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The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight #1) – Melissa Grey

The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight #1) – Melissa GreyTitle: The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight #1) by Melissa Grey
Publishing Info: April 28, 2015 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Gift
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 29, 2017

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she’s ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she’s fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it’s time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, though if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it’s how to hunt down what she wants…and how to take it.

But some jobs aren’t as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.

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I’ve heard so many good things about THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT and with having the second and third books on audio from the publisher, I figured it was finally time to buy the first from Audible to get the series binge going!

This book really reminded me a lot of Daughter of Smoke & Bone and The Conspiracy of Us with a little urban fantasy feel. The tone of the book was fun, with Echo’s sass and sarcasm (always something I enjoy as long as it’s done well) and some nice friendships…

… But the ragtag group of misfits don’t really jive. They all have different personalities and they sort of seem to be fighting each other, not outwardly as character arguments but the personalities just aren’t meshing for me. It really does feel garbled together and not like the misfit group of characters like The Dregs, who are all misfits but all have the same goal and same attitude towards life.

THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT was a fun story but it felt sort of… average in a lot of ways. I’ll admit, the hype really got to me after seeing a lot of fan-girling reviews so I had some very high expectations. The story was enjoyable BUT I’m not sure it was really worth the hype. One thing I was really missing was the world-building throughout the entire book. I was all for the worlds of the Avicen and the Drakharin but… why do they exist? What are they all about? Were they always in the shadows of the human world, in hidden places or did they have to move there? How did this whole war get started? Who pissed off who? Tell me more about the magic, the history, the reasoning… We got a little of Echo’s backstory and how she ended up being taken in by the Avicen but, did she never question who they were and why they existed and why people don’t know about t them?

I have some more spoilery thoughts about the romance and the actual hunt of the Firebird, but I do try to keep my blog reviews spoiler-free so if you want to peek at spoilery thoughts, you can go check out my Goodreads review where you can peek behind the spoiler tags!

The more I talk about the book, the more unhappy I am with it. It just didn’t seem to really do much. It wasn’t intolerable and I had planned on continuing the series binge but I picked up the second book and my heart just wasn’t into it. I stopped my journey with this series after book one and I don’t find myself missing anything.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Unique fantasy concepts. The Avicen were an interesting creation and I always like reading about new concepts where I can!
Left Me Wanting More: Base. This book just needed more world-building, a bit more character base, and needed to feel a bit more grounded. It just felt very… new.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

I have some friends who loved this one but this was a very middle-of-the-road read for me that ended up teetering towards the side of indifference. I just didn’t really care to keep going.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     

The Edge of Everything – Jeff Giles

The Edge of Everything – Jeff GilesTitle: The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles
Publishing Info: January 31, 2017 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: March 27, 2016

It's been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who's still reeling from her father's shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors' mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods--only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X.
X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe's evil attacker and others like him. Forbidden to reveal himself to anyone other than his victims, X casts aside the Lowlands' rules for Zoe. As X and Zoe learn more about their different worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future. But escaping the Lowlands and the ties that bind X might mean the ultimate sacrifice for both of them.

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I was fortunate enough to read THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING incredibly early when Bloomsbury asked me to include a blurb for the ARC! (Eee!) it’s a weird thing to sit on a review for half a year but I knew I had to write some things down after reading, otherwise I’d never be able to form coherent thoughts when reviewing!

THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING was a really unique novel for me. If you’re looking for a feel, I’d thrown out EVERNEATH by Brodi Ashton (the Underworld aspect) meets DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor (the forbidden romance). THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING is about Zoe, the quirky yet girl-next-door type who meets a bounty hunter from hell —  literally. When Zoe meets X, her entire world is turned upside down in so many ways and it was incredibly interesting to see the ways that she and her family were affected by X’s appearance.

The book started off a little slow for me, but not in a bad way. X appears on the scene and Zoe can clearly see that he’s not quite human so after the first few chapters, the first half of the book is a lot more character development and set-up before it hits some of that world-building that I love. The delay in action really had me focused on the characters and their clear pull towards each other which was definitely important for some plot points down the road! It was also a bit slower, I think, because the concept took a bit of figuring out. This really wasn’t like many books I’ve read before so I was trying to place it into a genre (Fantasy? Paranormal? Mystery?) and figure out how everything really worked. My advice is to just let the book take you where it will and don’t try to put this one in a box! There are lots of elements at work and things came together really well in the second half of the book!

I was hoping for a bit more world-building regarding the Lowlands earlier on the book but I’m such a sucker for that kind of stuff that I was just dying to know what it was all about. It’s not quite Hell or the Underworld as we “know” it so I was so curious to explore the different rules and regulations, functionality, and why it was so important in Zoe’s story line. There was a lot to explore there and I was curious to investigate this dark side and how it maintained balance in the world. I will admit that I was hoping for a bit more in this book BUT there is still a lot to explore in upcoming novels which I’m pretty excited for!

