Review--Redemption Alley


SOME CASES ARE UNUSUAL--EVEN FOR JILL KISMET.

When her police contact asks her to look into a "suicide", Jill Kismet suddenly finds herself in a labyrinth of deception, drugs, murder--and all-too-human corruption. The cops are her allies, except for the ones who want her dead. The hellbreed are her targets, except for the ones who might know what's going on. Her city is in danger, time is running out, and each lead only draws her deeper.

How far will a hunter go when her city--and her friends--are on the line?

Is it just me or does Jill on this book look a little like Olivia Wilde from House? Not an exact match but that's who I keep seeing when I look at the cover. I think it's the eyes and eyebrows that really makes them look similar.

Anyway, the latest in the Jill Kismet series is nothing but non-stop action. Jill never seems to stop she is always trying to follow through with the case at hand, even with lives on the line, even with hers on the line!

Lilith Saintcrow's worlds are always so deep and different. They have this futuristic quality to them, not space age like, but a little more high tech-ish with magic involved as well. There are creatures that don't exist in any other urban fantasy novel that I've read so far in this novel, such as "Arkeus"-a roaming corruptor escape from Hell or even "Hellbreeds". Very different as I said.

Lilith has an interesting set of language in her novels that is different, as I said, from other books I read. Which is why I love her books. They are different from the norm. It's a world that might be like ours, but might not. There are so many secrets lurking about in the shadows that is hard to tell what's evil and what's not.

Jill knows the difference though. As from the last books, she is a hunter and protects her city with all she's got from the monsters, such as hellbreed and demons. She still bears a demon's mark and hates him eternally for it, but she uses the mark to her advantage. It gives her the extra edge she needs to survive and kick some serious butt.

Don't want to delve into too many spoilers as usual, so I'll leave you off with this. If you've read the Jill Kismet series so far, don't miss this one. If you've read the Dante Valentine series and loved it, this series is just as good and has that same quality of edge and intrigue. If you're looking for something new and different to read this is it. With strange creatures, magics of several kinds, weres--not just wolves, and so much more this book has everything the urban fantasy lover will need!

Be sure to check out the next Jill Kismet book Flesh Circus coming November 24 2009!

To learn more about Lilith's books check out her website: http://www.lilithsaintcrow.com/journal/

Review--Destined for an Early Grave

HER DEADLY DREAMS LEAVE HER IN GRAVE DANGER

Since half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her undead lover Bones met six years ago, they've fought against the rogue undead, battled a vengeful Master vampire, and pledged their devotion with a blood bond. Now it's time for a vacation. But their hopes for a perfect Paris holiday are dashed when Cat awakes one night in terror. She's having visions of a vampire named Gregor who's more powerful than Bones and has ties to her past that even Cat herself didn't know about.

Gregor believes Cat is his and he won't stop until he has her. As the battle begins between the vamp who haunts her nightmares and the one who holds her heart, only Cat can break Gregor's hold over her. She'll need all the power she can summon in order to bring down the baddest bloodsucker she's ever faced...even if getting that power will result in an early grave.

The latest in the Night Huntress Series by Jeaniene Frost is one you do NOT want to miss! The back of the book does a very good job of describing the plot without spoilers so there isn't much I can add to that without spoiling the book. Which as we know I won't do!

There is definitely a lot of tension in this book, as Cat is dreaming about another vampire--one she might have a connection to--which doesn't make Bones too happy. He's worried about his wife in more ways than one. As it is noted vampires don't do well with emotions, such as jealously. But Cat can't remember Gregor for the life of her. Gregor insists they have a connection from her past.

Something had happened to Cat in her life and she hates that she can't remember it and there is a reason why she can't. But I won't/can't tell! It's big though!

Cat must do everything she can to try to figure out what this Gregor wants from her so bad, why he chases her in her dreams. But her actions come with a price, as actions usually do. Things will happen that she rather not have happened, there are changes to her world that she rather not have. No one will leave untouched by what happens.

Again, there is so much I want to talk about, but that would be giving away spoilers. But a lot happens, similar to things [small things] that happened in previous books. Once again Cat and Bones' relationship is tested despite their vampire marriage, and there are issues the two must work out again, that lead back to the same problems. Cat is going to have to face the things she always feared.

Also there is a sneak peek at the new spin off from the Night Huntress series in the Night Huntress World line, where we get a look into Charles' world/life, aka Spade. And the unnamed Heroine that Jeaniene wouldn't give away is named and I was totally right with my guess! Titled First Drop of Crimson is slated to be released February 10 2010.

Review--Cape Storm


OUT TO SEA

Weather Warden Joanne Baldwin was supposed to be enjoying a romantic honeymoon with her new husband, the Djinn David--not running from a malevolent hurricane bent on destroying her. Joined by an army of fellow Wardens and Djinn on board a hijacked luxury liner, Joanne has lured the storm into furious pursuit. Only one problem: Even their combined magic may not be enough to stop it.

Now Joanne's being drawn into uncharted dark territory, both at sea and in a battle for her own soul...and if she doesn't change course, her fellow Wardens--and even David's Djinn--won't have any choice but to blow her away...

**Some Spoilers from previous Weather Warden novels!**


This is the next to last book in the Weather Warden series. Yes, sadly there won't be much more of Joanne and David to see. Well after all the chaos they went through, from books 1-8, they do deserve a little R&R. Poor Joanne, there is always chaos in her everyday life as a Warden and being in loved, now married to one of the most powerful Djinn around. Reading about her life being in utter chaos and turmoil makes me feel real sympathy for her. She and David never seem to get a moment of peace, I mean they get a moment, but then it's back to the chaos at hand.

Joanne is out to save the world again, this time from an old enemy that we saw at the end of Gale Force. He has left a more permanent black mark on her this time, Joanne can feel him in her, an evil presence that will not go away no matter what she does. As the back of the book describes, Joanne is becoming too powerful a source, powered by evil and her comrades at arms may actually have to stop her--permanently.

What a way to spend your honeymoon, huh? Caine's writing really grabs at you and drags you into her world, a world that is completely like ours, just with a few different and interesting people...and Djinn--really hot Djinn! Told from Joanne's p.o.v., we see the world through her eyes and we can really connect with Jo. She feels like a real person that you would meet walking down the streets or something. Her friend Cher, is true as well. At first glance you would find her shallow, but she is the complete opposite. She is a good friend that just makes you want to smile.

The plot is fast moving and has its lol moments. Or as I like to say col--chuckle out loud--laughing comes off really loud for me, so I tend to chuckle or smile when I read something funny. Usually because I am in a public place half the time!

The ending was yet again cliffhanger worthy. Once things are settled from the the plot, there is more to be dealt with just as we've seen with the past Weather Warden novels. Although, this ending was definitely one of the more interesting ones. Except for the end of Firestorm--that ending was just epic--to me. I so didn't see that coming and the events of Thin Air left me dying because of it. But that's another book entirely!

If you wish to know more about the Weather Warden series from the beginning see my Weather Wardens post from February 7th 2009: http://jessica-agreatread.blogspot.com/2009/02/weather-wardens.html

Or go to Rachel's website: http://www.rachelcaine.com/books/pages/Weather_Warden.html

Review--My Soul to Take


Taken from the back of the book from Rachel Vincent's website;

SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH
KAYLEE CAVANAUGH

She doesn't see dead people, but...

She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about the need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next...

SOUL SCREAMERS
The last thing you hear before you die...


This is Rachel Vincent's first YA book and it was as delightful as her adult series. Kaylee is definitely a realistic teenager she has real problems with friends, family, and school. She is completely believable and I love that about her.

Okay I don't want to give away a lot of the plot or any spoilers so this will be short and sweet. There has been a lot of hype about this book, at least I've found a lot. Several contests going on for a signed copy too, check http://bookreviewsbyjess.blogspot.com/2009/07/contest-my-soul-to-take-soul-screamers.html for a chance to win a copy. Hurry this contest ends TONIGHT at midnight!!

Rachel Vincent also has one running on her blog that is going to end very soon, she extended it until she gets back from DC, which is today, so hurry on over if you want to enter that one too. This one is for mostly teenagers 13-19 years old. If you know a teenager then submit their first name with yours to Rachel in a comment and you're both entered to win a copy of My Soul to Take for the teenager and a choice of any of Rachel's books so far including her My Soul to Take, for yourself. http://urbanfantasy.blogspot.com/2009/07/one-for-you-one-for-me.html

There is also another contest to win a signed copy of My Soul to Take over at http://www.libraryloungelizard.com/2009/07/win-signed-copy-of-my-soul-to-take.html. All you have to do is leave is follow a few instructions to get more chances to win a signed copy.

Back to the book, Kaylee has a lot of problems to deal with. Her classmates are dying for no reason and she's determined to figure it out. Plus the hottest guy in school with a bit of a reputation has lately turned his eyes onto her and she doesn't know what to make of him. What's a girl to do when she sees her world falling apart? Everything she has ever known is not what it seems. Everyone has their secrets in this story, even the ones closest to Kaylee.

I know it's not much of review, but I feel like since this was a pretty intense YA I can't give out too much info because then it leads to spoilers that I don't want to give away. The characters are all very interesting in this story, not one of them is dull or flat, they are all unique and grab at you. This is definitely a series I am going to be sticking to. The next novel, My Soul to Save is due out in January 2010, according to another source!

Also, the free ebook of My Soul to Lose is also available and is a prequel to My Soul to Take, in which an event was mentioned and My Soul to Lose is the story of that event. It is not important to read this, but it's free and was a great read. I posted a review and link down a few posts ago, but here is a link to Rachel's blog where she has easy access links to get to the ebook. http://urbanfantasy.blogspot.com/2009/07/easy-ebook-links.html

And don't forget to enter the contests!! They expire soon! Today! Enter now!

Review--Skinwalker

Last year Jane nearly lost her life taking down a deadly family of vampires who preyed on the helpless local populace. Now, after months of recuperation, she's back and ready to fight again. Except this time, she's been hired by those she's trained to kill--vampires.

Jane Yellowrock is the last of her kind—a skinwalker of Cherokee descent who can turn into any creature she desires and hunts vampires for a living. Back from hiatus, she’s hired by Katherine Fontaneau, one of the oldest vampires in New Orleans and the madam of Katies’s Ladies, to hunt a powerful rogue vampire who’s killing other vamps.

Amidst a bordello full of real “ladies of the night,” and a hot Cajun biker with a panther tattoo who stirs her carnal desire, Jane must stay focused and complete her mission—or else the next skin she’ll need to save just may be her own…


Okay, I'm trying something a little different and am going to try not to talk about things that happened in the book, other than giving you the back of the cover excerpt. I feel like I've been doing book reports with a lot of commentary. So, I'm going to try to stick to the commentary part!

I don't know how to feel about this book in all honesty. It was definitely an interesting read, yet there were parts where it was really hard to focus. Such as parts when Jane was taken over by Beast--her animal side. It wasn't difficult to follow, it was just uneasy. I can't find the word. Beast doesn't use coherent thoughts all the time, they're fragmented.

The storyline was still good. Jane is totally kick-ass and has an attitude about her that is quite funny. She's a very real person, other than all the supernatural factors involved. The writing was good as well, Ms. Hunter creates a very believable world. My only problems were when Jane or Beast would be having a memory, it just suddenly snapped into the reading without much of a build up other than "I remembered this one time..." and then it flowed right back into the present. There weren't any paragraph breaks or italics or any other kind of indicator as to what I was reading. A few times I thought it was happening in the now until Jane did something, like shook the memory away or woke up.

But still overall it was a refreshing read with an interesting ending. There were, what seemed to me, a few love interests, but Ms. Hunter must be saving those for later. There wasn't anything romantic happening in book 1. But Jane had quite a few interactions with 3 different men. 1 who is very strange and we didn't learn too much about him in this book. Overall it was a fairly good read, it was much different than other books that I read--which is a good thing.


Contest Alert--at Fantastic Book Review

Over at: http://fantasticbookreview.blogspot.com is a major contest. There is a list of several top preorders on her list and she has asked her followers to tell her which one she is most dying to read. Answer this and do a few other things for extra entry points and you can have a chance to win 3 of the books from the preoder list.

It's a really simple contest, you just have to know what her fave choice is to earn the most points. You can always guess if you don't know as well as answering and doing the other options that are listed. You have until midnight July 28 2009 to enter!

Contest Alert--at Book Reviews by Jess

There's a contest over at: http://bookreviewsbyjess.blogspot.com/2009/07/contest-my-soul-to-take-soul-screamers.html to win an ARC of Rachel Vincent's newest YA series My Soul to Take!

Taken from Rachel Vincent's website: http://rachelvincent.com/MSTT.html

SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH
KAYLEE CAVANAUGH

She doesn't see dead people, but...

She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about the need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next...

SOUL SCREAMERS
The last thing you hear before you die...


This is on my TBR pile, yet I still have to buy it first! Trying to win an ARC myself. If not it can be bought at bookstores August 1, 2009. Maybe 1 week earlier if stores put it out early!

But all you have to do for this contest is go to Jess's blog and leave a comment under the contest thread. There are a few other things you can do to earn extra entries, such as being a follower or posting the about the contest on your own blog! The instructions and details are all there for you at the website. That website again is: http://bookreviewsbyjess.blogspot.com/2009/07/contest-my-soul-to-take-soul-screamers.html

Contest ends July 24, at midnight.

Open to US residents only.

Winner will be announced on July 25 or soon thereafter. And you have to check to see if you won, she won't track you down. You'll have 3 days to claim your prize.

Review--Dying Bites


I just finished reading this new book in a new series by a new author. At least new author for me! It was a very interesting new series too. I just love the world that Jace enters!

Prior to reading this I had read a bad review on it, and let me just say this person was completely and entirely wrong. They said the ending was predictable, I didn't see it coming. I didn't automatically know who the bad guy was. This person was just entirely negative about the book and did not say 1 good thing about it. I really enjoyed it and will be looking forward to the next book in the series.

Here is what's on the back of the book:

Her job description is the “tracking and apprehension of mentally-fractured killers.” What this really means in FBI profiler Jace Valchek’s brave new world—one in which only one percent of the population is human—is that a woman’s work is never done. And real is getting stranger every day…

Jace has been ripped from her reality by David Cassius, the vampire head of the NSA. He knows that she’s the best there in the business, and David needs her help in solving a series of gruesome murders of vampires and werewolves. David’s world—one that also includes lycanthropes and golems—is one with little knowledge of mental illness. An insane serial killer is a threat the NSA has no experience with. But Jace does. Stranded in a reality where Bela Lugosi is a bigger box office draw than Bruce Willis and every full moon is Mardi Gras, Jace must now hunt down a fellow human before he brings the entire planet to the brink of madness. Or she may never see her own world again…

Jace is literally in another world. That part was a little confusing to grasp at first, that the world she is now in is in another dimension or something, but you just have to accept it at face value. She was ripped from her reality and placed into this new one in order to solve a crime spree of murders committed by someone who seems to be insane. This is a world, as it was mentioned, where humans are the lower race. Vampires and lycanthropes outrank them as well as golems.

This was the first time I read a book where golems actually had a more active role in the plot and enjoyed it. Golems were always interesting creatures. There is even some historical background on some of these creatures, golems included that tell the reader, as well as Jace, what they are all about and where they came from.

The book was told from in the present tense, something I was not used to whatsoever. It was the first time to my recollection that I was reading a book in present tense instead of past. Meaning things would be like: "What's that?" I ask. Instead of "asked". It was different, but I liked it. I like venturing away from what I usually read, to a certain point of course! Not really likely to read something that's non-fiction anytime soon. I like my fiction way too much!

The back of the book actually gives a good description as to what happens without too many spoilers. I don't want to give out more details because then it would be leaning more to giving you spoilers. But there is going to be another book that picks up where this one left off. Not sure how many total, but there is an excerpt at the end of the novel for the next one, titled, Death Blows. Not sure when it's due out yet either.

Jace is a funny and fresh character. I liked her a lot, she was real. Someone you can relate to. I also liked the fact that Jace works out of the FBI office in St. Louis--where I'm from! I hardly get to see my city as a location for a story, but the story unfortunately doesn't take place in St. Louis. It takes place in several cities and other countries as well come to think of it. St. Louis was just mentioned briefly, once.

Since this book kind of falls under a mystery-suspence category, I actually bought it under horror, but there's mystery to it. It's a crime fighting kind of novel, so talking about the book is hard for me because there are too many things that I think would spoil the novel for new readers. The crime fighting suspense is awesome, I realize that I don't read enough of these kinds of books because they really gripping. I can't wait for the next one!

Review--Wicked Resurrection


The WICKED series is BACK!!!

After a 6 long year wait, Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie have come back to complete their Wicked series with this final and epic novel! While I'm sad to see the series ending I am glad there is finally a conclusion to the last book!

I originally read the series when the books first came out which were:

Wicked Witch

Wicked Curse

Wicked Legacy
Wicked Spellbound

The books were a great read. Since I'm here mostly to discuss Resurrection, I will just briefly mention the other books. In these we meet the characters and the start of the war between witch and warlock clans begins. As the discovery of the girls finding out they were witches.

But back to the book at hand, Resurrection continues where Spellbound left off. Holly is working with Alex, who as we know isn't who he says he is. Yet Holly doesn't know this at all. She thinks he's a great guy.

The war is still brewing despite Michael's death. There are still other enemies to consider. There are still more deaths to be seen, deaths of loved ones. And the title Resurrection also has in its own part in the storyline--enough said!

But overall--not wanting to discuss the plot too much because then it would be like a book report/summary--the book was great! The characters remain true to their selves. I have missed reading these books. There were some slow points, such as the flashbacks to the past. But they serve their purpose. The changing of p.o.v. is still fresh and enjoyable. At times though, I wanted to get back into character x's mind but we had to be in character's c point of view. There is a lot of jumping around as well, but that was seen in the other books as well, so it was no hindrance to understanding the novel.

Wicked Resurrection
is a great conclusion to the series. I was happy with the ending. There are several surprises that will be had by all Wicked readers.

The other four books in the series can be bought in 2 volumes now known as Wicked and Wicked 2, with the other titles listed below Wicked.

Fans of YA and witches, magic, sorcery, time travel, romance, action and so much more will adroe these books. I had become addicted by book 1 and was devastated upon hearing the series was canceled at book 4, with all the cliffhangers that it had. I was ecstatic to hear that the series was continuing with one final book where all those cliffhangers are answered/resolved. So if you were like me and read the books 6 years ago, you must return and finish the series. And if you're new to the series you must start it soon! You won't be disappointed if you like all or some of the things I mentioned in this paragraph. And you have the plus side of having the series right in front of you! No waiting for the next book like I had to do!!



Review--Shadow Kiss

Shadow Kiss

Just finished reading the third book in the Vampire Academy series today and oh man...I am now dying to read the fourth one that's due out next month. Too long of a wait if you ask me.

The covers have recently gotten a makeover as well. I still have the old ones, these new ones are a bit different. The second one is really the only one that didn't change much. The first one just zoomed in on the girl, this one got a whole different look. This way the fourth one will match with the new look. But that's just rambling! Onto the actual book content! Minus spoilers of course!!

Things at the Academy are different. The Strigoi attack during the winter holidays is still fresh on Rose's mind. She is still upset about Mason's death. But now has come for the time when the guardian trainees receive their assignments in a mock trial of sorts. They are assigned to protect a Moroi student and must protect them 24/7 or really 24/6 as the guardians get 1 day off, but that's besides the point. Rose knows she'll get Lissa, because she's going to be assigned to Lissa after graduation, so she's feeling confident. Not even Jesse and his snide comments can bring her down.

But things don't go as Rose had planned. Eddie is Lissa's guardian for the "test" that last 6 weeks and Rose is assigned to none other than Christian. But that's only the beginning of Rose's problems. Adrian, from Frostbite has decided to stay at the Academy and learn the ways of the spirit with Lissa, and his crush on Rose remains strong.

But the fun just keeps on coming as Rose learns that Victor's trial is coming up soon. She, Lissa and the others who were subject to his ways, aren't going to go testify, which enrages all who were involved, namely Rose, Lissa and Christian. They all want to make sure Victor gets put away for good, so he can never harm Lissa or anyone else again. But they are not permitted to go, until an unlikely someone pulls some strings.

I don't want to divulge into too much because then that's when spoilers start sprouting up, but let's say some pretty interesting things occur during and at the palce of the trial. There are some pretty interesting revelations that become known to Rose by the Queen herself.

Rose also learns more and more about herself as being shadow-kissed and what it entails. Not to mention that some students are being attacked, they show up one day with bruises and cuts but don't explain for what happened to them.

Not to mention that Rose begins to question her sanity when she starts seeing someone from her past. It involves being shadow-kissed and that's all I want to say because I feel like this tiny detail might be a spoiler. As would the rest of the details in the novel. But I will say that there are a LOT of revelations for Rose, some good, some bad.

The ending will leave you dying! It did for me! So if you haven't read it yet and are new to the series but have read the other 2, I would almost recommend waiting a little closer to August 25 when Blood Promise will be released, but that's just my advice. If you can't wait to read Shadow Kiss then go ahead, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Richelle Mead's YA series, Vampire Academy, is beautifully written. There are times when I can't believe it's at YA level, the vocabulary is normal, there are no strange words or new ones to come across, which I guess is what makes it YA. It reads simply and wonderfully. The book really drags you into Rose's world and you feel like you're apart of it, like you're one of the students silently watching Rose as she interacts with her friends.

This is definitely a series I will be sticking to from here on out. Technically, I could've said that after book 1, Vampire Academy, but Shadow Kiss is where I really-really got hooked to the point of no return! This is an amazing series that I recommend for all vampire fans who enjoy a good YA every now and then! Trust me when I say you won't be disappointed!

Once again, I'll post what's on the back of the book in case you want a different kind of synopsis. Here it is:

What if following her heart means Rose could lose her best friend forever?

Rose Hathaway knows it is forbidden to love another guardian. Her best friend, Lissa--the last Dragomir princess--must always come first. Unfortunately, when it comes to gorgeous Dimitri Belikov, some rules are meant to be broken...

But since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn't been feeling right. Something dark has begun to grow in her mind, and ghostly shadows warn of a terrible evil drawing nearer to the Academy's iron gates. And now that Lissa and Rose's sworn enemy, Victor Dashkov, is on trial for his freedom, tensions in the Moroi world are higher than ever.

Lying to Lissa to Dimitri is one thing, but suddenly there's way more than friendship at stake. Ther immortal undead are on the prowl, and they want vengeance for the lives taht Rose has stolen. In a heart-stopping battle to rival her worst nightmares, Rose will have to choose between life, love, and the two people who matter most...but will her choice mean that only one can survive?

Contest Alert--at Fantastic Book Review


Over at http://fantasticbookreview.blogspot.com is a contest to win the entire Shifters series so far. And PREY will be a signed copy! It's really simple all you have to do is follow a few simple rules such as:

1. Comment on the author interview +1
2. Comment on the book review +1
3. Link to blog +1
4. Follow the reviewer on Twitter +1
5. Be a follower or become a follower +2

When you get to the blog you will find links that will lead you to the interview and review, and as of right now this is the top/current message or post. So they'll be right there.

Not sure how many entries you get if you become a follower for the first time, so don't take my word for it being 2 entries. Each action you take on the blog gets you one entry or as in the case of #5 2 entries. This is a fantastic giveaway and it's at http://fantasticbookreview.blogspot.com

But hurry you only have until midnight on July 17, 2009 and unfortunately it's only available to U.S. residents only, as said on her blog.

My Soul to Lose


In case you haven't heard already Rachel Vincent is writing a new YA series called Soul Screamers that hits shelves August 1. With the sequel to follow early 2010 by my last check. The series starts with My Soul to Take, but first there's a little prequel you can read, My Soul to Save. You can download this e-book free at the following website.

http://ebooks.eharlequin.com/9F49332E-D306-456D-93A8-1B588D450AAD/10/126/en/ContentDetails.htm?ID=27DEC691-35B0-4197-87EB-2B51315EDA8C


Here are the covers for My Soul to Take (book 1) and My Soul to Save (book 2)

Review--Frostbite


Frostbite is the second in the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead and has quickly become one of my faves!

Now I know my previous post about the first one was pretty long and I apologize. I usually have a lot to say about a book that I love a lot! Of course it's hard for me to tell people about a book without giving away too many spoilers. Which I did leave out quite a bit about the end of the first book, but I didn't want my review to turn into a book report. So I left a lot of that out. As well as a few other things, like that the Academy runs on night time hours instead of daylight ones so that the Moroi won't get exhausted from the sun. Sunlight doesn't kill these vampires like it does in Buffy or other movies, it just weakens them. As a Dhampir Rose can handle it since she has human blood in her as well.

Moving on to Book 2 in the VA series, and there will be Vampire Academy (Book 1) spoilers so don't read this one unless you've read the first book.

Rose has got guy trouble (it says this on the back of the book too!), she still has strong feelings for Dimitri, and the spell that was put on the two of them to keep them from rescuing Lissa is still strong in her memory. As much as she tries to forget it, it is hard, especially when she works daily with Dimitri. She knows now that Dimitri has to feel something for her otherwise the spell wouldn't have worked, but he returns to being his stoic self.

Rose has matured greatly since book 1 and even Dimitri notices, although there are times when her maturity slips, like it does for all of us too!, making Rose a more believable character. People have flaws, it's a given.

It's near Christmas time at the Academy and families are visiting and among those families comes the guardians and one of those guardians is Rose's mother, the mother she hasn't seen in a VERY long time. Rose isn't connected to her mother in any real way. There is definite resentment there, for Rose feels like her mother just dropped her off to be rid of her at the Academy and Rose hardly ever hears from her mom like some of the other students hear from their parents.

But prior to this "lovely" reunion, Rose and Dimitri were supposed to go see another guardian for Rose to take a test of sorts, but when they arrive he is dead, along with everyone else in the house. The attack was brutal and it is soon discovered that humans are working with the Strigoi to attack other Moroi, most particularly royal ones.

Due to the recent attacks that pop up, the winter ski trip the Academy hosts is mandatory. Rose is looking forward to it somewhat, because it will allow her to relax with her friends. Although, she has been feeling neglected as Lissa spends a lot of free time with her boyfriend, Christian. Since Dimitri has shown no signs of affection towards her, besides one incident that occurs early in Book 2, which I won't mention in full, ;) Rose turns to Mason who has always been in love with her. She flirts with him more and more, but realizes that there is an empty feeling in her when she's with him. She still wants Dimitri, but Dimitri has been spending a lot of extra time with someone else.

There is also another Moroi vampire at the resort who has taken interest in Rose and partly Lissa. He says he needs to talk to Lissa, because they have something in common and he wants to talk to Rose, because there's something about her that he likes. He seems a bit....off, I guess you could say, but his character identity is revealed a little more as the chapters move on.

Rose also discovers more about her mother that she never knew before, changing their relationship. *Getting a little close to spoilers there, so I'm stopping at that issue*

Soon word lets out there are Strigoi in hiding nearby and 3 students leave the safety of the winter resort to hunt them. When Rose finds out about it, feeling gulity for taking part in the conversation that led to the students leaving, she seeks Christian's help in going after them.

But the students learn that they really weren't ready for battling the Strigoi, as Rose was trying to tell them, as Dimitri had told her, they have a lot to learn still. They end up coming face to face with the Strigoi which changes things for them.

There are quite a few surprises at the end of the novel, none that I can divulge you with since they would spoil the ending for you. But the second book was very-very good in my opinion. There were a few slow points, where there was more socializing happening rather than conflict or action, but it was nice to have those normal moments though, because it gave the story more believability.

Once again, incase this wasn't enough to give you an idea of what the story is about, here is what's on the back of the book:

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

Rose Hathaway's got serious guy trouble. Her gorgeous tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason has a huge crush on her, she keeps getting stuck in her best friend Lissa's head while she's making out with her boyfriend, Christian.

Then a massive Strigoi attack puts St. Vladmir's on high alert, and the Academy crawls with Guardians--including the legendary Janine Hataway...Rose's formidable, long-absent mother. The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy's not taking any risks. This year, St. Vlad's holiday ski trip is mandatory.

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only provide the illusion of safett. When three students run away to strike back against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. Only this time, Rose--and her heart--are in more danger than she ever could have imagined...

Review--Vampire Academy


Vampire Academy

I recently picked up reading Richelle Mead's Young Adult (YA) series: Vampire Academy (VA); which I'm glad I did, because this series is fantastic for YA!

As you might guess based on the title vampires are involved, but it's not all about vampires going to school, so don't think Harry Potter but with vamps instead of witches/wizards, because that's not how it is.

A little bit of Vampire Academy 101, first there are the Moroi these are the "good" vampires in that they don't kill people in order to feed and all that jazz. They're the vamps with a soul if you want, such as we saw in Buffy. These vampires also have a special power that they specialize in that involves the elements; fire, water, air, earth. And there is also the unheard of 5th element: spirit. More on that later.

Then there are the Strigoi the bad vampires, they kill to feed or just kill for fun. These vampires have no ounce of humanity left in them, where the Moroi do, you could say. These vampires are very hard to kill, you either stake them in the heart with a silver stake, decapitate them, or set them on fire, all very hard to do since Strigoi are very powerful beings.

The ones who fight the Strigoi are the guardians, the ones who also protect the Moroi vampires. So yeah, they're basically body guards, mostly male, but there are a few females such as the series protagonist Rose.

Now on to the review of the first novel! Rose is a dhampir, meaning her father was a vampire, a Moroi and her mother is human. Her mother is also a guardian but she dropped Rose off at the academy as soon as she could so her daughter could start training to be a guardian. She technically was one already in a way for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi princess, the last of her family and the one who she will likely be a guardian for once she graduates. We also learn that her family died in a car crash not so long ago. She was the only survivor of her family.

Rose is set to protect her, but she soon learns something about her best friend, something very quickly. Lissa had never shown any sign of her upcoming power specialty which was cause for Lissa to worry, but soon it becomes apparent that Lissa has the 5th power, the special rare one; the spirit, this isn't learned until later though. Although Lissa has the ability to heal people or animals, but never really understood what that power was, she also could use compulsion very effectively which makes things easy for her when she really needs something.

These abilities makes Lissa very-very special indeed, not to mention being the last member of her family. The Strigoi are going to be after her if word got out about her abilities. So Rose and Lissa kept it all secret and when Rose had the feeling her friend's life was in danger they run away from the Academy. And this is really where the novel starts--sort of. They have already ran away and a group of guardians have come to bring them back to school.

So that's where they find themselves in Chapter 2, in front of the headmistress who is not one of Rose's fave people. They have been gone for 2 years now and Rose as well as Lissa have a lot of catching up to do in their studies. Rose is forced to take extra practices with an experienced guardian just to get caught up in her defense skills. She is partnered with the very guardian who captured her, Dimitri. An older guy who has definitely caught Rose's eye once or twice since her capture.

Life soon finds some sense of normality at school, if you could call it that. But some things have changed and Rose and Lissa discover that they have an enemy, Mia, another student who is set on making their time there hell for reasons unknown. At least in the beginning. Those reasons are revealed later.

Also someone is terrorizing Lissa, leaving dead animals in her room that she shares with her cousin. Could it be Mia who has a grudge against her or someone else? Rose isn't sure, but she does her best to protect her friend. There is an enemy among them, that much is clear since the Academy is so heavily protected due to all the Moroi students. Rose is going to have to try to figure out who has it out for her friend, while attending classes, extra practices, and oh yeah, being grounded to her room until the headmistress says so.

Rose is definitely the polar opposite of anyone I would ever be. She is very flirty and promiscuous. While she tries to fight her attraction with Dimitri, she busies herself with the other guys at school. But soon dirty rumors about her start to fly and they could only have come from one person, someone who was their enemy from the time they set foot back at the academy.

Basically Rose and Lissa must deal with regular high school woes, friends, an ex-boyfriend of Lissa's who's still hung up on her, enemies, along with the actual learning and living with the rumors that are scattering across the school, and try to figure out who is terrorizing Lissa. Yeah, no problem. That's definitely the regular high school woes, perhaps that should be phrased a little differently. Such as regular high school woes, plus crime solving?

Other details that I neglected to mention are that Lissa and Rose have a connection of sorts, Rose can read Lissa's mind and actually get inside her mind and sees what she sees. There is also guy trouble involved for both girls, as Mason, Rose's guy friend has a major crush on her, and Lissa has a growing friendship with Christian, another Moroi at the school, one who is "destined" to turn Strigoi like his parents did. A fact that Rose doesn't like and tries to keep the two apart. This is what made me dislike Rose, that she butted into Lissa's business, I realized that they're friends and Rose wants to protect Lissa, but she has no right getting involved in Lissa's personal affairs. Rose is very childish and selfish for that portion of the book. But she grows up a little bit towards the end and of course in the next book as well.

There are quite a bit of flashbacks for Rose, as she is the narrator every now and then we take a trip down memory lane that flows nicely as Rose is thinking about something and then is reminded of the time...and so on.

This is a thrilling start in the VA series, with twists and turns that are unbelievable. The tension between Rose and Dimitri is beautifully done, as well as the growing relationship between Lissa and Christian.

And as always since I can't give away too many spoilers, I might have left out other plot details, but I feel like I have already said too much. But here is what's on the back of the book, most of which I have talked about and added more detail here and there, that wasn't what I thought to be much of a spoiler, never fear for a whole lot more happens in the 332 page novel.

Only a true best friend can protect you from your immortal enemies...

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with an unbreakable bond to the earth's magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest and most dangerous vampires--the ones who never die.

The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathway, Lissa's best friend, makes her a Dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making her one of them.

After two years of illicit freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir's Academy, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. Rose will continue her Dhampir education. Lissa will go back to being Queen of the elite Moroi social scene. And
both girls will resume breaking Academy hearts.

Fear made Lissa and Rose run away from St. Vladimir's--inside the Academy's iron gates, their world is even more fraught with danger. Here, the cutthroat ranks of the Moroi perform unspeakable rituals, and their secretive nature and love of the night creates an enigmatic world full of social complexities. Rose and Lissa must navigate through this dangerous world, confront the temptation of forbidden romance, and never once let their guard down, lest the Strigoi make Lissa one of them forever...

Review--City of Souls


The Fourth Sign of the Zodiac

Vicki Pettersson's Zodiac series is one of my faves, the books are so gripping that you can barely believe all the things that happened. The protagonist, Olivia/Joanna, goes through a lot of turmoil yet she still comes back up again. For those who haven't read the series yet this is a must-read-series, starting with book 1 of course, it's important that you read them in order because like many other series, this is not a stand alone novel.

The books in order are:

The Scent of Shadows
The Taste of the Night
The Touch of Twilight
City of Souls

And now without further ado, my opinions on the book. City of Souls opens up a shirt while after The Touch of Twilight ended, with some time going by. Suzanne, Cher's mother and Olivia's closest friends, is celebrating her engagement to an Indian prince. But the party ends shortly for Olivia for she learns that her backup for that night, incase something with the Shadows happened, was missing and Hunter showed up instead in a very surprising manner.

Hunter and her immediately leave to join the rest of their troop to figure out what to do about their missing member. And after following a trail left by their enemies they find their troop member being held hostage by the Shadows in a safe zone, but they soon learn that things are still changing in their city due to Olivia, while it wasn't entirely her fault.

It has become clear now that there are no more safe zones for the Agents of Light, and Warren wants Olivia to fix this by going into Midheaven, a world that hides near our mortal one. Midheaven was an utterly strange place, it was like a scene from a John Wayne movie, back in the West--it was fun and interesting, but this is when all Olivia's problems begin. She was sent on a mission to find Jaden Jacks, the one who once broke a changeling and supposedly knew how to fix one as well. Since Olivia had left part of her chi in Jasmine which gave Jasmine a share of her powers, leaving her sister Li, and predecessor damaged and dying. So Olivia must try to fix Jas in order to save her and Li.

But Midheaven provides no easy answers for Olivia and she loses more than she thought possible, but manages to escape. She also meets some formidable foes there in the shapes of women. Women who rule Midheaven and take what they want when they want. They are hard to understand, for me at least, they have their own agenda but I never got a clear meaning as to what they were really after. Their leader Solange is the strangest of them all.

Her love life with Hunter, as we saw in The Touch of Twilight is still on the rocks, but there are some very heated moments between them.

Olivia soon learns more than she ever wanted to about what was really going on. There is a traitor in their midsts who had been telling Regean, yeah she's still around, information that should've remained secret. She learns the riddle of how to heal Jas without killing her, but as I said it's a riddle so it's hard to figure out.

I don't want to give away anything too vital to the story but at the end a LOT of things happen that come together, to make some things make sense. Of course the ending still leaves you with questions burning inside your head.

At points the novel was a little slow, just where things were taking too long to happen, but there was still plenty of action, so to speak, surrounding those moments. I would love to say more, but I fear that anymore info might be considered a spoiler and I don't want to spoil the novel for anyone. But as I said the ending is phenomenal! It will literally blow you away! That's all I can say really, I'm trying to be vague here because I hate ruining the ending of books/movies even, for people who haven't read/seen them.