Wednesday, April 25, 2012

MY BOOK BOYFRIEND (35): Fearghus

My Book Boyfriend is an awesome weekly meme hosted by Missie at The Unread Reader all about fictional boys who make us swoon.  This week I am swooning over:

G.A. Aiken's Dragon Actually

About Fearghus:
  • 200 years old dragon shifter with black hair and dark eyes.
  • Has many brothers and sisters.
  • Known as a recluse among the other dragons.
  • Very lonely until he meets the fierce warrior Annwyl the Bloody.
  • All he wants is to make those he cares about happy, no matter the cost to himself.

Annwyl's chest constricted as gooseflesh broke out over her skin. She watched him with wide eyes.  His face was the face she saw in her dreams every night while she recovered her strength.  That black hair the same hair she always made sure to dig her hands into. Who the hell was this?

His affection for the human grew steadily by the day.  Sometimes by the minute.  And it wasn't simply her beauty, but her utter lack of fear of everything and anything except her brother.  She didn't fear dying.  She didn't fear battle.  And, most importantly, she didn't fear Fearghus.  She touched him.  Ran her hands across his scales and through his mane.  But it was when he covered her up with the fur and she sighed his name in her sleep, that he lost his heart.

"He's very disconcerting."  
"Disconcerting?  I didn't know that was a flaw."
"It can be."
"I don't understand why he makes you so nervous and I don't.  I can turn you into a fireball."
"Well, you're very sweet.  And charming."
"They call me Fearghus the Destroyer."
She dismissed that with a wave of her hand.  "And they call me Annwyl the Bloody.  I'm not impressed."

"You amaze me, woman."
"Then finish it," she purred as she wrapped her arms around his neck, ignoring the searing pain the move caused her forearms.  "And keep me as your own."
Apparently he needed no further prompting.  He turned her so she faced the wood table and ran his hands down her back.  His lips following close behind. Alternately nipping and sucking her skin.  He licked any wounds she had, cleaning them with his tongue.

My Fearghus: Jason Momoa

About Dragon Actually:

It's not always easy being a female warrior with a nickname like Annwyl the Bloody. Men tend to either cower in fear-a lot-or else salute. It's true that Annwyl has a knack for decapitating legions of her ruthless brother's soldiers without pausing for breath. But just once it would be nice to be able to really talk to a man, the way she can talk to Fearghus the Destroyer. 

Too bad that Fearghus is a dragon, of the large, scaly, and deadly type. With him, Annwyl feels safe-a far cry from the feelings aroused by the hard-bodied, arrogant knight Fearghus has arranged to help train her for battle. 

With her days spent fighting a man who fills her with fierce, heady desire, and her nights spent in the company of a magical creature who could smite a village just by exhaling, Annwyl is sure life couldn't get any stranger. She's wrong. And just wait until you meet the rest of the family?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

REVIEW: "A Week To Be Wicked" by Tessa Dare

A Week To Be Wicked by Tessa Dare
(Spindle Cove #2)

Adult Fiction--Historical Romance
Avon--March 2012
Paperback, 354 pages 


Minerva Highwood, one of Spindle Cove’s confirmed spinsters, needs to be in Scotland. Colin Sandhurst, Lord Payne, a rake of the first order, needs to be…anywhere but Spindle Cove.  These unlikely partners have one week to:

• fake an elopement
• convince family and friends they’re in “love”
• outrun armed robbers
• survive their worst nightmares
• travel four hundred miles without killing each other

All while sharing a very small carriage by day and an even smaller bed by night.  What they don’t have time for is their growing attraction. Much less wild passion. And heaven forbid they spend precious hours baring their hearts and souls.  Suddenly one week seems like exactly enough time to find a world of trouble. And maybe . . . just maybe . . . love.


I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this historical romance series, A Night to Surrender and one of the reasons I liked it was the character of Colin Sandhurst, Lord Payne.  He initially came off as a stereotypical British rake, but Dare slowly started to reveal that there was much more to him than what his first impression showed.  Therefore, I was extremely excited to see that the second book in the series would be his along with the intelligent and unique Minerva Highwood.

Essentially, A Week to be Wicked is an opposites attract road romance, one of my personal favorites.  It involves two well-written characters who are thrown into a complex situation and learn more about each other through all their adventures.  While I love internal struggles in romances, I also can't say no to good old-fashioned outside influences that put our lovers in direct contact with each other for long periods of time.  Just so much fun to read! 

Of course, the above scenario would't work if the characters were bland or completely unappetizing.  Colin, Lord Payne, is the rakish, seemingly reckless lord who always seems to court trouble despite his good intentions.  He has difficulty sleeping alone which has caused stress throughout his life yet strives to not let the tragedies in his past define him.  On the other hand, we have Minerva, the spinster geologist with low self-esteem, who desperately wants to prove herself to her family and her society.  Together these two are a great example of well-done sexual tension and romantic chemistry.  As a couple, Minerva and Colin are electric and a joy to watch.

Overall, this book was full of fun and sweet moments.  There was a nice balance between the humor and drama which can be difficult to find in historical romances today.  The side characters were all intriguing without taking away from the main love story especially Thorne and Kate, whom I am assuming will be center stage in the next Spindle Cove book.  Another wonderful romance from Tessa Dare who has shifted into auto-buy author status with this book.  Highly recommended!!

Rating: 5 Stars

Spindle Cove
1. A Night to Surrender
1.5. Once Upon a Winter's Eve
2. A Week To Be Wicked
3. A Lady by Midnight

TOP TEN TUESDAY (22): All-Time Favorite Characters

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.


1. Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
Luna is the type of person I wish I could be: just a little left of center yet still completely comfortable with being who I am.  I loved her quirky personality and all the little quips she spouted off throughout the later books in the series.  Plus I liked how thought-provoking her lines could be if you looked hard enough.

2. Mary Quinn from The Agency series by Y.S. Lee
Mary is an orphan who was arrested as a child thief, saved by the gallows to become a charity student at a London boarding school, and eventually became a secret agent.  The missions she went on ran the gamut from masquerading as a twelve year old boy on a building site or as a lady's companion in a wealthy townhouse.

3. Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The steadfast, loyal lawyer who inspired an entire courtroom to stand as he leaves after losing a high-profile case.  I remember watching the movie, and later reading the book, and being complete in awe of Atticus's determination and sense of morality despite outside opinions.

4. Captain Wentworth from Persuasion by Jane Austen
I absolutely adored this man from the moment I met him as a twelve year old.  His steadfast love for Anne Elliot just made me sigh and don't even get me started on that letter...

 5. Valerius Magnus from Seize the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon
A former Roman general who suffers from the fact that he actually cares what people think about him. This makes it difficult when everyone around him views his shy, quiet nature as one of snobbery and arrogance.  I cannot tell you how many times Valerius made me cry in this book!

6. Jules Cassidy from the Troubleshooters series by Suzanne Brockmann
An FBI agent who never let his sexual orientation define him and made me hurry through books in an effort to learn more about him.  His sense of loyalty and determination were extremely captivating as was his tumultous love life.

7. Grimalkin from the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa
I have loved the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland since childhood so it should come as no surprise that I adored Grim in all his snarky, mysterious glory.  The shadiness of his character just made him more compelling to me and I hope to see more of him in the spin-off!

8.  Finnick Odair from the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
I fell in love with Finnick from the moment we met him and I knew there was more to him than the carefree playboy.  His bantering with Katniss were the few funny scenes in this series.

9. Cole Fenton Davenport from the Coda series by Marie Sexton
At first glance, Cole seems to be a complete cliche from his flamboyant style to his flighty way of talking to his poor little rich boy background.  But, through Sexton's storytelling, readers are able to delve deeper into his psyche and see what has shaped him and made him the unique character he is.

10. Bones from the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost
A Master vampire who was a former British gigolo turned penal colony prisoner?  Crispin Philip Arthur Russell III (aka Bones) grabbed my attention the moment he stepped on the page in Halfway to the Grave.  Since then, I have loved every minute that I get to spend reading about this fascinating man with his sarcastic comments and his romantic interludes with his vampire wife. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

FOLLOW FRIDAY (24) and TGIF (13)

Gain New Blog Followers
Feature & Follow Friday is a blog hop that expands your blog following by a joint effort between bloggers. Feature & Follow Friday is now hosted by TWO hosts, Rachel of Parajunkee and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!

This Week's Feature Blogs:

Word Spelunking

follow Feature & Follow #93

Q: Fight!  Fight!  If you could have two fictional characters battle it out (preferably from books), who would they be and who do you think would win?

This was a hard question!  There are so many combinations I would love to see duke it out.  But, I decided to go with one all-girl fight and one all-guy fight. 

I would love to see Cat from the Night Huntress series go at it with Chess from the Downside Ghosts series.  Both are kickass women who know how to fight and have some pretty intriguing powers as well.  I think this one would be a toss- up, but I am giving the edge to Cat especially if she drinks some high-powered vampire blood before the fight.

I want to see a fight between Barrons from the Fever series and Acheron from the Dark Hunters series.  Both are ultra alpha males with mysterious pasts and ruthless alter-egos.  I think this would be another tight battle, but I see Acheron coming out on top due to the whole Atlantean god, harbinger of destruction thing.    

Honorable mentions: Katniss (Hunger Games) versus Tris (Divergent), Xhex (Black Dagger Brotherhood) versus Sin (Demonica), Malkom (Immortals After Dark) versus Terrible (Downside Ghosts), Bones (Night Huntress) versus Hawke (Psy-Changeling)

I have created different ways for you to follow my blog: GFC, LinkyFollowers, email, Twitter, or Goodreads.  Comment, follow me, and I'll return the favor!!


Hosted by Ginger at GReads.

This Friday's Question
Book Blogger Influences: Has there been a particular book blogger who's influenced what you read?  Share with us a review/book blog that convinced you to pick up a certain book.

There are so many bloggers I could mention for this question.  But, I decided to go with the five that came to mind first.

Sabrina at About Happy Books
Her reviews of Y.S. Lee's Agency series inspired me to try the first book and next thing I knew I had devoured the entire series within two months.  Here are the links to the first book: A Spy in the House.

Lesley at My Keeper Shelf
Her review of Susan Ee's Angelfall as well as her My Book Boyfriend post on the hero, Raffe, convinced me to check out this amazing urban fantasy story.  Here is the link to the review and the MBB post.

Jac at For Love and Books
Her review of Molly Harper's Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs inspired me to buy the audio version which I am currently loving right now.  Highly recommended for fans of funny paranormals!  Here is the link to the review.

All the ladies at Smexybooks
Inspired me to try the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning and introducing me to the wonderful genre of Male-Male Romance.  Link to the posts that got me interested in Fever and M/M romance.

Sarah and Guest Reviewers at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
The first book blog I followed religiously.  Sarah and her guests have introduced me to many great romances, but some of the more recent ones were Sarah Maclean's Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake and Beth Revis's Across the Universe.  Links to the Maclean review and the Revis review.


Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades #3) by E.L. James (3 Stars)
The Book of Daniel (St. Nacho's #4) by Z.A. Maxfield (4 Stars)
Dragon Actually (Dragon Kin #1) by G.A. Aiken (4 Stars)
The Duke's Perfect Wife (Highland Pleasures #4) by Jennifer Ashley (4 Stars)
A Private Gentleman by Heidi Cullinan (4 Stars)

Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #4) by Richelle Mead (link)
Lover Reborn (Black Dagger Brotherhood #10) by JR Ward (link)

MY BOOK BOYFRIEND: Acheron from Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters series (link)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

REVIEW: "Lover Reborn" by JR Ward

Lover Reborn by JR Ward
(Black Dagger Brotherhood #10)

Adult Fiction--Paranormal Romance--Vampires
NAL--March 2012
Hardcover, 572 pages 


Ever since the death of his shellan, Tohrment is a heartbroken shadow of the vampire leader he once was. Brought back to the Brotherhood by a self-serving fallen angel, he fights again with ruthless vengeance- and is unprepared for a new tragedy. Seeing his beloved in dreams—trapped in a cold, desolate netherworld—he turns to the angel to save his former mate, only to despair at the path he himself must take to set her free. As war with the lessers rages, and a new clan of vampires vies for the Blind King’s throne, Tohr struggles between an unforgettable past, and a future that he doesn’t know he can live with… but can’t seem to turn away from.


I have been a Ward fangirl for many years, but, I will admit, that I was a little let down by last year's BDB installment, Lover Unleashed.  I worried throughout this year whether my interest in this vampire world was decreasing which seriously depressed me.  Thankfully, Lover Reborn reminded me why I love these books and got me super pumped to read more!  It has everything that I adore about Ward's writing from the complicated characters to the heart-stopping action to the sweet romance.

Most of this book concentrated on Tohrment and his difficult journey to learning how to live and love again.  He is given a dire warning regarding his unsettled grief for Wellsie and must learn to move on in order to save her from an eternity of wandering.  I really felt for Tohr in this situation, but understood the point.  While he loved Wellsie, he was not doing anyone, especially her, favors by continuing his destructive pattern.  It was a real treat to watch him grow into a strong leader and a compassionate father again.

Tohr's new love is the mysterious No'One who was revealed to be Xhex's mother at the end of Lover Mine.  I was hesitant to get to know this character because I wasn't sure if she could be a valuable partner for Tohrment.  I was extremely relieved to know that my fears were for naught.  No'One was a more passive heroine than we have seen in this series, but she is not weak.  Her past is full of darkness, but she tries to not let it define her.  She understands Tohr's reluctance to love again and strives to help him in any way she can.  I also liked how Ward showed No'One trying to have a deeper relationship with her daughter. 

The romance between Tohrment and No'One is slow burning which works perfectly for this situation.  Anything more expedient would have disrespected Wellsie's character and her relationship with Tohr.  The book takes place over a year which allows for these two to get to know each other before jumping into bed as well as give both of them opportunity to grow as characters.  This was a risky choice for the author and I believe it paid off.

Like with most books in this series, readers are given a multitude of subplots in addition to the main romance.  Sometimes these can feel like an unworthy addition or can take away from the primary storyline.  I believe that the balance in Lover Reborn is one of the best that Ward has done in this series.  There is a lot going on while Tohr and No'One get together which makes sense due to the fact that the book takes place over a year. 

My favorite subplots were Xhex and John going through some newlywed issues and the continued inclusion of Xcor and his Band of Bastards.  Lover Mine was a real favorite of mine so I enjoyed seeing more of John and Xhex's complex relationship.  I have also really connected with Xcor as a character.  I know he is a big badass who wants to take over Wrath's throne, but there is something that draws me to him.  I really liked seeing his interactions with his fellow soldiers and the hints that Ward gives about his possible redemption. 

There is so much more that I could mention in this review since I don't think I could do the book justice without rambling on and on.  That being said, I loved this book and I look forward to seeing more in this series.  I am particularly interested in the resolution of the Qhuinn/Layla storyline as well as seeing more of that yummy fallen angel, Lassiter.  Highly recommended!
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Black Dagger Brotherhood
1. Dark Lover
2. Lover Eternal
3. Lover Awakened
4. Lover Revealed
5. Lover Unbound
6. Lover Enshrined
7. Lover Avenged
8. Lover Mine
9. Lover Unleashed
10. Lover Reborn

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

REVIEW: "Spirit Bound" by Richelle Mead

Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead
(Vampire Academy #5)

Young Adult--Paranormal--Vampires
Penguin/Razorbill--May 2010
Hardback, 489 pages 


After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri’s birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir’s—and to her best friend, Lissa Dragomir. It's graduation, and the girls can’t wait for their real lives outside of the Academy’s cold iron gates to finally begin.

But even with the intrigue and excitement of court life looming, Rose’s heart still aches for Dimitri. 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 she knows in her heart that he is hunting her. And if Rose won't join him, he won't rest until he's silenced her...forever.

But Rose can't forget what she learned on her journey—whispers of a magic too impossible and terrifying to comprehend. A magic inextricably tied to Lissa that could hold the answer to all of Rose's prayers, but not without devastating consequences. Now Rose will have to decide what—and who—matters most to her. In the end, is true love really worth the price?



The last time readers saw Rose Hathaway she had been on a mission to kill Dimitri, her mentor and lover, from an immortal life as a Strigoi.  Unfortunately, she was unable to complete that mission and has returned to St. Vladimir's Academy to figure out a different way to save him.  Now, she and her friends must deal with their changing positions in Moroi society.

Rose's unsuccessful journey to Russia has left her a more mature, but thankfully still impulsive person.  She has a goal in mind and is determined to do whatever she can to achieve it.  Her graduation and then move to the royal court forces her to begin taking steps towards her true purpose in life.  I really enjoy watching her character growth and found her reactions to the events of Blood Promise to be realistic and courageous. 

I also enjoyed watching the renewed friendship between Lissa and Rose.  I was not a fan of Lissa's initial reaction to Rose's adventure, but liked how she understood why Rose did what she did and even felt guilt over not being a good friend at the time.  Their friendship needed to be tested and I think they passed the test with flying colors.  I also liked seeing Adrian again and how his relationship with Rose continues to grow despite her obvious hesitancy.  And, of course, Dimitri continues to hang around in the background and become more menacing as he taunts Rose and her friends.

In terms of the overarching storyline, readers continue to see the ever-changing political landscape of Moroi society.  Rose's journey to court allows her and Lissa to see both the good and bad sides of the government which throws some definite drama into the mix.  Also, the gang continues their discovery of what the spirit element can do.  I love how the author reveals the inner workings of this ability without skimming on the negative side effects. 

The climatic ending was a complete shock to me and I found myself putting down Spirit Bound and immediately picking up Last Sacrifice.  I am anxious to see how Rose deals with the difficult situations she found herself in throughout this book.  Wonderful addition to a wonderful series!!

Rating: 5 Stars


Vampire Academy
1. Vampire Academy
2. Frostbite
3. Shadow Kiss
4. Blood Promise
5. Spirit Bound
6. Last Sacrifice

1. Bloodlines
2. The Golden Lily (To Be Released 2012)

MY BOOK BOYFRIEND (34): Acheron Parthenopaeus

My Book Boyfriend is an awesome weekly meme hosted by Missie at The Unread Reader all about fictional boys who make us swoon.  This week I am swooning over:


Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters series

Acheron's Appearance:
  • 6'8 with a lean build
  • Blond hair that is usually dyed another color such as black/red
  • Swirling silver eyes
About Acheron:
  • Nicknames: Apostoles, Ash, Akri, T-Rex, Achimou
  • 11,000 years old (born 9548 BC)
  • Atlantean god known as the Harbinger of Destruction.
  • Son of Archon (Head of the Atlantean pantheon) and Apollymi (Goddess of Death).
  • Cast into the mortal world as a baby to protect him from his father's wrath.
  • Severely abused and eventually turned into a whore.
  • After his mortal death at age 21, became the first Dark-Hunter (a warrior created by the goddess Artemis to protect humans from deadly daimons).
  • Feels unworthy of love due to his tortured past and fears his friends finding out the truth about him more than anything.

Then he will be called Acheron for the River of Woe. Like the river of the Underworld, his journey shall be dark, long and enduring. He will be able to give life and to take it. He will walk through his life alone and abandoned – ever seeking kindness and ever finding cruelty. May the gods have mercy on you, little one. No one else ever will.

It’s easy to look at people and make quick judgments about them, their present, and their past, but you’d be amazed at the pain and tears a single smile hides. What a person shows to the world is only one tiny facet of the iceberg hidden from sight. And more often than not, it’s lined with cracks and scars that go all the way to the foundations of their soul.

"There are some pains that run too deep for anything to absolve them. The best we can do is pick up the pieces and hope for the strength we need to keep going." "Is that what you do?"
"No, I beat shit up – that helps even more."

"Because I don’t feel broken when you look at me."
"How could you feel broken?"
"I was shattered as a child and thrown away, like a piece of trash no on wanted. But you don’t treat me like that. You see in me the human bit and you touch that part of me. You make me feel whole and wanted."

My Acheron: Travis Fimmel

Friday, April 13, 2012

FOLLOW FRIDAY (23) and TGIF (12)

Gain New Blog Followers
Feature & Follow Friday is a blog hop that expands your blog following by a joint effort between bloggers. Feature & Follow Friday is now hosted by TWO hosts, Rachel of Parajunkee and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!

This Week's Feature Blogs:

Book Briefs
Book Briefs

GRBUTTON Feature & Follow #92
Gizmo's Reviews

Q: What is one book that you would be nervous to see a movie adaptation of because you think the movie could never live up to the book?
In theory, I would love to see all my favorite books turned into movies if only to give them, and the authors, more exposure.  But, for every Harry Potter or Hunger Games, we have a Percy Jackson, Avalon High, or The Other Boleyn Girl.  I couldn't pick just one book for this question so I decided to give you all my top five:

1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
In my mind, there is just no way that the epic scale of this book could be successfully adapted into a movie.  Possibly could work as a mini-series, but I would still be nervous.  The casting would probably be the biggest do you find someone to embody Jamie Fraser?

2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
I have seen so many great books get destroyed during adaptation.  With this being a young adult book, my biggest fear for this book would be that they would "dumb it down" for the audience or add too much unnecessary drama. 

3. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
Similar to #2, I would be afraid that they would take this hilarious, and intelligent, contemporary romance and turn it into another stupid, cliched mess like so many other romantic comedies.  You just know Hollywood would try to make Min a skinny blonde or something equally goofy.

4. Fever series by Karen Marie Moning
I know they are in the early process of making this into a movie, but I will admit I'm nervous.  How will they take the epic awesomeness that is this urban fantasy series and give it justice?  Will they be able to accurately portray Mac's evolution from pink-loving Southern belle into badass fae fighter?  Also, how in the world would you cast Jericho Z. Barrons? 

5. Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
Another series that is currently in the early stages of adaptation.  I just finished this and absolutely adored it.  I'm nervous about this one because of the inevitable Twilight or Vampire Diaries comparisons and the fact that I'm not sure how the complex political issues would turn out on screen.

I have created different ways for you to follow my blog: GFC, LinkyFollowers, email, Twitter, or Goodreads.  Comment, follow me, and I'll return the favor!!


Hosted by Ginger at GReads.

This Friday's Question
Musical Stories: If you could read a book about any song, which song would you love to see written down in story form?

*Ordinary Day by Vanessa Carlton
The pure wonder depicted in this song would make a fascinating young adult or contemporary romance.  A great example of what could be done is in this AMV with the hilarious, and sweet, anime Ouran High School Host Club.

*Everybody's Fool by Evanescence
A dark, depressing song about hiding your true self from others would be a fascinating read.  I could see an author like Laurie Halse Anderson or Sarah Dessen doing wonders with this type of storyline.
*Sharada by Skye Sweetnum
This song is a happy-go-lucky story about a girl who seems to bounce her way through life while not caring what anyone thinks of her.  It reminds me a bit of Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter and I think it would make a great and unusual book.

*A Star-Crossed Wasteland by In This Moment
This is my suggestion for an urban fantasy-type story.  The epic scale of the song could easily be portrayed in this genre.  Also, it would be interesting to see how an author like Stacia Kane or Karen Marie Moning would take the idea of a star-crossed wasteland and turn it into a fascinating supernatural world.


Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6) by Richelle Mead (5 Stars)
Lover Reborn (Black Dagger Brotherhood #10) by JR Ward (5 Stars)
A Week To Be Wicked (Spindle Cove #2) by Tessa Dare (5 Stars)
When A Duke Says I Do by Jane Goodger (3.5 Stars)
Fortune Hunter (Brook Street #2) by Ava March (4 Stars)
Long Hard Ride (Rough Riders #1) by Lorelei James (3.5 Stars)
Confessions From An Arranged Marriage (Burgundy Club #4) by Miranda Neville (4 Stars)

Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill (link)
Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead (link)
Blood Promise by Richelle Mead (link)
TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books That Were Totally Deceiving (link)
MY BOOK BOYFRIEND: Dimitri Belikov from Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series (link)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

REVIEW: "Blood Promise" by Richelle Mead

Blood Promise by Richelle Mead
(Vampire Academy #4)

Young Adult--Paranormal--Vampires
Penguin/Razorbill--August 2009
Paperback, 503 pages 


How far will Rose go to keep a promise?

The recent Strigoi attack at St. Vladimir’s Academy was the deadliest ever in the school’s history, claiming the lives of Moroi students, teachers, and guardians alike. Even worse, the Strigoi took some of their victims with them... including Dimitri.

He’d rather die than be one of them, and now Rose must abandon her best friend, Lissa—the one she has sworn to protect no matter what—and keep the promise Dimitri begged her to make long ago. But with everything at stake, how can she possibly destroy the person she loves most?


Blood Promise begins right where Shadow Kiss left off.  A massive Strigoi attack has left St. Vladimir's Academy trying to deal with the multitude of casualties (Moroi and dhampir) including Rose's mentor, and lover, Dimitri.  She knows that Dimitri has, more than likely, been turned into a Strigoi against his will.  Now, she is heading off to Russia to find him and fulfill the promise they made to each other about not wanting to live their lives as a Strigoi. 

Through Rose's adventures in Russia and Siberia, readers get to see a wider view of Mead's complicated and original supernatural world.  There are lots of new characters and new ideas being thrust as Rose while she tries to find Dimitir.  This provides her with real-world training and helps her mature rapidly.  She can no longer be the impulsive, carefree teenager she once was.  Rose must know use what she has learned both at the Academy and from Dimitri to survive and accomplish her goal. 

One of the most poignant plot points is the journey to Dimitri's hometown where Rose meets his mother, grandmother, and sisters.  This provides her with a deeper understanding of dhampir culture away from guardian training.  Readers and Rose have heard about communities where dhampirs live together without Moroi and provides an interesting perspective on Moroi/dhampir relations.  In addition to the non-fighting dhampirs, Rose also sees rogue dhampirs who fight Strigoi without allegiance to the guardians.  This allows her to see the positive and negative effects of becoming a vigilante like she has always threatened. 

Rose also gains a deeper understanding of Strigoi in this book.  She is searching for Dimitri and this forces her to interact with quite a few Strigoi.  The violence of their lifestyle is shown in all its brutal glory as well as the allure of their undead freedom.  Readers have heard and seen bits and pieces about the Strigoi, but this book provides a true look at the inner workings of this culture and why it can be so seductive and dangerous.

There are many new characters that Rose meets in Russia and Siberia.  The two most intriguing are Sydney the Alchemist and Abe Mazur the mysterious Moroi.  Alchemists are a group that is new to Rose and she learns quite a bit about their mission to keep Moroi/Strigoig/dhampirs existence from the human population.  Sydney seems to be a difficult character to like at first, but I found her rigid personality to be a fun foil for Rose.  Abe Mazur is a flashy Moroi who has taken an interest in Rose and seems to have connections throughout the world.  I look forward to seeing more from these two fabulous new faces in the Vampire Academy world.

In terms of old characters, most of the book follows Rose's adventures so there is little about the gang back at St. Vlad's.  But, readers do get to see some through Rose's connection with Lissa since the guilt that Rose feels for abandoning Lissa in Shadow Kiss forces her to keep watch on her friend.  Primarily, readers see Lissa deal with the shame of not helping Rose and of trying to deal with the darker side of her spirit powers without her.  This is one of the first times that Lissa is forced to show her strength and it made me like her character a little bit more.  We also continue to see Adrian, who communicates with Rose through his dreamwalking abilities.  This is sweet, humorous friendship that has a deeper undertone which is fascinating to read about.   

This book has a nice balance between action and drama with lots of twists and turns being thrown at the reader.  The events of Shadow Kiss have turned Rose's world upside down and readers are watching her deal with these developments.  Characters are changing and the adventures are getting more dangerous as the series slowly head towards its climax.

Rating: 5 Stars

Vampire Academy
1. Vampire Academy
2. Frostbite
3. Shadow Kiss
4. Blood Promise
5. Spirit Bound
6. Last Sacrifice

1. Bloodlines
2. The Golden Lily (To Be Released 2012)

REVIEW: "Shadow Kiss" by Richelle Mead

Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead
(Vampire Academy #3)

Young Adult--Paranormal
Razorbill--November 2008
Paperback, 443 pages 


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 about Dimitri is one thing but suddenly there’s way more than friendship at stake. The immortal undead are on the prowl, and they want vengeance for the lives that Rose has stolen. In a heart-stopping battle to rival her worst nightmare, 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?



While I enjoyed the first two books in this series, Shadow Kiss is where my obsession starts!  This third book takes the world of the Moroi, Strigoi, and dhampirs and throws it into the upper echelons of awesomeness!! 

In terms of plot, this book deals with a lot of drama and conflict.  There is the direct aftereffects of the Strigoi attack that left Mason, Rose's fellow guardian-in-training, dead as well as the trial for Victor Dashkov from his actions in Vampire Academy.  This book seemed much darker than the previous ones and went along with the fact that Rose, Lissa, and the others were really starting to understand the dangers associated with their world. 

Rose continues to grow into becoming a full-fledged guardian, but her efforts seem to be hampered by some new developments.  She begins seeing ghosts (specifically Mason) as well as dealing with some school-related issues.  Some readers may be turned off by the fact that Rose appears a little whinier than in previous installments.  From my viewpoint, she has gone through major trauma and isn't dealing with it well.  On top of that, she continues to try to put Lissa and her need first which takes its toll on her body and her mind. 

The Dimitri/Rose relationships grows much deeper in Shadow Kiss.  He understands and accepts what she's going through and acts as a confidante for her.  Her tantrums do not deter him, like other characters, and the depths of his feelings for her are on full display.  I absolutely adore this couple so I will say that ending (!) completely floored me and had me reaching for the tissues.

Another intriguing relationship readers see in this book is between Rose and Christian.  They are forced to hang out with each other and so begin to see how similar they really are.  This friendship is a lot of fun to watch develop especially with all the snark and sarcasm floating around.  Adrian continues to make me laugh and I will admit that, while I don't see him being a viable candidate for Rose's affections, I would love to see him in a real relationship.  I really liked getting to see more of Eddie and can't wait to watch his development.  Lissa, who is not one of my favorite characters, gets a little annoying in this book (especially with some of her actions at the end), but I see this as a realistic portrayal of what can happen to teenage friendship as people mature.

This is definitely the book that made me a Vampire Academy fangirl!  I love how the author isn't afraid to put her characters in difficult situations and I can't wait to see what happens next!

Rating: 5 Stars


Vampire Academy
1. Vampire Academy
2. Frostbite
3. Shadow Kiss
4. Blood Promise
5. Spirit Bound
6. Last Sacrifice

1. Bloodlines
2. The Golden Lily (To Be Released 2012)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

MY BOOK BOYFRIEND (33): Dimitri Belikov

MY BOOK BOYFRIEND is an awesome weekly meme hosted by Missie at The Unread Reader, all about fictional boys who make us swoon.  This week I am swooning over:

Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series

About Dimitri:
  • Age: 24 years old
  • Appearance: Longish dark brown hair and brown eyes/6'7 and muscular build
  • Nicknames: Dimka, Comrade, Cradle Robber
  • Dhampir guardian originally from Siberia.
  • Speaks with a slight Russian accent.
  • Known as a god amongst the other guardians for his fighting prowess.
  • Loves western novels and wears a long duster like a cowboy.
  • Falls in love with a student he is mentoring at St. Vladimir's Academy.

The other problem in my life is Dimitri.  He's the one who killed Natalie, and he's a total badass.  He's also pretty good-looking.  Okay--more than good-looking.  He's hot--like the kind of hot that makes you stop walking on the street and get hit by traffic.

"Do you think I'm pretty?"
"I think you're beautiful."
"You are so beautiful, it hurts sometimes."
--Vampire Academy

"You and I will both be Lissa's guardians someday.  I need to protect her at all cost.  If a pack of Strigoi come, I need to throw my body between them and her."
"I know that.  Of course that's what you have to do."  The black sparkles were dancing in front of my eyes again.  I was fading out.
"No.  If I let myself love you, I won't throw myself in front of her.  I'll myself in front of you."
--Vampire Academy

"We can't . . ." He told me.
"I know," I agreed.
Then his mouth was on mine again, and this time, I knew there would be no turning back.  There were no walls this time.  Our bodies wrapped together as he tried to get my coat off, then his shirt, then my shirt . . . It really was a lot like when we'd fought out on the quad earlier--that same passion and heat.  I think at the end of the day, the instincts that power fighting and sex aren't so different. They all come from an animal side of us.
--Shadow Kiss

There are many more quotes that I wanted to add, but I didn't want to spoil too much of this fabulous YA series.  If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it! 

My Dimitri: Actor Taylor Kitsch from Friday Night Lights, John Carter, and Wolverine.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

TOP TEN TUESDAY (21): Books That Were Totally Deceiving

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.


1. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants [Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants #1] by Ann Brashares
How It Was Deceiving: Cover and Summary
When I first bought this book back in high school, I thought it was going to a light-hearted story about teenage friendship.  While I was right about the friendship part, I had no idea that there would be so much emotion in this book and the later ones in the series.  There is humor and fun throughout the girls' experiences as well as a darker side that gives them a realistic feel.

2. Paranormalcy [Paranormalcy #1] by Kiersten White
How It Was Deceiving: Summary
A young adult paranormal novel that I believed, based on the summary, would be like so many other paranormals in this post-Twilight literary world.  Imagine my surprise when I met Evie and just had so much fun!  The almost-satirical wink at YA paranormal novels is a blast to read.

3. Vampire Academy [Vampire Academy #1] by Richelle Mead
How It Was Deceiving: Cover and Summary
Similar to Paranormalcy, I went into this series thinking it would be a Twilight-esque world that would be a nice escape, but with little substance.  Don't let the seemingly bland summary and equally deceiving cover fool you.  This series is full of creative worldbuilding, fascinating characters, political intrigue, sweet romanc, and plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing until the very end.

4. Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side [Jessica #1] by Beth Fantaskey
How It Was Deceiving: Title and Summary
Another YA vampire novel that seemed frothy and bubbly on the surface, but hid a darkly disturbing center.  Lucius is not a sparkly, brooding vampire, but a tortured potential killing machine which makes his arrangement with Jessica even more intriguing.  Not the best vampire series I've read, but it surprised me by its quick turn into the more Gothic aspects of the paranormal genre.

5. Cinder [Lunar Chronicles #1] by Marissa Meyer
How It Was Deceiving: Personal Expectations
I adore fairy tale retellings and I was excited to read this science fiction twist on Cinderella, one of my all-time favorites!  But, what I didn't expect was the elaborately disturbing and poignant dystopian-like story I got.  Meyer takes the familiar story to new heights and sets up what I am assuming will be a legendary series!

6. Beau Crusoe by Carla Kelly
How It Was Deceiving: Cover
When you first look at the cover of this book, you probably think "Oh...another sweet, romantic story with lots of rainbows and puppies."  Wrong!  This is an intense historical romance that provides masterful insight into PTSD and takes readers into some very dark places.  Completely surprising, but I absolutely loved it!

7. Between Sinners and Saints by Marie Sexton
How It Was Deceiving: Personal Expectations
I have read my fair share of "tear-jerking" male/male of my guilty pleasures!  However, I was hesitant to read this book at first because I thought it would turn into an anti-religious rant.  But, nothing could have prepared me for Marie Sexton's indepth look at religion, sexual abuse, and pure love.  She treated the religious aspects with great respect and helped establish Jaime and Levi as one my all-time favorite romance couples!

8. Always to Remember by Lorraine Heath
How It Was Deceiving: Cover
Another seemingly sweet historical romance cover with flowers and bright colors.  Completely hides one of the most heart-wrenching books I've ever read.  Clayton's experience as a peaceful man who morally opposed the Civil War and was imprisoned for treason is sometimes hard to read, but inspiring at the same time.  It is just unfortunate that the cover might make potential readers back away.

9. Tiger Eye [Dirk & Steele #1] by Marjorie M. Liu
How It Was Deceiving: Cover and Personal Expectations
I love paranormal romances especially if they are part of a series.  I had been hearing fabulous things about Liu's Dirk and Steele books and expected a drama-filled, dark story like I see in books by Sherrilyn Kenyon and JR Ward.  What I got was a light, sweet story full of fantasy and hot guys though I am not a fan of the weirdly shaped half-naked man on the cover.

10. Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh
How It Was Deceiving: Covers
I avoided reading these books for years because of the cheap covers.  Look at these things...weird fonts, strange poses, etc.  This series is one of my favorites and it pains me to see an author as talented as Nalini to be given such crappy covers!

*Honorable Mentions: Almost all romance novels!
How It Was Deceiving: Covers, Titles, Book Summaries
I could have filled this entire list with romance novels particularly historicals.  From the borderline NSFW covers to the bland titles with some use of a noble title and a synonym for sexy or wanton, these usually never fit the actual storyline and, I believe, perpetuate the myth that all romance novels are full of sex and poor writing.  For some fun, I recommend checking out the Cover Cafe's romance covers contest especially the Worst Cover category here.