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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 // GoodreadsDate 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.

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“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 // GoodreadsDate 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

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 // GoodreadsDate 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 // GoodreadsDate 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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Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1) – Richelle Mead

Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1) – Richelle MeadTitle: Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1) by Richelle Mead
Publishing Info: August 23, 2011 by Penguin
Source: Library
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 13, 2013
Related Posts: Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2), Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3), Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4), Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5), The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2), 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 is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty - a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning... 

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BLOODLINES is a great spin-off series from Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series (And may I say, you really HAVE to finish VA first as there are some major plot points as spoilers from the last book that you will be missing if you don’t). We get to follow the story of Sydney Sage and her duties as an Alchemist, viewing the very anti-vampire feelings that the Alchemists hold dear. It was really interesting to see this side of the story with Sydney bridging the gap between the vamp-hating Alchemists and her duties to protect a Moroi, constantly debating whether she should feel bad for being friendly with Moroi and dhampirs or if maybe it was time for a new wave of acceptance to come through.

I actually felt like the story line was just a bit slow for my tastes after the constant rush and excitement of the Vampire Academy series BUT I do remember reading book one of VA and remeber that one being slower than all of the other ones that followed it. Maybe it was just that we needed to take book one to really establish some of hte new characters and fit the familiar characters into a new surrounding? I’m not really sure. I was just hoping for a tiny bit more action and maybe we’ll see that in book two since we have our series plot line all set up.

Guys. GUYS. With BLOODLINES, I’m finally understanding the Adrian-factor! I think in VA I was just too blinded by Dimitri. I mean, how could you not be? So I never really gave Adrian a fair shot and I felt like he always kind of fell to the background. BLOODLINES, however, totally delivered a fun, snarky, and charming Adrian character. I can’t wait to see more of him as a prominent character.

I think I was just missing a little bit more action from BLOODLINES and felt like some of the plot turns were a little bit predicatable whereas with VA, Mead always found a way to knock me off my feet. I’m still really excited for the upcoming books and can’t wait to see where else this series goes!

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Sydney Sage: I definitely see similarities and differences all at the same time between Sydney as a main character and Rose as a main character. I was glad, though, that for as much as the other characters tease Sydney about being uptight, she’s definitely not boring! She’s strong and has a mind of her own, refusing to blindly believe everything that the Alchemists follow. I’m really looking forward to seeing her character develop throughout the series.
Adrian Ivashkov: FINALLY. I GET IT!!!! I loved Adrian in this book. He was funny, snarky, witty – everything that he was in VA, but this time he gets a spotlight and has several hilarious lines in the book. I’m still not quite feeling the possible romance between him & Sydney but I don’t doubt that that’ll quickly change.
Eddie: I loved that Eddie is a part of BLOODLINES. He was a great secondary character in VA and here we get to see his character shine a bit more. What a great addition to this ensemble!

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Read it!

This was a really fun first book in a new series from Richelle Mead. I had a lot of fun reading this one and I’m definitely looking forward to more in this series!

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Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5) – Richelle Mead

Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5) – Richelle MeadTitle: Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5) by Richelle Mead
Publishing Info: May 18, 2010 by Penguin
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: November 17, 2012
Related Posts: Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2), Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3), Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4), Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1), The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2), 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)

    Dimitri gave Rose the ultimate choice. But she chose wrong...
    After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri's birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir's-and to her best friend, Lissa. It is nearly graduation, and the girls can't wait for their real lives beyond the Academy's iron gates to begin. But Rose's heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he's out there, somewhere.
    She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. And this time he won't rest until Rose joins him... forever.

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Okay, friends. Turn back now if you want to avoid any spoilers because the deeper I get into this series, the more virtually impossible it becomes for me not to say anything spoiler-y! Mostly for the books that have come before this one, but I need to talk about other things that happened in SPIRIT BOUND too!

Okay, so first off, I definitely enjoyed this one more than I enjoyed BLOOD PROMISE, but still not as much as the first three books of the series. I think in BLOOD PROMISE, I had my second book syndrome except two books late. Usually in trilogies, I have second book syndrome and I just get so disappointed because too many things change all at once and I get lost in the story. I think that was what happened with BLOOD PROMISE. We were far away in Siberia, away from too many of our favorite characters and introduced to too many new ones. Now that Rose is back from Russia and reunited with her old classmates, I totally got on board again.

What I just realized (since I’m writing the review after literally just finishing the book) is wait a second! What happened to Victor? I just realized in all the commotion from the finale of this book that we lose Victor and Robert in the plot. Hm. Anyway, we did gain Dimitri back and in a whole new way! Wow, the interactions between Rose and Dimitri in SPIRIT BOUND were entirely different from BLOOD PROMISE. I went from being afraid for the both of them to being hopeful to being heartbroken all over again. It’s just a roller coaster ride – Granted, I did lose a lot of momentum in their relationship and the love I had for this relationship since the first couple of books, but I still have a lot of hope for them yet. I can’t wait to see how this evolves in the last book.