I didn’t know this was a series when I started since I read it so early but I’m actually really glad it is! Once I really got into the book, I was so curious about really everything and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next! There’s so much more exploring that I want to do and I’m really excited to see where Jeff Giles takes his readers. I see so much potential for even more development and I can’t wait to see where this story goes!

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Paranormal concepts. This was kind of fantasy, kind of paranormal, kind of urban fantasy…? I loved the unique mix and it was such a unique read!
Left Me Wanting More: Developement. I just wanted a BIT more development of the world and romance!

Addiction Rating
Try it!

This was a really interesting and unique read and I think it’s a great selection for fans of Brodi Ashton and Laini Taylor!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING    DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (Necromancer #1) – Lish McBride

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (Necromancer #1) – Lish McBrideTitle: Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (Necromancer #1) by Lish McBride
Publishing Info: October 12, 2010 by Macmillan
Source: Purchased
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 26, 2015

Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he's doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.
Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.
With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with new-found friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?

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When I first received FIREBUG as a review copy from Macmillan, I hadn’t realized it was tied into Lish McBride’s previous two Necromancer books. Once I did, I quickly purchased them and put FIREBUG on hold… and like many books I purchase, there they sat for a long time. When we designated HOLD ME CLOSER, NECROMANCER as an On the Same Page read, I was excited to finally dive in and it proved to be a really fun read just like I had hoped!

NECROMANCER was the perfect read for around Halloween (which was when we read it for On the Same Page)! It was such a fun combination of paranormal, horror, and comedy (which is really how I like my horror… I’m such a chicken) and I instantly picked up on the humor. The levity of the tone made it a quick and easy read and if I didn’t have a reading schedule planned for the rest of the year at that point, I probably would have sailed right on through NECROMANCING THE STONE and FIREBUG too!

NECROMANCER was a totally addictive read. The characters were so much fun and I adored Sam and his friends. They had a great report and always kept me laughing but at the same time, you could easily see strong their friendship was and how much they cared for each other. We also get to see some of Sam’s family when he goes to his mom and sister for help later on in the book and I really loved their bond as well. Each character really brightened the book and pulled me further into the story!

I don’t really read a lot of paranormal and/or urban fantasy any more but when I do, this is totally my type. Usually it gets a bit silly when there are so many “supes” (supernatural beings, you know) but since NECROMANCER was already designed to be humorous, Lish McBride does a great job at combining all of these supernatural aspects into one book and is able to poke fun at some of the characters and how they come together. It actually came together really well for me and since I was already enjoying the comedy, I really had more of an “anything goes” attitude instead of trying to take the book more seriously and analyze why or why not something might work.

This book was really so much fun and I love snarky and hilarious leads. Sam really carried the book and each character just made the book that much more enjoyable. I’m definitely a new fan of Lish McBride and I can’t wait to read more from her!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

necromancer gr updates

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Sam // Character Obsessions: Friends, loyalty, figuring out his powers. 
Sam was just SUCH a fun character. I loved his mix of sarcasm and humor. He was apathetic at times but he still had a strong loyalty and emotional connection to his family and friends. I really enjoyed getting to know him in this book!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Urban Fantasy. I’ve sort of fallen out of love with paranormal and urban fantasy (maybe the whole over-saturation of vampire books killed it… even though I did love vampire books at the time) so I don’t pick up too many any more… But since I’ve been pickier, it seems like I’ve made a few good choices! I tend to like the lighter urban fantasy more than serious.
Left Me Wanting More: Surprises. Really, I didn’t feel like the book was lacking anything BUT the only thing I could think of would be if there were a few more twists/shocking moments/surprises. That could have added an extra “wow” factor!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This book was so much fun. It’s great if you’re hesitant about paranormal or urban fantasy and are willing to give it a shot. I love the male POV in combination with the humor and sarcasm too. This book totally nailed it for me.

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BOOKS LIKE HOLD ME CLOSER, NECROMANCER

(Click the cover to see my review!)

WHITE CAT    STEELHEART


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I read HOLD ME CLOSER, NECROMANCER with my gals from On the Same Page! Don’t miss Amy and Alyssa‘s posts today as they feature the book in different ways!

Mini-Review: Mortal Danger (Immortal Game #1) – Ann Aguirre

Mini-Review: Mortal Danger (Immortal Game #1) – Ann AguirreTitle: Mortal Danger (Immortal Game #1) by Ann Aguirre
Publishing Info: August 5, 2014 by Macmillan
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 5, 2014
Related Posts: Enclave (Razorland #1)

    Revenge is a dish best served cold.
    Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn't imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She's not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he's impossible to forget.
    In one short summer, her entire life changes, and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly... bad things are happening. It's a heady rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil's bargains, she isn't sure who—or what--she can trust. Not even her own mind...

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I really had high hopes for MORTAL DANGER before cracking open the book. It seemed like a concept I would really enjoy and I knew that other readers weren’t as pleased with it, but hey, I don’t always agree with other people (that’s the whole point of reading, right?) so I gave it a shot and hoped for the best!

