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.”

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Book Review: Banish by Nicola Marsh

Banish

Title: Banish
Author: Nicola Marsh
Genre: Paranormal, Magic, Young Adult, Contemporary 
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: August 2013
Pages: 272
Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Alyssa has one week to destroy her enemy, save her spirit… and save her soul.

After her ex-boyfriend commits suicide and her mum’s alcoholism sparks yet another psychotic episode, seventeen-year-old Alyssa Wood flees her small hometown of Broadwater and heads to New York City to stay with her bohemian aunt — a Wicca High Priestess.

Alyssa revels in the anonymity of a big city and her new life. Her grades climb, she has a new best friend, and a new guy: the sexy geek Ronan — a saxophone player who prefers jazz to pop.

But her newfound peace is soon shattered when she sees a dead body in one of Ronan’s music clips — and she’s the only one who can see it. Worse still, Alyssa recognises the body that has been murdered a week forward!

Alyssa doesn’t believe in the supernatural…despite her family’s Wicca background. So how will she overcome evil when it’s closer than she thinks?

My Review:

There’s a lot to like about Nicola Marsh’s YA debut – a strong heroine, a mystery which I couldn’t wait to see how it was solved, some romance and a great kind of magic. Alyssa has been through a lot.  Her boyfriend killed himself the day after they broke up and her mother is an alcoholic who hears voices – NYC with her high priestess aunt has to be better than the memories in Broadwater. But it seems that Alyssa can’t outrun her past. Her new life meets her old when she sees a video set one week in the future of a dead girl. Her new boyfriend Ronan thinks that maybe Lyssa’s aunt is responsible but the strange keeps popping up – a weird séance, jewellery which should be buried and other mysterious goings on. Alyssa needs to banish the bad that’s following her and try to save the girl before this bad magic following her takes her too.

I was excited to read this book because I love reading YA by Australian authors. The fact that Banish is set in the US was a little disappointing to me. Whist I thought Marsh did a great job of writing this city into the book I would have loved it just a little more had it been set in Australia.

I found Alyssa hard to connect with and as a result I found myself uninterested and not invested in just how things would end up for her. She’s blunt – and understandably so considering her history. But I didn’t like how rude she was to those trying to help her and her attitude towards people. She has expectations from people but doesn’t communicate to others what she wants or needs and because of this they don’t behave as she would like and she gets annoyed with them. Her constant disapproval of her aunt’s interest in the supernatural, her mother’s alcoholism and her boyfriend taking his own life was reiterated a little too often for my liking. It seemed like by the end of the novel there was only one thing I knew about each of those characters because it was the only thing Alyssa told us about them. I wasn’t a huge fan of the relationship between Alyssa and Ronan and I felt low to no chemistry between them but I liked that despite their relationship being new – it wasn’t perfect and that added a layer of realism to it.

The plot is slightly predictable but I was genuinely surprised by the motivation behind WHY the villain was tormenting Alyssa and I thought that the ending was a satisfying one. The highlight of this book to me was the type of magic used – it brought me back to my days watching Charmed. I’ll be keeping an eye out for any other YA titles Marsh writes however if Banish turns into a series it’s not one I think I’ll continue reading.

Purchase the novel from:

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Book Review: School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins

Title: School Spirits (School Spirits #1)
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Genre: contemporary, paranormal, urban fantasy, witches, ghosts
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: May 2013
Pages: 304 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Fifteen-year-old Izzy Brannick was trained to fight monsters. For centuries, her family has hunted magical creatures. But when Izzy’s older sister vanishes without a trace while on a job, Izzy’s mom decides they need to take a break.

Izzy and her mom move to a new town, but they soon discover it’s not as normal as it appears. A series of hauntings has been plaguing the local high school, and Izzy is determined to prove her worth and investigate. But assuming the guise of an average teenager is easier said than done. For a tough girl who’s always been on her own, it’s strange to suddenly make friends and maybe even have a crush.

Can Izzy trust her new friends to help find the secret behind the hauntings before more people get hurt?

My Review:

As a Brannick, Izzy has a family legacy to maintain – to fight things that go bump in the night. But Izzy, her mother and older sister Finley are the only Brannicks left and after Finley goes missing in the middle of a job things are different. Taking some time off to search for Finley, months go by with no sign of the missing teenager. To try to move on Izzy’s mother decides to get back to the monster fighting business and gives Izzy her first true solo mission – find and stop the ghost haunting a high school. Enrolled as a student and working undercover, Izzy gets to experience for the first time just what life as a typical teenager involves. With an evil warlock trapped in her mirror and the closest thing to teenage life Izzy has ever been is watching Ivy Springs (a fictional teen drama) on DVD, the next experience of high school is a novelty for Izzy. But ghosts with evil intentions stop for no one – not even one with best friends and boys on the mind.

