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From the title and genre, I thought I had this book figured out. Just another teen vampire romance novel to go along with all the others. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It starts very similarly, girl meets boy vampire, boy vampire tries to hook up with girl, girl denies him but secretly likes him, yada yada yada. What’s different? This book is hysterically funny and the characters are fantastic.
On the first day of Jessica Packwood’s senior year, in walks mysterious and slightly creepy, foreign exchange student Lucius Vladescu (It’s so fun to say his name) from Romania. Lucius informs Jessica that she is a vampire princess and the two have been betrothed since birth, you know, minor details that Jessica’s parents failed to mention.
At first Jessica is repulsed by Lucius and disgusted at the thought of being betrothed without her consent. But, as time goes on, she sees the good in Lucius and begins to care for him. However, in the time it took Jessica to realize her feelings for Lucius, he seems to have gotten over her and their betrothal. Lucius begins to rebel from his family’s arrangements and expectations and pushes Jessica away. In his rebellion, Lucius turns dark, almost evil, and Jessica must fight for him back or lose everything connected to her birth family.
The narration was fabulous and I'm actually glad I listened to the book instead of reading it. Katherine Kellgren is one of my favorite narrators and I loved the narrator for Lucius. Hearing Lucius’ Romania accent made this book for me and let’s face it accents are fun. The book alternates between Jessica and Lucius’ point of views, although Jessica’s is the primary perspective. Lucius’ perspective is introduced in the letters he writes to his uncle about his experiences in courting Jessica. His letters are an important part of this book and without them I’m not sure I would have liked Lucius.
Although Lucius’ dark side pulls at your heart, I enjoyed his unexpected change in feelings because it compelled me to keep listening. When Lucius rebels from his family, his character changes drastically, more so goes through a metamorphosis. Lucius’ change in character also forces Jessica to go through some changes of her own. I love character growth so I ate this up with a spoon.
Many people gave this book a not so great review all stating that they’ve read this book before. I have to disagree, I thought this book was different and had a lot of originality. This book was funny, dramatic, romantic, and so much fun. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun a read.
“That’s a strange title,” were my first thoughts when I came across Keturah and Lord Death. Despite the title, I felt myself being drawn to read this unique book by some unseen force. The beautiful cover was different and the description was unlike any other book I’ve ever read. So of course, I had to listen to it.
Keturah is the town’s story teller. One day, she follows the prized hart into the woods hoping to collect more details for her stories. The hart eludes her as she follows him deeper and deeper into the forest, until she eventually realizes she is lost. After being lost in the forest for three days, Lord Death comes to her in the form of a man. He asked her to be his bride and Keturah refuses. To escape death temporarily, Keturah tells Lord Death a story but does not tell him the ending. She promises to tell him the ending if he gives her another day to live. In this day, she must find her true love in order to be free.
Keturah and Lord Death is a stunningly rich tale with the feel of a classic fairy tale. Set in a small town in Europe during the Middle Ages, the characters speak with an Old English tone yet the writing is still very modern. In addition, it is a well written and crafted story.
Keturah is the soul of this book and she is truly an inspiring character. She is humble, honest, sincere, courageous, unselfish, romantic, independent and I could go on. While delaying death, Keturah’s journey transforms from a journey to find her true love into one where she helps her friends find their true love and saves her village from the plague. In a satisfyingly sweet end, she realizes who her true love is and has been all along.
I recommend Keturah and Lord Death to anyone who loves a classic tale while in the mood for something different.
I have mixed feelings for Virals. I really wanted to like it more than I actually did. I think I had high expectations going into the book and then was slightly disappointed when it wasn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be. If I gave half stars, I would probably give this book 3.5 stars but in this case I rounded up to 4. Overall, I thought it was a creative and original story and it held my interest consistently but there was something missing.
Compared to other popular Young Adult novels of the day, Virals is distinctly unique. It stars a mystery solving group of teenage friends that get themselves into way too much trouble. The four friends are children of employees at Loggerhead Island Research Institute, and spend their free time on Loggerhead Island exploring. When on a mission to find a lost wolf-dog, the groups stumbles into a science experiment gone wrong and expose themselves to a canine virus. The group uncovers more than bargained for and are compelled to unravel even more mysteries putting their lives at risk over and over again.
There’s no question that Kathy Reich is a solid writer and great story teller. Her story was compelling and I often found it hard to hit the pause button (audiobook). I feel the book is best described as reminiscent of Nancy Drew and Harvey Brothers with a super hero/mutation flare. It looks like Virals was her first young adult book and compared to her adult novels I think she dumbed it down a bit for the younger audience. It was a clever story with smart characters but it definitely felt young, the equivalent of the PG movie. That isn’t bad a thing, but since I am an adult, it felt young for my personal taste. This book would be great for middle school age kids and older.
The main thing that got a little under my skin were the multiple boys that showed romantic interest in Tory and then nothing ever came of it. There were a few scenes that made it explicitly known that three boys liked Tory and she even makes note that two of the boys are seemingly acting territorial over her. The lack of romance is not normally a big deal for me and little to no romance doesn’t ruin a book for me, but why note it if you aren’t going to do anything with it. That said, I also want to note that Tory was a strong female character who’s life didn’t revolve around the boys in her life. Love wasn’t her main interest, solving the mystery was. I appreciated this quality in Tory as many YA heroines are very boy focused. In fact, Tory almost had the opposite of boy vision, she didn’t even notice when one of the boys was trying to date to her. On the other hand she does like one boy, but he’s taken
Part of me feels that a little romance might have helped this book by making the characters seem more real. The main characters are in a constant state of fear or stress and romantic emotions often help balance out the characters and the book. As a reader, I felt like I was left hanging, wondering why there are hints of a possible romance only to be disappointed in the end. Maybe a relationship will develop in the next books to explain the purpose of the scenes featured in the first book.
Overall, Virals is a fun book. It’s different, intriguing, and good for all ages. Reich leaves it open for a sequel and I have no idea what’s going to happen in the next book. I have to admit I am interested in finding out what happens and I might end up getting the sequel.
Just A little bibliophile!
I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by this book. I found it to be a fresh and original take on the "teen-vampire-paranormal-love" genre. The characters were fresh and not so stereotypical of this kind of story. The story had more depth than I expected, especially as it progressed to it's conclusion. The writing is good, including meaningful dialogue, which allowed to highlight that the characters also had depth and were multi-demensional. Overall, this story won me over and made me care about the characters. I was impressed with the heroine, and how she stayed true to herself and stuck by her convictions and her belief in love, and the true nature of the guy she has come to love. The narration was good for the most part, though I did note that Ms. Kellgren seemed to read most of the story with a certain anxious, dramatic pitch that I definitely did not think needed to be maintained through most of the story in that manner.