I've been pretty lucky. I received earlier-than-usual copies of Beautiful Creatures and The Seven Rays.
These authors are pulling out all the stops. Mrs. Meyers should be proud of herself. Not only is she compelling the casual NY Times and magazine readers to actually pick up a book and READ, she's really set the bar for these unheard of authors.
Beautiful Creatures was an amazing read. Simple, yet captivating. I loved reading from a boy's POV. I was never a misfit or outcast in high school, so this book really captivated me. The fantasy part of the story was so different, and the southern charm was everywhere. The accents, the food, the scenery - I felt as if I were at home.
Although the book had a lot of characters, they were very easy to keep up with and understand their importance. LOVED the way the chapters were named, and mostly, the dates at the beginning of each, very poignant.
The second half of the book got a little scary and even more suspenseful - I almost had the feeling that a Dark Willow story was brewing. (Sorry, I often use the Whedonverse when doing reviews, can't help it).
***Warning....if you're a sensitive schmuck like me, the last 20 or so pages will have you crying, so keep a Kleenex box handy.
The book ended with many unanswered questions, IMO, so if a sequel is in the works, sign me up!
The Seven Rays was original. Mind boggling at times too. Without giving too much away, make sure you pay attention at the beginning of each chapter - it means something. This book totally took me to places I wasn't expecting. You grow up with Beth. You wonder right along with her "Why her?". There is so much to be explored from this book. So many story-lines that need exploring, and I look forward to Mrs. Bendinger elaborating more on these stories - because believe you me, the name of the book "The Seven Rays" was no accident.