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Two for the Price of One

Body Surfing

Imagine being a twenty-nine year old woman, one divorced and then once widowed. It's not a very common occurrence, but it is the main character of this book - Sydney's reality. This is the stage of her life in which she finds herself when she goes to work for the Edwards family. Ostensibly to tutor their teenage daughter, Julie, so that she can pass and do well on her upcoming SAT's, Sydney goes to stay with the Edwards at their beach house in New Hampshire. There, she body surfs, meets the Edwards' two sons Ben and Jeff, and begins to live again. As she opens Julie's eyes to her future, to love, Sydney once more opens her own heart and falls in love with Jeff. But then, on the night of her wedding, she learns an hideous truth, sending her life into yet another downward spiral.

The interesting thing about this book is, just as Sydney is lied to, so are we as readers. I was none the wiser towards the truth than she was, and, though, in the back of mind, I suspected that something might be wrong, I never thought it was what was eventually revealed. It was heartbreaking and devastating, though my pain, of course, was minor compared to what the character experienced.

At the same time, Julie runs away from home, the Edwards brothers get into a fight and never find their way out of it, Sydney forms a close relationship with her future father-in-law, and Mrs. Edwards never once thaws towards her employee/future daughter-in-law. While Sydney is undoubtedly the main character, as a whole, this book is a family drama, exploring all the various relationships one finds present in a nuclear family, making it extremely relatable. Also, due to the fact that it is written in the present tense, there is a sense of 'now' to the story, of the audience, as readers, being present. Though somewhat unconventional, it makes the story stand out.

My only complaint about Body Surfing has to deal with the ending. The characters were extremely compelling - all rich and real, and the plot was character driven, my favorite. However, with this praise being said, the ending was abrupt. Though poignant and a fitting close, I also felt as though the story was left unfinished, but perhaps that was the point. Because this book was more of a character study, maybe it was just a brief glimpse into these people's lives and, once it was over, we were to realize that they would continue... even if the novel didn't. Whether this was the case or not, though, I wouldn't have complained if the author - Anita Shreve - would have offered her readers just a little bit more to wrap the tale up.




Misguided Angel

In this fifth book of the Blue Bloods Series, we still see the text divided between three female, lead characters, but, this time, each woman has her own section, something I much preferred. This way, the book felt more cohesive. Though, in a way, it could be argued that the set-up resembled that of three mini-novels in one, there was still the obvious ties that bound the three storylines together; de la Cruz merely set it up so that the reader could finish one thought, one character's point of view before switching gears and moving on to another character's.

The first section followed Schuyler and Jack as they realized their saving grace - the protection of the European Coven - was actually more like a prison. As they tried to escape, they met a priest who promised to take them to the fourth gate and discovered a whole, new enemy - Lucifer's half demon/half human children. Meanwhile, in New York, Mimi is still fit to be tied that Jack left her, blowing off their bonding, and mourning the loss of Kingsley. However, she's also been named Regent of the New York Coven... just as a new threat emerges towards the vampires. Someone is kidnapping vampire teens and threatening to burn them alive over the internet for all the world to see in an attempt to expose the vampire conspiracy. To help her fight off this threat and to protect her threatened position as Regent, Mimi turns to Oliver, of all people, and Deming Chen, a young yet extremely respected Venator. Between the three of them, they must uncover a conspiracy that, in the end, leads back to the demon children Schuyler and Jack discovered in Italy.

Like always, I enjoyed Schuyler and Jack's relationship, found the mystery encircling the vampire's intriguing, and found the book to be fast paced and exciting. However, unlike with past novels in the Blue Blood Series, I didn't entirely hate Mimi in Misguided Angel. Her usually smug, annoying personality was tempered by Oliver calling her on her crap... and Mimi actually respecting and liking him because of it, by her new ability to put others before herself, and by her lack of attention to the superficial. Finally, she's truly becoming the rival that Schuyler (and, by extension, Jack) deserve.

As for the new female, lead character (we'd briefly heard of her before at the 400 Ball), she was alright. I didn't love her; I didn't hate her, but, at the same time, I see promise. We just need to learn more about her, and I'm curious to see what happens between her and her sister and the Lennox twins - both sets of twins star born and, hence, not automatically bound to another angel/vampire. However, with that said, I'm also curious about what Bliss is up to. We heard nothing about her in this book, and I'd also like an update on Allegra and Michael (especially Allegra). Perhaps we'll hear from one or all of them in book six - Bloody Valentine. It comes out tomorrow if you haven't pre-ordered your copy yet! (And don't forget it'll be our January discussion book.)

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