The first half of the book actually went really well for me. I was interested in the idea and thought it could really go places. The characters didn’t have the most amazing chemistry, but it worked all right for me, and I just really enjoyed the first 100 pages and the set-up of where everything was leading. Unfortunately, there came a point where I had to stop reading for the day and I just struggled  to pick the book back up. But why? I was really enjoying the beginning! What in the world made me struggle to finish?

About halfway through, MORTAL DANGER hit a wall for me. I felt like the story wasn’t progressing all that much and sure, things were happening, but it wasn’t a lot and apparently it wasn’t enough to hold my attention. I had a hard time pushing through to the end and really the second half was just slow for me. I think I needed a little bit more suspense and action to really help pick things up every once in a while in the second half.

I was a bit sad that it turned out to do the same thing for me that it did for other readers. Having really enjoyed the first half of the book, I thought it was going to end up as a four star book, but the second half just really declined and… I just don’t have much to say about it at all. I didn’t find anything that really turned me off, but it just didn’t hold my interest.

view_from_goodreads1

I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Paranormal. I don’t find myself reading a lot of paranormal lately… I think I sort of fell out of it. I was really interested in the whole secret, morbid-genie type deal but… too little too late.
Left Me Wanting More: Action & Suspense. The beginning was really good. I got to know the characters and even though it was about Edie wishing for beauty, I didn’t feel like it was that superficial. Unfortunately it really just fell flat halfway through. The characters got really static and one-dimensional and the plot just wasn’t moving along.

Addiction Rating
Skip it

Another book I didn’t really hate but I just couldn’t get into. I had high hopes that I would like it more than others but the book just hit a wall and I couldn’t get past it.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE MORTAL DANGER

(Click the cover to see my review!)

 everneath    dance of shadows

 

White Cat (Curse Workers #1) – Holly Black

White Cat (Curse Workers #1) – Holly BlackTitle: White Cat (Curse Workers #1) by Holly Black
Publishing Info: May 4, 2010 by Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 17, 2014
Related Posts: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Red Glove (Curse Workers #2), Black Heart (Curse Workers #3)

    Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn’t fit in at home or at school, so he’s used to feeling like an outsider. He’s also used to feeling guilty—he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago.But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas—and a plan to con the conmen.

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Abilities. Cons. Male POV. Cats. Okay, well one cat. This book immediately had me hooked. WHITE CAT was my kind of book. I actually didn’t start it until I was looking for a new audiobook and saw that Jesse Eisenberg was the narrator — I just love him so I was really excited to find an audiobook that he narrated, and one that I really wanted to read, no less!

This book just worked for me on all levels. I loved the characters, I loved the feel, I loved the plot, I loved the twists. I really enjoyed the urban-fantasy feel, which isn’t always a genre that works for me. I loved how it was the world as we knew it, except with the large factor of Curse Workers — people with specific powers who can perform specific abilities — and they’re everywhere. Not every family has a Curse Worker, but they’re commonplace enough that the general population wears gloves at all times to prevent unwanted curses since the strongest curse can be performed with a simple touch. It just so happens that Cassel comes from a whole family of Curse Workers and somehow he’s the only one who doesn’t have any powers… Although he does have the memory of murdering his best friend Lila three years ago… So there’s that.

I just clicked with Cassel’s character. He’s not quite a loner but he doesn’t really do so well with friends. His mom was a Curse Worker (emotions) and a con artist so Cassel happened to take after his mom with his ability to con since he had no supernatural abilities to fall back on — and you know I love a good con artist. I like that Cassel really kept to himself but he did still have his roommate who he considered kind of a friend and over the course of the book, he begins to open up to others just a little bit more. He’s always there for his family — even when he doesn’t want to be — and he’s got a great sharp tongue that always kept the dialogue light and fun.

The book also had some great twists. Some were mildly predictable. Others not so much. No matter where the plot was going, it was always moving and I was always interested. I was fascinated by the family dynamic and how that dynamic really revolved around the family members’ abilities and the way that they used them. All of the characters were just really great and I felt like I really got to know the family.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

I read this book on audio specifically because I found out Jesse Eisenberg narrated and I just love him. He did a really great job with the narration, but sometimes I just have small issues (with any narrator really) when I think that that’s not how the character would really say something — but I can’t complain, really, when I give up the narrating to someone else! His voice and performance is exactly what you’d expect from Jesse and he was a great person to narrate Cassel’s POV because I can totally see them as the same personality — wickedly smart, sly, and not always fond of others. He wasn’t always the most dynamic voice to listen to but I enjoyed it all the same!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Cassel // Character Obsessions: Cons, odds, Lila, dreams. 
I loved Cassel. I’m always a sucker for a good male POV and Cassel was the perfect character for me to connect with. He was smart, clever, and well-spoken. He didn’t always have a lot of friends but the ones he did make, he found out that he was strangely loyal to them. Probably because his family was always very loyal to each other and yet there was still a volatile family dynamic as well. Very excellent.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Urban fantasy. If you just said “urban fantasy” and pointed a book at me, chances are I’d turn you down… But WHITE CAT wasn’t the stereotypical urban fantasy like I picture it. It was really just a world almost identical to our own except for these powers that just exist and are commonplace. It was very cool and I loved that it just fit so well, without question.
Left Me Wanting More: Secondary character development. I totally connected with Cassel but I would have liked to know a bit more about his family and his friends. We do get some development from the secondary characters but I think I just wanted to inhale the story and really feel like I was a part of it. I just wanted to know them a bit more, but it really was fantastic.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I really, really enjoyed WHITE CAT. I honestly can’t wait to keep reading this series. It feels like just the series I would enjoy and I hope the rest of it goes well too!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE WHITE CAT

(Click the cover to see my review!)

