Top Ten Best Sequels Ever

toptentuesday

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

Gretchen here, filling in for Marina this week while she tackles Latin homework and midterms. This week was a hard one, only because there were so many options that I could have picked. Although I may have cheated a little, but only if you’re definition of “sequel” is book two in a series. If not, then we’re good. 😉 These are in no particular order.

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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!

2012 End of the Year Book Survey

End of the Year Book Survey

The End of the Year Book Survey is hosted by The Perpetual Page Turner.

So, I found this survey on the blogosphere and thought, “You know, this would be awesome.” So I’m going to do it. Hopefully it’ll become an annual thing, and will help you guys find some new books to read. Oh, and cheating is going to be rampant.

1. Best Book You Read In 2012?

Cheating on the first question, ALRIGHT! Here’s my Top Ten Books I Read in 2012!

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Erm, there were a few of these. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins was one of them. The blogosphere blew up about it but I … wasn’t on board as much. Same with Defiance by CJ Redwine. I wanted so much more out of that one. More recently, Prophecy by Ellen Oh. I liked all these, I just expected more.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, most definetly. The way it’s written, I should hate it. But I LOVE IT.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

Depending on the person, it’s probably a tie between Code Name Verity and Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

Oof. That’s a hard one. What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang? Throne of Glass? Grave Mercy by R. L. LaFevers? The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa? I can’t pick one!

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Nina Berry (Otherkin), Kat Zhang (What’s Left of Me), Jodi Meadows (Incarnate), Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass), Jay Kristoff (Stormdancer)– I should probably stop at some point.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. I don’t particularly like contemporary YA and am very cynical about YA romance, but this one just turned me into a marshmellow.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Ohmygod.

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead. THE IDIGO SPELL IS COMING!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

Basically, my one goal here was to avoid a girl in a dress and that was REALLY HARD. This is Crewel by Gennifer Albin!

Crewel11. Most memorable character in 2012?

Eva and Addie from What’s Left of Me. These are two girls in one body. IT WAS FANTASTIC.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Hands down.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?

Code Name Verity for sure. Also Pushing the Limits.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Yeah, I know, it’s THAT BAD.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?

ARE YOU CRAZY THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE? Uh.

“And this, even more wonderful and mysterious, is also true: when I read it, when I read what Julie’s written, she is instantly alive again, whole and undamaged. With her words in my mind while I’m reading, she is as real as I am. Gloriously daft, drop-dead charming, full of bookish nonsense and foul language, brave and generous. She’s right here. Afraid and exhausted, alone, but fighting. Flying in silver moonlight in a plane that can’t be landed, stuck in the climb—alive, alive, ALIVE.”

Code Name Verity

“Her shoulders never shook. No tears streamed down her face. The worst type of crying wasn’t the kind everyone could see–the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life.”

Pushing the Limits

“The hand on my hair moved to my back, and I realized someone was singing softly. The voice was familiar, and something about it made my chest ache.  Well, that was to be expected. Angels’ songs would be awfully poignant.
“‘I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, when I met you…'” the voice crooned.
I frowned. Was that really an appropriate song for the Heavenly Host to be–”

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

(I think I’ll stop here…)

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?

Longest: Literary Theory: Anthology = 1,314 pages

Shortest: Shadowed Ground by Vicki Keire = 120 pages

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead. AGGHGHGHGH GUYS IT HAPPENED AND THEN AGHGHGHGH.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Endlessly by Kiersten White, because EVIE AND LEND. But also Syndey and Adrian from The Golden Lily. But then there’s Noah and Echo in Pushing the Limits. And Sophie and Archer from Spell Bound. And Ellie and Will from Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare or Wings of the Wicked or Spell Bound.

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, thanks to THE ENTIRE BLOGOSPHERE.

I’m going to hold this here because wow this is already long, but there are plenty of other questions about blogging and stuff on the whole thing, so check out The Perpetual Pageturner for more questions and blogs!

Top Ten Books I Read in 2012

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

Okay, just fyi – TEN IS REALLY HARD. So don’t take this as the only top books I read. But this is what I could cull it to. And this is in no particular order.

Wings of the Wicked1. Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

Okay, you guys all know how much I love this books and Courtney herself. I believe I used the phrase “rapid machine gun of awesomeness” to describe this book in my review.

2. Incarnate by Jodi MeadowsIncarnate

There are far too many CAPS in my review of this book. I mean, really. But I went so gaga for it I themed my prom dress around it. Okay, so that wasn’t originally intentional but it soon became that way.

The Immortal Rules3. The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Not going to lie: this was the first Julie Kagawa book I ever read. I’ve now caught the Julie Kagawa bug and want to read everything from her books to her shopping lists. See my review here.

4. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFeversgrave mercy

Historical fiction. Assassin nuns. Fly to the bookstores right now. If assassin nuns doesn’t do it for you, I don’t know what will. It certainly did for me!

Code Name Verity5. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

This historical fiction piece on World War II made me cry. And I never, ever, should have liked this book because it’s written with a few of my pet peeves. But it’s one of the best things ever, and here’s why.

6. Insurgent by Veronica RothInsurgent

It’s Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Do I have to explain it to you? (If so, read my review!)

city of lost souls7. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

Okay, okay, I’m still not a fan of continuing the series after what I thought was the perfect ending. But if there was a way to continue the series, this is it – here’s why.

8. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. MaasThrone of Glass

High fantasy for young adults. They said it was impossible, but Maas did it. ALL OF THE LOVE. Another review with too much excitement.

The Golden Lily9. The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

It’s Richelle Mead and Adrian. I love Adrian. I love him so much I might almost love him more than Dimi– oh dear, I feel the fan girls descending. Go read my review for more!

10. What’s Left of Me by Kat ZhangWhat's Left of Me

The main character is two girls in one body. That is all. For more, read my review.

Review: “The Golden Lily” by Richelle Mead

The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2) by Richelle Mead

Goodreads | Amazon

Tough, brainy alchemist Sydney Sage and doe-eyed Moroi princess Jill Dragomir are in hiding at a human boarding school in the sunny, glamorous world of Palm Springs, California. The students–children of the wealthy and powerful–carry on with their lives in blissful ignorance, while Sydney, Jill, Eddie, and Adrian must do everything in their power to keep their secret safe. But with forbidden romances, unexpected spirit bonds, and the threat of Strigoi moving ever closer, hiding the truth is harder than anyone thought.
Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Richelle Mead’s breathtaking Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive. In this second book, the drama is hotter, the romances are steamier, and the stakes are even higher.

4 1/2 stars

I picked up this book on the release date and proceeded to finish it in three hours. Despite the fact that I was supposed to be cheering on my brother at his Little League game.

And I regret nothing.

If you have not yet heard me fangirling about this series yet, well, you’re about to. Because *insert fangirl squealing here*.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t a fan of the idea of these books at the beginning. After all, in the VA series Adrian and Sydney weren’t really that big in my mind. I was a hardcore Dimitri/Rose shipper and found Adrian cute but in the way. Sydney I just didn’t find particularly interesting with Rose at the front and center.

Bloodlines, I have to admit, was good. The Golden Lily? BETTER.

I liked Sydney in Bloodlines. I loved her in The Golden Lily. I liked Adrian in Bloodlines. I LOVED HIM IN THE GOLDEN LILY.

*Mild spoiler warning*

Adrian turned into such a different person in this book. In the VA series especially, he was a big clichĂ© of a slacker dude. In The Golden Lily, though, he really comes into his own. The depth that he shows and the personality past the snark and slacking was utterly amazing. Plus, it didn’t feel like this sudden turn around. Mead made me believe that this was really under there all along. I will never give up on Dimitri because HELLO SEXY but Adrian?

HELLO ADORABLE MARRY ME NOW.

I was really not expecting the Sydney/Adrian scenes to go like then did. I especially didn’t expect Sydney to get a boyfriend. That in itself was awkwardly adorable, but again DUDE IN THE WAY OF THE REAL LOVE. Mead, you love to torture us so. Adrian’s attempts to hang out with Sydney through subtle ruses was way too overt coupled with Jill’s apparent “crush” on Sydney, though. I mean, we got it, really. And Sydney, HOW DENSE CAN YOU BE?

Oh, oh, should I be talking about the other stuff in the book? Crap. Uh. I also enjoyed finding out what Trey’s sun tattoo meant, and seeing Jill grow up a little in regards to her situation. The whole Eddie/Angeline/Jill thing seemed a little contrived to me, but I’ll let it slide because I’m here for the Sydney/Adrian, really.

One of the biggest changes for me is the fact that there is a lot less action then I seem to always expect. After all, Rose was THE most active person ever, getting into fights at every chance. Sydney, of course, is the brainy chick who was not raised to be a fighter and that necessitates a different form of “action.” Because of this, it almost seemed like The Golden Lily moves slower than any of the VA books, when there really is a lot going on. My brain has yet to process this.

I really wanted the whole witch thing to be delved into a little more, but with everything else going on there wasn’t really room for it anyways. Still, the next book doesn’t come out til 2013, come o–

The next book doesn’t come out til 2013 and SHE LEFT IT WITH THAT ENDING? WHY, MEAD, WHY?!?

I may die of anticipation.

Also, by the way, if you were expecting a coherent review you weren’t listening to me when I said FANGIRL HERE.

And because the fangirl really is here now I … should probably stop typing. Bottom line?

Bloodlines < The Golden Lily

IT’S THAT GOOD.

Waiting on Wednesday #10

Waiting on Wednesday is a feature hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Title: The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2) (Click for Goodreads)

Author: Richelle Mead

Expected Publication: June 12, 2012

Summary from Goodreads: The second thrilling installment in Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy spinoff series
Tough, brainy alchemist Sydney Sage and doe-eyed Moroi princess Jill Dragomir are in hiding at a human boarding school in the sunny, glamorous world of Palm Springs, California. The students–children of the wealthy and powerful–carry on with their lives in blissful ignorance, while Sydney, Jill, Eddie, and Adrian must do everything in their power to keep their secret safe. But with forbidden romances, unexpected spirit bonds, and the threat of Strigoi moving ever closer, hiding the truth is harder than anyone thought.
Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Richelle Mead’s breathtaking Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive. In this second book, the drama is hotter, the romances are steamier, and the stakes are even higher.

Why I’m Waiting: GUYS. I have NO WORDS to describe how much I LOVE the Vampire Academy series. In all honesty, when Bloodlines first came out, I was wary of it. My LOVELOVELOVES were Rose and Dimitri, and how could Sydney and Adrian even touch that? Well, it won me over, that’s for sure. Now I just want Sydney and Adrian to be a thing SO MUCH. Plus, it’s Richelle Mead. Rose was the perfect snarky narrator, but Adrian is almost as bad, so let the snark humor ensue! I CANNOT WAIT to get my hands on this.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Spring To-Be-Read List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Okay, I have to face it, my to-be-read list is SKY HIGH. Picking ten for the spring is going to be … death defying. Let’s give it a try! (All links will go to Goodreads unless otherwise noted.)

1. Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

In case you missed my Waiting on Wednesday post last week, I WANT THIS BOOK. If Amazon’s shipping department wasn’t the worst, I’D HAVE IT BY NOW. But I don’t. And the wait is KILLER.

2. The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges

Really, as far as I’m concerned, you can’t go wrong with this book. It’s historical fiction in the fact that it takes place in Russia circa 1888. It’s fantasy because the main character is both a Duchess and a necromancer. This book’s blurb caught me on the first look, and I can’t wait to read it.

3. Die for Me by Amy Plum

Okay, Anna and the French Kiss maaaay have made me have an instant love of books set in Paris, which I discovered at line 2 of the blurb. Then I read the REST of the blurb and went DUDE. Let’s see if the plotline is cool enough to overcome the star-crossed lovers thing! You can bet you’ll hear which way this one goes as soon as I get my hands on it.

4. Balthazar by Claudia Gray

I’ll admit, my interest in the Evernight series continued to wane as the books went on, but it seems that this one is completley unrelated to the Evernight books and characters except for Balthazar, so sign me up! I was a huge sucker for this guy, and I’m not ashamed to admit it!

5. The Selection by Kiera Cass

Okay, this is one book where I read the blurb and I went I WANT NOW. NOW. I have no idea why, but I just fell in love right there. Plus, the CW is making it into a TV series so DUDE. I have to at least read the book so I can watch how much the series messes with the plot line. 😛

6. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

GUYS. GUYS. CASSANDRA CLARE. THAT IS ALL.

7. Insurgent by Veronica Roth

This is the sequel to Divergent, which I thought actually lived up to a lot of the hype it got. Enough is said.

8. The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

MORE VAMPIRE ACADEMY WORLD. MORE ADRIAN. GIVE ME NOW. If you don’t believe the CAPS is pertinent, read my review of Bloodlines!

9. Grave Mercy by R. L. LaFevers

Girl escapes arranged marriage, becomes assassin. Seriously, do I need to tell you anymore? Also, for the life of me I can’t get this cover to actually show up here, so you’re just going to have to click the link to check it out. 😛

10. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

I am a horrible person who judges books by their cover–only literally, I swear! However, CHECK OUT THIS COVER. Then CHECK OUT THE BLURB. Really interested in getting my hands on this one!