Sunday, February 23, 2014

THE FIERY HEART by Richelle Mead (YA)

Book 4 of The Bloodlines Series
** Do NOT read if you haven't read books 1-3, and plan on doing so. **

(Mini reviews for the first 3 books in the series at the end of the main review.)

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives.

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 smoldering fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.
5 out of 5 *Stars*

I have had this book sitting on my shelf for almost 3 months, and finally picked it up because it was due back at the library soon.  I don’t normally read YA novels, but I had started the series and it’s hard for me to let things go.  I am kicking myself for waiting that long.  Now, I am writing this review with blurry eyes, because I stayed up till 4am reading.  I couldn’t put it down.  It’s going to be hard to express how much I loved this book, but I’m still going to try.
First of all, the novel is written from both Sydney and Adrian’s point of view.  Leaving book 3, The Indigo Spell, we knew that they were going to be a couple (Sydrain), so this just enhanced the feel of the book even more.  I am a sucker for a good romance, and even though this was not technically a romance, it had more heart and love than some of the romance novels that I have read.  I wanted to reach inside and hug both of them because they were so perfect for each other.  I wanted to laugh, cry, scream, and smile with them.

‘Yet their hands shall not tremble, their feet shall not falter.’
“Everything’s going to be okay.  The center will hold.”
“How do you know?”
“Because we are the center.”
**Heart Melting**
The Fiery Heart had all the same characters that we have come to know and love, Eddie, Trey, Jill, Angeline, and of course Adrian and Sydney.  Plus, we also got a special treat, and got to read scenes that included a little bit of Rose, Dimitri, Lissa, and Christian.  New romances blossomed, and the same characteristics of them that we have found endearing are still there.  There was drama, suspense, looove, and action.  When I stopped reading at 4 am, it had gotten so good and my heart felt like it would burst from my chest, but I knew my husband would give me a hard time if he came out in the morning and I was still reading.  Therefore, I went to bed thinking that I had about two chapters left.  To my dismay, the next morning I found that I only had one VERY SHORT chapter left.  I was crushed.  I wanted it to go on and on, possibly forever. lol  Now I’m waiting for the next book.  Ugh!  I HATE waiting.  Oh well, I guess that’s how it goes. 
Centrum Permanebit…
Bloodlines (Book 1)
4 out of 5 *Stars*
It was no VA book, but it was a good start to a new series.  Vampire Academy is a hard series to follow behind, but I think this has potential to hold its own.  I love how Sydney is thrown into a world that is WAY out of her comfort zone.  It has so much conflict that you don’t know if everything will work out in the end.  The backstory with Keith and a glimpse into the world of an Alchemist gave a deeper look into what made Sydney the way she is.  Looking forward to the next book and hoping for a new and intriguing series.

The Golden Lily (Book 2) 
4 out of 5 *Stars*
This was a good book that left me wanting more.  You got a more in-depth look into the Alchemist world and learned a lot about re-education; something that would terrify anyone that was starting to waver in their stronghold beliefs.  Everyone and their personalities are starting to grow on me, except Jill.  She drove me a little crazy.  I found myself wanting her to act more grown up and responsible, but then I kept reminding myself that she was supposed to be a younger teenager.  It is a YA series after all.  Overall, it was still entertaining and I’m once again looking forward to the next book.
The Indigo Spell (Book 3)
3 out of 5 *Stars*

Honestly, I don’t remember much from this book.  It was pretty forgettable.  With a good set-up plot, I thought it would have had more action, but I was disappointed.  Luckily, the chemistry between Adrian and Sydney increased, but without a more in-depth story, it got a little dull. 
Great line that was, oh so typical, Adrian:  
"Do you want me to call you Celery Stick instead of Cupcake or Honey-Pie? It just doesn’t inspire the same warm and fuzzy feelings.”
Plus, I LOVED Hopper.  Who wouldn’t want a mini dragon of their own?


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Book Trailer Mania

Do you know how exhausting it is to make a book trailer?  Finding royalty free music and photos, sorting through everything to find the perfect pieces that represent your work… It’s tedious, and almost impossible.  Every author has a specific vision in their head as they’re writing a story.  It’s their own original thoughts, so it’s hard to find pictures that you hope will put your message and story across.  Like I said, it’s nearly impossible, but I just finished one for Celestial Beginnings that is pretty darn close.  It gives me chills just watching it.  One, because it is a really good video.  Two, because it captures the essence of the story very well.  You’ll have to watch it and tell me what you think.  It’s also posted on my sidebar for easy viewing.
I do have to say that it wouldn’t have half the impact it does without the music from Kevin MacLeod (  That alone gives me goose bumps.      

Crazy Order

I was talking to someone recently, and they said something that I can’t get out of my head.  This person watched the movie, “The Mortal Instruments” and wanted to know what happened next, so they got book 2 in the series to read.  It doesn’t seem that inconceivable, but what astounded me was that they never read the first book.  Maybe it’s just me, but being an avid reader, I could never imagine reading a series and not starting with the first book.  I too saw the movie and wanted to know what happened next.  You know what I did?  Rented “City of Bones” (Book 1).  I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but will it have a repeat of the same plot I watched in the movie?  Sure it will, but everyone knows that they never put everything into a movie from a book.  Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be done?
Honestly, I don’t know why this is bugging me so much.  She is a grown woman so I can’t tell her what to do, but part of me wants to shake some sense into her and ask what the hell she’s thinking. She’s a nice person, and there are other things we agree on, but this is not one of them.  I laugh at myself for thinking how much this bothers me.  Am I alone here?

Friday, February 7, 2014

BEAUTIFUL WRECK by Larissa Brown (R)


In a bleak future built on virtual reality, Ginn is a romantic who yearns for something real. She designs environments for people who play at being Vikings. But when her project goes awry, she’s stranded in the actual 10th century, on a storybook farm in Viking Iceland.

Heirik is the young leader of his family, honored by the men and women who live on his land. But he is feared and isolated because of a terrible curse. Ginn and Heirik are two people who never thought they would find a home in someone else’s heart.

When forces rise against them to keep them apart, Ginn is called on to decide—will she give up the brutal and beautiful reality of the past? Or will she have the courage to traverse time and become more of a Viking than she ever imagined?

4 out of 5 *Stars*
Beautiful Wreck is a book about time travel, Vikings, love, deception, and more.  Jen is from a future where buildings are in glaciers, glass houses are everywhere, and the present is so lost on everyone that they dress in their favorite time periods.  People walk around dressed like and acting as confederate soldiers, men in long coats and women with parasols, or even the occasional Viking.  Then, there are items such as digital contacts were people learn everything they need to know about the world they see.  Jen works for a company that creates virtual reality worlds so people can experience life in the eras that they most enjoy.  While doing a test run, something goes wrong, or right depending on how you look at it and Jen is transferred through time to 920 Iceland.  Now instead of learning all she could about the Viking era, she was living it. 
I was really indecisive about this book at first.  I go into every book wanting it to be my next favorite, so it was a little disappointing when I couldn’t get into this one right away.  In the first part of the book, it was as if the author would explain everything after the fact.  Therefore, as events were taking place, I had a hard time understanding what was going on.  For example, at the beginning, Jen kept seeing words pop up around her.  A couple pages later, it was revealed that her contacts were stuck in tourist mode.  It got so hard to read at times that I didn’t want to finish.  After around the 100 page mark (not so far since there is 569 pages), I was glad that I hadn’t stopped.  By page 264, I had chewed off all my finger nails, and by page 342 I was snapping at anyone that dared to interrupt my reading. :)
Once the main character got into the past, everything was described impeccably, and it was as if I could smell and taste everything that Ginn could.  Brown’s writing was very different than what I was used to, being much more expressive.
“It would be an accidental quantum leap in technology and pure artistry.  For this was art, magnificent in its fervent detail.”
It took a little bit of getting used to, but once I did, everything came out in perfect clarity. 
What I liked is that it wasn’t just a love story.  It had the dramatic lifestyle change from one time period to another.  Every detail about Viking living was so spot on.  A few times I thought that the author had to have gone back in time to get all of her information.  This had to have been a lot of research, and I have to commend her on the dedication to get everything perfect. 
Of course, being an avid romance writer and reader, that was my favorite part of the story.  The love between the two main characters started off slow, but you get to witness it grow stronger and stronger with just the turn of a page.  When I read,
“I trusted him in my bones, entirely always, with my life… We were born to stand next to each other, protecting each other until our last breaths,”
I swear it made my heart melt.   I smiled when things were going good, and I felt my heart breaking right along with the main characters at other times.   I even found myself getting mad at characters when they were being so stubborn.  It was as if I was in the story with them all.    
I definitely recommend this book, and I beg you…if you have a problem reading the first part of the book like I did, DO NOT STOP!  You will not be disappointed in the end.  I want to thank the author and the “Lovers of Paranormal” Goodreads group for gifting me this ARC book in exchange for an honest review.  Happy reading!