Countdown Pick #1: Beautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles, #3) by Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl (10/18/11)
Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected - and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What - or who - will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?
For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself - forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask.
Sometimes there isn't just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.
I was honestly hoping that this time around Lena and Ethan may have things a little easier. Silly I know, but this is the third installment in the Beautiful Creatures series and they've been through so much already. But based on the book's description I'm worried. Not only do their problems seem to be bigger than ever, but the authors have come right out and said there will be no happy ending. Ouch! I may have to psych myself up or harden myself up before starting this installment.
Countdown Pick #2: Fever (The Chemical Garden, #1) by Lauren DeStefano (February 2012)
Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but they’re still in danger. Outside, they find a world even more disquieting than the one they left behind. Determined to get to Manhattan and to find Rhine’s twin brother Rowan, the two press forward, amidst threats of being captured again . . . or worse.
The road they are on is long and perilous—and in a world where young women only live to age 20 and men die at age 25, time is precious. In this sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price—now that she has more to lose than ever.
After reading Wither, I was convinced that dystopian novels could now be listed under favorites for me. DeStefano had me connecting with her characters almost immediately and I couldn't put her book down. I'm hoping this installment puts readers at ease, at least a little after the cliff hanger the series opener left us with. But Rhine and Gabriel are not out of the woods yet and I'm looking forward to seeing what they do next.
Countdown Pick #3: Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey (1/10/11)
The highly anticipated sequel to Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side.
It’s one thing to find out you’re a vampire princess. It’s a whole other thing to actually rule. Newly married Jessica Packwood is having a hard enough time feeling regal with her husband, Lucius, at her side. But when evidence in the murder of a powerful elder points to Lucius, sending him into solitary confinement, Jessica is suddenly on her own. Determined to clear her husband’s name, Jessica launches into a full-scale investigation, but hallucinations and nightmares of betrayal keep getting in her way. Jessica knows that with no blood to drink, Lucius’s time is running out. Can she figure out who the real killer is—and whom she can trust—before it’s too late?
I adore Beth and her writing has always been fun and manages to pique my interest. I don't know many readers who didn't enjoy her series opener, not to mention who didn't want to get their hands on this sequel. I can't wait to see what Jessica and Lucius' lives are like now. It seems that married bliss is not quite attainable for these two quite yet and now Jessica's got to do the protecting, the investigating, and the rescuing all on her own. I'm curious to see how she fares.
Countdown Pick #4: Betrayed (Guardian Legacy, #2) by Ednah Walters
Lil has come to terms with her life as a Guardian/demon hunter and the wielder of the Nephilim most powerful weapon. She trains everyday to master her growing powers, gets along with her Guardian trainee friends (most of the time) and cherishes her moments with her human friends.
Just when she feels she belongs, her nature-bender father contacts her and warns her about a betrayal by someone close to her. Then Bran, the guy she loves, starts to act strange and one of her human friends acquires a supernatural ability. While Lil struggles find a connection between these three things, she begins to realize that someone is manipulating her and Bran, and will stop at nothing (including hurting those she loves) to lure them to the dark side.
When Ednah contacted me last year and introduced her book Awakened, to me, I figured why not? The cover didn't thrill me but I let that slide. I can't tell you how glad I was that I gave this series a chance because now I'm hooked. Lil and Bran were two characters that I just couldn't get enough of. But what I really liked was that Walters had me wanting to know more about not just the two main characters, but all the surrounding and supporting characters as well. I've heard promising reviews of this sequel and can't wait to read and judge it for myself.
Countdown Pick #5: Charmfall (Dark Elite, #3) by Chloe Neill (1/3/12)
High school can be a battlefield, but for Lily Parker, surviving at St. Sophia’s School for Girls is a matter of life and death…
Protecting Chicago from the dark side can be an exhausting job, especially when you’re a sophomore. So when the girls of St. Sophia’s start gearing up for Sneak, their fall formal, Lily decides to join in on some good, old-fashioned party prep—even if it means not giving demons, vampires and the twisted magic users known as Reapers her undivided attention.
But when a Reaper infiltrates the school, Lily doesn’t forget what she’s sworn to protect. She reaches deep into herself to draw out her magic—and finds that it’s gone. And it turns out she’s not alone. A magical blackout has slammed through paranormal Chicago, and no one knows what—or who—caused it. But Lily knows getting back her magic is worth the risk of going behind enemy lines…
After leaving Hexbound, feeling slightly disappointed with the way things are looking for Lily and her friends, I'm really hoping some luck finds its way to them and soon! I've found Neill's books to be light and fun for the most part and I always hit a point near the end of the summer where a deep read is not what I'm in the mood for. Hopefully with this coming out in January it'll be the perfect opportunity to fill the post-holiday blues with a new installment in this series.