Book Review: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4)

Title: The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4)
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Vampires, Boarding School
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: November 2013
Pages: 432
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn’t over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there’s still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this thrilling fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

My Review:

It’s no secret that the Bloodlines series is one of my favourites. And despite my reservations about the cover (I’m not a fan of Sydney’s hair….), The Fiery Heart is my favourite so far! There’s a lot going on – romantically, magically – and the extra pressure of family dynamics are wearing on Sydney. Things seem to have finally worked themselves out with her and Adrian having admitted their feelings for each other and attempting some kind of relationship. But when Sydney’s little sister now inked as an Alchemist and being tasked with helping Sydney with the vampires, the new couple are going to have to keep their romance under wraps. Adrian has his own problems – it seems impossible for him to find a happy medium between being spirit and sanity.

I was impressed with how well the dual point of view between Sydney and Adrian worked. I wasn’t sure I’d like changing things up from how the series had been going so far but it was a refreshing change to get to see what was going on from someone different. Not only that but it’s the first time in the Vampire Academy/Bloodlines series where we have had a narration from a Moroi and I liked getting to see the impacts of spirit first hand. Getting to see Sydney from Adrian’s point of view was lovely. For all the cockiness and sarcasm he may try to project to world, it was clear to see just how much he loved her and how hard he was trying to be the best person he could be – not just for her but for himself as well. We may have had to wait three books for these two to get together but it was worth it to get the interactions and beautiful dynamic that we get to see in The Fiery Heart.

There’s a lot going on but all the different story lines manage to fit together perfectly. In this book, Sydney is feeling the pressure of her family. Her sister wants her to spend more time together but between discovering her witchy magic, spending time with Adrian and sorting out the antics of her vampire charges, there never seems to be time for Sydney to breathe never mind have some girl time with Zoe. It’s never apparent to me just where Ms. Mead is going to take things next – from romantic relationships to just what the different sects of society (the Alchemists, the Warriors, the Coven)  are up to. I loved the ties in with characters we have not seen much since Vampire Academy – with Lissa asking Adrian for help and getting to see the rest of the group now a little older and wiser interacting with a more evolved Adrian.

This book has everything that I love about this series. Chemistry between the leads, interesting plots, a secondary cast of characters who add to the overall story and are entertaining to read, and dialogue that makes me feel so many different emotions. I’m eagerly awaiting the release of Silver Shadows (July 2014) and am desperately eager to find out what happens to Sydney next. This book does end on a cliffhanger that’s left me anxious to see what’s ahead for these characters.

Favourite Quotes:

“Escape plan number seventeen,” I told her. “Run away and open a juice stand in Fresno.”
“Why Fresno?”
“Sounds like the kind of place people drink a lot of juice.”

“It’s Adrian Ivashkov logic. Don’t try to understand it. Just roll with it.”

“An image of Sydney’s face appeared in my mind’s eye, calm and lovely.
I believe in you.
My anxiety faded.
I took a deep breath and met the gazes of all those watching me in the room.
Who was I to do this?
I was Adrian Ivashkov.
And I was about to kick some ass.”

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Graphic Novel Review: Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Frostbite: The Graphic Novel (Vampire Academy: The Graphic Novel, #2)

Title: Frostbite (Vampire Academy Graphic Novel #2)
Author:
Richelle Mead
Adapted by: Leigh Dragoon
Illustrated by: Emma Vieceli
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult, Vampires, Urban Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: April 2012
Pages: 164
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
The drama and romance continue in this 144-page full-color graphic novel adaptation of the second Vampire Academy novel, Frostbite, which was overseen by Richelle Mead and features beautiful art by acclaimed British illustrator Emma Vieceli.

When love and jealousy collide on the slopes, winter break turns deadly.

A Strigoi attack puts St. Vladimir’s on high alert, and the Academy whisks its students away on a mandatory holiday ski trip. But the glittering winter landscape and posh Idaho resort only provide the illusion of safety. When three students run away to strike back at the Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. Only this time, Rose—and her heart—are in more danger than she could have imagined.