       The Raven Boys     Bloodlines

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly BlackTitle: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Publishing Info: September 3, 2013 by Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: April 22, 2013
Related Posts: White Cat (Curse Workers #1), Red Glove (Curse Workers #2), Black Heart (Curse Workers #3)

    Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave.One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

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I felt like I had heard quite a few good things about THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN before I started so I had high hopes going in but of course, I was still hesitant about “another vampire book”. I hadn’t read a vampire book since Vampire Academy and Bloodlines and those series were ones that I really enjoyed for its ability to sort of stray from the “vampire stereotypes”. I think after a supersaturation of the genre, it was only natural to be hesitant, but I still went into the book with high hopes.

I thought the book started out with a bang. Sort of “bad girl”, Tana wakes up at a party to find that everyone else who was there is dead. Mutilated, drained, and ravaged by a roving pack of vampires and somehow she’s the only one left alive. If I was unsure what was about to come, the very first chapter of the book surely set it up for me. Holly Black is not afraid to let the gore fly and honestly… It was kind of awesome. I still cringe at gory descriptions but I also liked that she didn’t shy away from keeping it real. I feel like that was a big purpose of the book — for Tana (and others) to know that being a vampire isn’t always glamorous like they portray it to be on the internet and TV — and so I really appreciated how it served a real purpose in the book as well.

I really enjoyed the relationships in this book. Tana has complicated relationships with quite a few people and it only gets worse after the night of the “incident”. Because of the events of that night, she ends up deciding to travel to the nearest Coldtown — a city or section of a city that has been zoned off for vampires or people who have been infected and not yet turned. She ends up reconnecting with an ex-boyfriend who is now infected, a mysterious vampire who seems oddly helpful, and a couple of kids who are heading to the Coldtown because they have been dreaming of being turned into a vampire. Then she still has her sister and her dad back home to think about and still try to protect, even if she’s not sure she’ll ever make it back to them. I loved how each relationship was just so unique and Tana really had a different connection with each person. Even the people she meets inside of the Coldtown were fascinating and I loved the connections she made with them as well.

While the characters were great and felt very vivid, I just couldn’t get into the plot as much as I had hoped. I liked the history of how the vampire sort of “outbreak” started and even how it had affected Tana and her family before the night of the “incident”, but the plot as the story progresses just didn’t reel me in. I was anxious to see what the Coldtown would be like, but it all felt very much like an amalgam of all of the vampire books I’ve read to date and for me, it just didn’t feel like it was anything new. I actually listened to the acknowledgements once the audiobook was over and I almost feel bad for saying that because it sounded like Holly Black had always wanted to write a vampire novel and it was something that shaped her as a reader and a writer so I’m sure producing this book was an amazing life-long goal of hers. I guess for me personally, I’m finding my way out of the vampire trend and was hoping this book would say, “Don’t worry about trends! If the book is good, it can still knock you off your feet regardless!” but unfortunately, I just didn’t find it here.

THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN was still a good read and I did enjoy it, but it didn’t hold the “amazing” factor that I was hoping for. There was a bit of a lull in the middle for me after the fast and exciting beginning and the ending was good and action-packed, but still felt like the other vampire books I’ve read before. If that’s what you’re looking for, I definitely think you’ll find it here, but if you’re feeling tired of the vampire trend, you may notice that a lot as well.

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

The audiobook was really enjoyable! Christine Lakin narrated it and I just really liked her tone of voice and her delivery. I thought she was perfect to voice Tana and she had kind of… almost a husky quality to her voice which was great for a darker book. I get easily annoyed with female narrators who sound all breathy and delicate so I really enjoyed her voice for this book! The entire production was pretty great too. I’ve only listened to a couple audiobooks that have actual music interspersed into the narration for a sort of movie feel and THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN had some suspenseful and creepy music to play out some of the more scary moments! I actually didn’t feel like it was always perfectly placed, but I appreciated it when it popped up!

