Category Archives: Retro Review

REVIEW {31} RETRO REVIEW {5} Frostbite by Richelle Mead

SERIES: Vampire Academy #2 | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Vampire Academy #1; Shadow Kiss #3; Blood Promise #4; Spirit Bound #5; and Last Sacrifice #6; SPIN-OFF SERIES: Bloodlines | BOOKS IN THE SERIES:Bloodlines #1; The Golden Lily #2; The Indigo Spell #3; The Fiery Heart #4
AUTHOR: Richelle Mead
PUBLISHED: April 10th 2008 by Razorbill
EDITION: Paperback, 327 pages
ACQUISITION: Library; Need to Own/Wishlist
CATEGORIES: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Magic, Vampires, Romance, Supernatural, Richelle Mead, Book 2 in Series, Vampire Academy Series, Razorbill, 4 Star Rating, Wishlist, Review, Retro Review
RATING: 4.00/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 4.37/5.00

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose… 

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

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

MY THOUGHTS: I really enjoyed Vampire Academy, and when people started telling me that Frostbite was even better, I was psyched to read it… which I did, immediately after finishing book one. The most appealing aspects of these novels are the incredibly abundant amounts of action, and the insane emotions you feel from Rose. Rose is such a complex character, even though you seem to get her at face value, and you think there’s just maybe two sides to Rose, you then finish book two, and you are like, nope! Rose is Rose, regardless of who she’s interacting with; but she handles situations so differently. Every reaction that Rose has is so emotionally charged, and when she’s put to the test she always manages to kick butt! Everything about this book was addicting and delicious, and I can see myself adding the entire series to my personal library, and will be rereading these too, because the re-readability is very high.
The story line as well is so captivating, it literally grabs you and doesn’t let go. I would literally find myself doing things with the book clutched in my hands – cooking dinner, cleaning the house, etc. I did not want to put it down. There are momens where I was literally shocked at what Rose was put through, and awed at how amazingly she handles things. If you haven’t read this series, and you love vampires – you need to go get it right now. Like. Right. Now. Immediately. Go.
SIMILAR READS: Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine | Jealousy by Lili St. Crow | Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide by Michelle Rowen | Masquerade by Melissa de la Cruz | Stargazer by Claudia Gray
Happy Reading!

REVIEW {30} RETRO REVIEW {4} Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

SERIES: Vampire Academy #1 | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Frostbite #2; Shadow Kiss #3; Blood Promise #4; Spirit Bound #5; and Last Sacrifice #6; SPIN-OFF SERIES: Bloodlines | BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Bloodlines #1; The Golden Lily #2; The Indigo Spell #3; The Fiery Heart #4
AUTHOR: Richelle Mead
PUBLISHED: August 16th 2007 by Razorbill
EDITION: Paperback, 332 pages
CATEGORIES: Young Adult, Paranormal, Vampires, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Magic, Review, Razorbill, 4 Stars, Vampire Academy Series, Richelle Mead
RATING: 4.00/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 4.20/5.00

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger…

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

MY THOUGHTS: I went into this not really thinking I’d like it; but when I finished, I realized that I actually really enjoyed it! Like any first book, the beginning is a bit slower as it fills you in on everything that is going on, and explaining all of the characters, and story lines, etc.  I was even kind of annoyed with both Rose & Lissa when they first got back to the Academy. I had trouble connecting with Rose because I was reading her one way, and then we start to learn about how she used to be when they were previously at the Academy, so it was conflicting for me. But once I was into the bulk of the book I started seeing how kick-ass Rose Hathaway is! And Dimitri – YUM! The tension between Rose and Dimitiri is wonderful! And Christian, oh, Christian! Love the bad boys!!

What I liked as well is that there was ALWAYS something going on. There were very few, if any dull, slow moments. It was a very nicely paced story, in my opinion. I love the development of both Rose and Lissa’s characters throughout the story; and the ending was pretty much perfect to lead us into the second book. The world that Mead has created is wonderful, and one you can easily visualize and spend lots of time in. 

[NOTE: This is actually an old review that I originally posted on my previous blog in 2011. I’ve since read and loved the entire series, and will be posting the reviews for the rest of the series in upcoming weeks.]

SIMILAR READS: Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine | Betrayals by Lili St. Crow | Night World by L.J. Smith | Vampire Academy: The Ultimate Guide by Michelle Rowen | Out for Blood by Alyxandra Harvey

Happy Reading!

Review {24} Angel Burn

AUTHOR: L.A. Weatherly
SERIES: Angel #1 | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Angel Fire #2 Angel Fever #3
PUBLISHED: May 24th 2011 by Candlewick
EDITION: Hardcover, 449 pages
CATEGORIES: Young Adult, Angels, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romance, 3 Star Rating, Angel Series, Candlewick Publishing, Review, Retro Review
RATING: 3.00/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 3.98/5.00
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:  They’re out for your soul.
And they don’t have heaven in mind…
Willow knows she’s different from other girls, and not just because she loves tinkering with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into the future and know people’s dreams and hopes, their sorrows and regrets, just by touching them. she has no idea where this power comes from. But the assassin, Alex, does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows more about Willow than Willow herself does. He knows that her powers link to dark and dangerous forces and that he’s one of the few humans left who can fight them. When Alex finds himself falling in love with his sworn enemy, he discovers that nothing is as it seems, least of all good and evil.

MY THOUGHTS: There is a special place in my heart for angels. I love them – good or bad – so when I saw this book I knew I wanted it.  The premise was intriguing in itself as well, and struck me as a unique concept. I was very interested to see Weatherly’s take on angels, especially because it had absolutely no mention of religion anywhere in the synopsis, which pleased me as well because a lot of times I want a good angel story without being preached to or bombarded with religious thoughts, ideals, etc.
The story moves quickly enough considering for a decent portion the main characters are holed up in a cabin high in the mountains. What I like is that the beginning gives us a lot of background but does so quickly yet isn’t inadequate or rushed at all. I don’t have any major problems with the story line other than how fast Willow and Alex’s relationship goes from loathe to love. And it’s of the gross, mushy, omg get a room variety.
The characters are engaging, again I mention the relationship between Willow and Alex – the love they share does seem sincere, but maybe just a little bit forced. Of course they are also in a position and situation that most teenagers would never be in, so maybe under the circumstances it is understandable. I would’ve, however; preferred a slower progression into the “I love you’s”. The other characters were enjoyable as well. Willow’s mom, Raziel, Sophie, Aunt Jo and Lailah are all distinguishable and integral to the story. 
Angel Burn follows a recurrent fad in YA books where the chapters are alternating narrative with the main character in the first person POV and then other characters in the third person. I personally love this, and hope that it catches on because I think it makes for a great way to personalize and get to know all of the characters without just the main characters take on everyone. Otherwise, the writing is fine, overuse of adjectives from time to time, but an easy, simple style otherwise.
As far as the ending, I think that it is what it is. There could’ve been more, but it is sufficient as it is. It definitely left me wanting more – and I’ve already purchased the sequel!
WHO I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO: Anyone looking for a non-religious (but there is presence of what I’d say is a cult) angel story that fully embraces both good and bad. It’s jam-packed with action, mystery, romance, and will keep you on the edge of your seat guessing what’ll happen next!
SIMILAR READS: Mercy by Rebecca Lim | Awakened by Ednah Walters | Finding Sky by Joss Stirling | Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton | Fallen Angel by Heather Terrell

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lee Weatherly has been born in 1967 and grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. She lives with her husband in Hampshire, England, where she writes, goes on walks, collects frogs and has a cat named Bernard.

L.A. Weatherly is the pseudonym for Lee Weatherly. Another pen name she uses is Titania Woods.

Happy Reading!

Retro Review {2} Evermore by Alison Noel

AUTHOR: Alyson Noel
SERIES: The Immortals #1 | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Blue Moon, Shadowland, Dark Flame, Night Star, Everlasting
EDITION: Paperback, 301 pages
ACQUIRED: Own / Purchased
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: February 3rd 2009 by St. Martin’s Griffin
CATEGORIES: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy
RATING: 3.00/5.00  | Goodreads: 3.59/5.00

WHAT THE BACK OF THE BOOK SAYS: The first book in Alyson Noel’s extraordinary new Immortals series. Enter an enchanting new world, where true love never dies…
After a horrible car accident claims the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever Bloom can see people’s auras, hear their thoughts, and know someone’s entire life story by touching them. Going out of her way to avoid human contact to suppress her abilities, she has been branded a freak at her new high school – but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste.
Damen is gorgeous, exotic, and wealthy. He’s the only one who can silence the noise and random energy in her head – wielding a magic so intense, it’s as though he can peer straight into her soul. As Ever is drawn deeper into his enticing world of secrets and mystery, she’s left with more questions than answers. And she has no idea just who he really is – or what he is. The only thing she knows to be true is that she’s falling deeply and helplessly in love with him.
MY THOUGHTS: I originally read this back in 2009 when it first released. It was one of my first YA Paranormal titles, and I literally found it on Goodreads and left my house immediately to go and buy it at Borders. The cover, which I think is done wonderfully, also helped to pique my curiosity. 
There are many things going on in this series, though I still need to read the last two books. I enjoy Ever’s character, however I felt her relationship with Damen was too “insta-love”. While I wasn’t a huge fan of that, it didn’t really take away from the book too much once you get to the second book and things change drastically for the duo.
Ever’s two BFFs, Haven and Miles, are good sidekicks. Miles is a decent comic relief, if not a bit of the token, stereotypical gay kid. Think Kurt from Glee. At her old school, Ever was popular, a cheerleader, and surrounded by friends at all times. Now, she is reclusive, keeps to herself, wears a hoodie and her iPod at all times, deeming her the weird freak new kid at school. Ever is fighting with seeing auras and reading thoughts, which really plague her. She’s also having trouble adjusting to her new life living with her aunt after her parents, sister, and dog die in a car accident that she survived. Her deceased sister, Riley, comes and visits her, and those tend to be lighthearted, heartwarming, comedic scenes – which lead to the development of her own spin-off series. 
Just when Ever thinks things can’t get any worse – relief in the form of a gorgeous guy named Damen appears. Damen is just what a lot of YA love interests are, a bit cliche, in that he’s hiding deep, dark secrets about who and what he truly is. Especially when his ex, Drina, is around stirring up as much trouble as she possibly can. Also, Damen has unlimited wealth, which was a turn off for me. But ultimately once we start getting Damen’s back story, it’s easy to forget about the material possessions.
Overall, this was a decent first-in-the-series book, leading to even more action, drama, and adventure in the subsequent books to come. 
LITERARY AWARDS: Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Favorite Book & Young Adult Series (2009), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2011)
IF YOU LIKE THIS, TRY THIS: Stargazer by Claudia Gray | Dark Visions by LJ Smith | The Van Alen Legacy by Melissa de la Cruz | Kissed by an Angel by Elizabeth Chandler | Need by Carrie Jones
Happy Reading!