My Review:

Rose may have saved Lissa’s life in Vampire Academy but there are more threats on the Moroi Princess’ life. With the entire vampire world on guard, the school sends students to a luxury ski resort to try to keep them safe. Whilst St. Vladamir’s might be trying to protect their students it seems that trouble always seems to find Rose and her friends. With fantastic new characters and all the old favourites, Frostbite picks up right where Vampire Academy ended and continues with a lot of action and drama.

I’m not a graphic novel person. I’ve read perhaps one in the past three years. But with the Vampire Academy movies being released soon and the slight withdrawal I seem to go though in between instalments of the Bloodlines series, I couldn’t resist buying a copy of Frostbite last week (and I know I could have bought the first book but I was curious to see an artist’s recreation of Adrian).

Frostbite is the second book in the series but since I’ve read the original books I felt confident that I would be able to follow the graphic novel. And I did. This is a gorgeous visual adaptation of the series I love. There’s a fantastic recap at the start of the book which runs down the different characters that were introduced in the first novel as well as events which took place. If you have read the novel series then you will have no problems picking up this second book in the graphic novel series and there is enough details included that I think even people unfamiliar with Vampire Academy would be able to pick up on what’s going on.

I loved this adaptation. The illustrations are beautiful – and you can tell that the artist is very familiar with the source material. These pictures are fantastically true to the original story! Plot wise – all the important scenes are included. We get to see Rose’s uneasy relationship with her mother, the danger surrounding the Moroi as well as the uneasy political situation with the vampire royalty. Dimitri is around and his slightly inappropriate feelings for Rose are evident in the few pages devoted to it. Lissa and Christian are learning how to use their powers and we get to meet a new enigmatic Spirit user named Adrian (although at times I did get Christian and Adrian confused it was clear via context who was who).

I’m delighted that I decided to check out this graphic novel series. I am absolutely going to go and get the rest of the series that have been released so far. I think this series is a must have for fans of the novels as it gives an extra dimension to the story and characters.

 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Discussion: Love Triangles

Thoughts Triangles

Love them or hate them – they are a prominent feature in YA literature. And chances are even if you’ve not read a young adult novel you’ve run into Team Edward or Team Jacob supporters. Love Triangles add a little extra spice and drama to a romantic relationship.

Love triangles are nothing new. Shakespeare often had them in his plays, Eponine, Marius and Cosette are entangled in Les Miserables and Dumas’ The Three Musketeers faced their share too. But it seems lately that I can’t go a week without reading a young adult novel with a triangle in it. True, these aren’t real triangles in the geometry scheme of things (they’re more angles than triangles) nor are they like the Triangular Theory of Love that I learned in my first year of psychology but I still think of them as triangles because whilst there isn’t a romance between all three sides, there’s a relationship between them all – with fierce rivalry between the two suitors.

The most common type I’ve encountered in YA novels is as follows:

LoveTri

The heroine has to choose between the nice guy (often the best friend) and the bad boy (usually mysterious and somewhat dangerous).

So how do I feel about love triangles?

Like with everything – it depends. There are times when I adore the give and take of the romantic leads. But it does rely on a few different factors.

The LOVE IS EVERYTHING! triangle – I’m not a fan of this type of triangle. This is the type when love is the be all and end all. Other plot points are secondary to the intense romance and feels that are going on. I need some more plot with my romance. They often focus on the female and this is a reason I tend to dislike them. They don’t seem to take into account the feelings of the different parties nor does it seem to be an issue if the woman is a little manipulative and using both sides (albeit at times the girl doesn’t realize she’s doing this). Twilight with the Bella/Edward and Bella/Jacob relationships is an example of this. I think I’m often confused by this type because they often feature girls who are apparently plain, dull and uninteresting and all of a sudden they’re fighting off drop dead gorgeous men with a stick. It feels unrealistic and more like fanfiction than anything else (and considering I went though a period where I read and wrote a LOT of Dawson’s Creek fanfiction, I know what I’m talking about).