Yet another surprise ending from Mead! I’m always amazed each time the plot twists that she throws into our characters paths. I can’t wait to see how the series wraps up!

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Dimitri: Ahhh, Dimitri! What a roller coaster you have gone on as far as characters go – probably the most changes I’ve seen from a character in a series. I can’t wait to see what his fate (or Mead’s crazy ideas) hold for him in the last book! And everything that happens in this book is perfectly logical and totally appropriate for the way his character would act.
Lissa: I’m loving the development with Lissa’s character. We’re slowly but surely seeing some awesome progress in her character, both emotionally and physically as well as magically. I love how Mead has had her character evolve so slowly throughout the books. I feel like it’s been really believable and much more enjoyable that way.
Adrian: Frankly I feel bad for Adrian! I know he likes Rose but poor guy, you just know Rose and Dimitri are supposed to be together. Even seeing her and Adrian together just seemed so wrong. I guess that’s great writing on Mead’s part — I was definitely following the story line that was clearly laid out to us.

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Read it

I enjoyed SPIRIT BOUND! Still not my favorite but UGH these books. They just keep me going and going. I can’t wait to see what happens in the final book!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE SPIRIT BOUND

Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4) – Richelle Mead

Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4) – Richelle MeadTitle: Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4) by Richelle Mead
Publishing Info: August 25, 2009 by Penguin
Source: Library
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 14, 2012
Related Posts: Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2), Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3), Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5), Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1), The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2), 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)

    The recent Strigoi attack at St. Vladimir’s Academy was the deadliest ever in the school’s history, claiming the lives of Moroi students, teachers, and guardians alike. Even worse, the Strigoi took some of their victims with them . . . including Dimitri. He’d rather die than be one of them, and now Rose must abandon her best friend, Lissa—the one she has sworn to protect no matter what—and keep the promise Dimitri begged her to make long ago. But with everything at stake, how can she possibly destroy the person she loves most?

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I was slightly disappointed in the beginning, I must say. I felt like it was pretty slow to start. Yes, there was a lot of necessary set up, but after the way book three ended I was DYING to know what happened to Dimitri. Weren’t we all!? So we know that Rose is wandering about in Russia, but I was just like, “Come on, already! I’m dying here!”

Finally it start to get REALLY good. We finally get to know what happened to Dimitri, where he went, what his life has become now that he’s a Strigoi. And agh, it’s just so hard to review this book without saying anything about when Rose and Dimitri finally encounter each other since that would be like spoiler after spoiler. I guess the best thing I can say is that even as that part of the story was progressing, I still really didn’t know how it was going to end up. All the while I kept hoping for redemption for Dimitri, but we know there’s not way to “turn a Strigoi back”. So how could it end any other way except Rose killing him? It was quite the interesting situation to say the least!

In true Mead fashion, there were a few nice twists at the end!! Nothing quite as shocking as previous books, but still left me with a lot of questions that I NEED answered. Needless to say, I’m definitely going to pick up book 5 soon!!

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Avery: I always got a bad vibe from Avery, but it looks like there was a lot more to her character than we really know.
Abe: I was with Rose on this one — I figured Abe for a vampire gangster-type person. But he was a tough one to figure out. He seemed vile and threatening, but then again never really acted to live up to those expectations. For those who haven’t read the book, I won’t give it away, but we do find out there’s more to Abe than anyone lets on (or maybe just knows since our characters are in the dark too).
Dimitri: Oh, Dimitri. It was heartbreaking to read about him as a Strigoi. His and Rose’s relationship is one of my favorites so I had no idea how the series could continue on with him as the undead. I guess we do get some answers to this, but even still, it was so weird to read!

book_recommendations1

Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3) – Richelle Mead

Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3) – Richelle MeadTitle: Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3) by Richelle Mead
Publishing Info: November 13, 2008 by Penguin
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 14, 2012
Related Posts: Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2), Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4), Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5), Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1), The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2), 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)

    It's springtime at St. Vladimir's Academy, and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn't been feeling quite right. She's having dark thoughts, behaving erratically, and worst of all... might be seeing ghosts.
As Rose questions her sanity, new complications arise. Lissa has begun experimenting with her magic once more, their enemy Victor Dashkov might be set free, and Rose's forbidden relationship with Dimitri is starting to heat up again. But when a deadly threat no one saw coming changes their entire world, Rose must put her own life on the line - and choose between the two people she loves most.

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Wow, it’s almost really hard to talk about this book without being spoiler-y. I really like how Richelle Mead sets things up so well in the book. We get lots of little hints of foreshadowing in the beginning when Rose and Lissa visit the fortune teller. Lots of little things pop up throughout the book and I was like, “Oh yeah! Oh wait… oh no!!!”

