Tag Archives: Vampires

Fortnight of Fright 2015 | The Vampire Combat Field Guide

FoF2014

Welcome to our third annual FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT event!
October 17th – October 31st, 2015

Thanks for checking out the THIRD annual edition of FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT where Alyssa (Books Take You Places), Amy (Tripping Over Books), and I bring you two full weeks of Halloween-related posts! We’ve invited bloggers, authors, and book lovers alike to share their favorite things about Halloween and we feature a new person and post each day. 

Today, I’m sharing some details about THE VAMPIRE COMBAT FIELD GUIDE by Roger Ma!


Fortnight of Fright 2015 | The Vampire Combat Field GuideTitle: The Vampire Combat Field Guide by Roger Ma
Publishing Info: October 6, 2015 by Penguin
Genres: Adult, Horror, Paranormal
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 15, 2015

In The Vampire Combat Manual, Roger Ma, the nation’s preeminent expert in undead warfare, prepared the average citizen to defend against a brutal vampire attack. But without appropriate training, even the most adept slayer of bloodsuckers can be left vulnerable.
Therefore, the Institute for Undead Combat Studies has once again created an essential practice handbook for anyone seeking to avoid serious injury, infection, or death at the hands of a vampire. This comprehensive guide includes:
*Detailed illustrations to aid in identifying various types of the undead and their vulnerabilities, as well as anatomical drawings you can color to promote knowledge retention
*Interactive mental and physical exercises that will teach invaluable fighting techniques and prepare you for battle
*Work pages to hone weapon selection, defensive and offensive techniques, and precise staking strategies
*and much more!
With the proper preparation, no one need fear death by exsanguination or an eternity spent in darkness. Learn to ward off these bloodthirsty creatures while you can—or say good-bye to your days in the sun…

When I received an email from Penguin Random House about THE VAMPIRE COMBAT FIELD GUIDE.. and that it was a coloring book!? Well I surely couldn’t say no to that! I thought it would be the perfect way help kick off A FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT! This was actually my first foray into adult coloring books and I have to say… it was a lot of fun! Possibly a bit more gory than what I might normally aim for in coloring book but I did say yes to a vampire combat guide!

vampire guide

 

A vampire guide is exactly what you get here! It was fun to see the details and instructions on how to best defeat a vampire — from the best approach based on your stature, to best weapons to use, and even staking techniques. If you’re a vampire or horror nut, this is probably a super fun guide and you get to color too!

IMG_8446      IMG_8445

I was actually hoping for a few more coloring opportunities since it is advertised as a coloring book. Every page is open white space, ready for your crayons, markers, or whatever medium you choose to color in each illustration but some didn’t really call to me like they were supposed to be colored in.

IMG_8441

Overall, it was really enjoyable and so much fun to read through and color in! It was absolutely perfect for Halloween and so much fun to experience! Thanks again to Penguin Random House for sending it along!

On the Same Page: Sunshine by Robin McKinley

OtSPcirclebanner

ON THE SAME PAGE: SUNSHINE by Robin McKinley
Relationships with a Vampire

Some might say the vampire trend is dying out — maybe some people are sick of the fad, others were never crazy about it in the first place, or it’s just been overdone — but reading SUNSHINE this month with my gals from On the Same Page reminded me what’s so fun about vampires and urban fantasy! One thing that really sticks out to me friendship that Sunshine and Constantine formed. I really loved their interactions and I definitely felt a combination of both suspense and that sense of attraction as well  — something about the combination of this and how their relationship came to be just clicked for me. I can already heard the immediate groans just THINKING about other vampire relationships/romances (*cough*Twilight*cough*) and fair enough! So it got me thinking exactly what DOES work when reading about romancing the undead (at least for me) and I had a lot of fun with that!

SUNSHINE + CONSTANTINE: SUNSHINE

Sunshine and Constantine had a… symbiotic relationship. Yes, they had a bit of an attraction to each other but they really ended up depending on each other to survive and avoid/defeat Constantine’s rival vampire gang and I really felt like Sunshine’s attraction to Con was also in part due to her fascination of him. He was a vampire and the one anomaly that seemed to actually see humans AS humans. He tried to treat Sunshine with respect and on more than one occasion had her remind him of her humanity so he wouldn’t be tempted to… er… destroy her. Relationships are partnerships and I think especially hard to start up a paranormal-with-human relationship because — sorry, human… you’re just not doing much except for being vulnerable and looking pretty. Sunshine and Constantine just made a good team and their abilities really complemented each other. Obviously there was a sexual tension there (Constantine’s quiet strength. Eep.) but I really felt like they worked best when they were more friends and partners in crime than looking to start a romantic or sexual relationship. They worked together and were able to see eye-to-eye on some major things BUT I mean, it’s hard to get over that whole vampire thing unless you are a vampire, am I right? Anyway. I really loved their relationship (friendship… whatever you want to call it) and how they worked together. It was really fun to see everything play out and their interactions (especially with Sunshine’s inner monologue) kind of cracked me up!