The IT’S NOT REALLY A TRIANGLE BUT BOY IS IT CONFUSING triangle – Whilst I didn’t like Twilight, I enjoyed Stephenie Meyer’s other novel, The Host. This book involves a fairly confusing type of relationship with the main character Wanda sharing a body with Melanie. Melanie is in love with Jarrod and Jarrod with Melanie but Wanda (who is in Melanie’s body) is starting to fall for Ian and Ian for her. It’s not quite a triangle but I enjoyed how it all played out. I liked how this one played out because the romance did take a lot of page time but there was a lot of other plot going on and ultimately the romance didn’t overshadow everything else that was going on.

The BADASS HEROINE, LOVE COMES SECOND triangle – This is the type of book that I love best. The kind where the heroine is determined to do whatever it is her mission is and she doesn’t let her confusing romantic entanglements get in the way. This is the kind that appears in Throne of Glass, Vampire Academy, The Hunger Games and many other books that I’ve enjoyed. The females don’t try to play her suitors off against each other nor does she become a victim to her relationship. They’re strong on their own and if they do choose one of the guys, it’s because it’s true love and not just because they didn’t want to be alone.

The ONE GUY TO MANY GIRLS triangle – I admit I’m a lover of The Bachelor and I’m a little surprised I haven’t come across all that many books with this type of triangle. I think it’s possibly because when it’s attempted, the male character often comes across as a player and not the sensitive new aged guy he’s supposed to be. Books like The Selection feature this type but it’s a little more complicated with one of the females vying for the male is also in a separate triangle of her own. I don’t mind it in The Selection as it makes so many more possibilities of who is going to end up with who. This series doesn’t try to hide what it is and I don’t mind that it’s focused on romance because that’s what I was expecting going in.

 

I think what it comes down to for me is how well it’s written. If it’s believable and well written with characters I like and are trying to sort things out – I’ll enjoy it. I just don’t like relationships where characters are being unfair to each other or the triangle is the story’s focus and the biggest twist in the plot turns out to be who the apex of the triangle chooses.

 

What are you favourite love triangles? Any that you really didn’t like? Are there any series with amazing love triangles and relationships you would recommend that I read? 

Let me know what you think about love triangles. Comments are always welcome 🙂

8 Books To Read Before They Hit the Big Screen!

I love books. But I also love seeing film adaptations of books that I’ve enjoyed reading. There are a lot of great books being made into movies and I thought I’d share some of the ones that are being released in the next few months.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Why You Should Read It: If you enjoyed the Hunger Games and haven’t got around to the sequel yet – I highly recommend it. It’s got all the drama of the first book but more. More tributes, more arena and more twists and turns that you probably aren’t expecting. I know I wasn’t This trilogy is very quick to read with engaging characters and more of what I loved about the first book.

Australian Release Date: 21st November 2013

Staring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hucherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Why You Should Read It: In preparation of the return of evil aliens, young children are sent to an intense military like academy to train. Family drama and zero gravity – this book may be almost thirty years old but it stands the test of time.

Australian Release Date: 5th December 2013

Staring:  Asa Butterfield, Abigail Breslin, and Harrison Ford

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug by JRR Tolkien

Why You Should Read It: Okay – so I haven’t actually read the Hobbit yet. But I recently bought myself a copy (and a copy of the Lord of the Rings books too!) and plan on reading them soon. This book has been loved by children and adults for decades and has influenced literature for just as long. I have to admit I’m rather excited about this second film too – the cast is amazing!

Australian Release Date: 26th December 2013

Staring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Why You Should Read It: This is a beautiful book that tugged on my heartstrings when I read it. Set in Nazi Germany, The Book Thief follows a young girl who steals books. But it’s so much more than that. It’s about love and war with one of the most unusual narrators I’ve ever read. And plus – it’s written by an Aussie!

Australian Release Date: 9th January 2014

Staring: Sophie Nélisse, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Ben Schnetzer

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Why You Should Read It: Once a month a new boy is deposited into the maze knowing nothing but his name. It’s creepy, full of monsters and only a matter of time before escape isn’t an option any more.

Australian Release Date: 13th February 2014

Staring: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, and Patricia Clarkson

Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters by Richelle Mead

Why You Should Read It: You may think the world has had enough of YA vampire novels. But don’t write Vampire Academy off just yet. These are vampires with some bite. Rose Hathaway is a kick-arse heroine who isn’t like any sparkly vampires you may have met before. Warrior types protecting other vampires who rule their own with magical powers. And trust me – the book isn’t quite as Fanged Gossip Girl as the trailer makes it look.