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Tana // Character Obsessions: Coldtown, infection, Pearl.
Tana was a great character for me. She was that kind of mix between bad girl, badass, and big sister. I really liked her personality and she just felt really realistic to me. It made me wonder what I would do in her shoes (I think she handled it better).
Gavriel // Character Obsessions: Secret plans, helping Tana.
I liked Gavriel’s mystery but I do wish we had gotten to learn more about him earlier on to make a better connection. I think he’s the one character I have reservations about because I just wanted to know more about him and why he was so important earlier in the book. Not to give away any secrets but just to establish that deeper relationship with Tana.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Vampires? I’m not sure if I’m over the vampire trend but I did still enjoy it in this book. I did admit that it felt a bit tired and yet, it reminded me of all of the vampire books I had read previously and gave me that hint of nostalgia. Kind of a mix of negative and positive points there.
Left Me Wanting More: Romance. I really wanted a bit more romance in this book. That’s not to say I wanted it to take over and be a melodramatic Edward/Bella romance, but I didn’t quite feel like Tana and Gavriel had a strong connection until all of a sudden it was THERE towards the end. I just really wanted to see it developed and established a little bit more gradually.

Addiction Rating
Try it

Several of my Goodreads friends LOVED it. If you’re in the mood for vampires, it’s definitely worth the read! I enjoyed it but my hesitance was just that — vampires and a trend that may be on the way out. Up to you to try it and satisfy that craving if that’s what you’re looking for!!

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(Click the cover to see my review!)

      Frostbite      City of Bones

Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6) – Richelle Mead

Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6) – Richelle MeadTitle: Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6) by Richelle Mead
Publishing Info: December 7, 2010 by Penguin
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 23, 2013
Related Posts: Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2), Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3), Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4), Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5), Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1), The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2), The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3), Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1), The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court #1)

    Rose Hathaway has always played by her own rules. She broke the law when she ran away from St. Vladimir's Academy with her best friend and last surviving Dragomir princess, Lissa. She broke the law when she fell in love with her gorgeous, off-limits instructor, Dimitri. And she dared to defy Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi world, risking her life and reputation to protect generations of dhampir guardians to come.
    Now the law has finally caught up with Rose - for a crime she didn't even commit. She's in prison for the highest offense imaginable: the assassination of a monarch. She'll need help from both Dimitri and Adrian to find the one living person who can stall her execution and force the Moroi elite to acknowledge a shocking new candidate for the royal throne: Vasilisa Dragomir.
    But the clock on Rose's life is running out. Rose knows in her heart the world of the dead wants her back...and this time she is truly out of second chances. The big question is, when your whole life is about saving others, who will save you?

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I finished a series!!! *happy dance* Aren’t you guys proud of me!? I FINALLY finished the Vampire Academy series! It only took me…. forever. Anyway, let’s talk about it, shall we? So I started LAST SACRIFICE, and at first I was scared. Because I participated in the “Who Is Marcus Finch” campaign in the beginning of the year, therefore deciding to read ALL of the Bloodlines series (that’s out so far) before finishing VA, I was very nervous that LAST SACRIFICE was going to be anti-climactic. I guess I can say that although BL did have a few spoilers for the last book here, there were still so many things that I was excited to find out and regardless of spoilers, I still needed to see how it wrapped up!

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So LAST SACRIFICE starts with Rose in prison for a crime that we know she didn’t commit, but basically everyone else in the vampire world thinks she did. Typical! The beginning was just a tad slow because obviously… Rose is in prison. We can only do so much with that for so long. Thankfully it didn’t take too long for her to get out. LAST SACRIFICE definitely kept me on my toes (once we busted out of the prison part) with the usual chases, escapes, and complete surprises that are so characteristic of the Vampire Academy series.

One thing that I really liked was thinking how Rose has grown as a person/character throughout the series. She will always be a “react first, think later” kind of person, but you can see how much she’s changed and matured to still keep her instincts at the ready, but also to allow herself to use her head and her heart in balance when making her decisions. I think many of the characters have matured nicely throughout the series, an obvious one being Lissa. Lissa has to secure her place on court since she’s part of a royal bloodline, but with no living relatives, has to find a way to do it (because for those of you who don’t know, you need that one extra relative to validate you). It’s obvious for people who have read LAST SACRIFICE and/or The Bloodlines series (since it is a spin-off series) how much Lissa really has changed, grown, and overcome in these last couple books. She’s actually one of my favorite characters from the series and I don’t think I realized that until very recently.

The Rose and Dimitri Story… The romance between Rose & Dimitri has basically been half of why I loved this series so much. I don’t know why but a good forbidden romance just GETS me. They love each other… but no! They can’t be together! Anyway… I actually felt just a tiny bit let down by that forbidden romance aspect in LAST SACRIFICE because as silly as it is to say, it just wasn’t angsty enough for me! Ultimately, okay. (This is not a spoiler because this has been my OPINION the entire series) In my mind, I KNEW they were going to end up together and yes, that’s what I wanted… But there wasn’t enough tug on my heart with the back-and-forth in this book. I will say that I’m glad the book wrapped up this romance the way that it did and it definitely had to happen in the very last book because well… It just wouldn’t be exciting if that carried on in future books! That angsty romance just lost a tiiiiiny bit of its spark for me in the last book, but who am I kidding. I still love it!