I’ve not read Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins and had no idea School Spirits was a spin-off. That said – there’s no assumed knowledge of the world and before I knew it I was swept away in the characters and story in this novel. Izzy is an engaging main character who for all her naivety of “regular teenagers” and life outside of monster hunting is surprisingly relatable. Her mother managed to be both mentor and caring parent. And the members of the Paranormal Management Society (PMS) are delightful. I accepted and loved the team of misfits the way they embraced Izzy – without abandon. Romy, Anderson and Dex are equal parts fun, zany and  supportive.

Plot wise I thought it was dramatic and interesting. Paced perfectly, I enjoyed seeing Izzy go from nearly killing a boy in dodge-ball on her very first day to a more confident young woman who is trying to live up to the Brannick name. Torin – the boy in the mirror, is cocky and confident and I’m a little undecided as to whether I love or hate him. He’s just one of those characters that I desperately want to know more about.

Watching Izzy discover boys – specifically Dex – made me smile. She’s awkward and all she knows about romance and relationships with the other sex is from a teen drama. I loved it! And Dex is perfect. He’s quirky and geeky – and the opposite of athletic – and that just made me like him more. He’s an unconventional love interest but somehow it works.

The magic and ghosts are rampant and I liked the supernatural element in School Spirits. There’s drama and excitement with a lot of room for this series to grow in future novels. This is a great book for fans of Rachel Harkins but also anyone who loves a good young adult novel with engaging characters and things that go bump in the night.

 

Thanks to NetGalley and Disney Hyperion for the review copy.

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Book Review: Spellcaster by Claudia Gray

Title: Spellcaster (Spellcaster #1)
Author: Claudia Gray
Genre: magic, paranormal romance, witches
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 1st March 2013
Pages: 400
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (goodreads):

When Nadia′s family moves to Captive′s Sound, she immediately realises there′s more to the place than meets the eye. Descended from witches, Nadia can sense that a spell has been cast over the tiny Rhode Island town – a sickness infecting everyone and everything in it. The magic at work is darker and more powerful than anything she′s come across, and the person it has affected most is Mateo – her rescuer, friend and the guy she yearns to get closer to, even though he pushes her away.

Mateo′s family have a tormented past and it soon becomes evident that Mateo is the next member of his family to be cursed, particularly when the strange dreams Mateo has been having of rescuing a beautiful girl from a car accident actually come true.

Despite the forces pulling them apart, Nadia and Mateo must work together to break his terrible family curse and prevent a coming disaster that threatens the entire town, including Nadia′s family, her newfound friends and her own life.

My Review:

Captive’s Sound. A small town in the middle of Rhode Island where Nadia Caldini’s father decides to transplant his family after his wife walked out on them all.

Sounds innocuous enough. Except as soon they cross the city limits, Nadia can feel a magical barrier surrounding her new family’s new home. Oh and her Book of Shadows reacts badly with the strange magic and causes their car to careen off the road and into a lake. It would have been fatal if not for Mateo Perez coming to her rescue and saving her from drowning.

Mateo has secrets of his own. A family curse and visions of the future plaguing his dreams haunt his days and nights. There’s more to Captive’s Sound that meets the eye and Nadia – along with new best friend Verlaine and mystery man Mateo – needs a way to break the curse and save the town from the Evil lurking underneath.

Spellcaster captivated me from the first page. There’s action from the start. And the plot entranced me. I loved reading what was going to happen next. The principles that dictate the magical world in which the book is set fascinated me. The way spells are formulated as well as the rules that govern the Craft that Nadia studies are not something I’ve seen before. I looked forward to each new spell being cast.

The characters are exciting. Nadia is a strong and capable young woman. She acknowledges the fact that she has so much to learn in terms of her magical skill but she refuses to give up on those she loves. She is willing to sacrifice herself but only when she has exhausted all other possible options. I admired her attitudes to life and magic. Considering his curse and the way he was brought up – Mateo is a shadow of a person when compared to Nadia. But he’s willing to embrace her and her weirdness that she’s brought to Captive’s Sound. Verlaine is an interesting character but I felt (much like the citizens of the small town) she tended to drift to the background and was rather forgettable.

This book is written in the form of many different people’s point of views. I counted at least six (one containing a creepy crow with cobwebs for eyes) with some taking up most of the novel and one being only a few paragraphs in the entire story. At times it felt a little overwhelming that there were so many different voices trying to be heard. With all of the points of views all being in the same font and all having the same tone, sometimes it was difficult to differentiate between them.

