Tag Archives: Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy 10th Anniversary | Series Appreciation

Hi, friends! Today I’m sharing a little series appreciation for the Vampire Academy books in conjunction with its 10th anniversary and special edition release! When I got an email from Penguin asking to share some favorite things about the series, I knew this would be a perfect post for me to write.

See, I got into Vampire Academy after the Twilight/vampire craze. My friend Lisa introduced me to the books and I was like, “Ehhh, I don’t know. Vampires? Aren’t we done with this?” I had no desire to read a vampire novel after my Twilight frenzy wore off but Lisa’s a pretty good judge of books and had just gotten me hooked on The Hunger Games (which I devoured) so I trusted her recommendation and became hooked!

Although the Vampire Academy series is about vampires, it has a whole lot more going on than just that. There are best friendships, steamy romances, wonderful bonds, society politics, and a whole lot of “omg” moments! The series is really special to me because it was one of the series that brought me onto the YA scene and into a whole new set of books that I didn’t even know existed because I wasn’t looking at “teen” books. While the series deals with many typical young adult moments like first loves, friendships, mean girls, and high school, it also has so many different levels of politics, plenty of action, a whole lot of adventure, and some pretty wild moments that always left my jaw on the floor! Richelle Mead put quite a few good shocking moments in this series, especially in the first few books, and I was constantly flipping pages to see what she’d surprise me with next!

I can say that it’s “so much more than a vampire series” for those who are hesitant about vampire books but it was also really awesome to see vampires in a little different light. There are different types of vampires within the realm of the supernatural in this series ranging from mortal but with supernatural powers to the “typical” undead vampire. I really loved how the range of the average vampire was expanded and really explored!

Then there’s the romance. There are SO many good romances throughout this series but the relationship between Rose and Dimitri is just so swoony! I don’t know why but it totally got me, despite the age difference which I’m usually not on board with. I just love the tension, how it’s sort of forbidden, and the push and pull that happens throughout the series.

If you haven’t yet, hopefully you’ll give the Vampire Academy series a shot! It was one of my favorites, especially when I first started reading YA, and I think it really appeals to a wide range of readers on a few different levels! Ready to jump into the series? Check out a little bit more on the special anniversary edition of the first book!

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Richelle Mead celebrates 10 years of Vampire Academy with an exclusive, never-before-seen collection of stories that sheds new light on the world and its players:

  • The Turn and the Flame takes a deeper look into the dark stain on the Ozera dynasty…
  • Hello My Name is Rose Hathaway tracks the shenanigans that ensue when Rose and Dimitri become unlikely teammates in a high-stakes scavenger hunt…
  • The Meeting gives us a glimpse of Rose Hathaway through Dimitri’s eyes…
  • From the Journal of Vasilisa Dragomir unearths the princess’s private thoughts from a transformative period of her life…

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school–it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s–the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi–the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires–make Lissa one of them forever.

GIVEAWAY!

You can enter to win one of five copies of this beautiful anniversary edition that are up for grabs from Penguin Random House! Check out the Rafflecopter form below as well as legal and rules that follow. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rafflecopter Legal:

Enter for a chance to win one of five (5) paperback copies of Vampire Academy 10th Anniversary Edition by Richelle Mead (ARV = $11.99 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 9:00 AM Eastern Time on November 29, 2016 and 11:59 PM Eastern Time on December 5, 2016. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about December 12, 2016. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court #1) – Richelle Mead

The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court #1) – Richelle MeadTitle: The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court #1) by Richelle Mead
Publishing Info: April 5, 2016 by Penguin
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: April 29, 2016
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), Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6), Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1)

Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.
Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.
When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.
But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands…

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I fell in love with VAMPIRE ACADEMY and the whole series when I first started reading YA a few years ago and Richelle Mead’s books helped introduce me to a whole world of exciting adventures! I hadn’t read a new book from her in a while (still haven’t finished Bloodlines and it’s been a while since the last Age of X book) so I was really excited to see the audio for THE GLITTERING COURT pop up in my inbox! I really didn’t quite have an idea about what the book was about but I was excited to read a new Richelle Mead book!