Would they last?
Romantically? Hard to say, but I thought they made a great team, romance aside. THAT is something I could see lasting.

BELLA + EDWARD: TWILIGHT

Yes, yes, I hear your groans… But I grew up (well, not grew up. I was in college when I read these) loving Twilight. I even re-read them multiple times! But looking back NOW? I’m not sure if I could. I’ve read far too many books with kickass heroines who not only stand up for themselves but really DO something for their love interests or are on the same level. Bella and Edward are just so not. She really just gets in the way a lot and not only jeopardizes her life AND Edward’s but also his family AND the wolves… and she has nothing really to contribute (I guess until she has her own powers in the final book). Anyway. She’s just a bit too damsel-y at times so after reading so many take-charge gals, I’m gonna say this vampire-human relationship doesn’t quite work!

Would they last?
Pre-vampire Bella? Not likely. Post-vampire Bella? They’re stuck for eternity.

TANA + GAVRIEL: THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN

Another vampire-human relationship. Well… I think the same thing goes with the Twilight concept. Hard for a vampire and a human to stay in a relationship. Let’s just say that I liked Tana but she also put herself in jeopardy a few too many times without any real skills or abilities to help her out of a compromising position. Oh, and of course there’s the whole vampire-may-want-to-snack-on-you thing, no matter how much he actually cares or is attracted! I enjoyed their relationship but I’m not quite sure how well that would go.

Would they last?
Possibly.

LISSA + CHRISTIAN: VAMPIRE ACADEMY

A vampire-vampire relationship! Oh ho! I actually really liked the two of them together. The interesting thing about VA for me was that their relationship wasn’t scandalous because one was or was not a vampire but rather because of the standing of their families. And really normal human main characters were almost non-existent with the majority being dhampirs or Moroi. The Moroi-dhampir relationship is actually more scandalous and I think it’s basically unsaid (or is it said somewhere) that a Moroi-human relationship is nearly unheard of except for producing dhampirs. (Although that would have been a really cool spin-off too…)

Would they last?
Probably!


There are a LOT more vampire books that I’m sure you guys have feedback on, so let me hear it! Dracula. Anne Rice’s books. Even tell me your thoughts on Twilight! There are so many vampire books I haven’t read and I’d love to hear your thoughts and theories on what work and why other romances tend to be irritating or fall apart!


Don’t forget to check out Alyssa’s and Amy’s posts about Sunshine today too!
Alyssa (Books Take You Places)
Amy (Tripping Over Books)

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.

bookreview1

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

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

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

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

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

view_from_goodreads1

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

Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 8.41.52 AM

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!

character_breakdown1

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.

addiction_factor1

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!!

book_recommendations1

(Click the cover to see my review!)

      Frostbite      City of Bones

Fortnight of Fright: Horror Book Review – Celine @ Nyx Book Reviews

Fortnight of Fright Banner

Welcome to our second annual FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT event!
October 17th – October 31st, 2013

Last year, Alyssa (Books Take You Places) and I really bonded over our mutual love of Halloween and came up with the idea for A FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT: a two-week long event celebrating everything Halloween and horror-related! We decided to bring it back again this year and we have a TON of fun Halloween things planned for you!

Today we have a wonderful guest review from Celine at Nyx Book Reviews! Today Celine is sharing with us one of her favorite reads for the Halloween season! Take it away, Celine!

Dracula was one of the most influential vampire stories ever, and who better than the master of horror Stephen King to make a modern retelling? ‘Salem’s Lot starts slow, but once you’re hooked you probably won’t be reading this book before sleep. Even though the book is about six-hundred pages, when I was finished I wanted more. ‘Salem’s Lot is one of the best vampire books I ever read. If you’re a fan of Dracula, read this.

Title: Salem’s Lot
Author: Stephen King
First Published: 1975 
Celine’s Review: Salem’s Lot by Stephen King – Review
Goodreads Blurb:Something strange is going on in Jerusalem’s Lot … but no one dares to talk about it. By day, ‘Salem’s Lot is a typical modest New England town; but when the sun goes down, evil roams the earth. The devilishly sweet insistent laughter of a child can be heard echoing through the fields, and the presence of silent looming spirits can be felt lurking right outside your window. Stephen King brings his gruesome imagination to life in this tale of spine tingling horror.”

To read Celine’s full review on her blog, please visit the link above! I haven’t read Salem’s Lot — or any Stephen King for that matter! — but it seems like a fantastically scary book, perfect for Halloween! And thanks again to Celine for being a part of a Fortnight of Fright!