For the plot alone, Spellcaster was a win for me. I will be keeping an eye out for the next book in the series to be released and will make time to read some of the older Claudia Gray books that I bought and haven’t gotten around to reading yet…

Thanks to The Reading Room and HarperCollins Australia for providing me with a copy to review.

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Book Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Title: Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1)
Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Genre: paranormal romance, fantasy, magic, witches
Publisher: Little Brown Books (an imprint of Hachette)
Publication Date: 1 December 2009
Pages: 563 pages
Rating: 2.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

My Review:

Without darkness there can be no light…

Gatlin is a small town with small-minded thinking. Ethan Wate feels like he’s been trapped his entire life. He’s counting down the days till he can go to college and escape. His dreams are haunted by a beautiful mysterious girl he’s never met. Night after night he fails her in these dreams. Things get even more spooky when he comes face to face with his “dream girl”, Lena Duchannes – old man Ravenwood’s niece, and she smells like she does in her dreams. Lemons and rosemary.

Ethan is drawn to Lena like he’s never been before. It’s magical the way they share dreams and thoughts. Lena isn’t like anyone Gatlin has ever seen before. But Lena has a secret. She’s not just any other girl. She has a dangerous secret and a family that puts the fun in dysfunctional. Creepy cousins, bizarre uncles and a house that changes furnishings instantly. Lena has a family legacy that will either free her or condemn her on her sixteenth birthday. The countdown is on and her relationship with Ethan only makes things even more confusing and dangerous.

I’ve not read many teen novels dealing with romance told from a male’s perspective. I liked that this book isn’t the typical girl meets strange mysterious boy kind of love story.

This is a long book and it took me a very very long time to read it. I started this book months ago and only just finished it. Some parts seemed to take forever for anything to happen and then there were action sequences that were a little rushed. I felt like some Southern stereotypes were played up and there were a lot of clichés used. That said, I liked the characters. Lena was the new mysterious girl with a dark past. Her family is eccentric and somehow loveable – all of them the light and the dark. Ethan was a little bland in comparison but he’s merely mortal (or is he?) and had an easy narration style to follow. Whilst I’m not sure a guy would pay quite so much attention to clothing I thought Garcia and Stohl manage to write a male point of view that was surprisingly authentic.

Conceptually I loved the story. There’s mystique and drama around every corner. The different powers were interesting and one of the supporting characters was an awesome librarian (however the name, Marian the Librarian reminded me a bit too much of The Music Man). I wasn’t convinced by the love story in terms of how it came to be but I loved the relationship between Ethan and Lena as the countdown ticked down and the Sixteenth Moon was upon them.

Overall this was an enjoyable read however it just took too long to get to the good parts and there was something about the way the South was described that got under my skin and irritated it.

 Additional Note:
I listened to this book as an Audible audiobook (Seventeen and a half hours!). Whilst I liked the narrator’s pacing, his accents infuriated me. I understand that the characters were from the South and needed Southern accents HOWEVER I couldn’t quite get into Ethan’s character since his dialogue was narrated in an accent but his thoughts and narration was not. It felt like the two were not quite the same person.

ALSO:

If you’re planning on reading this book do not, I repeat DO NOT!, go to the IMDB page for casting for the movie. I was talking to my sister about going to see the movie this weekend because she was excited about a certain actor/actress was in it. When she told me what character the person was playing it divulged a critical plot point that didn’t happen until the last ten percent or so of the book…

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Listened to for the 2013 YA Audiobook Challenge

2013 YA Audiobook Challenge

Book Review: A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest

Title: A Shade of Vampire
Author: Bella Forrest
Genre: urban fantasy, paranormal, vampires, magic
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: 14 December 2012
Pages: 147 pages
Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
On the evening of Sofia Claremont’s seventeenth birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake.
A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood.
She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine.
An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains.
Sofia’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince.
Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.
Will she succeed? …or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?

My Review:

Told through switching point of views from Sofia Claremont and Derek Novak, A Shade of Vampire, is an interesting novel. Vampires steal teenage humans to either to do manual labour or to join their harems. They live in the trees of a redwood forest where magic causes the sun never to shine. On Sofia’s seventeenth birthday, she’s kidnapped and told she is to be a gift for Derek Novak – a vampire prince who has been in a be-spelled sleep for the past few hundred years. (Best. Birthday. Ever…)

I thought this book had a lot of promise but it just missed the mark on a few things. It’s short – only 147 pages – and it would have benefited with having things being described in more detail, relationships fleshed out a bit and more action occurring.  I loved the premise but I felt like we were being told things rather than being shown. A lot of the information was divulged though dialogue rather than being shown though observations and alike.