Sadly, what I found was ultimately disappointing. The beginning had actually started off well! I had heard that THE GLITTERING COURT was fantasy but not a magical fantasy. Essentially, the setting is a fantasy world (as in, totally fabricated and not at all a part of the real world) but there are no magical elements. I’m totally okay with that (I loved The Winner’s Trilogy) and I don’t need magic to bring a world to life but this book REALLY fell flat. Wait, let me rewind.

The beginning of the book was entertaining. I love Richelle Mead’s humor and banter that I’ve enjoyed in other series like Vampire Academy, Bloodlines, and The Age of X. The characters were well-developed in the sense that their personalities easily came to life and made each one stand out. I wasn’t totally hooked right off the bat but I was easily following along and happy to be along for the ride (especially with a fun narrator) so the first half was a breeze to fly through.

THE GLITTERING COURT is essentially about a girl of noble status who runs away to The Glittering Court to find a new life for herself where she can be free — and this is really where the whole book lost me. Elizabeth (going by Adelaide — which was also confusing at times because I actually forgot what her real name was) wants to escape an arranged marriage so she runs away. Okay, I’m on board with that… But why to The Glittering Court where the whole concept is to find ANOTHER ARRANGED MARRIAGE? Sure, the girls get to “choose” who they marry but the choice is among the suitors who make the best offers. So not only is each girl contracted to choose a marriage partner within a specific time frame but the men are BUYING the women. How is this freedom…? This is only slightly different than Elizabeth’s original situation and it’s actually worse, in my opinion, because the women are being BOUGHT. How about a big fat no. That really screams freedom, right?

Anyway… I was letting that idea just lie there on the surface and trying not to look directly at it as I read. I was still entertained by the goings-on and it was enough that I still wanted to keep reading. But the more I read, the more I felt like everything was just a surface concept and nothing quite went too deep. I feel like Richelle Mead is known for several plot twists and surprising moments but THE GLITTERING COURT just didn’t have that for me until maybe the very end when some big things are revealed but for me, it was just too little too late. Intrigue wasn’t spread well enough throughout the book and the entire first half was just fancy parties, finishing school, frenemies, and manners. All well and good but not really anything to keep me hooked and wanting to continue this overall story.

Things really started to heat up when a little blackmail got involved (I mean, you knew it was coming but I was surprised at HOW) but then like every conflict thus far in the book, it quickly finds a (short-term) solution and the book moves on to something else. I think too many things happened and then got immediately resolved. Some points did end up coming back later in the book but it didn’t really feel like an over-arcing plot throughout the book and we sort of stepped from one idea to the next. I would have rather had one main conflict that extended throughout the whole book instead of conflict A, conflict B, conflict C, and so forth. They didn’t really seem to connect to each other even though the characters were connected and frankly, I really didn’t like a lot of the resolutions. Many times a character has to bend the rules or straight up break them in order to defeat a villain or make a better life for themselves but those usually dabble in gray areas that make the reader okay with it and sympathize with the character instead of dwelling on the wrongness of a situation. There were a few main points in THE GLITTERING COURT where a character’s actions just felt wholly dishonest or intentionally (and illegally) deceptive and it just felt like that crossed a bit more into the “wrongness” that is not an acceptable amount for me.

I was really lost once the book hit the 70% mark or so and things took an even more alt-history turn. THE GLITTERING COURT has a sort of a mix of Colonial America feels moving into the Industrial Era. I didn’t really consider it to be an American feel for most of the book because it was just kind of its own thing but really the trip to the “new world” essentially was across the sea and then new residents ended up mining gold claims. I was really thrown by this gold rush development because I wasn’t really thinking of this world in terms of being based off of American history, more or less, but that really struck me and the feel just felt totally off. Not to mention this part of the adventure felt totally separate and I just felt like it could have kicked off book two instead of being a part of book one. I would have rather had all of these places feel more unique instead of adapting American time periods to dictate its feel.

The plot during this setting change totally took a turn as well. The drama at the end wasn’t a surprise and yet it seemed out of place. It just felt sudden and I didn’t feel like it really transitioned well. It was like characters were hiding their secrets TOO well and it seemed off-base for what we had been told throughout the book. I suppose it could have been fine but the secrets that came out seemed so different from what I had known of the characters so far and with a few reveals all at once, it came off as forced instead of a natural reveal.