The killer twists are always a very, very favorite part of Richelle Mead’s books, but like I mentioned earlier, I kiiiind of spoiled a really big one for myself but reading BLOODLINES. *shrugs* Can’t really do much about that now, but I got to enjoy LAST SACRIFICE in a different way: After reading Bloodlines and getting a very brief idea of what happened in LS, it was actually kind of fun to “go back in time” and see how it really happened. I actually had pieces of the puzzle in Bloodlines so it was actually fun to see how those pieces came together in LAST SACRIFICE. I didn’t quite enjoy the book the way it was intended with the total shockers, but I got to almost see a different side of it and that was kind of cool too.
There were still some things that were able to surprise me that hadn’t gotten spoiled by reading Bloodlines first and then even still, there were some more moments of clarity where I would stop and say, “Ohhhhhh, I get it!” Would I recommend finishing VA before starting Bloodlines? Absolutely. But if you don’t, the rest of the VA series should still be enjoyable, but in a slightly different way.

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Rose Hathaway // Character obsessions: Dimitri, kicking Strigoi ass.
I clearly never hated Rose (since I read the entire series) but I will say that she grew on me over the course of the series. I’m actually a little proud of her for maturing and starting to act like an adult in this last book. Haha, Richelle Mead really did a number on me here — I’m acting like Rose is a real person so I guess she did a really great job with that!
Lissa Dragomir // Character obsessions: Spirit magic.
I don’t think I knew it for a long time, but Lissa is actually one of my favorite characters. She was a balance of head when Rose acted with heart and she’s always had a sort of maturity about her that I really appreciate. I like how she changed in this book as well — She’s always been good with a crowd and diplomatic, but here she really owned it and started to not just be appropriate amongst the Royals, but really take charge and start acting like she really had something to fight for.
Sydney Sage // Character obessions: Work, looking presentable, responsibility.
So I’ve read all three of the Bloodlines books that are out so far and… I like Sydney more in VA than I did getting Bloodlines from her POV. The Sydney in VA is seen through Rose’s eyes, so she’s serious and focused, but also sarcastic and clearly out of her element considering she’s helping vampires. In Bloodlines we read from her POV and just allllll the insecurities I read from her stream of consciousness kind of negate the badassness that I saw so much of in VA. It was much easier for me to read her through Rose’s POV than from her own.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Vampires. I realized that the books in this series were the only vampire books I’ve read since Twilight! I was “over” that phase even when I started reading VA so they’ve definitely held my interest!
Left Me Wanting More: Swoony times. Rose & Dimitri’s relationship was basically half of the fun of these books and I felt like there weren’t a lot of good swoony moments in LAST SACRIFICE!

Addiction Rating
BUY & RECOMMEND.

While it wasn’t my favorite of the series, Vampire Academy will always hold a special place on my shelves. I have to round out my collection of books by completing the series!

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     Bloodlines      something Strange and Deadly

Sweet Peril (Sweet Evil #2) – Wendy Higgins

Sweet Peril (Sweet Evil #2) – Wendy HigginsTitle: Sweet Peril (The Sweet Trilogy #2) by Wendy Higgins
Publishing Info: April 30, 2013 by HarperCollins
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 15, 2013
Related Posts: Sweet Evil (The Sweet Trilogy #1)

    Anna Whitt, the daughter of a guardian angel and a demon, promised herself she’d never do the work of her father—polluting souls. She’d been naive to make such a vow. She’d been naive about a lot of things.
Haunted by demon whisperers, Anna does whatever she can to survive, even if it means embracing her dark side and earning an unwanted reputation as her school’s party girl. Her life has never looked more bleak. And all the while there’s Kaidan Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust, plaguing her heart and mind.
When an unexpected lost message from the angels surfaces, Anna finds herself traveling the globe with Kopano, son of Wrath, in an attempt to gain support of fellow Nephilim and give them hope for the first time. It soon becomes clear that whatever freedoms Anna and the rest of the Neph are hoping to win will not be gained without a fight. Until then, Anna and Kaidan must put aside the issues between them, overcome the steamiest of temptations yet, and face the ultimate question: is loving someone worth risking their life?

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This is a spoiler-free review for SWEET PERIL but if you have not read SWEET EVIL yet, beware that there may be some spoilers for book one!

It’s no secret that I fangirled over SWEET EVIL pretty hard when I first read it last summer. I was allll about Kaidan and he truly made the book for me (ALL THE SWOONS) so when we left Sweet Evil with Anna and Kaidan separated, I had a great fear building up until I finally got my hands on SWEET PERIL that we would suffer from one of the common occurrences in the second in a series in which the two lovebirds are apart the whole book. Well, I feel it’s important to warn you (and there’s no way I can talk about the first half of the book) to say that… It happened.

I can’t. Get. Kupono. Out of my head.

First: I liked the book. I really did. Despite my wariness for angel/demon books, I really love how Wendy Higgins creates this other world and mythology and legends… But Kaidan, my main reason for loving the book, was gone the whole first half. There was tons of Kopano (which I’m sorry, as a SYTYCD fan, I keep wanting to say Kupono haha) but really, he just doesn’t do it for me. I actually didn’t really like him that much in the first book as a friend and here we go turning a slight love triangle and I just really felt let down. I was actually pretty disappointed with the direction that took. Then I run into another second in a series issue in which the characters are on a mission and traveling. The road trip in book one did not bother me at all because it was more road trip and not mission. The road trip was low-stress and we got to see a lot of character interaction between Anna and Kaidan there. The trips in book two are all over the world and pretty much are the only things we get in the first half of the book. They felt rushed and pieced together instead of a flowing story.