Sofia is a strong character who was a little too perfect (I can’t believe how well she managed to deal with her ordeal) however I thought her interactions with Derek were adorable – I absolutely loved his technology training.

A Shade of Vampire is a quick read with some fantastic ideas. There’s a brooding hero, a strong heroine, evil villains and a new and exciting setting.

Thanks to YA Blogosphere for the review copy.

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Book Review: The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead

Title: The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3)
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: urban fantasy, paranormal, vampires, magic
Publisher: Razorbill (an imprint of Penguin)
Publication Date: 12 February 2013
Pages: 432 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
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.

My Review:

This book has the Palm Springs crew back in action. Jill is still in danger and had Eddie and Angeline being ever vigilant to any possible attack. Adrian is snarky and spirited as ever and then there’s Sydney. She’s conflicted. With her relationships with the vampires strengthening as she spends more time with them, she’s not sure her Alchemist training and beliefs are the same as her own any more. Ms Terwilliger and her magic is now firmly a part of Sydney’s life – and a deadly threat is now hanging over Sydney’s head because of it. Marcus Finch with his mysterious Indigo tattoo is complicating things further not to mention that Sydney has Adrian constantly on her mind…

I love how there’s so much going on in these books. There’s action and romance with relationships being constantly tested and adventure around every corner. Sydney is steadily growing on me. She’s becoming a strong independent woman who is a far cry from the Alchemist from we met in Russia. I was impressed with her bag of tricks and spy skills! Her quirky banter with Adrian remains one of my favourite parts of the book. The two of them together – even when they’re apart – amuse me and make me smile. They’re gorgeous.

The only downside to this story is I’m not too sure how Sydney managed to be everywhere at once – Mead has kept her so very busy in this novel. There’s the Alchemist plot, her friends at school to keep in line, Adrian, the rebel Alliance, Adrian (I felt like he needed to be mentioned twice), her witchly magic… and there’s probably some I’m missing. I felt it was a little unlikely that even someone as awesome as Sydney wouldn’t be able to be on top of everything.

The supernatural aspect of this novel was interesting. Ms. Terwilliger and the witch storyline let us see Sydney in a new light – as a powerful person in her own right. Marcus Finch was a fascinating new addition. The charismatic rebel is the kind of character that I can see winning many fans. Interesting, mysterious and a rebel with a cause – I can’t wait to see what the future brings in terms of his storyline.

Seeing the zany Malachi Wolfe again was a highlight even if he didn’t exactly add all that much to the story.

I can not wait (but unfortunately will have to) until the fourth book in the Bloodlines series comes out. I love where this series is going and have high expectations for the future!

Many thanks to Penguin Teen Australia and NetGalley for the digital review copy!

 

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Book Review: The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

Title: The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2)
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: urban fantasy, paranormal, vampires, magic
Publisher: Razorbill (an imprint of Penguin)
Publication Date: 12 June 2012
Pages: 418 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
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?

My Review:

This book picks up where Bloodlines ended – with Sydney still overseeing the crew of vampires hiding in Palm Springs to protect the Moroi Queen’s sister, Jill.

Sydney is growing on me the more I get to read about her and her adventures. She’s becoming more human as her interactions with vampires increases. She’s still dedicated to being “the responsible one” but she’s also realizing there’s more of a life out there than what her father has trained her for. There are friends, there are school dances and there are intelligent boys who smell like coffee. I liked seeing Sydney’s attempts at dating Brayden – a barista who works with Trey. Her flirting and dates with the male equal to herself. Although Sydney did start to wear on my nerves slightly at times, she’s becoming slightly kick-ass and I’m loving how her character is growing.

The other characters are what make this series addictive for me. Eddie, Angeline and Jill are fun and interesting – if not a little trouble. And then there’s Adrian. He’s snarky and spirited – his banter with Sydney being some of the most amusing parts of the novel. They’ve got great chemistry and their antics keep me enthralled. Seeing Adrian’s softer side just makes him a fantastic character to read about.

Plot wise – I love how Mead ties everything together. She’s constantly thinking about her characters no matter if they’re in the spotlight or not and when things come to a climax – it’s surprising but at the same time is completely logical. It’s a pleasure to read her books. There’s more new characters with their own secrets and problems but they’re equally as fascinating and endearing as the characters I’ve grown to love from the previous book.

This book is exciting with drama and action around every corner. With romance and suspense and adventure building, this is a series that I can’t help but think is going to be one of my all time favourites.

