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

5 Reasons Why You Should Take a Chance on The Mortal Instruments

Lately I’ve been on a bit of a The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare kick.

It’s never too late to start a new series and with the last book, City of Heavenly Fire, being released in May – there is still plenty of time to get up to date with this fantastic series before it ends.

I thought I’d share five reasons with you why I recommend this series.

 

The Creatures

Werewolves may be your thing. Or perhaps you like to read about vampires. It could be book with Fae in them are what you crave. With the Mortal Instruments series – you don’t have to choose. Vampires, Were and Fae all manage to co-exist in this world although not entire peacefully. And you also get an incredible type of mystical being called the Shadowhunters. They’re descendants of angels and they are essentially demon hunters. They have a magic of their own and are so very kick-arse.

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)

City of Bones – the first book in the Mortal Instruments series

 

The Characters

It’s hard for me to pick a favourite because there are so many incredible characters in this series. The main character, Clary Fray, is learning about the Shadowhunters and all that goes bump in the night and as a reader we get to learn along with her. Her best friend Simon, a mundane, is by her side as they both discover that things were a lot simpler before they knew the stuff of horror films exists. All of the shadowhunters, vampires, werewolves, fae, mages (and even the mundanes) are great characters. I think every single person who appears in these books has their flaws. They are not perfect people. They are selfish and make mistakes but they adds to their realism and appeal.

Simon, Isabelle, Alec, Jace and Clary – the main characters of the series

The Plot

There’s a lot that goes on in these books. So much action and drama, romance and tragedy. But it is a series that feels planned. The surprises are shocking to me as a reader but I can tell that the authors knows exactly what she is doing. I’m eager to read on and see what is next for Clary and co. despite the pain and anguish Ms. Clare puts them through. I know that there is a lot more excitement ahead.

Valentine

He’s diabolical. He thinks his way is the right way and will stop at nothing till he gets what he wants. And somehow – despite how much I despise what he’s doing to my favourite characters he’s admirable with his abysmal and atrocious actions.

The Spinoffs

While the Mortal Instruments series might be coming to a close, it’s not the end if you want more Shadowhunters. There is a prequel series, The Infernal Devices, which already has three novels out and another spinoff called The Last Hours which is set in  Edwardian London and fin de siècle Paris and is set to publish in 2017.

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)

Clockwork Angel – the first book in the Infernal Devices series

There you have it. My five reasons why I love this series. I’d love to hear your reasons for enjoying Cassandra Clare’s writing or why you aren’t as much of a fan as I am.

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

Novella Review: Blood Phantom by Rhiannon Hart

Blood Phantom (Lharmell, #0.5)

Title: Blood Phantom (Lharmell #0.5)
Author: Rhiannon Hart
Genre: Young Adult, Vampires, Fantasy, 
Publisher: Curtis Brown Digital
Publication Date: 9th December 2013
Pages: 15
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Life in tatters and far from home, Rodden Lothskorn struggles to cope with the harming menace and his own harming nature. When an offer of marriage reaches his friend, Prince Amis, Rodden discovers that the bride’s inhospitable homeland might contain one part of the harming poison he would dearly like to get his hands on. But if summoned northwards, will Princess Lilith bring something – or someone – he dreads most with her? Locked in a years-long struggle with the Lharmellins, Rodden senses the battle is only now about to begin.

My Review:

This short novella gives us a brief glance into Rodden’s life before Zeraphina. I’ve always liked Rodden and I’m so pleased that Rhiannon Hart gave us this short story from his point of view. From the castle as Amis’ best friend and advisor right up till finding Zeraphina and learning what she is – this is a great addition to the Lharmell series. Roddin is the same amazing character that I liked from Blood Song and Blood Storm but seeing the world from his eyes – just made him more well rounded and enjoyable for me.

At only 15 pages, Blood Phantom is just enough to whet my appetite and I am now eagerly anticipating the release of Blood Queen that much more! This remains one of my favourite series and I recommend this novella to all fans of Zeraphina, Rodden and Lharmell!

Note:

I have to say that I adore the new style of cover that Blood Phantom and Blood Queen (expected publication is April 15. 2014) have compared to those of Blood Song and Blood Storm. I feel like this darker theme are more fitting to the amazing story within their pages than the first two books – which whilst gorgeous never seemed to fit for me.