The second half of the book was where the magic really happened for me. It was back to the old times! The good times! Just like in Sweet Evil. We finally get to see Kaidan again for more than two seconds and he returns to all his steamy glory!! Anna finally seems a little more confident because I really felt like she was a bit passive and naïve (well, she’s always going to be naïve) in the first half. After what I felt like was travel, travel, more travel and introducing new characters, we get to know a bit more about the other Dukes, Neph, and angels in the second half. More pieces to the puzzle! More interesting facts!! YAYYY. It was a relief because I got really scared for a while in the beginning.

The second half definitely felt more like the “home” that I found in Sweet Evil so I was thankful we finally got back to that! The only thing I was a bit confused with is Anna’s character is kind of back and forth. She’s been learning how to defend herself but half the time she’s still the sweet, little naïve girl and the other half she’s badass and ready to wield weapons. I’m just not sure which Anna we should be expecting or if we truly should expect both in one. Clearly Anna’s going through a lot of personal changes throughout this whole discovery of her true ancestry and truth be told, I kind of enjoy the badass Anna BUT I also want her to stay true to her character so it’s kind of a toss up for me!

Overall, I did enjoy a lot from SWEET PERIL but it was a slow start for me. Superfans of the series will love it, I’m sure, and I’ve seen tons of five star ratings already!

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Anna Whitt: For some reason when I read Sweet Evil, I didn’t think Anna was that naive (and Wendy Higgins herself said to me, “Really? I think she’s incredibly naive!” but for some reason it just didn’t come across to me that way in book one. Book two, however, gave me a lot of that feeling and it bothered me at times. I think I was just in a different place when I read book two and it totally change my outlook on Anna’s character. Regardless, I’m happy that she’s learning how to defend herself but still hasn’t lost her morals or beliefs. I hope she stays true to her character in book three!!
Kaidan Rowe: Kaidan, why were you hiding in LA half of the book!?! Don’t do that to me!!! Once Kai finally shows back up in the picture in full force, the book really took off for me. I needed that tension between Anna and Kai for the book to work for me, I think, because that was what I loved so much about Sweet Evil!
Kopano: Eh. Kope just doesn’t do it for me. I wasn’t really a fan of his character in Sweet Evil — nothing personal, but he just didn’t stand out for me — so his major presence in Sweet Peril brought me down a little, to be honest!
Characters I loved seeing so much more of: Blake makes a strong appearance in this book and I loved him! Loved seeing more of Marnie and Ginger as well as Baleil/Anna’s father.

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Try it

I didn’t like this one as much… and I’m afraid my love for this series is starting to die! It was still a fun read but I feel like that magic is gone.

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     Sweet Evil      PIvot Point

The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3) – Richelle Mead

The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3) – Richelle MeadTitle: The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3) by Richelle Mead
Publishing Info: February 12, 2013 by Penguin
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 23, 2013
Related Posts: Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2), Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3), Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4), Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5), Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1), The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2), Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6), Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1), The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court #1)

    Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets--and human lives."
In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next.

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THE INDIGO SPELL for the win!! When reading BLOODLINES and THE GOLDEN LILY, I was enjoying the books but really kind of “ehhh” on how I felt about them. The stories were great and I loved the way the plot was unfolding, but the whole time, I just kept thinking “It’s just not Vampire Academy”. Well, I guess THE INDIGO SPELL still isn’t quite on par with VA for me (I know you’re tired of hearing it), but I felt like it had a lot more action and intrigue than the first two books did!

Guys, not only are we dealing with vampire magic, we’ve got more of the occult in here. That’s right. Witchcraft. I think this was a great turn in the overall plot of the Bloodlines series because it helps us edge away from the vampire focus and get more into Sydney’s life. Maybe this will finally help me stop comparing the two series!

SYDNEY. You guys know how much I was struggling to get along with Sydney and I think we’re finally starting to become friends. She’s really starting to figure out her own life and question everything she was taught as an Alchemist and I’m loving it! She’s becoming her own person, loosening up a bit, and it’s really helping how well I’m getting along with her character.

Oh, and PS — There are KISSING SCENES. With ADRIAN. Swoon.

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Sydney Sage: You go, girl! Sydney is finally starting to think for herself and it makes it so much better for me to read. She’s still a little reserved but becoming more and more confident. I think I really like bold heroines, especially in books where they’re acting as protectors and weilding magic, so I’m totally on board with the new Sydney.
Adrian Ivashkov: Still loving Adrian! I don’t think that’ll change.
Angeline: Ehhh I’m warming up to her a little bit….. But I still kind of hate her guts. I think I’m just understanding her more than liking her.