The characters didn’t feel deep to me either. Elizabeth/Adelaide was fierce and strong but then there were times when her objections to less-than-ideal conditions and hard work were incredibly irritating. That was the life that she chose and she knew it wasn’t going to be easy so I got bothered when she’d get all snobby again. (Then again at that point, I was already annoyed with the book.) I liked the tension between her and Cedric…… until that conflict was resolved and then all delightful tension was gone and I was bored. It wasn’t an easy solution, I suppose, and yet it felt too easily resolved. As much as the situation wasn’t an easy resolution, it was an immediate resolution and then the magic of their relationship fizzled.

I struggled to finish THE GLITTERING COURT, especially since the time that I started to grow annoyed happened around the release of the last book of a favorite series of mine, so it became hard to want to continue reading it. I honestly skimmed the end because I had grown so frustrated with the way the book turned. I have no interest in continuing the series and frankly, I don’t know where it would even go from here. I really don’t care to see what else this world holds and I’m so disappointed by the world-building and really overall concept here from Richelle Mead. This one really missed the mark for me. I’m so disappointed because the beginning of the book was entertaining but the ending just lacked so much that it really soured my whole opinion of it.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Source: Review copy obtained from Listening Library/Penguin Random House Audio
Narrator: Kristen Sieh
Performance: Entertaining! Didn’t totally love her but she kept me hooked when the story was failing.

Kristen Sieh did a really good job narrating THE GLITTERING COURT! I hadn’t listened to anything from her before but I may seek out more books that’s she’s narrated. She was quite spunky and really gave the characters a lot of depth (especially when I felt none from the actual story) and she was the reason I was interested when the book started losing me. She has a British accent and I thought she did the American accents quite well (which doesn’t always work for me). I liked her narration and thought she did a great job but I’m still not totally sure that she’s a favorite.
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“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!

glittering court goodreads

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Elizabeth/Adelaide // Character Obsessions: Hiding, freedom, love, knowledge.
As strong as Elizabeth/Adelaide was, she was more strong-willed and not actually a strong person. She ended up dealing with a lot and learned from it but she still found a lot of easy solutions instead of the right ones. I feel like she did physical hard work to go through this makeover concept but she didn’t really go through hardships and once she did, it was all for a boy. I wouldn’t say that lower status in order to pose as a common girl would qualify as overcoming a hardship and she does go through a lot in the end but still felt very shallow to me.
Cedric // Character Obsessions: Faith, money, Adelaide.
Cedric was weirdly enough the flattest character for me. We saw him through Elizabeth/Adelaide’s eyes so we saw a lot of her emotion but I didn’t really get a whole lot from Cedric. And then once romantic tension was resolved, he was even less interesting for me. I didn’t really feel that spark.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Non-magical fantasy. I do appreciate another book that’s set in a fantasy world but without actual magic. I do love magic but it’s fun either way to see the world-building and new settings!
Left Me Wanting More: Plot. This seems like the weakest Richelle Mead book for me so far. No, it IS the weakest book for me so far. What happened to this plot? Half of the book was spent going through training in the Glittering Court. Why couldn’t we have spent that time getting into actual politics and intrigue and drama? The tone totally changed towards the end and by then, it just didn’t fit. I would have much rather spent time developing the twists — that did come — instead of wasting it on training and competition and courting. It seemed like such a waste to then have it be totally irrelevant.

Addiction Rating
Skip it

This was just so frustrating for me. Judging on the first half of the book, I would have said read it just for fun and don’t dwell on what should be underneath the surface… But after finishing, I just don’t think it’s worth the time.

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BOOKS LIKE THE GLITTERING COURT

(Click the cover to see my review!)

PAWN    WITHER

The Immortal Crown (Age of X #2) – Richelle Mead

The Kiss of DeceptionCompleted: May 24, 2014
Publishing Info: May 29th 2014 by Dutton Adult
Source: egalley approved via publisher via Edelweiss // Thank you!!
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy/Speculative (Adult)
POV: Alternating Third Person (Justin/Mae/Tessa)
Find It Online:  Goodreads // Amazon // B&N
Related Reviews: Gameboard of the Gods (AoX1) // Vampire Academy Series

   “Gameboard of the Gods introduced religious investigator Justin March and Mae Koskinen, the beautiful supersoldier assigned to protect him. Together they have been charged with investigating reports of the supernatural and the return of the gods, both inside the Republic of United North America and out. With this highly classified knowledge comes a shocking revelation: Not only are the gods vying for human control, but the elect—special humans marked by the divine—are turning against one another in bloody fashion.
    Their mission takes a new twist when they are assigned to a diplomatic delegation headed by Lucian Darling, Justin’s old friend and rival, going into Arcadia, the RUNA’s dangerous neighboring country. Here, in a society where women are commodities and religion is intertwined with government, Justin discovers powerful forces at work, even as he struggles to come to terms with his own reluctantly acquired deity.
    Meanwhile, Mae—grudgingly posing as Justin’s concubine—has a secret mission of her own: finding the illegitimate niece her family smuggled away years ago. But with Justin and Mae resisting the resurgence of the gods in Arcadia, a reporter’s connection with someone close to Justin back home threatens to expose their mission—and with it the divine forces the government is determined to keep secret.” — From Goodreads

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I really enjoyed THE IMMORTAL CROWN! I’ll admit that I had a bit of a hard time during parts of the first book, GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, but I wasn’t always sure exactly what the overall feel was supposed to be since the only experience with Richelle Mead’s books that I had was all vampire-based. It took me a while to fall into the feel of this new series, but that was a definite advantage heading into THE IMMORTAL CROWN — I already felt connected to both the setting and the characters.

I haven’t been into mythology-based books lately because many of the retellings I’ve been picking up just haven’t been fitting my personal tastes or I didn’t feel they were adapted well. I had a very brief moment in the beginning of THE IMMORTAL CROWN where I was really unsure about where the gods would take this book and series, but as soon as that doubt creeped in, an instance popped up — a supernatural instance at that — and totally grabbed my attention, throwing my doubts right out the window.

I feel like everything in this book really stepped it up a notch — the plot thickened, the characters grew on me even more, and many more surprising moments caught me off-guard, a few really flooring me (like the ENDING whaaaat!!!), really heightening my enjoyment of the book and the series overall that much more. I was enjoying The Age of X just fine, but the ending of this book especially really reeled me into the series and not just the book, making sure I would come back for more (and oh, did it ever).

The relationships in this book really made it for me, and not just romantic relationships. Justin and Mae have a great partnership, both feeding off of romantic/affectionate feelings, but also just working together really well as a professional team. I just adore Justin’s relationship with Tessa as a sort of mentor and guardian and even though he isn’t always the most responsible person, he always makes sure she’s safe and he really cares for her a lot. I also love how the relationships with the gods are really amped up in this book and start to come into play a lot more. It definitely piqued my interest and I cannot wait to see where this goes in the next book.

I think this series is growing the further I get into it and I’m anticipating a really great third book in this series! The more I get to know about the characters, the plot, the mythology, and the relationships, the more I just want of them all! I already can’t wait to continue on in the series, ESPECIALLY with where it left off!

THE VIEW FROM GOODREADS

“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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Justin March // Character Obsessions: Religions, Arcadian agenda, Mae.
Justin cracks me up and fascinates me all at the same time. I love his charm and how he uses it — not even for women, but to really assess his “marks” and use what he knows about them to steer them towards his agenda. His thought process is fascinating and it was especially interesting to see how once his personal feelings for Mae (and his family) start to become more thickly involved, how that really affects Justin’s personal game, both mentally and emotionally.
Mae Koskinen // Character Obsessions: Rescue missions, exploring gods, Justin.
I love how Justin really started to break down Mae’s walls and how the reader was able to really pick up on more of her personal life even more in this book. Mae is fascinating to me — the praetorian aspect of it almost reminds me of Reboot by Amy Tintera… She has an almost cold and calculating air about her but she really starts to tap into her emotional side once she finds someone to help bring that out in her.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Mythology. I haven’t been loving a lot of mythology lately. Heck, I wasn’t even convinced in the first 5% of this book… But I really like the way it’s been integrated in this series and I’m totally hooked now. I think I appreciate mythology much more when it meshes well with a more realistic aspect so it doesn’t seem to “out there” for me and I’m really enjoying where Richelle Mead is taking this series!
Left Me Wanting More: Banter. In a way, I liked that the romance was starting to become more emotional than physical, but I also liked the more volatile relationship that Mae and Justin had. I love banter and I missed that a little bit in this book!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I really enjoyed this book and really started to get into the series! I’m definitely looking forward to future books in The Age of X and I’m really starting to get into this the more I read.

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(Click the cover to see my review!)

        Reboot       Antigoddess

Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1) – Richelle Mead

 

Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1) – Richelle MeadTitle: Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1) by Richelle Mead
Publishing Info: June 4, 2013 by Penguin
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Mythology, Mystery/Thriller, Dystopian
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: April 11, 2014
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), Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6), The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court #1)

In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. But Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised in an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military’s most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills.
When Justin and Mae are assigned to work together to solve a string of ritualistic murders, they soon realize that their discoveries have exposed them to terrible danger. As their investigation races forward, unknown enemies and powers greater than they can imagine are gathering in the shadows, ready to reclaim the world in which humans are merely game pieces on their board.
Gameboard of the Gods, the first installment of Richelle Mead’s Age of X series, will have all the elements that have made her YA Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series such megasuccesses: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense.

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GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS is a little bit of everything… Part dystopian/speculative fiction, part paranormal, and part romance. This was the first adult book I’ve read from Richelle Mead so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but I really had a lot of fun with the book although it wasn’t entirely what I was picturing. The book takes place in a speculative future world so I was anticipating more dystopian elements, but the paranormal and mythology-based aspects played a much larger part than I originally thought. My overall view felt more like a futuristic mystery with a touch of a DaVinci Code feel!

It actually took me a little while to get into the book because I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Instead of diving into a concept head first, I had to feel it out a lot more. Since the only books from Richelle Mead I’m familiar with are the Vampire Academy series and its spin-off Bloodlines, it was a bit of a personal adjustment to fall into a new world with new characters who were totally unrelated. Not that it was a bad thing, but after reading nine books with the same theme and characters, it’s an adjustment nonetheless! Once I finally hit my stride, I was really starting to enjoy everything!

One thing that really appealed to me was the mystery of the book. I’m a mystery girl at heart so it was almost reminiscent of J.D. Robb’s In Death series for me — a futuristic world, a good romance, and a good mystery! I think if I had known the mystery was going to be so prominent, I might have fallen into the book easier but it definitely helped rope me in! It was very well put together too. I felt like I was getting plenty of clues along the way, but not enough that it was giving away the whole ending. Looking back once I finished, it was interesting to see how things had always fit together, even when I hadn’t known they were!

Another thing that really brought the book together for me was the characters. I loved the dynamic between Mae and Justin. I wanted them to get together and at the same time, I loved Mae’s constant refusal of his advances. It was a great back and forth and despite the fact that Justin probably annoyed Mae a lot, they worked together really well. The supporting characters were great as well! Each one had their own unique personality and played important roles to the story. I never felt like anyone was irrelevant and I just got such a realistic feel from each one of them!

The only minor complaint I really had was that I wished the book had started out a little quicker in the beginning. Since I wasn’t entirely sure where it was going, I was a little lost in the beginning with who Justin and Mae were supposed to be and what their purpose was. Once I got into the groove of the book, things really started to come together and take off. The ending was great and I really loved how it set everything up for the next book, which I’m excited to get to shortly!

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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It took me a while to get into, but I enjoyed the book overall! I think the end really helped wrap everything up and gave me a better overall feeling. 

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Mae // Character Obsessions: The fight, her country, her duty.
Mae was feisty! I really liked her character and I’m also so glad we got to know more about her past and how it really came into play with the overall plot of the book. She was very complex and she didn’t often react based on emotions and yet, they still affected her a lot. It was very interesting!
Justin // Character Obsessions: Intelligence, solving mysteries, citizenship.
I liked Justin a lot! He was always making me laugh and I love when intelligence and humor come together. I think he was my favorite character! He had a lot of heart and somehow a mix of determination and laziness. He was kind of all over the place but in a good way! Definitely a lot of fun, though!

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Kept Me Hooked On: The world. I love a story that has a dystopian US/North America. I wanted to learn all about the new world that Richelle Mead had created and almost wished there was some kind of Wikipedia page! I actually may go look now… I need to learn more about it!
Left Me Wanting More: Focus. As a person who goes into books blind, it was a little difficult to figure out what the point of the book was in the very beginning and I felt like it was a little bit slow to start. BUT! Things were set up for book two and I feel like that won’t be an issue in the future!

Addiction Rating
Try it

This book may not be for everyone, but I ended up really enjoying it! It was a nice mix of genres and if you like mysteries, this is a good one to jump into! So happy to see that element there!

book_recommendations1

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        Conspiracy In Death       First Grave on the Right

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

May Author Signings Recap & Giveaway!

Event: Author appearances by Lauren Oliver + Lauren Morrill + Lenore Appelhans, Richelle Mead, Pitch Dark Days Tour
Location: Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, IL
Date: May 2 – 9

So excited to finally be catching up on these author recaps! Anderson’s Bookshop (my local indie bookstore, for those of you who don’t know it) has had some AMAZING author events this month so far. I mean like, MY FAVORITE AUTHORS AND I GOT TO MEET THEM *happy dance*

LAUREN OLIVER, LAUREN MORRILL, LENORE APPELHANS
MAY 2, 2013

OMG, you guys. I was so nervous and excited to meet Lauren Oliver! She was one of the authors that even got me into YA in the first place!!! Meeting her was honestly a dream of mine, one of my “bucket list” authors, if you will. And don’t count out Lauren Morrill or Lenore Appelhans! I’ve been fortunate enough to work with BOTH of them for a Selective Collective feature, not to mention that MEANT TO BE was an instant favorite of mine!

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  • Firstly, Chicago traffic and rain made L. Morrill and L. Appelhans late BUT, the lovely Lauren Oliver was there to entertain us and introduce each of the books being promoted AS each other. She did a great job as Lauren Morrill and Lenore Appelhans! Very funny. I actually didn’t IMG_1275expect Lauren Oliver to be that outspoken and “bossy” as she called herself, maybe just because her books carry such a serious tone! She was a blast to listen to and I really heard some interesting things about her writing process!
  • Did you know that Lauren Oliver’s BEFORE I FALL was written entirely on a Blackberry? I did not!! L. Morrill said “SEE, there are no excuses not to write!” which I totally commend, but I would never be able to concentrate writing on the subway or in transit like L. Oliver did!
  • It was really interesting to hear Lenore talk about how she came up with ideas for LEVEL 2! She knew she wanted memories to be involved and involving good memories as sort of a currency. Lenore is a world-traveler so most of Felicia’s travels were easy for Lenore to write! And sadly…. There really are no prancing goats. That was a total creation from Lenore!
  • Quick bragging moment: Each of the authors played a game where they decided to read a passage from the book that they were promoting. Since Lauren Oliver was promoting the third and a trilogy and didn’t want to spoil anything, I volunteered my copy of Delirium. So Lauren Oliver read from my copy of Delirium and call me crazy, but I honestly found it SO. COOL. that the author herself was reading the very same book and the very same words that I read and fell in love with. It was an awesome thing for me!
Reading from my copy of Delirium eeeeep

Reading from my copy of Delirium eeeeep

Of course I was extremely awkward when trying to talk to any authors because let’s face it… I always am, BUT I did get to take photos with all of them and they were all super sweet!

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RICHELLE MEAD
MAY 5, 2013

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Okay, I know Richelle Mead is hugely popular and has had many, many books, but I had no idea that the crowd for this event was going to be that huge! Thankfully I come to these events alone (or not thankfully, because that sounds sad) so I was able to squeeze into a solo seat and not have to stand in the back for the whole event! I was SHOCKED to find out that probably about half of the people who were at this event came from two hours away or more (quite a few were four hours or more!!) so that just tells you the magnitude of her writing and the audience that she reaches!

  • Richelle started off by giving us a lengthy taste of THE FIERY HEART (Bloodlines #4) which actually alternates between Adrian’s & Sydney’s point of views. It was a darker & deeper side of Adrian and interesting to hear thoughts from his perspective. Usually I don’t like when books start with one narrator and switch to dual POVs, but I’m actually pretty anxious to hear what Adrian has to say!
  • The audience got to do a Q&A and there were some specific questions which Katie at The Polished Page Turner was kind enough to take notes on for her own recap of the event! I’m not a note taker so… I forgot all of them haha.
  • She talked about the MOVIE. I guess the guy who plays Dimitri, although most of us probably haven’t heard of him, is kind of a big deal in Russia so that’s pretty cool! I hope that the movie does the books justice because the VA series is one I felt come off SO well in books and I’m scared the wrong actors could ruin it! Hopefully not 🙂

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We didn’t get to do any posed pictures since there were SO many people so I got some awkward photos as someone was nice enough to snap a few haha. I made THE MOST awkward conversation with Richelle as she was kind enough to sign my books by telling her that I almost didn’t pick up VA because it was “another vampire series”. Of course I went on to tell her that I love it (duh) and I’m so glad that I read them because they’re really unique! I hope she didn’t think I was TOO awkward. I really shouldn’t be allowed to talk to authors. I don’t know how I’ll survive BEA with my pride intact.

PITCH DARK DAYS TOUR
MAY 9, 2013

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Fierce Reads isn’t coming into town, but I got to go to the Pitch Dark Days tour!!! Aprilynne Pike, Amy Tintera, Elizabeth Norris, and Kiera Cass were all in attendance and a great group of ladies to meet!!

I was kind of overjoyed that……. I forgot everything that happened. With four authors, it was all kind of a daze (in a great way) but once again, Katie at The Polished Page Turner did a great write up about it so I can refer you to her page haha. I feel terrible that I don’t take notes at some of these things sometimes because I have no specifics to tell you but I feel awkward being on my phone the whole time or writing things down. I just feel like I’m not paying attention even though I’m taking notes! So I just watched and listened, smiled and laughed and had a grand old time!

True to form, I made awkward small talk with the authors (I’m just SO BAD at small talk. Why do I do this???) and took pictures will ALL OF THEM.

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Also got to meet Alison from Harper! She was super sweet and a little ball of energy! She did a great job at moderating the event!! (Also a pretty awkward picture of me but… meh!)

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GIVEAWAY

Oh yes, there is a giveaway! I don’t have books from every author mentioned in this post (because I wanted to keep a lot for myself hahaha), BUT I do have a signed hardback of LIFE AFTER THEFT and a signed copy of THE INDIGO SPELL for one lucky winner! Best of luck!!!

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The giveaway is open until Friday 5/24/13. US and Canada entries only, please. (Sorry, international!) Go forth and enter!

Here are a few more upcoming events that I will be attending! If you’re going to be at Anderson’s in Naperville, IL for any of these signings, let me know and we can say hi! 🙂

Rick Yancey – The 5th Wave: May 22nd, 2013
Joelle Charbonneau – The Testing: June 4th, 2013
Young Authors Give Back Tour: June 14th, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday – February 26, 2013: Top Ten Authors on My Auto-Buy List

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It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish!

TOP TEN AUTHORS ON MY AUTO-BUY LIST
(Young Adult)

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No doubt about it that Gayle Forman is my number one answer to the question “Which authors are on my auto-buy list?” I have adored all of her works and after each book, I’m left dying for the next or to go back and re-read every book that’s come before it!

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Lauren Oliver is another author that I would follow to the ends of the Earth. I’m a little scared to be reading Requiem right now, but so far I’m enjoying it! I’m just praying the series wraps up well because I just always get scared when series end!! Anyway, Lauren Oliver’s writing is gorgeous and reading her books is always amazing!

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I fell in love with Sweet Evil over the summer and now I’m anxiously awaiting Sweet Peril! Before I knew what fangirling really was, I was fangirling for Sweet Evil! You can bet when SP comes out, I’m buying it immediately!

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I just finished the last book in The Chemical Garden trilogy, Sever. I really enjoyed how Lauren DeStefano wrapped the series up (although I heard a lot of mixed reactions from people) and I look forward to purchasing anything else she writes!

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Anna and the French Kiss became an instant favorite when I read it. Although I wasn’t as big of a fan for Lola, I’m definitely buying any new books from Stephanie Perkins the nanosecond they come out!!

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I never expected to like a fantasy book so much so when I read Shadow and Bone, I was blown away. I loved Leigh Bardugo’s writing and you can bet I’m barely able to contain my excitement for Siege & Storm!! I’ve also been able to meet Leigh Bardugo a few times and knowing that she’s such a genuinely nice person and how much fun she is makes it that much more exciting to pick up her books!

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I’ve only read The Sea of Tranquility but the sheer beauty of the book and the amazing characters that Katja Millay created has made me a believer! You can bet I’m getting this book when it comes out in print so it can have a home on my shelf and I’ll be buying any future books from this amazing author!