Blood Song (Lharmell, #1) Blood Storm (Lharmell, #2) Blood Phantom (Lharmell, #0.5) Blood Queen (Lharmell, #3)

 

Thanks to the author for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Book Review: The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: Paranormal, Dystopia, Vampires, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: May 2013
Pages: 428
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
In Allison Sekemoto’s world, there is one one rule left: Blood Calls to blood.
Cast out of Eden and separated from the boy she dared to love, Allie will follow the call of blood to save her creator, Kanin, from the psychotic vampire, Sarren. But when the trail leads to Allie’s birthplace in New Covington, what she finds there will the change the world forever – and possibly end human and vampire existence.

There’s a new plague on the rise, a strain of the Red Lung virus that wiped out most of humanity generations ago – deadly to humans and vampires alike. The only hope for a cure lies in the secrets Kanin carries. If Allie can get to him in time…

My Review:

Allison Sekemoto is on a quest to save her creator, Kanin, who needs help. What she doesn’t expect is when her blood tie brings her to a blood brother and the town she thought she had left behind in her past to come crashing into her present. The boy she left, the monster who stabbed her and the Fringer whose life she saved – they all play a part in her attempt to save Kanin and the world from the new threat its facing and the slightly unhinged Sarren.

I enjoyed The Immortal Rules but The Eternity Cure has completely sold me on Julie Kagawa. I loved how she brought humanity to the monsters and showed how inhumane the humans can be. That’s not to say the vampires can’t be villainous. Allie is still struggling to deal with her new and eternal life with the pressures and cravings life as a vampire brings. She’s grown since the first book and continues to do so throughout this second instalment of the Blood of Eden series.

Relationships in this book were a strong point. There’s a romantic relationship is heartbreakingly bitter-sweet. I loved seeing how the mentor/mentee dynamic between Allie and Kanin has shifted as Allie grows more comfortable and confident with her place in the vampire world. And then there’s Jackal – he’s surprising in many ways. The humour and banter that Jackal provides is a highlight of this novel.

The Eternity Cure is fairly fast pasted – there is a lot that goes on in a short period of time but the pace is at a speed that feels right. It’s exciting and dramatic at times. The characters are fascinating – flawed but fantastic in their own ways.   I loved the journey Julia Kagawa took me on. I am looking forward to the third book in the series and in the meantime I will definitely be reading Kagawa’s Iron Fey series!

Thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: Blood Storm by Rhiannon Hart

Title: Blood Storm (Lharmell #2)
Author: Rhiannon Hart
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Vampires, Romance 
Publisher: Random House Australia
Publication Date: 1st August 2012
Pages: 384 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
The rain wanted to be ocean; the ice in the mountain caps wanted freedom. I never knew that water held such longing. The clouds above my head rumbled like a growling wolf, impatient to release their burden. I held the rain there a moment longer. I turned to Renata, heard her gasp and knew my eyes glowed blue.

I spoke a single word. ‘Rain.’

In the Second Book of Lharmell, Zeraphina and Rodden must travel across the sea to find the elusive ingredients that will help them to win the coming battle against the Lharmellin – but shadows from Rodden’s dark past may come back to haunt him. And while she learns to harness her new abilities, Zeraphina still fights the hunger that makes her crave the north – not to mention avoiding her mother, who wants to see her wayward daughter married to a prince at all costs.

My Review:

Five months after Blood Song finished, Zeraphina is still in Pergamia and has been extremely busy. Training with her trusty bow and arrow – as well as her drain cat, Leap and loyal eagle, Griffin – Rodden has been trying to get Zeraphina prepared for fighting the Lharmellians. With her seventeenth birthday approaching, there’s more to worry about than just the Harmings – her mother, Renata, is finding potential Princes who would be willing to marry the somewhat wayward princess. Trying to fight both her destiny and the blood tie to Lharmell, Zeraphina and Rodden set out to collect supplies for a weapon deadly to all with Lharmellian blood.