Australian Release Date: 13th March 2014

Staring: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Danila Kozlovsky, Sarah Hyland

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Why You Should Read It: Set in a dystopian society where the population is segregated based on their talents, Divergent is one I’d recommend for lovers of the Hunger Games. With a main character who is engaging and brave, Tris is faces danger as she is different. Having traits belonging to more than one category or faction, she’s in danger of being found out. Her life is in danger as she tries to fit in or be found out. There’s a lot more going on that just that but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone!

Australian Release Date: 20th March 2014

Staring: Shailene Woodley, Kate Winslet, and Theo James

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Why You Should Read It: It’s a beautiful story about life and death. Teenagers Hazel and Augustus meet at a support group for teenagers fighting cancer and the novel follows them as they both muddle their way though. Young yet wise beyond their years, terminally ill Hazel falls in love and has to deal with the consequences relating to that. I’d not read a John Green book before this one and I enjoyed the journey he took me on despite needing to read for the box of tissues a few times along the way!

Australian Release Date: June 2014

Staring:  Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort

That is my list of eight books that I recommend you read before the films come out! Let me know in the comments which of these you’ve read or want to read – or which movies you’re excited about!

Movie Talk: Vampire Academy – Blood Sisters

If you know anything about me – I’m a HUGE Vampire Academy/Bloodlines fan. It’s one of those series that has the right amount of drama, action, romance and paranormal elements to keep me perfectly happy. I’m thrilled about the new movie coming out next year.

As many of you probably know, the first official teaser was released a few days ago.

My thoughts? As excited as I am over the movie, they’re managed to turn this trailer into Twilight meets Gossip Girl. Nothing wrong with that. I watched every episode of Gossip Girl and really enjoyed it. But it’s not quite what I was expecting from Blood Sisters. That said – trailers are supposed to get people who know nothing about the story. I dare say there are a lot of VA fans like myself who will be seeing this movie regardless of how the trailers look. And I could see enough in this one minute teaser to show that there’s a lot that I like in there. Rose does look pretty bad arse 😛

I’d love to know what you think.

Is this a movie you want to see? Does the teaser do the books justice? What are your thoughts regarding the casting? All comments are welcome. 😀

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If you haven’t read the book you can check out my review for Vampire Academy #1 here.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set in a Boarding School

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

The topic for this week is: Top Ten Books With “X” Setting

And considering how much I love books set in Boarding Schools then it seems like a great idea that I compile a list of ten of my favourite books/series set in boarding schools.

Harry Potter by JK Rowling – As they grew up, so did I. And I admit it – I was jealous of their lack of adult supervision. But it’s probably a good thing that I wasn’t at Hogwarts!

Vampire Academy  AND Bloodlines by Richelle Mead – It’s probably cheating counting both these series, but I love them both.They are both set at private Vampire boarding schools and feature some brilliant characters.

Mythos Academy by Jennifer Estep – Super awesome descendants of mythological warriors fighting evil and having one amazing gourmet cafeteria!

The Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter – If I couldn’t be magical or undead,,, I’d want to be a spy.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1) Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1) Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy, #1) I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls, #1)

My Ex From Hell by Tellulah Darling – Trying to keep in school whilst battling evil gods…. sounds like a blast 😛

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay – This book is fairly dear to my heart. It was one of the first “adult” (and by that I mean, not a children’s book but rather one meant for older readers) books I ever read. And it sort of destroyed me. I love this book and it’s one that I think everyone should read.

The St Clare series by Enid Blyton – Pat and Isabel were two of my constant companions growing up. This is one of the first books that I remember staying up late – with a torch – and reading and rereading.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – Fun school for American teens in Paris. Who could want anything more?

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett – Cause it’s a lovely story.

