Friday, 31 December 2010

Favourite Reads of 2010

So ... it turns out it is impossible for me to narrow done my favourites reads to 10 books.  Believe me I tried - but in the end I decided to let myself have a top 20.

So, in no particular order, here are my favourite reads in 2010:

Last Sacrifice (and the whole VA series) by Richelle Mead
I Love this series!  Rose and, of course Dimitri *sighs*  Last Sacrifice was a great end to the series and I can't wait for the spin off to be published!

You Against Me by Jenny Downham
I don't know how this author does it but she manages to create magic!  This is just pure awesomeness and one of my favourites reads ever!

Angel by L A Weatherly
Loads of action, romance and I adored Alex!  Pure fun and I can't wait for the sequel when it's published 2011.

Alpha (and the whole Shifter’s series) by Rachel Vincent
Oh boy oh boy how much did I love this series!  I loved Faythe and the shifter world!  I adored both Marc and Jace and Alpha was a fantastic end to the series.  Lets hope we get that spin off one day!

Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder
I fell in love with verse novels this year and this was by far my favourite!  I love Lisa's writing and I loved the story and characters in this one.

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
This one broke my heart but it is writing at it's best.  Raw, and brutally honest this one challenged what I thought was right and wrong.

Dark Goddess by Sarwat Chadda
Loved, Loved, LOVED it!  Hope there are many more Billi SanGreal books to come!

Swapped by a Kiss by Luisa Plaja
An absolute feel good read!  I laughed out loud so many times -  it also has a great story and awesome characters!  Pure magic!

Scarred by Julia Hoban
One of those books that just blew me away.  I found myself completely absorbed by Willow's story.  One for my all time favourites list.

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Two words...Alex Fuentes.  Do I need to say more? 

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles
Can this author do no wrong?  I think not.  I can't decide which I loved best - this one or Perfect Chemistry.  Really looking forward to reading more books by Simone.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
This is one of those books I had high expectations for and it still managed to exceed them!  Loved it!

Puzzle Ring by Kate Forsyth
My surprise read of the year.  I thought I would like it but found myself awake until 3am in the morning finishing it because I didn't want to put in down!  Brilliant!

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
I loved Cracked Up to Be and this was just.. amazing!  I love the characters she creates!  Contemporary at it's best!  I desperately need to get my hands on Fall For Anything!

Undead Much by Stacey Jay
This is just pure fun and I love it.  Stacey Jay reminds me of Meg Cabot - you know you are going to have a great time with whatever she writes!

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
I loved Calla, the world, and absolutely adored Ren.  Just pure awesome sauce!  Can't wait for Wolfsbane!

Della Says: OMG by Keris Stainton
Dan Bailey stole my heart!  *sighs*  Such a sweet and awesome character and the book has such a great premise too.   Can't wait for Jessie ♥ NYC!

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Great fun and really easy to read.  And then there's Archer Cross!  Can't wait for the sequel!

Mr Monster by Dan Wells
Just completely different from any other YA I've read.  I found it disturbing and brilliant in equal parts.  If you love horror - try it.  You won't regret it!

Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
One of those books that I picked up with no expectations and found myself loving it!  I fell in love with Carrie Ryan's writing style and I adored the premise.  Reminds me I really need to read the sequel!


But please believe me when I say there are so many other awesome titles that I wanted to include!  2010 was a really great year for discovering great books!  Roll on 2011:)

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Captivate by Carrie Jones

From Goodreads:  Zara and her friends knew they hadn't solved the pixie problem for good. Far from it. The king's needs grow deeper every day he's stuck in captivity, while his control over his people gets weaker. It's made him vulnerable. And now there's a new king in town.

A turf war is imminent, since the new pixie king, Astley, is moving in quickly. Nick nearly killed him in the woods on day one, but Zara came to his rescue. Astley swears that he and Zara are destined to be together, that he's one of the good guys. Nick isn't buying it, though Zara isn't as sure -- despite herself, she wants to trust the new king. But it's a lot more than her relationship with Nick that is at stake. It's her life -- and his.

Having really enjoyed Need I was looking forward to this and seeing what happened next.  But I have to say this wasn't quite what I was expecting. Instead, it seemed to go in a completely different direction that totally surprised me!

I wasn't sure about the introduction of Astley at first.  I loved the dynamic between Zara and Nick and the rest of the group and I was concerned his presence might change that.  However, I found that Astley really grew on me and by the end of the story I couldn't imagine it without him in it.  I do hope he is as 'good' as he currently seems.

Again I loved all the supporting characters (Issie, Devyn, Nick, Betty etc) and Cassidy was an interesting addition.  I'm really keen to see how she progresses in future installments. 

One thing I really must mention is that I LOVED how Carrie Jones took risks with this.  As I said at the beginning this did not go in the direction that I thought it would - instead in went in a whole different direction that I would never have considered and I applaud the author's decision to do so.  I have the feeling it will really pay off in the next book and I can't wait to see how this all turns out.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Nightshade Blog Tour: Review and Interview

From Goodreads: Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

I really, really enjoyed this one.  It hooked me from the first chapter and I can honestly say I didn't stop reading until I had finished it!

We meet Calla on one of her patrols.  Faced with the choice of either breaking her masters' rules by saving a human boy or letting him die she feels she doesn't really have a choice:  she saves him.  This decision complicates her relationship with Ren, the alpha male she's destined  to rule a pack with.  And by befriending Shay, the human boy she saved, she is forced to question everything she thought was true...

I loved Calla.  She's comes across as very strong and independent, but there is a vulnerability about her that makes her really likeable.  You can see how torn she is - she wants to do what is right but as the story progresses so does her confusion as to what that actually is.  Ren is awesome!  For some reason I expected myself to dislike him but I absolutely adored him and his scenes with Calla are definitely full of chemistry!  Shay on the other hand was a character that grew on me over the course of the story. I wish I loved him as much a Ren but I wasn't quite there, which I found slightly disappointing   I did find him intriguing though and he obviously represented freedom for Calla - someone she gets to choose rather than having to be with purely because they have been chosen for her.    And although there is chemistry between Shay and Calla I'm not sure if it was quite as.. .er... steamy as that between her and Ren.  Love or lust?  Who knows,  but it makes for some very enjoyable reading! 

I also loved the world the author created here.  If you are tired of the usual werewolf mythology try this because I thought it felt fresh and original.  Witchcraft and magic are at play here and it makes for very interesting reading.  There is also mystery as we try to work out if everything Calla has been told is actually true.  Who are the Searchers?  Are the Keepers good or bad? - they seemed pretty creepy to me!  I can't wait to find out more and finally put all the pieces of the puzzle together.  I have the feeling it will be awesome!

Andrea Cremer has created something really great here.  I love her writing style too.  It's particularly accessible and she is skilled at writing both action and romantic scenes.  She also managed to build momentum causing me to be completely gripped until the final page.  And yes there is a cliffhanger.  No paranormal series seems to escape it lately, and although I usually moan about how annoying it is I found that it actually worked really well here.  It comes at a point in the story where the next installment feels as if it will be a story in it's own right as well as a continuation of a larger arc.   And I wholeheartedly cannot wait to get my hands on it when it's published in 2011.  An awesome debut!


As part of the Blog Tour Andrea kindly took the time to answer a few of my questions...

What was the inspiration for Nightshade?
Calla was the inspiration – my books are usually inspired by characters, and the plots are driven by the problems/hopes/dreams of those characters. With Nightshade I knew Calla was a strong, independent young woman and that she was a warrior. I also knew she was a wolf, which presented a major challenge for me because I’m generally not a fan of werewolves. I ended up creating a new wolf mythology involving witchcraft that better portrayed the ways I’ve always viewed wolves: as beautiful, intelligent and social rather than the diseased or cursed half-man/half-beasts of lycanthropy.

I love Calla! Do you have a favourite character? Or one you particularly enjoy writing for?
I love all the characters and since each member of the pack is integral to the story it’s really hard to choose. My favorite character to write is probably Mason because he’s clever and hilarious.

I’m really looking forward to Wolfsbane. Can you tell us anything about it?
Thank you – I can’t wait until Wolfsbane is released! I have a strict no spoiler rule so I can’t give much away. What I can tell you is that you’ll learn a lot more about the war between the Keepers and Searchers.

I adore the covers for Nightshade and Wolfsbane. What did you think when you first saw them?
I love the covers! They are photographs taken by New York artist Suza Scalora and her images are so evocative. I couldn’t be happier with the covers.

What inspired you to become a writer? Was it always something you wanted to do?
I’ve written as long as I can remember – since I was a child I’ve been a daydreamer, always thinking up stories. I didn’t think that writing was something you could do for a living though so I went to graduate school and became a history professor. Two summers ago, fate took matters in her own hands when my foot was broken in a horseback riding accident. I couldn’t walk for twelve weeks and since I was stuck on the couch I started writing a novel. Once I started writing I couldn’t stop and I knew I had to do everything I could to pursue writing full time.

Do you have any ‘must haves’ before you can sit down to write?
Coffee and music. I create playlists for all my books and I write with a French Press coffee pot beside me.

What are your favourite books and have you read anything recently that you loved?
One thing that Calla and I have in common is our favorite book: Watership Down by Richard Adams. I also would name books by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, and David Eddings as favorites. Harry Potter, of course, rates at the top of the list as well. Recently I read Across the Universe by Beth Revis (it will be published in January 2011) – and it’s an amazing YA sci-fi.


Thanks Andrea!   I can't wait to get my hands on Wolfsbane!

Don't forget to check out the rest of the Blog Tour.  Andrea will be at Sarah's Book Reviews tomorrow:)  And you can check out the whole schedule here.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Giveaway: The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman

From Amazon:  ‘Listen. The Sanctuary of the Redeemers is named after a damned lie for there is no redemption that goes on there and less sanctuary.’

The Sanctuary of the Redeemers: vast, desolate, hopeless. Where children endure brutal cruelty and violence in the name of the One True Faith. Lost in the Sanctuary’s huge maze of corridors is a boy: his age uncertain, his real name unknown. They call him Cale. He is strange and secretive, witty and charming – and violent. But when he opens the wrong door at the wrong time he witnesses an act so horrible he must flee, or die. The Redeemers will go to any lengths to get Cale back. Not because of the secret he has discovered. But because of a more terrifying secret that lies undiscovered in himself. .

Previously available for adults this is now publishing by Razorbill on 6 Jan 2011 for teens. Thanks to the lovely team at Puffin (Razorbill UK) I have one copy to giveaway - if you fancy winning just fill in the form below.

Closing date is 1st Jan 2011.
Open to UK entrants only.
You do not need to be a follower to enter.
Good Luck:)

This giveaway is now closed. The winner will be notified shortly.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

You Wish by Mandy Hubbard

From Goodreads: Kayla McHenry's sweet sixteen sucks! Her dad left, her grades dropped, and her BFF is dating the boy Kayla's secretly loved for years. Blowing out her candles, Kayla thinks: I wish my birthday wishes actually came true. Because they never freakin' do.

Kayla wakes the next day to a life-sized, bright pink My Little Pony outside her window. Then a year's supply of gumballs arrives. A boy named Ken with a disturbing resemblance to the doll of the same name stalks her. As the ghosts of Kayla's wishes-past appear, they take her on a wild ride . . . but they MUST STOP. Because when she was fifteen? She wished Ben Mackenzie would kiss her. And Ben is her best friend's boyfriend.

This one really is as good as it sounds! It's definitely quirky and great fun to read!

Kayla has been in love with Ben Mackenzie since ... well it feels like forever. The problem? He's now her best friend's boyfriend. If that's not bad enough a magical birthday wish causes all of her birthday wishes to come true. Cue a giant my little pony, a life size Ken who won't leave her alone and there are gumballs everywhere. But more worryingly, on her fifteenth birthday she wished for Ben to kiss her...

As I said - this is a complete joy to read. It's really funny too and I found myself laughing out loud! But I also really connected to the characters and there is much more going on than just the 'wishes'. Kayla's friendship with Nicole is changing and she doesn't know what to do about it. Her mother is dealing with her father's absence by working all the time. Things are not at all like they used to be and Kayla doesn't know how to feel about that.  Having to face her wishes coming true causes Kayla to really think about everything going on in her life - and decide what it is she wants.

Kayla is a great character and I loved her voice.  I was expecting a bit more romance but the romance I got was awesome.  I loved Ben and his scenes with Kayla were really sweet.  I also really liked Kayla's friend Nicole and enjoyed watching the two re-navigate their friendship.  All the elements work really well together to create a story that is witty and genuine.

Great fun and definitely recommended.  I'm really looking forward to Ripple when it publishes next year.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Sneak Peek: Being Billy by Phil Earle

From Goodreads: Faces flashed before my eyes. And for every face there was a time that they had let me down. Each punch that landed was revenge, my chance to tell them I hadn't forgotten what they did. Eight years in a care home makes Billy Finn a professional lifer. And Billy's angry - with the system, the social workers, and the mother that gave him away. As far as Billy's concerned, he's on his own. His little brother and sister keep him going, though they can't keep him out of trouble. But he isn't being difficult on purpose. Billy's just being Billy. He can't be anything else. Can he?

I'm really looking forward to reading this one. It's published by Puffin on 6th January 2011.

If you fancy a sneak peek you can read the first chapter below:


You can find Phil Earle at the following places:


Sunday, 19 December 2010

In My Mailbox (70)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

I received the following books for review this week:

Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin  - Thanks to Bloomsbury:)
Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf by Curtis Jobling - Thanks to Puffin:)
My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares - Thanks to Hodder:)

Hope you all had a great week:)

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Cover to Covet (8)

LOVE book covers. Love, love love them. So I decided to make it a regular post - each post featuring a cover I love.

Wildefire by Karsten Knight

How AWESOME is this cover?   So gorgeous!  Sounds great too:)

From Goodreads:  Ashline Wilde never received an instruction manual on how to be a 16-year-old Polynesian volcano goddess. If she had, it might have contained helpful warnings such as:

• Dreaming about your (thankfully) mortal boyfriend may cause your bed to spontaneously combust

• Oven mitts should be worn at all times during heavy make-out sessions

Instead, Ash has to learn these life lessons the hard way as her dormant powers erupt at the most awkward times. In the wake of a hometown tragedy, Ash transfers to Blackwood Academy, a boarding school nestled in California’s redwoods, where a group of fellow gods-on-earth have mysteriously convened. As if sophomore year couldn’t get any worse, her storm goddess older sister, the wild and unpredictable Eve, resurfaces to haunt Ashline. With a war between the gods looming over Blackwood, Ash must master the fire smoldering within her before she clashes with her sister one final time, which leads us to life-lesson #3:

• When warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.

This should hit the shelves July 2011 (US)

Nightshade Blog Tour Schedule

Atom have organised a blog tour for Nightshade by Andrea Cremer. You can check out the schedule below for all the stops!   Clicking on the image should make it bigger:)  Hope to see you back here on the 29th December for my interview with Andrea:)

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Forget You by Jennifer Echols

From Goodreads:
There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four- year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. Feeling like her life is about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon. But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all—the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug—of all people— suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them? Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life—a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug.

There is just something about Jennifer Echols' writing that really captures my attention and I always find myself not wanting her books to end.  Forget You is yet another one of her books that I was so disappointed to finish - I fell in love with everything about it and could have easily carried on reading for another 300 pages.

I have to admit that Zoey is not going to be a character that everyone will love.  Everything in her life seems to be about what 'looks good' - good grades, the right friends, always looking well presented.  I think all that comes crashing down when her mom has the breakdown and she's realises she is going to have to face people knowing that everything is not really okay.  She also has a complete arse for a father, so she is facing all of this on her own. I found many of her decisions at this point based more out of desperation and vulnerability than actual thinking. 

As for Doug?  I loved him!  And him and Zoey have some serious chemistry!  Yep,  page 211 everyone!  I loved their scenes together - they have a lot in common and Doug genuinely seemed to care for Zoey.  I also loved that although he is a good guy he's not always the good guy - if that makes sense!  He's not perfect and like Zoey doesn't always make the right decisions but his heart is in the right place.

I also really loved the whole concept behind the novel.  Like Zoey we have no idea what happened the night of the accident and this really works.  I must admit I did work out one piece of the puzzle - but I really enjoyed watching Zoey piece it all together.  Again, her father plays a big part in her motivations for not being honest about what she does and does not remember.  It must be extremely disorientating not to know what happened - and with everything that is going on with her mother I could understand why she worried about being crazy.

And Brandon?  I have no idea what she saw in him.  For me he was annoying and not worth her time.  However, I think she may have needed to justify (to herself) what she did with him.  But more importantly, I think he represented that 'perfect' image she so desperately wanted to maintain and letting go of him meant letting go of that too.  

As you can probably tell I really enjoyed this and I can't wait to read more by this author.  Her next romantic drama is out in July 2011 and I am sooooo looking forward to it.

Monday, 13 December 2010

British Books Challenge 2011

The British Books Challenge 2011 is hosted by Becky from The Bookette.  For more information on the challenge and to sign up check out this post.

I'm really excited about this challenge!  The target is to read 12 British books in 2011, but there is also the chance to earn a Crown if you read 50 British books in the year!  I want a crown lol!

So... I own the following books that I would like to read for the challenge:

1: When I Was Joe by Keren David
2: Almost True by Keren David
3: The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
4: The Declaration by Gemma Malley
5: The Resistance by Gemma Malley
6: The Legacy by Gemma Malley
7: The Thirteen Curses by Michelle Harrison
8: The Set Up by Sophie McKenzie
9: Girl Missing by Sophie McKenzie
10: Six Steps to a Girl by Sophie McKenzie
11: Three's a Crowd by Sophie McKenzie
12: TimeRiders: Day of the Predator by Alex Scarrow
13: Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick
14: White Crow by Marcus Sedgwick
15: Tyme's End by BR Collins
16: Being by Kevin Brooks
17: Bad Faith by Gillian Philip
18: Crossing the Line by Gillian Philip
19: Troubadour by Mary Hoffman
20: From Where I Stand by Tabitha Suzuma
21: Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy
22: Nobody's Girl by Sarra Manning
23: Let's Get Lost by Sarra Manning
24: Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd
25: The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
26: Dead Gorgeous by Malorie Blackman
27: Boys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman
28: Scarlet by Cathy Cassidy
29: Dizzy by Cathy Cassidy
30: Indigo Blue by Cathy Cassidy
31: Angel by Cliff McNish
32: Breathing Underwater by Julia Green
33: Out of the Depths by Cathy Macphail
34: The Enemy by Charlie Higson
35: Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper
36: Being Billy by Phil Earle
37 -41: The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper (Books 1-5)

And, of course,  participating in a challenge is an excellent excuse reason to buy some new books... so I would also like to read:

42: Rockaholic by C J Skuse
43: Kiss, Date, Love, Hate by Luisa Plaja
44: Jessie Hearts NYC by Keris Stainton
45: Angel Fire by L A Weatherly
46: Afterlife: My So-Called Phantom Lovelife by Tamsyn Murray
47: Entangled by Cat Clarke
48: A Year Without Autumn by Liz Kessler
49: Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough
50: Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf by Curtis Jobling

Crikey!  That's actually quite scary lol!   Of course, some may change, and I may only manage 12 books but I'll let you know how I get on by crossing books off the list once I've read them:)

Addtional books read:

Heart Burn by Anne Cassidy
Wuthering Hearts by Kay Woodward
OTOLI by Bryony Allen
Chasing Daisy by Paige Toon
Velvet by Mary Hooper
Naked by Kevin Brooks
Divine Freaks by Fiona Dunbar
Stealing Phoenix by Joss Stirling

Read so far...18

UPDATE: So Gah! I didn't reach 50:( But I did manage 12 so I completed the challenge (yay!) Plus I will be signing up for it again in 2012 so hopefully I'll manage the 50 then.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

In My Mailbox (67), (68) and (69)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

Hope everyone has had a great week!  So... I finally got my own domain name.  My URL is now  I'm strangely excited by this - easily pleased I guess lol.  Anyway,  onto the books...

For Review:

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate
Being Billy by Phil Earle
Tymes End by B R Collins
Mortlock by John Mayhew
The Amulet of Samarkand (The Graphic Novel) by Jonathan Stroud, Andrew Donkin, Lee Sullivan (Illustrator), Nicolas Chapuis (Illustrator)
Out of Shadows by Jason Wallace
Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer
Hunted (Medusa Project 4) by Sophie Mckenzie
Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson
Monster Republic: The Judas Code by Ben Horton
Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead (oops ... forgot to put this in the photograph but you can read my review here - major awesomeness!)

Massive thanks to all the publishers who sent books for review:)


The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
Jane by April Lindner
Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan
Stolen by Lucy Christopher
Eternal by P C Cast
The Turning by Jennifer Armintrout
From Notting Hill with Love... Actually by Ali McNamara

Trailer: The Thirteen Secrets by Michelle Harrison

I loved The Thirteen Treasures! Watching this trailer reminds me I need to get on and read The Thirteen Curses before this one is published in February!

Love the trailer...especially the end:)

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Blood Ties by Mark Braybrook

Something a bit different today.  A while back I asked my friend to write me a story.  Which he did - and I absolutely loved it!   I thought I would share it with you (with his permission of course).  I would love to know what you all think - I've been trying to convince him he should turn it into a book!  Hope you enjoy:)

Blood Ties by Mark Braybrook

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Contains spoilers for the previous books in the series.

For review:  Penguin (Razorbill)  Published 7 December 2010
Back cover:  It all comes down to now. 

The queen is dead and the Moroi world will never be the same. 

Rose Hathaway is awaiting wrongful execution and there exists only one man who can stall this terrible fate.  Rose must look to both Dimitri and Adrian, the two great loves of her life, to find him.
With her best friend, Lissa , in a deadly struggle for the royal throne, the girls find themselves forced to rely upon enemies and questioning those they thought they could trust

But what if true freedom means sacrificing the most important thing of all?  Each other.

Reviews:  Book One :  Vampire Academy,   Book Two:  Frostbite,  Book Three:  Shadow Kiss, Book Four:  Blood Promise,  Book Five:  Spirit Bound

I love, love LOVE this series!  And this final installment in Rose's story was just awesome!

So much happens in this one.  I've read in interviews that Richelle Mead plans her series in advance and you can definitely see the benefits to this.  Everything just fell into place, and even though I didn't see all the events coming, as soon as they happened they all made complete sense.

Rose was back to her normal self in this one.  She seems to benefit was having something to do or pursue.  And, of course, there's Dimitri.  Love, love, love him!  The scenes between him and Rose are just pure genius!  There are also a host of other characters that show up (old and new) and we get to spy on events at the royal court through Rose's bond with Lissa.  I must say for a character I pretty much disliked at the beginning of this series, Lissa has really progressed.  I adored her in this one and was very pleased by her display of strength and loyalty to Rose.  I also, if possible, grew more fond of Adrian and can now completely understand why Rose would choose to be in a relationship with him.

I'm trying hard to think of what to say without spoiling anything.  Last Sacrifice is full of the action I have come to expect from this series, but more than that this one was charged with emotion.  All of the events building up over the series reached the ultimate conclusion and answers are definitely given.  But in addition to that Mead manages to leave us wanting more.  And believe me I want more!  As much as I loved this book and find it a fitting end to Rose's story I am not ready to leave the world just yet.  I have grown not only to love Rose, Dimitri and Lissa but all the other characters we have met along the way.  I am thrilled there will be a spin off series later next year and I can't wait to catch up with the characters involved in that series.  There are definitely several I would love it to be based around.

I have had an brilliant time reading this series and know it will be one I re-read over and over again.  If you haven't tried it yet I urge you to give it a go.  I don't think you'll be disappointed!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

Contains spoilers for the previous books in the series.

From Amazon:  Dimitri gave Rose the ultimate choice. And she made the wrong one… After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri’s birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir’s Academy — and to her best friend, Lissa. But Rose’s heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he’s out there, somewhere. She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true— Dimitri has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. Only this time, he won’t rest until Rose joins him… forever.

Reviews:  Book One :  Vampire Academy,   Book Two:  Frostbite,  Book Three:  Shadow Kiss, Book Four:  Blood Promise

We catch up with Rose as she's about to take her trials to graduate as a guardian.  Still haunted by Dimitri, she decides she has to find out if there is any truth to what she was told in Siberia.  But with Dimitri now hunting her,  can she get the answers she needs before it's too late...

Although full of action this one felt slower paced than the others in the series and I'm not sure why.  I think it may be because usually Rose pushes the story forward but in this one she seems different.   There is a point in the book that she admits her actions lately are crazy even for her and I'd have to agree.  But more than that she just seemed ... and I hate to say this ... but weak. Or at least weak for her - and seeing how strong she normally is it felt odd to see her this way.  She seemed to spend a large part of the book confused and hurt, and  instead of acknowledging her real feelings she seeks comfort in someone else.  I can understand that she feels she needs to move on from Dimitri - especially considering how things are - but I don't think that necessarily equals moving onto someone new.  

Don't get me wrong,  I really enjoyed this installment in the series.  Again there are some awesome scenes between Rose and Dimitri.  Good or bad,  he is definitely one of my favourite characters! (And yes, my obsession is still going strong!).  Lissa is becoming a character I like more and more, and despite wanting to sometimes hit Adrian over the head to knock some sense into him (especially where Rose is concerned) he really is a very endearing character that I hope gets a happy ending.

I have to say I loved the ending for this one!  Again Richelle Mead managed to completely take me by surprise and have be on the edge of my seat.  This one definitely sets up the scene for the next book and puts all the pieces in place for what promises to be a great finale to Rose's story.  I can't wait to start Last Sacrifice and I'm so glad I don't have to wait to read it.  I don't think I could have contained myself if I'd had to wait - I have to know what happens!

Blood Promise by Richelle Mead

While I have tried not to mention any major spoilers for Blood Promise it's not possible to review this one without hinting at / mentioning one for Shadow Kiss.  Please don't read this review unless you have read that book.  The synopsis below also contains spoilers for the previous books in the series.

From Goodreads:  After the massacre at Vampire Academy, Rose Hathaway faces the most task of her life and she knows that she must do it alone. With Mason departed for the other world, Rose must hunt down and kill Dimitri Belikov, the man she most loves. The fourth nail-biting episode of Richelle Mead's popular vampire series dramatically shows the fatal power of a promise.

Reviews:  Book One :  Vampire Academy,   Book Two:  Frostbite,  Book Three:  Shadow Kiss

I have to admit I was DESPERATE to read this one considering the end of Shadows Kiss.  But I was also scared to - as much as I loved (no, make that hated) what happens to Dimitri - I didn't know if the series would work for me now.  So much of my enjoyment of the series depended on Dimitri and his relationship with Rose.  But how wrong was I? I LOVED it!

This story is very different to the others.  It takes place outside of St Vladamir's Academy - in Russia where Rose is trying to find Dimitri so she can fulfil a promise she once made.  Along the way we meet a host of wonderful new characters, and of course, we come face to face with a rather different Dimitri.  And oh my!  He is heartbreakingly different.  But then, Rose's reaction to him is also heartbreaking to watch.

It was scary to see the affect he has on her.  I knew that she would have trouble doing what she set out to do - that as soon as she came face to face with Dimitri she wouldn't see the truth - what's he has truly become.  But I didn't expect what was to follow - but then neither did Rose.  Watching her get her strength back and at least partly come to terms with what Dimitri now is was the highpoint of the book for me.

I also really enjoyed all the new characters.  Abe, Sydney and especially the Belikovs - I hope to see much more of them in following books.  I also really liked Lissa in this one - in the past she has always been the weakest link for me but in this one she shows that she needs to be there for Rose too and I warmed to her because of it.

I also have to say I adored Adrian in this one too - but -  I really hope there is no romance between him and Rose.  As much as I love Adrian (and ignoring the fact Rose is still in love with Dimitri)  he just doesn't strike me as right for Rose - but I guess we shall see.

My favourite book in the series so far!  I can't wait to see how this all turns out!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead

From Goodreads: For Rose Hathaway, everything seems out of kilter. Ever since she made her first Strigoi kills, a dark shadow has been creeping over her. Looming in the background, too, is another realization: If she follows her forbidden love for guardian Dimitri Belikov, she might lose her best friend forever. And these sleep-shaking worries couldn't have come at a worse time. The immortal unloving are prowling everywhere, famished for vengeance against her. An adrenaline-laced episode of the teen pop favorite Shadow Academy.

You can read my reviews for Vampire Academy here and Frostbite here.  Shadow Kiss is the third book in the series.

When we catch up with Rose she is still dealing with the aftermath of the events in Frostbite, and carrying around a fair amount of guilt.  Feeling as if she might actually be losing her mind Rose tries to deal with everything herself, but then she realises she might not be crazy after all.  Maybe someone is trying to tell her something...before it's too late...

Okay - this book was awesome!  Maybe I should just leave it at that and tell you you should read it?  But it's just one of those books that just really worked for me!

I adore Rose - she's reckless and jumps into things without thinking but she has a great heart and loyalty to others.  She also has such a strength and I love that about her.  Dimitri is just, so gorgeous!  He's one of my favourite characters and a perfect match for Rose.  I really enjoyed that we get to see a genuine connection between the two really develop.  Yes, it's obvious there is a physical attraction between the two but in this one Dimitri is really there for Rose.  I like that they can comfort each other, that they trust in each other, that their interactions are more about friendship than just physical attraction.  But more importantly I do feel as if they understand each other - sometimes more than they understand themselves.  I really like that  - which, of course,  makes the ending unbearable. 

There is also plenty of action to make this one really enjoyable.  I loved Mead's actions scenes - she definitely has the skill to make them believable and very exciting.  I was turning the pages so fast toward the end I am surprised they didn't catch fire!  Major awesome!

My only quibble is Lissa.  I'm really not liking her at the moment which is a shame as she is such an important part of the story - but sometimes she can come across as really selfish.  Rose is always there for her but I'm not sure Lissa is really there for Rose.  I can't believe she hasn't seen what is right in front of her face - that Rose is in love with Dimitri.  Others have seen it straight away and it puzzles me why Lissa hasn't worked it out yet.  I hope that the events of this one make a difference to Lissa - I do really want to like her.  And considering the ending - Rose is going to need her support!

And that ending?  All I have to say about that is:  No! No! NNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Frostbite by Richelle Mead

From Goodreads: Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose…

It's winter break at St. Vladimir's, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy's crawling with Guardians—including Rose's hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if handto- hand combat with her mom wasn't bad enough, Rose's tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason's got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa's head while she's making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy's not taking any risks….This year, St. Vlad's annual holiday ski trip is mandatory.

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price…

Frostbite is the second book in the Vampire Academy series. You can read my review for book one here.

If I had been at all worried that this wouldn't be as good as the first book I needn't have been. This is shaping up to be one awesome series!

Not only having to deal with the aftermath of a brutal Strigoi attack, Rose also has to deal with her mother - a brilliant guardian she hardly sees - and the possibility Dimitri's affections are turning towards someone else.  Confused, and wanting to forget about Dimitri,  she turns to her friend Mason, who has a massive crush on her.  But when she tells him something she shouldn't she has to find a way to fix it.  Before it's too late...

Again there is plenty of action and character development,  making this a great sequel.  I loved meeting Rose's mother and really enjoyed their interactions.  You can really see where Rose gets it all from.  I also really liked Mason - really sweet and obviously besotted with Rose.  Christian is also proving to be a great character that I want to see much more of.  And Dimitri is still on fine form!  I really do love him *sighs*  The scenes between him and Rose are electric - they have great chemistry and I'm really rooting for them as a couple.  Finger's crossed! 

I loved the ending of this one.  Again Richelle Mead shows she can skillfully write action scenes - but I also applaud her ability to shock.  Perhaps others saw it coming but I really didn't - and I love that unpredictability this series has to offer.  Shadow Kiss here I come!

Sunday, 5 December 2010


Claire de Lune Swag:

Spilt by Swati Avasthi

Verse Novel Contest:

Signed copy of Angel by L A Weatherly


Congratulations to the winners and a big thank you to everyone who entered:)


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