Zeraphina is one of those heroines that make me like her more with every word I read about her. She’s fiercely loyal and smart. Her bloodthirstiness (and not just the thirst-quenching kind) is somehow admirable. I adored how she took care of Rodden, both physically and emotionally. She’s brave and even when things are at their most dire, she’s starting to behave like a potential queen and is looking out for those who can’t look out for themselves.

I loved the relationship that has been brewing between Rodden and Zeraphina since the first time we met the King’s Advisor in Blood Song. They have chemistry but with the class system and Renata so violently opposed to their relationship it feels like they are doomed from the start. Regardless of the potential (and probably) doomed ending, I love how these two interact. They’re not all rainbows and sunshine (however there is a cute fluffy bunny or two). Their world is hard and dangerous but throughout everything I love the way Zeraphina and Rodden treat each other – it’s not often kind but always considerate.

This book developed Rodden’s history fantastically. As he and Zeraphina travel the lands gathering supplies for their secret weapon we get to see just who Rodden was before he became Prince Amis’ best friend. The view of the country and the people who live there added an extra something to this novel and the world in which it exists.

Blood Storm is a fantastic fantasy novel set in a world where the blood-sucking creatures are so much more than your typical vampires. The characters are interesting and the plot gets thicker and more fascinating with every twist. After the way this book finished I am on the edge of my seat with anticipation. Blood Queen will be released sometime in 2013. I can not wait to get my hands on a copy!

 

 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: Avenging Amethyst by Kaitlyn Price

Title: Avenging Amethyst (Immortal Eyes #1)
Author: Kaitlyn Price
Genre: urban fantasy, paranormal, magic
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: 21 January 2013
Pages: 290 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Avery and her mother have always been on the run. After her mother is murdered by something supernatural, she is left to fend for herself, alone and filled with questions. She receives a note by a stranger, giving her the opportunity to get some answers, and Avery warily accepts. She would rather face the truth than continue to be on the run.

What she discovers is nothing like she could’ve imagined. The stranger’s name is Felix, and he’s part of a race of creatures called Lovac. He tells Avery that she is a Lovac, too, and that they’re the distant descendants of the ancient vampire Nosferatu, along with two other races—the Nesmyr and Zhulik.

However, the Lovac are doomed to insanity, and nearly all of them lose their minds in their early twenties. The only way to be saved from the curse is for a Lovac to find their Dimidium, the one creature that can calm the darkness.

Nightmarish visions, kidnappings, and a lifestyle she never knew existed consume Avery’s life as she begins the search for her Dimidium and to get revenge for her mother’s death

My Review:

This book starts with a bang! Within the first paragraph Avery witnesses her mother’s murder and the excitement just keeps on going. With her mother gone and her life in a mess, Avery finds a group of magical beings who hold the secrets to the questions Avery has had since her mother’s death. With the Lovacs now at her back providing her with information, training and the ability to track down her mother’s murderer, Avery has a new family and a mission.

I have to admit I was a little lost at the start of this novel. There’s so much that happens so quickly but as I got into the story – I loved every minute. The world of the Lovac’s is exciting. There are magical powers, evil villains and the Darkness that drives a person crazy after their twenty-fifth birthday unless they’ve found their Dimidium, the Lovac equal to a soul mate. Conceptually this book had so many ideas that I adored.

Avery is a strong character – in body and spirit. She doesn’t give up no matter how dire things get. Avery is determined to help those if she can. She might be a little vengeful but she’s good at heart no matter how affected she is by the Darkness. The other Lovac she meets are fun and interesting in their own ways. I loved the relationship between Avery and Felix. I can’t wait to see how that developed (all other parties considered) in the next book in the Immortal Eyes series.

At the start I also didn’t really believe in Avery’s emotions. Her mother – her only friend in the entire world – is murdered in front of her and she just… didn’t make me feel like it was a huge thing to her. Yes, she cried in a shower but I didn’t feel her heart breaking. Timing wise, things felt a little rushed at times. Only days pass between Avery’s mother’s passing, her meeting Felix and joining the Lovacs and so much else. That said, I thought the pacing of the story was great. Enough detail was given.

As I got into the story, I loved being privy to the world of the Lovacs. It had a Vampire Academy/Trylle trilogy vibe to it and I thought this was a fantastic debut novel.

Thanks to Kaitlyn Price for providing me with a copy for review.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon