Friday, January 31, 2014

Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)

I've had this series on my TBR list for a VERY long time.  I can only think of one reason why I am just now getting to it.  The original covers were AWFUL.  I don't think these books ever would have jumped out at me with those cover.  I know...don't judge a book by its cover, but in this case I did.

It took this AWESOME movie edition cover...

And...this movie trailer

AND....Book Nerd Flo selecting this as our read along to finally get my attention.

This book was AWESOME.  I feel like I did when I stumbled upon the Twilight and Hunger Games series after all of the books had been released.  On the plus side...I will be able to read another AMAZING series without having to wait between books, but how could I have lived with my head in the sand all this time?

Lissa is a Moroi royal and her best friend and guardian, Rose, is a dhampir.  Moroi are born as vampires and dhampirs are half vampire/half human.  Moroi drink blood and prefer to stay out of the sunlight, but dhampirs are just like humans only stronger, faster, etc.

Lissa and Rose fled the Academy a couple of years ago and have been living on their own in Portland.  They have been attending school and maintaining a fairly normal existence until some guardians finally catch up with them and take them back to the Academy.

Rose's punishment for taking Lissa from the Academy includes a TON of additional training sessions with Dimitri.  She quickly learns that she has a lot to catch up on if she wants to graduate with the rest of her class.  There are far worse things than spending time with a hot Russian guy only 7 years older than you. There is definitely an attraction between the two from the start and it only intensifies throughout the book.

The story is told from Rose's POV, but Richelle has a unique way of sharing Lissa's story as well.  They have a bond that allows Rose to feel and see what Lissa is experiencing whenever Lissa has very strong emotions. It eventually becomes something Rose can control regardless of Lissa's emotion.

Lissa has the ability to manipulate people with "compulsions" in addition to some other powers.  There is a lot of high school drama and politics that plays out in this story.  Mia is a wannabe royal that is out to get Lissa and Rose.  This comes back to bite her big time, but not without Lissa and Rose receiving their own share of drama.

My favorite character has to be Christian.  He is a royal, but he comes from a disgraced family.  He is very attractive, but has a dark personality and stays to himself.  He is always observing things and seems to know about everything that is going on.  Lissa and Christian start to form a relationship, but it is very slow to develop due to some....interference...shall I say.  I definitely hope there will be A LOT more of Christian in the next book.

I have already requested the second book in this series from the library.  Since I prefer the ebook to a physical copy it will take a little longer for me to receive it, but I am still very anxious to find out what happens next.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

ARC Review: After The End by Amy Plum

Juneau is a seventeen year old girl from a small community in Alaska.  For decades her village has lived without electricity, has traveled by dogsled, hunted for food...etc.  They have not had any contact with the outside world since a nuclear bomb destroyed civilization in 1984 during WWIII.  They are aware that there are other survivors out there because they occasionally hear aircraft fly overhead  They have been taught to treat these individuals as a threat and to seek shelter immediately.

One day while she is out hunting, all of the members of her village disappear.  She heard the aircraft and knows they were taken against their will.  She is left alone and scared, but she still has her powers.  She can connect with various elements to gain information about her clan.  The more she learns the more she realizes her elders have been feeding her lies her entire life...but why?  There are real cities out there and now someone has imprisoned her friends and family.  She makes it her mission to find them.

Miles is the spoiled son of a wealthy pharmaceutical executive.  He has been suspended from school and is trying to earn back his father's trust in the hopes of attending Yale this fall.  When he discovers his father is looking for a teenage girl who would be an extremely valuable asset to his corporation, Miles decides this could be his ticket back into his father's good graces.  All he has to do is find the girl and turn her over to his father.

The book starts out telling the story of Juneau's clan.  I was a bit leery at that point because of all of the unusual names.  Once she is on her own and sets out on her mission, I absolutely loved the story.  The story is told with dual narrators, Miles and Juneau.  Miles thinks she is completely crazy, but they both realize they need each other.

As Miles comes to understand Juneau's upbringing and abilities, he realizes she has been telling the truth all along.  They start to develop a friendship and feelings between the two are inevitable.

Overall, this is a very entertaining story.  I enjoyed the characters and was hooked from the beginning.  The relationship was very believable and there was a lot of action to keep the pages turning.  While I can't say that I understand Juneau's powers, they definitely helped propel the story along.  Her abilities are a bit far fetched, but without them this story would have come to a halt a few chapter in.

The ending was a bit of a shock and Amy left us with a HUGE cliffhanger.  This is going to be a duology, but the name of the next book and a release date has yet to be announced.  Since After The End is not going to be released until May 6, 2014....I am pretty sure I have a LONG wait ahead of me.  If you were a fan of Amy's Revenants series, I would definitely check out After The End.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Movie Review: The Mortal Instruments - City of Bones Movie

I read the book and loved it, but for some reason I didn't get around to seeing this movie in the theater.  I just finished watching the DVD and I thought it was very well done.  It has been quite a while since I read the book, but it felt like they stuck to the storyline pretty well.

The two characters that looked nothing like what I had envisioned were Valentine and Simon.  The problem that I could have had with Valentine is the fact that he was soaking wet the entire time.  I never pictured the portal as being a water based method of transport.  I thought it was more like walking through a bright light.  I never imagined that the characters would look like drowned rats after traveling through a portal.  I will definitely keep this in mind when I read the rest of the series.

I always thought Simon would look similar to Adam Brody from the O.C.  The actor who played Simon, Robert Sheehan, did a nice job...he just didn't have the same look that I was expecting.

The Institute was far more magnificent than I ever imagined.  I'm sure every Book Nerd would love a library in their home that looks like this.

Hopefully they will be able to use a couple of runes to get the place back into its original condition after that epic battle at the end of the movie.

My favorite scene was when Jace took Clary to the greenhouse on her birthday.  Watching all of the flowers open at midnight was magical.  That was also my favorite scene in the book, so I was happy to see that they were able to do it justice on the big screen.

While the movie did make money, I am surprised it wasn't a bigger hit than it was.  I was expecting this movie to compete with Twilight and the Hunger Games based upon the success of the books, but it didn't even come close.  It will be interesting to see how the second movie does in comparison.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

ARC Review: Beautiful Dreams by Alicia Rae

Title: Beautiful Dreams (The Beautiful Series #3)
Author: Alicia Rae
Genre: Contemporary Romance 18+
Publication Date: January 21, 2014
Event Organized by:  Literati Author Services, Inc.


Kyle has mended Lily’s broken heart, and as they have fallen in love, all she dreams of is finally having her happily ever after.

But as time goes on, Lily can no longer ignore the desire to know more about Kyle's past. When she learns more, she will discover if she can heal Kyle’s heartache as he has done for her.

Will his secrets break them apart? Or will their love be enough to strengthen their bonds?


At the beginning of Beautiful Dreams Lily moves from Florida to live with Kyle in Lake Tahoe.  They have only been dating for a couple of months, so Lily is still leery about how fast everything is moving.  She wants a deeper connection with Kyle and is very appreciative of every story he tells her about his past.  Sometimes it is a simple story about him and his siblings when they were children.  At other times it is more serious.  He struggles to tell her about his time in the military, but he gradually opens up.  I felt like the synopsis was a bit misleading.  There isn't a single situation in this book that could have torn them apart.

Lily and Kyle both have strong family relationships.  Fortunately, all of Kyle's family lives near each other in Lake Tahoe. There are family dinners and girls nights out with his sister to help Lily ease into her new lifestyle.  Lily fits in beautifully and his family couldn't be happier to see the old Kyle back.

Lily's family still lives in Colorado, but Kyle and two of her cousins have decided to combine their businesses.  They will be moving into the area, which Lily is ecstatic about.

Overall, I felt like Beautiful Dreams was a nice fairy tale sort of story, but Kyle and Lily's relationship moved way faster than I could ever consider to be realistic.  I really enjoyed their interactions with the secondary characters.  I think there should have been a greater focus on that portion of the story and less time spent on their sex lives.  I said that about the first two books in the series, so I wasn't surprised to see that was the case with this book as well.

I thought this was going to be the last book in the series, but there is now going to be a spin off book or series focusing on Lily's cousin Jason and Kyle's sister Abbey.  I usually enjoy companion novels because we get to see the story from a different angle.  I will be very curious to see where Alicia takes the series next.

Add Beautiful Dreams to Goodreads

Purchase Links:
Beautiful Chances (Beautiful #1):  AmazonBarnes & Noble
My Beautiful (Beautiful #2):  Barnes & NobleAmazon
Beautiful Dreams (Beautiful #3): Barnes & Noble / Amazon

About the Author:

Alicia Rae is a Contemporary Romance Author who lives in Dekalb, Illinois, with her husband and three beautiful boys. Alicia has a passion for reading all types of romance, writing to bring a story to life, and photography.

Thank you to my dear sister, Kels, who showed me a few years ago how much I truly missed reading. And to my loving husband, for not throwing away my Nook, and planting the seed of writing into my mind. I am forever grateful. Xo

Readers, words cannot thank you enough for supporting me along this incredible journey. I hope you enjoy my novels as much as I do writing them. I thank each and every one of you.
Believe in yourself and follow your dreams...

Connect with the Author: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott
Release Date: February 25, 2014

This books sounds like the Amazing Race meets the Hunger Games.  I don't think the contenders are necessarily out to eliminate each other in the same fashion as the Hunger Games, but I wouldn't put it past them if only one person can win the prize.  This sounds like it will be an action packed adventure that will keep the pages turning.

Goodreads Overview:

Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood, #1)A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother's life—and her own. 

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Review: Snakeroot by Andrea Cremer

Snakeroot is the first book in a new series, but it picks up where Andrea's Nightshade trilogy left off.  I would definitely recommend reading Nightshade, Wolfsbane, and Bloodrose before reading this book.  If you don't, you will be missing out on A LOT of background information.

*This review contains SPOILERS for those who haven't read Bloodrose.  I do NOT give any spoilers from Snakeroot*

Bosque Mar has been banished to the Nether and the Keepers have lost their power.  Logan Bane realizes he made a terrible mistake in siding with the Searchers and is trying to bring back Bosque.  We are introduced to a set of twins (Chase and Audrey) who are Keepers about Logan's age.  The three Keepers begin working together to uncover their history in an effort to restore their magical powers.

While the searchers should be rejoicing after their long awaited and hard fought victory, they are plagued with a new set of problems.  There is a power struggle amongst the newly combined groups.  They also can not agree on how to handle the risk Logan and the remaining Keepers present.

There is one character that I was VERY surprised to see in Snakeroot after everything that transpired in Bloodrose.  I do not want to give away any Snakeroot spoilers, but I know A LOT of people who will be ecstatic that he is still part of the series.

Overall, I felt this was an excellent start to the new series.  I'm not sure why, but I actually like Logan.  I felt sorry for him and was rooting for him at times...even though I know his actions could bring evil back into the world.  In typical Andrea Cremer fashion, there are a lot of unanswered questions that will keep you longing for the release of the next book in this series.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Stacking the Shelves:The Academy First Days

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  It is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, be it physical or virtual.  This means you can include books you buy in a physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Tynga publishes her post each Saturday, so be sure to link up your posts and check out what books others have added to their shelves that week.

Ebooks Purchased:

I read The Academy Introductions and HAD to find out what happens next.  I loved the characters, but there is A LOT more to this story that still needs to be discovered.  For starters, what sort of school is The Academy?  Hopefully I will know the answer to this question in the very near future.

Goodreads Overview:

Sang Sorenson used to be the invisible girl in class. As a new student to Ashley Waters High School, Sang hopes that her new friends will be the change she’s been craving and will make fitting in a breeze.

But Academy students aren’t there to take it easy. The high school is overcrowded and rife with violence. When fights begin, Sang will uncover the true reason the boys traded in their private school life for a public one. 

This year, Sang will no longer be invisible. This year, Sang is a target.

The principal and vice principal are hot to take Sang down, and her own mother is determined to entrap Sang forever in her belief that the safest place to be is in the shadows. Despite this, Nathan, Luke, Kota, North, Silas, Victor, and Gabriel will discover Sang’s unyielding loyalty.

And they will sorely need it.

The Academy, supremely influential.

If you enjoyed Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard or the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter, you may enjoy this series.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Review: The Elite by Kiera Cass

This is the second book in the Selection series.  I absolutely LOVED The Selection, but this book was a roller coaster for me.  There were times when I wanted to throw it across the room.  Of course...I couldn't do that because it is an autographed copy and I love Kiera Cass.

My frustration has to do with America.  At times I felt like she was irrational.  She is indecisive and often reacts without thinking about the consequences.  She also bottles up all of her thoughts and feelings and holds Maxon accountable for things beyond his control.

This love triangle should have ended a LONG time ago, but she is still confused about her feelings.  She sneaks around the palace for brief encounters alone with Aspen, yet she still gets butterflies whenever she has intimate moments with Maxon.  She is jealous when Maxon spends time with the other women in the selection, but she is the one who keeps pushing him away and asking for more time.

I felt sorry for Maxon the majority of the book.  He seems to have only the best of intentions, but America treats him very poorly most of the time.  I still hope they will reach their happily ever after in The One, but it will take a lot of hard work from America to earn back Prince Maxon's and my love and trust.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Release Date: April 15, 2014

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and I would like to wish you a Happy New Year!!

I haven't read any of Jennifer's books yet, but I have had The Statistical Probability  of Love at First Sight on my TBR list for quite some time.  When I saw this book a few weeks ago, I added it as well.  I have heard so many great things about her books that I am DEFINITELY making her one of my "new to me" authors in 2014.  

The Geography of You and MeGoodreads Overview: 

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.