LOVE the development between Rose and Dimitri in this book. We finally get to see them taking baby steps toward actually being together (yay!) which is something that they’ve been denying themselves (and us. Come on, already!) so that tension is finally starting to break.

Just like FROSTBITE, Mead leaves us with a HUGE surprise. I literally gasped and slapped my hand over my mouth. I really honestly have NO idea where the next book will take us and I’m so tempted just to keep reading straight on to find out! And who’s the blonde? That’s a really pretty spoiler-y question, but you wouldn’t know what I was talking about until you got to that point in the book anyway!

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Rose: Well, she’s typical Rose still. Hot-headed, feisty – But I do like that we get to see a more serious side of her. She’s finally starting to understand the real seriousness of her being Lissa’s guardian and she really wants to prove to herself and to the staff that she can do it. She’s starting to think more rationally and maturely instead of like a rash teenager and I love it.
Dimitri: Dimitri, I love you. One of my favorite love interests in any book I’ve read! We get to stir up a little more passion in this book instead of pushing everything down and it’s like, FINALLY. And as always, I love that protector role.
Eddie: I really liked seeing more of Eddie in this book. He had a major part in the end of Frostbite, but I still didn’t feel like he had a major role. He’s a great character and we really start to make a connection with him here.

QUOTES

P131: “Victor had figured it out by watching us and gathering data. I guess when you’re a scheming villain, you get good at that stuff.”

P178:  Rose: Why do you read these? Dimitri: Some people read books for fun.

addiction_factor1Read it!

While SHADOW KISS wasn’t my favorite of the series so far, it was definitely still a lot of fun! These books are just addicting.

book_recommendations1

             

Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2) – Richelle Mead

Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2) – Richelle MeadTitle: Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2) by Richelle Mead
Publishing Info: April 10, 2008 by Penguin
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 9, 2012
Related Posts: 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), Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6), Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1), The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court #1)

Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose... It’s winter break at St. Vladimir’s, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy’s crawling with Guardians—including Rose’s hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if handto- hand combat with her mom wasn’t bad enough, Rose’s tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason’s got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy’s not taking any risks.... This year, St. Vlad’s annual holiday ski trip is mandatory. But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price...

Breaking It Down Further: Dhampir Rose Hathaway is about to take one of the biggest tests of her life as a guardian until a massive Strigoi attack occurs, leaving Rose in fear for her best friend Lissa’s life and the rest of the Moroi world in fear or a new string of killings. In attempts to keep the vampire academy safe, a mandatory ski trip in Idaho is in order and for a while, dhampirs and Moroi get to let loose as much as they can for a while – Until the politicking begins.  It’s a quarrel of whether Moroi should begin to learn to fight back, learn to use their powers defensively, and whether they should seek out the Strigoi before they have the opportunity to attack. When Mason hears of a group of Strigoi out in Oregon, he takes the initiative along with two other classmates to take them down.  With Rose being the only person aware of what they’ve done, she takes off after them in a thrilling conclusion to the adventure.

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Whoa. This book was awesome. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the first book, but FROSTBITE really took me on quite the adventure and I could not put it down. I was swept away and caught up in Rose’s thrilling story and I can’t believe how totally engrossed in the book I became!

First off — I love being able to see how Rose is growing. A popular theme in this book is how she’s still a child, she’s still young, but (even pointed out by herself) her classmates and even Dimitri admit in the end how much she’s really becoming more and more responsible bit by bit and her desire to learn and protect is helping her become a great guardian.

Then there’s the love triangle — It really did play off well! I’m totally for Rose & Dimitri (as I think we’re all supposed to be), but throwing Mason in the mix as a more likely suitor was quite the curveball. Mason is such a likable guy as well, but more in an obvious way. He’s the classic good guy, charming, flirtatious – And he really is someone else to root for as well. All the while though, I still found myself really pulling for Dimitri to come around! It’s the forbidden aspect of it, the temptation, and you can just feel the chemistry.

Then of course, the whole story line that develops here. I won’t give any spoilers away but I was totally sucked in throughout the entire end of the book. It was a mile a minute pace with Rose as the freshly self-appointed heroine and it’s a heart-pounding conclusion. I gasped, I cried, I shouted out loud (hey, that happens a lot). I was not let down by how jam-packed it was!

Oh and how could I forget this — I was totally engrossed in the development of everyone’s powers. It was really interesting to get to know more about how Lissa can use the spirit power and weird connections and forces it allows her to use. I really like the magical side of the story a lot and it’s so refreshing that it’s not “just another vampire story”. It’s very unique as far as anything I’ve ever read and surprisingly getting me hooked!

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5/5 stars
Yep, 5 stars! I raced through most of the book. Couldn’t put it down and needed to know what was going to happen!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE FROSTBITE