Fortnight of Fright 2013: Halloween/Scary Book Recommendations

Fortnight of Fright Banner

Welcome to our second annual FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT event!
October 17th – October 31st, 2013

Last year, Alyssa (Books Take You Places) and I really bonded over our mutual love of Halloween and came up with the idea for A FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT: a two-week long event celebrating everything Halloween and horror-related! We decided to bring it back again this year and we have a TON of fun Halloween things planned for you!

We’re kicking off the event with some great Halloween and/or scary book recommendations! We’re providing you with some of our own favorite horror, paranormal, and Halloween-feeling books as well as some recommendations from your fellow bloggers!

First up, Emma from Mab is Mab is sharing a wonderful book with us!

Title: Florence and Giles
Author: John Harding
Publication Info: March 4th 2010 by HarperCollins UK
Emma’s Review: Florence and Giles by John Harding

“My Halloween book recommendation is Florence and Giles by John Harding.

I adored this book! It is a ghost story of the classic variety, lavishly gothic and dark although written very recently; there is an old, creaky house, a governess, and some very creepy kids! It builds up such a tense atmosphere, as all good ghost stories do, and the final moments are shocking and brilliant.
Florence and Giles would be great for Halloween as it will keep you up at night, and give you a great tale for telling with a torch shining up at your face!”

Next up, we have a few selections from Pamela at Reading is Fun Again!

               

Titles: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones
Author: Alvin Schwartz
Illustrator: Stephen Gammell
“These books are collections of stories that are meant to thrill and scare you. These books are great for reading in a group (or all alone). Although these books are normally found in the children’s section of the library, they are still pretty frightening to adults too. As an added bonus, Schwartz has references in the back of the book, so you can learn more about the origins of these tales.”

Title: Dracula
Author: Bram Stoker
Publication Info: First published 1897

“Dracula is not sparkly and loveable. Dracula wants to kill all of your loved ones (and/or turn them into vampires), watch you suffer, and then kill you. This book will make you fear vampires again.”

 

Title: Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1)
Author: Charlaine Harris
Publication Info: Originally published January 2nd 2008  by Ace Books

“If you prefer your vampires to behave somewhere in between of of Dracula and Edward Cullen, the Sookie Stackhouse books might be up your alley. The supernatural creatures in these books either want to hurt our protagonist Sookie Stackhouse or sleep with her. In the end though, you always know that Sookie is going to triumph over the book’s Big Bad (at least that is what I have been noticing so far, but I have a few more books to go).”

And next up is Candice from The Grown-Up YA!

Title: Another Little Piece
Author: Kate Karyus Quinn
Candice’s Review: Another Little Piece

“This book brings the spooky! Full of twists and turns, mystery and suspense… my heart was RACING at times.”

Title: Texas Gothic
Author: Rosemary Clement Moore
Candice’s Review: Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement More

“This is my go-to book for EVERYTHING, but it especially works for Halloween! Funny, suspenseful, scary, mysterious… it’s full of all the things that make this time of year great!”

Thank you so much to all of our bloggers who gave us some fantastic Halloween recommendations! We’d love to hear what everyone else’s favorite Halloween reads are as well! What books get your heart racing?

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?

bookreview1

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!

lastsacrifice

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.

character_breakdown1

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.

addiction_factor1

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!

book_recommendations1

     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.

bookreview1

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.

character_breakdown1

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.)

addiction_factor1

Buy it!

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

book_recommendations1

                

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?
  

bookreview1

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.

character_breakdown1

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.

addiction_factor1

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!

book_recommendations1

           

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... 

bookreview1

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!

character_breakdown1
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!

addiction_factor1

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!

book_recommendations1

              

Series Catch-Up Mini Challenge: Favorite Series Highlight – Vampire Academy

SeriesCatchUp

Time for Series Catch-Up Mini Challenge #1: Highlighting a favorite series of mine. While we all know that I could go on an on about Harry Potter as my favorites series (and really, I have many, many times) so I thought I could choose a different series to talk about.

Let’s talk about THE VAMPIRE ACADEMY series. 

I actually still haven’t finished the series yet. As part of the Series Catch-Up Challenge, I want to finish book six by the end of the year. When I first thought about this mini challenge, I was planning on picking a series that I had already finished, but I realized I didn’t want to gush over Harry Potter again because let’s face it – I can do that all day. We all could. I wanted to pick a series that was more recent and also fresh in my mind (so that ruled out the Hunger Games as well because I can barely remember what happened in books two and three). I just started the Vampire Academy series this year and I’ll finish the whole series in the 2012 calendar year!

Each cover photo will lead you to my review for the book! Please be aware that if you haven’t read the whole series there may be some mild spoilers once you start reading about later books in the series.

Vampire Academy (Feb 2012): I first picked up Vampire Academy when I borrowed it from my friend Lisa back in February 2012. I was really hesitant about starting it because at that point in time I was “so over” the whole vampire scene and I was getting tired of hearing the same vampire plot lines over and over again. Lisa vouched for it and I decided to give it a shot. To my surprise I ended up really, really enjoying it! I loved how Richelle Mead came up with a variation on the traditional vampire idea. I also loved the Rose-Dimitri relationship. I was immediately intrigued and extremely interested in picking up the next book of the series!

Frostbite (Jun 2012): I finally got a copy of Frostbite and decided to read it in June – I think I originally got it from Book Mooch. I was so excited to see a different kind of adventure and action take off in Frostbite. We get a bit more character development – also when we’re first introduced to Adrian who becomes another major character in the series. In Frostbite we also got to find out a lot more about the Strigoi which turns out to lead to a huge twist in events. This book was also the first of many, many WTF moments that Richelle Mead seems to incorporate into the Vampire Academy series. I laughed, I cried, I finished the book thinking “I gotta have more!!”

Shadow Kiss (Sep 2012): Once I figured out I could borrow ebooks from the library as well as physical copies, I browsed through the selections and found Shadow Kiss! I actually read this one in my free time at work (which my work totally did not know about) and quite a bit of work got negelected because Shadow Kiss was an amazing story. I couldn’t wait to find out what the truth was behind Rose’s visions and if the ghost story had any truth behind it. Then once again, I had the biggest WTF moment of the series so far. Oh. My. God. Even though I’ve finished the fifth book, I still can’t believe that twist was even considered much less executed in the book.

Blood Promise (Oct 2012): Once I was done with Shadow Kiss, I knew I had to jump on Blood Promise. There was no way I could leave that ending open for long and I HAD to know what happened. Unfortunately I felt like the beginning of the book was a little hard to get into and I was still on a high from the last the book and I was DYING for answers. I also felt a little lost with the book taking place in Russia. I felt like it just was too far removed from the original characters and the setting – I just got lost in Russia and then the plot was a little weird for me for a while. Don’t get me wrong – I still enjoyed it – but after the first three books, I think I was just expecting a whole lot more!

Spirit Bound (Nov 2012): Spirit Bound was one of the first books I decided to read for the Series Catch-Up Challenge. This was the series I wanted to finish the most! Although I was a bit disappointed with book four, I was still terribly curious to find out WHAT THE HECK was going to happen with this plot! At this point, I couldn’t tell where it was going and how this was going to end. Finally at the end of this book, I got to see the big picture and what was once broken in the previous books, we get to see pieced back together, but not without a price. It was really interesting to see some serious advancements in the magic and awareness of such. We really get to see the Moroi figure out many secrets of the spirit and that also takes us to another major plot twist!

Now I’m reeling for book six which will be one that I pick up before the year is out because I HAVE to know what happens!!! I have to finish one book that I promised to review before the year is out and I had just started The Kill Order which is the prequel to The Maze Runner series, after writing this post, I cannot wait to get Last Sacrifice! I’m getting more and more excited to finish the series.

Favorite book of the series: Shadow Kiss. With a HUGE twist at the end and a lot more history about the entire background of the Moroi/Dhampirs/Strigoi, I found myself most interested and engrossed in this book. I really couldn’t stop reading and I felt like I got the most plot out of this book!

Least favorite book of the series: Blood Promise. I didn’t dislike it by any means, but I felt like this book was a bit slower than the others and with it taking place almost entirely in Russia, I just felt a bit lost. The plot also took kind of a weird turn for me and I was hoping for a bit more action than there was compared to the previous books.

Movies?: While I haven’t heard of any movie adaptations proposed for the series, I definitely would love to see the Vampire Academy series on the big screen! I think it would be excellent to see everything unfold in a movie and I think I’d be a lot more creeped out by actually seeing the Strigoi.  Then again, I would really hate for it to get compared to the Twilight series by the masses and I know it would be. I’m sure even as a book series it’s gotten compared to Twilight, which it really is nothing like it, in my opinion.

Would I re-read?: In all honesty, I probably wouldn’t re-read the series. I really do love it, but the books are just so long and involve so much time that with all of the books I have now to read, I would never have time to re-read all of these books! Actually, I think the only way I might re-read is if they actually did make movies out of the books. I always re-read (or read for the first time) any book that’s being adapted to the big screen so I have the story fresh in my mind. Without that push, I just wouldn’t have the time to read all of the books again! 

Link up your mini-challenge post below! What series did you pick to highlight? What favorite series did you share with us?