ethan’s got now that his mom is dead. But concern for Lena holds Ethan back, until Larkin says he’ll take Lena home and she promises to go directly there… hm…. If there’s one thing I’ve learned after years of reading it’s that no good can come of young lovers going in different directions.

Fearing he’s too late, Ethan frets when he can’t see his father immediately upon reaching the Fallen Soliders. And when Link tries to reassure him by saying that Ridley is with his father, Ethan’s stomach bottoms out as he remembers:

If she used her power on you, and she told you to jump off a cliff- you’d jump.

And when he reaches the balcony, there stands the Lolly-Pop Girl sweet talkin’ he daddy into jump off the ledge. Ethan offers to help his dad, but Ridley counters back with:

You don’t want his help, do you, Mitchell? You just want some peace. You just want to see Lila again.

Link watches helplessly as Ridley and Ethan fight. When he questions Ridley about who Sarafine is and what’s going on, she tells him he’s out of his league, however, Ethan notices a flicker of genunine emotion cross her face. A moment in which one is left to ponder if Shirnky Dink (aka Link) means a little bit more to Ridley then she’s willing to admit or even realizes herself.

But Ridley has orders and she must follow through or else. And a shocking confession is made:

I’m sorry about this, Short Straw. I really am. But everyone has a part to play, and this is mine. Your dad is going to have a little accident tonight. Just like your mom did.

Um… Excuse me, what? Lila was killed! By who though and why? Ridley answers neither of these questions for us, only saying that it was before “her time.” Either way, none of it matters, and it’s not personal it’s business. Why must his dad die? To distract Ethan and get him away from Lena, she confesses.

Link, meanwhile, is trying to process what he is hearing. Allowing the truth to sink in, that his girlfriend is a Siren witch whose been using him to get at Lena. Link refuses to believe that she doesn’t feel something for him. That it wasn’t all just a lie. He implores her to admit that he was more to her than just a job, that they had “shared things.” He stands before her, pleading with her and she relents.

With his father safe, and the implications of Ridley’s confessions weighing heavily upon him, Ethan reaches out to Lena with his mind to make sure she’s okay and implores her to stay with Larkin. Link, however, can’t let Ridley go without declaring “You’re not all bad.” To which she responses “Maybe I’m just drawn that way.” And this reader was left thinking… Are you really?

The clock is racing, Ethan and Lena are split up, and the time of the claiming is at hand. My poor little heart is about to explode!

Questions

Questions. Questions. Questions.
My mind is a random mess of wonders while reading a book.
Here are a few things I pondered.
What do ya thunk?

1. What do you make of Macon’s confessions to Ethan? And do you, like Ethan, feel that he is holding back an essential piece of the puzzle?

2. Having read The Heart of Darkness (if you have seen Apocalypse Now the movie is based off the short story) and knowing the story of Glacitica swallowing the universe, it was clear to me that Ethan was not escaping by reading but wallowing in his own depression. Interestingly enough, the so called stronger species in this story (Lena) is unable to handle the stress she faces, while Ethan man’s up and wallows in private where he cannot hurt her. Which got me thinking, who do you view as the strongest person in Lena and Ethan’s relationship? Ethan? Lena? Or are they pretty even? And in the end, how will this effect the outcome of the story?

3. If Lena had never met Ethan, do you think she’d had the strength necessary to face her birthday? Or were the two destined to meet?

4. After the real kiss, Ethan declares “We’re really going to have to figure out what to do about that.” What exactly is that? What do you make of the heart attacks and crazy happenings whenever Ethan and Lena touch or kiss?

5. Why did Ridley relent and let Ethan’s dad live? Was it due solely to Link? Bordem? A moment of compassion? And what does this say about the claiming and it’s power? Is there a way to defeat the curse?

 
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