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What a fun debut from Lauren Morrill!! I had just a blast with her characters and a really great story line. I’d be happy to buy any new books from her!

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Okay, admittedly, I haven’t actually purchased any of Richelle Mead’s books. SAD. I know. I borrowed all of the Vampire Academy series from the library since I was zipping through them and I then I quickly caught up with Bloodlines in anticipation of The Indigo Spell. Richelle Mead technically hasn’t been an auto-buy author but she’s definitely an auto-read author for me!!

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Same with Robin LaFevers – I borrowed Grave Mercy from the library, but absolutely plan on buying it because I loved it so much! I have Dark Triumph on my Kindle right now, but I’ll be buying that too when it comes out!!

 

So those are my auto-buy authors! Anyone we have in common? Looking forward to see other people’s picks this week!!

 

 

Shout Outs for my Fav Adult Auto-Buy Authors:

1. Meg Cabot (Yes, I know she writes YA too but for some reason I’ve only ever read her adult books)

2. Lisa Lutz

3. Janet Evanovich

4. JD Robb

The Indigo Spell: WHO IS MARCUS FINCH? Winner reveal!

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JANUARY 22 – FEBRUARY 12, 2013
WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT!


Hope everyone had fun with all of the Marcus Finch clues!! Know who he is yet?
Without further ado, here’s the winner for our giveaway of the hardcover copy of THE INDIGO SPELL!

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Congrats, Judith!!!! I’ll be sending you an email soon 🙂

The Indigo Spell: WHO IS MARCUS FINCH? Day Fifteen

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JANUARY 22 – FEBRUARY 12, 2013
DAY FIFTEEN

The Indigo Spell coverFrom January 22nd to February 12th, each day I’ll be helping reveal a brand new clue to help us figure out WHO IS MARCUS FINCH? 

Is he competition for Adrian for Sydney’s heart?
Is he an Alchemist? An ex-Alchemist?
Is he good? Evil? A Warrior of Light?

Come back each day for another clue to help reveal the identity of Marcus Finch, and on the last day – February 12th – there will be a giveaway for one hardcover copy of THE INDIGO SPELL!

 

MISS A DAY? Check here for links to previous clues! 
DAY ONE || DAY TWO || DAY THREE || DAY FOUR || DAY FIVE || DAY SIX
DAY SEVEN || DAY EIGHT || DAY NINE || DAY TEN || DAY ELEVEN
DAY TWELVE || DAY THIRTEEN || DAY FOURTEEN

Here’s the clue for Day FIFTEEN – LAST DAY!!!! 

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Want more info on THE INDIGO SPELL? Check out the links below!

Bloodlines Website ||  Bloodlines Facebook page || Bloodlines trailer || Bloodlines excerpt

Hope you  had fun with the Marcus Finch Clues! Don’t forget to enter to win a copy of The Indigo Spell – This is the last day to enter!!! Then I’ll announce the winner tomorrow!

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The Indigo Spell: WHO IS MARCUS FINCH? Day Fourteen

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JANUARY 22 – FEBRUARY 12, 2013
DAY FOURTEEN

The Indigo Spell coverFrom January 22nd to February 12th, each day I’ll be helping reveal a brand new clue to help us figure out WHO IS MARCUS FINCH? 

Is he competition for Adrian for Sydney’s heart?
Is he an Alchemist? An ex-Alchemist?
Is he good? Evil? A Warrior of Light?

Come back each day for another clue to help reveal the identity of Marcus Finch, and on the last day – February 12th – there will be a giveaway for one hardcover copy of THE INDIGO SPELL!

 

MISS A DAY? Check here for links to previous clues! 
DAY ONE || DAY TWO || DAY THREE || DAY FOUR || DAY FIVE || DAY SIX
DAY SEVEN || DAY EIGHT || DAY NINE || DAY TEN || DAY ELEVEN
DAY TWELVE || DAY THIRTEEN

Here’s the clue for Day FOURTEEN

Keep checking back each day through February 12th to find out a little bit more everyday until we figure out the answer to WHO IS MARCUS FINCH?

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Want more info on THE INDIGO SPELL? Check out the links below!

Bloodlines Website ||  Bloodlines Facebook page || Bloodlines trailer || Bloodlines excerpt

Don’t forget! Through all these clues, you can keep entering to win a hardcover copy of THE INDIGO SPELL! Check out the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway