Weekly Wrap Up + What We Read 4/10/16

This week, I am the queen of posting! I am not, however, the queen of reading. That falls to Michaela. Once again, I genuinely forgot about how much different stuff we put together for you guys this week. There’s tags and reviews and giveaways, oh my! But seriously, you don’t want to miss any of this. Here we go!

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday:

Worth It Wednesday: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Worth It Wednesdays is a weekly post where I feature my favorite YA titles. Find out more about it here!

81ep-ouzgalTitle: Vampire Academy

Author: Richelle Mead

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

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, 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 Lissa one of them.

After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger . . . and the Strigoi are always close by.

Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever . . .

Why it’s worth it: In honor of the release of The Glittering Court, I wanted to feature the series that got me started on Richelle Mead. I picked up the first books in this series kind of on a whim, back when vampires when all the rage. The original covers weren’t all that great, but I did it anyways.

I’m so glad.

My favorite thing about these books is that they aren’t just another vampire novel. There are vampires in it, but there is a lot more focus on relationships and friendships than in a lot of other “vampire” books. The world is exciting and new, and the books are full of adventure.

Rose, the main character, is the kind of person I would love to be friends with. Without a doubt, she makes these books for me. Whether it is her constant sass, her unflinching loyalty or her realness as a person and not just another archetypal character, she is always the highlight of each of the six books. She makes as many mistakes as she fixes, but she always works through it in the end.

An extremely realistic and interesting love interest/story always helps as well. Yes, not realistic in the sense of VAMPIRES but realistic in the sense that it’s messy and fraught but in the end I’m convinced that it is worth fighting for. These books will amuse, hurt and excite you in all the right ways. Not just another vampire novel.

Read it if you’re looking for: vampires, strong female characters, strong female friendships, swoon worthy romance, not another love triangle, magic, humor, sass, action, adventure

Release Day Blitz: The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead (Excerpt + Giveaway)

THE GLITTERING COURT (1)

If you follow this blog, then you know that I LOVE me some Richelle Mead – and of course her newest book, The Glittering Court, is right up my alley. I’m super excited to be able to participate in this release day blitz, which also comes with an excerpt from the book and a giveaway!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Richelle Mead, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a signed copy of the book and a $25 Sephora Gift Card courtesy of Richelle, Penguin Teen, and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

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From the Notebook: (Some) Favorite Books to Re-Read

From the Notebook videos are back! This week I’m talking about all the books I re-read while I was home. I spent a lot of winter break sick or feeling awful after getting my wisdom teeth out, so this is really a list of some of my favorite books of all time. A lot of these are the books I always return to and that make me smile and make me happy. Enjoy the last video I filmed at my house for the foreseeable future!

Posts mentioned in this video:

Top Ten Authors I’ve Read The Most Books From

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish!

So I haven’t done one of these in a LONG time, but since the theme worked so well into the direction I’m turning the blog in (i.e., promoting what I love, leaving the critical reviewing behind), I just had to do it. So, here we go (in no particular order)!

  1. Battle MagicTamora Pierce

This woman was the hero of my childhood. She was the hero of my tweens. She is the hero of my twenties. I got to learn from her for two summers in a row in high school–and THEN she came to my college freshman year–and the starry eyed wonder of her has never left me. Not to mention the fact that she has written more books than I actually know how to count and I have read them ALL.

2. Clive CusslerCrescent Dawn

There are about 20+ books in his Dirk Pitt series, PLUS however many are in the Kurt Austin adventures. He’s got a few other series now, but I’m a traditionalist and I’ve only ever read through these two favorites of mine.

3. All American GirlMeg Cabot

Didn’t every girl go through this phase? I’m not just talking Princess Diaries here, either. I read her stand-alones, her All-American Girl series … everything. If Meg Cabot write it, I had to have it.

4. Philippa GregoryChangeling

I will forever be cranky about the historical leaps that she took in The Other Boleyn Girl especially, but that doesn’t stop me from lapping up every single book she writes on Tudor England. I think the only books by her that I haven’t read was that one non-Royal series she did and–strangely–her YA series. The first book of which I have lying around here … somewhere.

bloodlines5. Richelle Mead

Richelle is another one of those authors that has written more books than I know how to count, but I haven’t actually read them ALL. I’m deeply obsessed with her 12 Vampire Academy and Bloodlines books but I have also read part of her Gameboard of the Gods series. I don’t know what I’ll do without more VA goodness, but she’s got me hooked enough on her to keep going with whatever she writes.

6. Cassandra Clareprincess

Did you guys miss the time that I drove 5 hours one way mostly to see Cassie? Because I did that. I have not only read everything she’s ever written, but also own it. (Except for that middle grade series she’s doing. I’m scared of middle grade.) She’s one of my favorite authors of all time right now, and I don’t see that changing in the foreseeable future.

A Countess Below Stairs7. Eva Ibbotson

Did anyone else read these books as a kid? I couldn’t stop. Sometime during my childhood, the publisher did a re-release of a bunch of her stuff and I bought all of it. It’s just so much … fun. Romantic, magical fun.

8. Simone ElkelesChain Reaction

I read Perfect Chemistry by Simone and I was just hooked. I went back and read all the stuff I’d missed beforehand, and then the two books that followed Perfect Chemistry. I even started her new series before my love of contemporary YA romance phased out. I still love these books to death, though.

Hex Hall9. Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall was absolute perfection. When her Rebel Belle series started, I wasn’t so sure I could do it. But no. I’m in love with Rachel forever and always.

10. Kiersten WhiteThe Chaos of Stars

Sometimes I forget just how MUCH STUFF Kiersten has done. Her Paranormalcy series was beautiful, of course, but then there was her Egyptian God based book Chaos of Stars–which I just reread–and her Mind Games series. All of which I own, of course!

Waiting on Wednesday #39

New WoW

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

The Fiery HeartTitle: The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4)

Author: Richelle Mead

ETA: November 19th, 2013

Description from Goodreads: In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn’t over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there’s still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this thrilling fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

ARC Review: “Gameboard of the Gods” by Richelle Mead

Gameboard of the GodsGameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1) by Richelle Mead

Goodreads | Amazon

In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. But Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised in an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military’s most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills.

When Justin and Mae are assigned to work together to solve a string of ritualistic murders, they soon realize that their discoveries have exposed them to terrible danger. As their investigation races forward, unknown enemies and powers greater than they can imagine are gathering in the shadows, ready to reclaim the world in which humans are merely game pieces on their board.

3 stars

Thanks to Edelweiss and Dutton Adult for this eARC! This title is now available.

No, this isn’t a ya novel. But as a die hard Richelle Mead fan, I couldn’t resist requesting this when it popped up on Edelweiss. Perhaps it is because I’m such a die hard fan that I couldn’t help but be disappointed by this book.

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Review: “The Indigo Spell” by Richelle Mead

The Indigo SpellThe Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3) by Richelle Mead

Goodreads | Amazon

In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch–a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood–or else she might be next.
Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, the Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive—this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone’s out for blood.

Four stars

WARNING: If you haven’t read the first two books, there WILL be spoilers!

Please check out my reviews of Bloodlines and The Golden Lily for more of my thoughts!

There was almost nothing more important to me than getting my hands on this book. I mean, guys. It’s Richelle Mead. It’s Adrian. It’s Sydney. Despite my initial misgivings about this series, these two won me way over from the get go. I was good with Bloodlines, great with The Golden Lily. Sadly, despite the Adrian and Sydney scenes that I wanted, I have to say I’m back to being just good with The Indigo Spell.

The Indigo Spell starts off only short time after the great cliffhanger of The Golden Lily. Adrian and Sydney are acting all of the awkward, which is making Jill turn away from Sydney while Eddie and Angeline are off in their own little world. Sydney’s witch teacher is worried about a powerful, evil new witch in town and is obsessed with finding her, while Sydney is obsessed with finding Marcus. Adrian’s just obsessed with getting Sydney to see the obvious.

Let me just say, first off, that the Adrian/Sydney dynamic is the most adorable thing ever. You could say many things about Rose/Dimitri, but you could never really use the word “adorable.” Mead does a FANTASTIC job characterizing their relationship and their interactions with each other. Each action seems genuine and sincere. Every single scene with the two of them in it tugs my heart strings every which way. They aren’t just great as a couple; they’re great friends, too, and it shows. They really do act in a partnership, constantly making the other better. I should probably stop now before I just explode with happiness about these two.

My real problem with this book came in terms of the plot. There is just WAY too much going on. Sydney is after Marcus. Her professor is after a powerful witch who just happens to be her sister who just happens to be sucking the life force out of young, female witches.  Adrian is after Sydney. Sydney is trying to figure the Alchemists out for real. In the background you have Jill still mooning over Eddie and Eddie and Angeline having interesting problems. The different plots overlap in such a way that much of the characterization outside of Adrian and Sydney is entirely lost. You barely see Eddie, Jill and Angeline at all, and when you do Sydney is basically pushing them away. She knows there’s too much going on to deal with them. The different plot lines are constantly trying to push the other one out of the way until you can’t tell which one you should really be focusing on. In the end, the plots peter out in such a way that it feels like they were never important to begin with. The only thing holding the whole book together is the fact that Sydney and Adrian get to spend a LOT of time together.

I understand that as a middle book in a series, Mead had to throw a bunch of new plot in to reinvigorate the story, but I really missed the group dynamic that was prevalent in the first two books. Even the ending cliffhanger wasn’t as entirely engaging as the last ones. (Although, how do you top The Golden Lily, really?) Nothing particularly exciting or unexpected happened, as far as I was concerned, but I still really enjoyed it. Fans of Adrian and Sydney will NOT be disappointed. (Oh, and Rose and Dimitri fans will be happy to know we got another cameo!)

Book 4 in the Bloodlines series, The Fiery Heart, will be released on November 19th, 2013!

Waiting on Wednesday #31

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine!

Title: The Indigo Spell

Author: Richelle Mead

ETA: Febuary 12, 2013

Summary from Goodreads: In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch–a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood–or else she might be next.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, the Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive—this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone’s out for blood.

What are you waiting for?

Waiting on Wednesday #30

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine!

Title: Gameboard of the Gods

Author: Richelle Mead

ETA: June 4th, 2013

Summary from Goodreads: In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. But Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised in an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military’s most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills.

When Justin and Mae are assigned to work together to solve a string of ritualistic murders, they soon realize that their discoveries have exposed them to terrible danger. As their investigation races forward, unknown enemies and powers greater than they can imagine are gathering in the shadows, ready to reclaim the world in which humans are merely game pieces on their board.

Gameboard of the Gods, the first installment of Richelle Mead’s Age of X series, will have all the elements that have made her YA Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series such megasuccesses: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense.

What are you waiting on?