Tag «Author: Mead»

Fresh Fridays: The Glittering Court (#1) by Richelle Mead

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

The Glittering Court Trilogy

Other books in the series:

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Synopsis for The Glittering Court (from Goodreads):
Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands…

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author, Disappointment 2016
Series: The Glittering Court Trilogy
Author: Richelle Mead
# of Books: 3 (The Glittering Court, Book 2, Book 3)
Book Order: Connected (might be more companion based)
Complete?: No, Book 2 has yet to be published
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Historical, Alternate History, Adventure
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: April 5, 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Richelle Mead is one of my favourite authors ever. Vampire Academy and its spin-off Bloodlines are two of my favourite series ever with some of my favourite book characters every written. She writes strong females in worlds that are complex yet never overly complicated and she is pretty great at writing forbidden, loads of sexual tension romance. After the flop that was Soundless (it was ok, but didn’t blow me away)–I was really excited to see her jump into a new series and one that was almost like an historical romance.

Tip: Don’t Expect something a la Vampire Academy (High Action)

I’m adding this centralized subheading because I think it is really freakin’ important. Don’t be like me and come in with super high expectations for a fast plot because you will be disappointed. If you are familiar with Mead’s paranormal romance works, you know she always has a ton of physical and often political action to her stories. That really isn’t the case here. It’s a slower plot (as I’ll explain below) and it really is so different from her previous works. Go in with a clear mind and leave your Richelle Mead expectations at the door.

What I Liked:

–The World–

I really liked the world for this story. It mimics our own in terms of European explorers looking for the New World (North and Central America) but has brand new names and the like. If you have studied any history about this (which we do in Canada let me tell you), you’ll see all the parallels and see the political and social aspects Mead brings to life. I thought it was really smart and not overly complex and I simply loved it.

–Adelaide’s Character Development–

While I like that Adelaide is a head-strong girl, she really rubbed me the wrong way at the start. She’s a little selfish and a lot spoiled so she comes across as arrogant and stubborn. So that made it a little hard to be sympathetic to her situation at the start. BUT, she really comes a long way as the story progresses and I did warm up to her by the end.

She may not be my favourite heroine ever, but I can respect her progression as a character.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Slow Plot–

I feel like this book could have been 50 (ebook) pages shorter. I think this book kinda shoots itself in the foot because it is the first book of the series and it needs to set up the world and the other girls’ stories. But I found the first third to be pretty dry (mostly when they were at school) and then it picked up when they went to the New World. Then it weened a bit near the end but I did enjoy the last half of the book way more than the first.

The plot is also pretty linear in its progression. There isn’t a whole lot happening at once–it reminded me of an adventure story in that aspect. It read like A to B to C–when one thing “finished” another would pop up but nothing really seemed overarching when it came to Adelaide’s story besides her hidden identity. I wanted a little more substance I suppose to the plot.

–The Romance–

This was a huge disappointment for me. It felt like a love at first sight type of story because I didn’t get why they even liked each other besides some subconscious feeling. While the sexual tension in the middle of the book peaked, I found it quickly dissipated and I was left disappointed overall in the romance. Especially when the book was on the drier side, I really looked to the romance to give me some excitement.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

–The Interweaving Stories–

What I like about this series is that each book focuses on a different girl and the stories all interweave. I’m assuming the next two books will be about Mira and Tamsin since they are the only other girls we really meet but that’s just a guess. I was really intrigued by these two, especially when all this stuff happens–so I can’t wait to connect the dots.

My Rating: 3/5

The Glittering Court 3/5 | Book 2 TBP | Book 3 TBP

overall

This book didn’t wow me like I wanted it to. I wanted a little more passion I suppose in all aspects. BUT, I am very curious what the next story will be so I am definitely sticking with this series.

Read if You Like: slower stories, world-building, alternate histories, adventure
Avoid if You: dislike initially spoiled characters, want more romance building

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Single Sundays: Soundless by Richelle Mead

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Soundless (from Goodreads):
For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.

But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.

Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever…

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fav Author
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Even if Richelle Mead wasn’t one of my favourite authors ever, the cover of this book alone would beg me to pick it up!

Soundless was one of my most anticipated reads of 2015 simply because it is Richelle Mead’s newest YA novel–and a standalone one at that! I’m used to Mead’s paranormal series–both adult and YA–so I was very, very curious to see what she would do with a standalone novel. I also love mythology/folklore based stories so this seemed like a no-brainer to pickup.

The Concept / The World:

What I love about Richelle Mead’s ability to build worlds is that they are complex (meaning they have layers) but they are easy to understand and get acquainted with. It doesn’t take copious amounts of pages to understand what the setting is; but at the same time I never feel like the world is under developed.

The idea that this village has no hearing is really intriguing–and is very well done. You can tell she has done her research on the matter. It was very easy to visualize every aspect of this book as I was reading.

As for the folklore, it really doesn’t come into play until later on in the story so don’t expect it to be there as soon as you start.

The Plot:

I don’t know why I was expecting a faster paced book before I picked this up as this story reads very much like an adventure story; and that is because it is. I usually find adventure based stories to be a little dull and I did feel that with this one at times. However, Mead does a great job of ending her chapters in places that make you want to continue. So in that respect, I did find it to be suspenseful at times. I also liked its unpredictability as it kept me on the edge of my toes; wanting to see what was going to happen next.

BUT, I still feel like the plot is really simple. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I think it is just your personal preference. I like a lot of things happening in my stories and the straight-forward plot made it a little boring for me to read. And to be honest, I don’t know what else you could do with the story she wanted to tell to make it a bit more exciting.

So I’m a bit mixed on my feelings for the plot: I think the simple plot works for the story but I can’t help but want the more complex plotlines I’ve come to expect from Mead’s series.

The Characters:

What I like about Fei compared to Mead’s other heroines that I have read is that she doesn’t seem like a carbon copy of them (mainly Rose or Sydney). While she is a rule follower, I didn’t feel like I was reading Sydney reincarnated as a Chinese artist who lives on a mountain. All the characters are their own selves and that made it enjoyable to read but at the same time, they weren’t anything you haven’t encountered before. 

Fei is a tad on the dull side but I liked her spirit. I didn’t hate her but I didn’t love her either.

The Romance:

This is the only place where I find the synopsis is a bit misleading. “Unlikely romance” implies that it comes out of nowhere but when I was only a chapter in, the “unlikely romance” becomes very obvious. So in that respect, I was a little disappointed because it wasn’t what I was expecting. It really is just a small background subplot and nothing really develops from it.

My Rating: 3/5

overall

This one is really hard to review because I such mixed feelings. I really wanted to be blown away by this novel but it fell a little short in that regard. It’s beautifully written–no question–but I just wanted more from it. More action, more drama and more romance. I think if I read a review prior to this, I would have had the right mindset and have enjoyed it a lot more. Simply put: it’s a straightforward tale with a little Chinese folklore thrown in about a girl who uncovers the simple truth about her village.

Read if You Like: slower books, adventure books, simple plots
Avoid if You: want more action, want more drama

similarreads

  • Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff (The Lotux War Series #1)
  • Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Allison Goodman (Eon Series #1)

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Movie Mondays: Vampire Academy

Movie Mondays: On Mondays, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead | Movie: Vampire Academy (2014)

Which did I read/see first? The BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

Series: Vampire Academy
Genre: Young Adult, Vampire, Romance, Action
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

There aren’t enough good things that I can say about this series. It is one of my favourite, if not THE favourite Young Adult series I have ever read and it all starts with this book.

Vampire Academy is definitely the weakest in the series. Compared to the rest of the series, the plot in this one isn’t as intricate as the later books can be and it is a little slower. However, this book easily sucked me in (no pun intended) and in the end, its a great opening to a series.

The characters are great, complex and lots of fun. The plot is always twisting and building as I said in my full series review, this isn’t Twilight. This series features killing, blood-sucking vampires and has a maturity about it that Twilight severely lacks. Definitely the best vampire series I have ever read.

Conclusion:

I could go on for days about this book and the series but I’ll just say: it’s awesome. Finally a kick-ass heroine who doesn’t need a man to complete her and has no problem doing what needs to be done!

Rating: 4.5/5
Series Review: Full series review here!

Similar Reads: Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Covenant Series #1) and Bloodlines by Richelle Mead (Bloodlines Series #1, a spin-off of Vampire Academy).

The Movie:

I’ve been waiting for this movie ever since I finished the book. At the time, it didn’t sound like anything was going to come to fruition but over time it did and I’ve been counting down the days since.

At first, I was worried about the movie after seeing the commercials. It looked very high school and cheesy (and not necessarily the good kind) and that scared me. But after reading a blog post by Richelle Mead (who was present during filming) she reassured fans that the trailers were tailored for those who haven’t read the series to get interest in the film and that put my worries to rest.

Mind you, I did go in with lower expectations but in the end, I really enjoyed it.

First I’ll tacklet the casting. Everyone looks exactly like I pictured and Zoey Deutch as Rose was great. She was the perfect blend of tough and spunky and that made it easy to watch and see the book unfold. Danila Kozlovsky as Dmitri was everything I wanted in the infamous guardian and I absolutely loved Cameron Monaghan as Mason and Dominic Sherwood as Christian. For me there are two weak spots in the casting and those are Olga Kurylenko as the Headmistress and Lucy Fry as Lissa. For me, the Headmistress was nothing that I imagined. To be fair, it’s been a super long time since I read the books  so I could be totally off, but she was just a little too over the top for me at times and it threw me off. Lucy as Lissa started off really awkward but she really did get better as the movie progressed.

Part of the reason I think Lucy was so awkward was the script and the screenplay. Sometimes the dialogue was a little cheesy and it just felt forced. The actors all manage well though and the acting definitely improved as the movie went on.

As for the adaptation to the big screen: the movie isn’t identical to the book and that is ok. To be fair, it has been a solid few years since I read the book so I can’t remember everything but I would say that the changes they made probably needed to be done to keep the movie more faster paced. They manage to capture the essence of the book and the major key plot moments are still in the movie.

I just want to say that for fans who have read the entire series, don’t be worried about the “high school” approach this movie appears to be taking. It’s definitely for the 17+ crowd and you have to remember that the first book DOES take place in high school. It really isn’t until book 3, Shadow Kiss, that the maturity level increases in this book. I’m guilty of it too and it’s easy to forget that the Rose we get in Last Sacrifice was a high school student at one time; but the truth is that she was and we all loved her when she was!

Overall, the movie will please fans. There were a few humorous moments, both new additions as well as character moments from the book; and it was awesome to see some of my favourite scenes from the book come to life.

So, which is better: the book or the movie?

In this case, the winner is the BOOK. While I truly did enjoy the movie, it has nothing on the book. But, fans of the book will enjoy the movie so definitely go see it! I really want a sequel movie (TBH I just want to see who they cast as Adrian and Eddie).

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Vampire Academy (from Goodreads):

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.

Trailer:

Spin-off Saturdays: Bloodlines Series by Richelle Mead

Spin-off Saturdays: On Saturdays, I will review a series that is a spin-off series. It is recommended that you read the original series first in order to get the most out of the spin-off series. Here is this week’s offering:

The Bloodlines Series is a spin-off of the Vampire Academy

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #10; Favourite Author
Series: Bloodlines

This is a spin off of the Vampire Academy Series.

Author: Richelle Mead
# of Books: 6 (Bloodlines, The Golden Lily, Indigo Spell, The Fiery Heart, Silver Shadows, The Ruby Circle)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Magic, Vampires, Action, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single; Alternating (Fiery Heart onwards)

Thoughts:

After reading the Vampire Academy (VA) Series, I wasn’t sure how I felt about a spin-off. I loved Adrian in the VA books so I was excited for him to be in the new series; but it was Sydney I wasn’t sure about. It’s not really Sydney’s fault I didn’t love her in the VA books. Her character needed to be who she was in order to progress the story. I warmed up to her by the end of the VA series but she was by no means my top choice for a spin-off character.

Well, it’s a good thing I am not the author of these books! Because Sydney is a great character and I have grown to love her in this new series.

Bloodlines takes fan-favourite characters and gives them the stories we all wanted them to have. From Jill to Eddie to Adrian, all these characters make an appearance in the books. Even Rose and crew appear here and there. Despite the fact that the story is told from Sydney’s POV, we still know what is going on with every other character–just like it was in the VA series.

The first book, Bloodlines, is a slow start to the series but is needed. It really establishes the characters and let’s you into Sydney’s life and thought process–seeing as she was only told through Rose’s perspective in the VA series. Book 2, The Golden Lily is where things start to fall into place and the “overarching” (by this I mean it is a plot that spans multiple books) begins to unwind. It also helps that there is a HUGE cliff-hanger that has you begging for the next one. Book 3, The Indigo Spell does not disappoint and I am counting down the days until book 4, The Fiery Heart is released.

It should be noted that this series doesn’t have much physical action as VA series. It’s there, but Sydney uses other methods, like chemicals and magic, to fight her foes. I tend to not like magic series that have witches so I was worried when the series started to focus more on magic (this series focuses more on the Alchemists than the vampires). I should know by now that Richelle Mead does not disappoint and I really like where this series is going with the spells aspect of it.

UPDATED (Dec 7/13): I was lucky enough to get my hands on The Fiery Heart shortly after it was published. I finished it in a day, that’s how much I loved it! While the book is mostly character development, I never found it to be dull. I think it helped that Adrian gets his own POV so for the first time we really get to see his thought process–and with him being my favourite character in the entire series, I was excited and happy to finally get more insight about him. This book has a great buildup into the next two books of the series and I can’t wait! July 2014 can’t get here soon enough!

UPDATED (August 10/14): When my copy of Silver Shadows finally came in from the library, I went ASAP to grab it and then spent the rest of the weekend reading it. I would have finished in a day but life got in the way :P. Overall, Silver Shadows is a bridging novel that is setting up the plot for the final book (The Ruby Circle) in the series. However, this doesn’t mean that it is dull in anyway. Despite a more singular plotline than the previous novels, I found the book moved at a very quick pace and kept my interest throughout. Fans will not be disappointed–the only disappointment is the waiting 6 months until the conclusion in The Ruby Circle.

UPDATED (March 15/15): It’s always really hard to say goodbye to your favourite characters–and The Ruby Circle was a tough one to read knowing it is the last of the Vampire Academy Universe. I think I was 50 pages from the end when I started to cry knowing I only had a few more pages left. I’ve been following these characters for the last 6 years so expectations were high going into this book and I wasn’t disappointed! I thought The Ruby Circle started slowly but once I was about a third of the way through it picked up immensely and I didn’t put it down. There were unexpected twists, a fast plotline (once it got started) and so many great character appearances, fans of both series will be very, very happy with The Ruby Circle. It’s hard to say goodbye but it makes things 20x easier when you are happy with the ending. I definitely plan on revisiting all of these books in the future.

Conclusion:

To fans of VA: Read this! If you loved Adrian and Sydney (or even Eddie and Jill), you will love this series! It has everything VA had but does it in it’s own unique way. To new fans: even if you didn’t read VA (which I suggest you do!) you could probably get away with diving right into this series. A must read for fans of paranormal YA.

Rating: 5/5

Similar Reads: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy Series #1)

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WARNING: IF YOU HAVE not FINISHED THE VAMPIRE ACADEMY SERIES THE FOLLOWING SYNOPSIS HAS SPOILERS!

Synopsis for Bloodlines (from Goodreads):
Blood doesn’t lie…

Sydney is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she’s still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir – the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir – is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill’s guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty – a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning…

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Series Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

     

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #1
Series: Vampire Academy
Author: Richelle Mead
# of Books: 6 (Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, Spirit Bound, Last Sacrifice)

There is a spin-off series, called Bloodlines.

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Vampire, Romance
Movie Review: Catch my thoughts on the movie here!

Thoughts:

As you can see, this is one of my favourite book series that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. It has everything I look for in a book, strong female lead; romance; action; superb plots with twists and great secondary characters. I devoured the first four books over my March Break and then counted the days until the next one came out.

I recommended this series to my roommate and after reading Vampire Academy (Book 1) she wasn’t sure what the big deal was. I thought it was great when I read it (and then reread it…twice) and I couldn’t understand why she felt like that. But then I thought about it and came to this conclusion: the first book was great but comparing it to the rest of the series, it doesn’t have that much action, romance or anything that makes the series as awesome as it is. But you get a taste of the characters and the world Mead creates (which is unlike any other vampire book out there so don’t discount it because of your Twilight thoughts/experiences!) and you want to see where it goes.

I am happy to say, that after the 2nd book (Frostbite) my roommate got it and was hooked into the series. Frostbite is actually my favourite book of the series. I’m not too sure why, but I think it is because it’s the point where the series begins it overarching plot that continues over the rest of the series. It also introduces Adrian who is one of my favourite characters.

Rose is such a strong character and so is Lissa. I actually thought Lissa was the main character after I read the plot summary but I am glad Rose is the POV because she is such a fascinating character. Lissa is still a vital character in the series and we do get to see her develop throughout the books.

I also love the other characters in the series which makes the spin-off series (Bloodlines) even better because Richelle Mead takes fan-favourite characters and gives them their own stories in this new series. The Bloodlines plot is completely separate from this series so don’t feel like the Vampire Academy Series doesn’t get concluded–because it does and does so in a great and satisfying way!

Conclusion:

Vampire Academy was the first book series that I can remember crying, laughing and shrieking in delight about. It is refreshing in a world of vampire series, beautifully written and has characters that you can’t get enough of. I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys action and romance series. (I also recommend that you get you hands on as many of these books as possible when you read because you will want them right away!)

Rating: 5/5

Similar Reads: Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Covenant Series) and Bloodlines by Richelle Mead (Bloodlines Series, a spin-off of Vampire Academy).

Synopsis for Vampire Academy (from Goodreads):
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.