The Westing Game is today's Kindle Daily Deal. Like me, you probably already have 47 copies of it in print format, but I figured I'd mention it just in case you were one of The Few, The Sad, The Westing Game-less.
David Tennant, pre- and post-Doctor Who. (<--Old links, but they've been cluttering up my tabs for ages.)
In both The Book of Blood and Shadow and in Blood Magic, the heroine's father teaches Latin. Coincidentally, in both books, the father is also mostly absent from the book. Well, in Blood Magic, he's dead, while in The Book of Blood and Shadow, he just doesn't play much of a role in the action.
At this rate, I'm going to have to make a YA Books with 'Blood' in the Title list. Yeesh.
So, due to our schedules and stuff, we've decided to start running these on Mondays.
For now, anyway.
So, yes. Here's Episode 2: The Academie, in which my most excruciatingly embarrassing I Can't Believe I Just Said That moment is when I muse about the porn-ish-ness of the model's pose on the cover of the book. And then use the phrase 'nudie mag', which I clearly picked up in a past life as an old man.
IN MY DEFENSE, the beer store that we frequent has a small collection of That Sort of DVD displayed right next to the microbrew section (So weird, right? Even weirder? The store also devotes an entire aisle to Yankee Candles.), so my first-hand knowledge of said poses is far more innocent than one might assume.
ANYWAY, I'M GOING TO STOP TALKING ABOUT THAT NOW, AS I'M CLEARLY JUST MAKING IT WORSE.
Shortly after her parents' death, Silla Kennicot receives an old handwritten book in the mail. There's no return address, and the enclosed letter is simply signed, "The Deacon". In it, this mysterious Deacon claims that Silla's father—a high school Latin teacher—was a powerful magician and healer.
Even if she hadn't recognized her father's handwriting, she'd have been inclined to believe the Deacon anyway: she'd much rather that her parents died due to some magical vendetta than that her father killed her mother and then himself.
The magic that she begins to teach herself is based in blood and sacrifice. Not necessarily death sacrifice—though that is possible—but smaller personal sacrifices, in that the magic user will often offer up her/his own blood to power the spells. It allows transformation and possession, healing and creation and most anything else you can imagine. Before long, Silla's brother, Reese, and a boy from school, Nick, join her.
Nick, though, has a secret: magic isn't new to him. At all. He's been hurt by it in the past, but he's also fully aware of the joyous wonder* it can achieve. And so while he's still wary of it, his growing ties to the Kennicots (yes, especially Silla) and his own memories keep him coming back.
But there's another person in town who knows about the magic. Someone who, like Nick, has secrets, but unlike Nick, has dangerous secrets. Someone who will stop at nothing to lay hands on Silla's book of spells...
Silla and Nick take turns narrating Blood Magic, and their narration is joined by entries from the centuries-old journal of another magic user, Josephine Darby. (Who, by the way, opens the book with this great hook of a line: I am Josephine Darby, and I intend to live forever.) All three voices are distinct and believable, and their personalities and perspectives are just as varied and real. It's smart and lush and creepy and romantic and thoughtful.
Although the storyline might sound pretty run-of-the-mill contemporary paranormal, it's not. For one, there's no love triangle. ZOMG! NO LOVE TRIANGLE! YAAAAAY! But also, it feels more Gothic than paranormal. Lots of creepy imagery and blood and cemeteries and some nasty violation in the form of unwelcome possession. (As opposed to possession-with-prior-permission, which is also a thing.) As the magic requires sacrifice on the part of the magic user, there's a lot to think about in terms of ends vs. means, and some of the characters make choices that have irrevocable consequences. This is not a sitcom version of magic in which everything reboots at the end of the story. Not at all.