 

My Ex From Hell (The Blooming Goddess Trilogy, #1) The Power Of One The Twins at St. Clare's (St. Clare's, #1) Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1) A Little Princess

Most of these are paranormal in natures but I threw in a few oldies but goodies too. I would love to hear what books you’ve read set in boarding schools that you loved. And please – link me to your top ten, I can’t wait to see what settings other people picked for this week’s TTT!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Thought I’d Like More/Less

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

This week’s topic is: Top Ten Books I Thought I’d Like More/Less

As much as I try not too – expectations get the better of me. When I hear/see people RAVING about a book/series/author, I admit that the hype sometimes gets the best of me. And I realize it’s not the book’s fault – but I often can’t help but feel a little disappointed when a decent book didn’t blow me away like I was anticipating.

(Links will take you to my reviews. Clicking on the book cover will take you to the book’s page on goodreads)

Books I Though I’d Like More (and wound up a little disappointed):

Obsidian (Lux, #1)

Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout – This isn’t a bad book. I did enjoy it but I wanted more. Daemon is great but it’d take someone even better than him for me not to resent him for blowing up my computer.

Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1)

Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful #1) by Jamie Maguire – I love love. But I don’t love over the top jealousy and people who keep trying the same thing over and over but expecting different results.

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)

Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi – There’s a lot I liked about this book. And a lot that left me feeling wanting. This was one of the most talked about books of 2012. It seemed that people everywhere were praising this one. And whilst I thought it was clever I think I spent most of the time I was reading it waiting. Waiting for it to live up to my (possibly unrealistic) expectations.

Marked (House of Night, #1)

Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast – A friend told me this book was absolutely fantastic – the best Vampire Teen series around. I think I got my hopes up and just missed things I would have liked had it not been off the back of such high praise.

Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. – This one I think was my own fault that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped. The trailer for the movie ruined the book and that in itself frustrated me. Also I listened to this one on audiobook and the fact that the narrator’s voice had an accent but his thoughts didn’t – it really took me out of the story.

On the other hand are books that I went in not expecting too much and being blown away. These are the best kinds of books! To quote one of my all time favourite movies… A Diamond in the Rough.

(and since I couldn’t find any appropriate gifs – here’s one from Aladdin just cause I love that movie!)

Books I Thought I’d Like Less (and ended up loving!):

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss, #2)

Anna and the French Kiss & Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins – There is the saying “Don’t Judge a Book By It’s Cover” but perhaps I should not judge a book on its title. These books have names similar to those I’d bring home for homework in primary school. But these books are far from simple. They’re beautiful stories about love, friendship, family problems and the complexities of growing up. These are two of my favourite teen contemporary romance novels and I’m so glad I picked them up because I very nearly didn’t..

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1)

Vampire Academy/Bloodlines by Richelle Mead – It probably wouldn’t be a TTT without a Richelle Mead series featuring somewhere on my list. These are both series that feature some kind if paranormal creature in a boarding school but they are both so much more than that. There’s depth and consequences and the gorgeous leading men don’t hurt things either. I had read Mead’s Georgina Kincaid series before starting VA but I didn’t expect for the series to have such a profound effect on my views regarding YA paranormal novels.

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer – A sci-fi futuristic cyborg version of Cinderella? This isn’t something I ever thought I’d read let alone like. But somehow Meyer wrote a novel that’s well thought out and the fairytale links are crafted in a way that feels so right for the story.

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – I thought I’d try to see if I could somehow beat the system. I’d heard so much about this book. The Best Book EVER! is a line that many of my friends and reviews had thrown around. Not having read any John Green and having nothing to compare his work to I though I’d go in expecting the worse. I’m a big enough person to admit I’m wrong because I ADORED this book. It’s beautiful and the characters are almost ridiculously perfect in their own way. I cried. So if you haven’t read this book and you’re intending to – try to ignore the hype. Make up your own mind. But this is a book that I recommend for everyone to read. Even if it’s just to be on the bandwagon and know what people are talking about when they’re talking about TFiOS and John Green.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #2)

Daughter of Smoke and Bone / Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor – These books are beautifully written. And the covers are gorgeous. And I have no idea why I didn’t think I’d like them but I very nearly passed on the opportunity to read them.

That’s my list for another week. I love reading other people’s TTT’s and blogs in general so please leave me a comment with a link so I can visit back. All comments are welcome and very much appreciated. Thanks!

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