QUOTES

Please note that these quotes have been taken from the ARC copy. Please refer to finished copy for final text.

p28: [Adrian] “You’re not as much of a lost cause as she was. I mean, with her, I had to overcome her deep, epic love with a Russian warlord. You and I just have to overcome hundreds of years’ worth of deeply ingrained prejudice and taboo between our two races. Easy.”

p86: [Sydney] “Something I’d learned over the years: It was never a good thing when people said, ‘Here’s something I never told you…’

Haha that reminds me of Death Becomes Her: “NOW a warning!?” (I actually tried to find a gif with no luck… Bummer.)

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Buy it!

If you’re this far in the series, it’s worth the read! Personally, I think the series keeps getting better!

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The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2) – Richelle Mead

The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2) – Richelle MeadTitle: The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2) by Richelle Mead
Publishing Info: June 12, 2012 by Penguin
Source: Library
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 20, 2013
Related Posts: Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2), Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3), Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4), Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5), Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1), The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3), Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6), Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1), The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court #1)

    Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.
Sydney would love to go to college, but instead, she’s been sent into hiding at a posh boarding school in Palm Springs, California–tasked with protecting Moroi princess Jill Dragomir from assassins who want to throw the Moroi court into civil war. Formerly in disgrace, Sydney is now praised for her loyalty and obedience, and held up as the model of an exemplary Alchemist.
But the closer she grows to Jill, Eddie, and especially Adrian, the more she finds herself questioning her age–old Alchemist beliefs, her idea of family, and the sense of what it means to truly belong. Her world becomes even more complicated when magical experiments show Sydney may hold the key to prevent becoming Strigoi—the fiercest vampires, the ones who don’t die. But it’s her fear of being just that—special, magical, powerful—that scares her more than anything. Equally daunting is her new romance with Brayden, a cute, brainy guy who seems to be her match in every way. Yet, as perfect as he seems, Sydney finds herself being drawn to someone else—someone forbidden to her.
When a shocking secret threatens to tear the vampire world apart, Sydney’s loyalties are suddenly tested more than ever before. She wonders how she's supposed to strike a balance between the principles and dogmas she's been taught, and what her instincts are now telling her.
Should she trust the Alchemists—or her heart?
  

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Okay, I will say that I enjoyed THE GOLDEN LILY more than BLOODLINES, but at the same time I still had the some of the same issues. Sydney is a good heroine for these novels, but I’m still not quite convinced on how much I like her. She definitely has some deep-seeded personal issues that stem from the strict rules of the Alchemists and these issues make her more reserved which gets a bit tiresome at times. She’s incredibly intelligent and studious, but so much so that it makes her incredibly naive and unaware of social surroundings. All of that kind of got on my nerves so I was still having a little trouble really supporting Sydney – The good thing about all of that is that slowly but surely, Sydney is really starting to come into her own ideas and beliefs and question the rigidity of the Alchemists’ beliefs, like any good MC does.

I definitely liked where the plot was heading in THE GOLDEN LILY. We see a few more secrets unearthed and some more truths come to light that really puts an interesting twist on the relationship between the vampire community and the Alchemists. I really enjoyed some of the plot twists, but at the same time, I can’t help but compare the series so far to that of Vampire Academy and in doing so, I’m just not as into it as I was with VA. Sydney’s world is still intertwined with the Moroi and dhampirs, but when we were following Rose’s story, we got to see the school atmosphere where she was learning how to be a guardian and I really felt like that explanation and creation of the vampire world added a whole separate aspect to the story that I’m missing with BLOODLINES so far. I’m not feeling as connected with the world of the Alchemists because Sydney is actually removed from it and attending a normal school.

Overall in the series so far, I feel a general lack of action-packed scenes. I think normally, I wouldn’t have noticed the difference, but after coming off the jam-packed thrill ride that was Vampire Academy, I’m just missing all of those different fight scenes. There’s also a lack of “OMG moments” that were so prevalent in VA that I’m still missing in BLOODLINES as well.

As far as secondary characters and their story lines go, I’m kind of take it or leave it. Adrian is still a great main character and I’m loving how much more we see of him in BLOODLINES and THE GOLDEN LILY, but I’m pretty much ambivalent about Eddie and Jill, and I’m actively disliking Angeline. I AM more interested in Trey, especially after his character’s development in THE GOLDEN LILY, so I’m really curious to see his role in future books.

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Sydney Sage: Sydney is still pretty blah for me. I’m kind of over the plain-clothes jokes and how clueless she is about picking up on social cues. I mean, I get it. I guess in her Alchemist training it really wasn’t a part of her life. Still, I’m hoping she’ll just hurry up and become a little more normal because whereas it was just okay in the first book, it started to really wear on me in TGL.
Adrian Ivashkov: Yay Adrian! He really has the best lines. Ever. They’re so snarky and sarcastic and absolutely hilarious. He’s becoming such a great, well-rounded character.
Brayden: Oh. My. Gosh. Hated him. So incredibly boring and pretentious.

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Read it!

I’m not TOTALLY sold yet but Richelle Mead’s books are always enjoyable! If you’re a VA fan, chances are you’ll still really enjoy this series too!

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