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Book Review: The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

Title: The Reckoning (Darkest Powers Trilogy #3)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary, magic, werewolves, witches, ghosts
Publisher: HarperCollins; Atom
Publication Date: April 2010
Pages: 391
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
My name is Chloe Saunders. I’m fifteen, and I would love to be normal.

But normal is one thing I’m not.

For one thing, I’m having these feelings for a certain antisocial werewolf and his sweet-tempered brother–who just happens to be a sorcerer–but, between you and me, I’m leaning toward the werewolf.

Not normal.

My friends and I are also on the run from an evil corporation that wants to get rid of us–permanently.

Definitely not normal.

And finally, I’m a genetically altered necro-mancer who can raise the dead, rotting corpses and all, without even trying.

As far away from normal as it gets.

My Review:

The troubled teens are still on the run from the sinister Edison Group; Chloe’s necromancy skills are getting stronger and stronger, Tori is able to perform magic that witches many times her age can’t achieve without incantations and Derek’s changes are getting more intense and more frequent. Add her romantic entanglement with both Simon AND Derek – things couldn’t get much more complicated for Chloe Saunders.

After holding up at a safe house but not feeling all that safe at the moment, Chloe has to cope with an evil teenage ghost haunting the house and a necromancer mentor who doesn’t believe Chloe’s skills. Along with the threat of the Edison Group hanging over them, the teens grow more and more suspicious of anyone and everyone until… at last – one way or another – they get to the bottom of the Lyle House mystery…

I’m always anxious when I get to the last book in a series/trilogy that I’m enjoying. I want to know just how it’s going to end but at the same time I don’t want to have to leave the characters.

Chloe has grown so much since the first book. Her powers are developing experientially and she’s come a long way from the stuttering fearful girl into the woman who overcomes her fears when it comes to protecting the ones she loves.

The other characters are great in their own ways too – I’m not sure after the first book I ever thought I could like Tori but she’s grown on me and I’m glad that the others accepted her into their merry crew of adolescent misfits.

I loved the amount of action that occurs throughout this book. There’s evil angry ghosts, get away plans, werewolves and so much more. This was a fantastic instalment in the trilogy however – I didn’t love the ending. Or rather, I didn’t like that the trilogy was ending. There’s so much more I want to know. But I did love how all the drama came to climax and the resulting resolution was fitting to the series.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository


Book Review: The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

Title: The Summoning (Darkest Powers Trilogy #1)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary, 
Publisher: HarperCollins; Atom
Publication Date: April 2009
Pages: 360
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl — someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I’m as far away from normal as it gets. I’m a living science experiment — not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a sinister organization call the Edison Group. What does that mean? For starters. I’m a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control: I raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever.

Now I’m running for my life with three of my supernatural friends – a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch – and we have to find someone who can help us before the Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying.

My Review:

I think the Darkest Powers trilogy is going to go down as one of my favourite YA paranormal series.

The Awakening picks up at the exact moment that the first book in the series, The Summoning, finishes – with Chloe stuck in the institution after a somewhat failed break out attempt from Lyle House and the heartbreaking betrayal from Chloe’s aunt.

Now, with her every move being monitored by the staff and no escape routes visible, Chloe needs to deal with the ghosts that won’t leave her alone and her anxiety over Simon’s health and Derek’s “condition” whilst they are on the run. Not one to sit around and pout, Chloe – with the help of Liz’s ghost – needs finds a way to get out, find the boys and get to the bottom of what the sinister scientists are up to.

For me, this book had what The Summoning was lacking. It was exciting, fast paced and suspenseful. I picked this book up when I couldn’t sleep, vowing only to read a few chapters… next thing I knew it was 3am and I’d finished it.

I complained about Chloe coming across as a little bland in the first book but she’s completely redeemed herself in my eyes. I found that I enjoyed getting to see her embrace her ghost busting powers more and more as well as not letting anyone who was bigger and badder than her push her around.

Derek is a character that I adored after the first book and now I like him even more. He and the other supporting characters have issues and complicated pasts. It makes them somewhat real in an unreal and paranormal world. Tori, Simon and the others are an incredibly mismatched group but their bickering entertained me and I loved the fact that they were flawed and kept their grudges despite their current circumstances.

As a fan of Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series, I was thrilled to read the slight crossover that occurred in this novel (Clayton’s reputation precedes him!) and makes perfect sense to the plot of this story.

This book is not one that can be read as a stand alone – there is a lot that is assumed knowledge from the first book in the series – but is a fantastic story that includes some of my favourite supernatural creatures, exciting plot and interesting characters.

I jumped online and bought the third book as soon as I finished reading….

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository