Tag «reviewed years later»

Series Review: Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Series: The Vampire Diaries

There are a number of spin-off series; some written by L.J. Smith, others by a ghost writer. See all here. The Wikipedia page for the series has some interesting statements about how this series and the spin-offs are published.

Author: L.J. Smith
# of Books: 4 (The Awakening, The Struggle, The Fury, Dark Reunion)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Technically, Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Supernatural, Vampires, Magic, Witches
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts:

PLEASE NOTE: First and foremost, I read these books a looooonnnngggg time ago. Also, I want to be clear that I am only rating the original 4 Vampire Diaries novels. There are a number of spin-offs that I have never read…find out why below…

I can’t remember if I read these books before or after Twilight; I’m pretty sure it was after but definitely before the show first aired. I had the combined volumes I used for the covers for this post so I really have a hard time differentiating the plot of each book because it just seems like one big story–which is what a series is really–but what I’m trying to say is that it is all one big blur so don’t ask me about individual books!

One thing I really loved about Vampire Diaries is that it is a darker series where evil is always lurking. I know that there is lots of disagreements over how vampires are portrayed in books/popular culture but I’ve never really minded these alterations to what I call “modern vampires”. Yet Vampire Diaries features your blood drinking, bat-changing vampires who are up to no-good. It makes things creepy and darker than some of the other vampire series out there. I like how there is a villain and I like that actual dangerous things happen and sometimes they have disastrous consequences. It wasn’t always happy-go-lucky in this series and I liked that.

What I didn’t really like about the series was the romance. I’m not sure how many of you have read old romance novels from the late 80s/90s but they are drastically different from the romance novels you get today. Elena and Stefan’s romance was super cheesy to me and I think it was a product of it’s time (the first Vampire Diaries novel was published in 1991). I also wasn’t annoyed with the love triangle because, to me, it wasn’t truly a love triangle; it was more a by-product of what was going on plot-wise.

As for the characters, they weren’t anything that exciting or unique to me. They didn’t seem all that complex to me–even brooding, fighting-against-his-nature Stefan. I remember liking one of Elena’s friends more than I liked Elena.

I know a lot of people probably watch the TV or watched it (I stopped after season 3) and want to know how close it is to the books. The truth of the matter is that it isn’t anything close to the books. Sure, the basic ideas are there but things are drastically different. Things as simple as Elena’s list of friends and family are changed and the TV series definitely has a sexier feel. Some of the basic backbones are there but characters have radically different purposes in each. I LOVED the first two seasons of the show; but Season 3 just started to get too complicated for me and with school it was hard to keep up with it all. I plan to catch up on Netflix this summer.

The TV show is the reason I stopped following the book series. I enjoyed the TV series way more than I ever did the books so I never felt the need to pick them up. And I probably won’t ever pick up the books. I don’t like dragged out things and I feel like these spin-off series are just the by-product of the TV show. (Which is great because anything that encourages reading is fantastic but I feel like it takes away from the original spirit of the series).

Conclusion:

Simply put: I’ve read better vampire romances. But I can appreciate the fact that I can probably thank this series for spawning all of the “better vampire romances” out there. Unlike the TV show, it’s cheesy and basic in its delivery. If you want a sexier, danger-filled vampire romance, watch the TV show instead!

Rating: 3/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: No, I’d recommend the TV show first!

Similar Reads: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (Twilight Saga #1)

Synopsis for The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening (from Goodreads):
Elena: the golden girl, the leader, the one who can have any boy she wants.

Stefan: brooding and mysterious, he seems to be the only one who can resist Elena, even as he struggles to protect her from the horrors that haunt his past.

Damon: sexy, dangerous, and driven by an urge for revenge against Stefan, the brother who betrayed him. Determined to have Elena, he’d kill to possess her.

Series Review: Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

book book book book

Series: Shopaholic Series
Author: Sophie Kinsella (aka Madeleine Wickham)
# of Books: 7 (See Full List Here)

There is a novella after book 3: Shopaholic on Honeymoon

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes…I think
Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Humour, Romance, British Lit
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

PLEASE NOTE: That I have only read the first 4 books in the series (up to and including Shopaholic and Sister). Find out why I stopped reading the rest of the series below…

I was in my mid-teens when I started reading this series and I loved Confessions of a Shopaholic. These were my Meg Cabot days (I think we all have those) and I really loved the fun scenarios of “chick lit” and the dash of romance in them. They were fun, light-hearted reads that had me chuckling and captured my attention. I revisited the series again when I started university but it was hard for me to get back into them and I couldn’t bring myself to read the last 2 books (Shopaholic to the Stars hadn’t been published yet).

Part of the issue is that I grew out of “chick lit”. I tended to gravitate away from the light-hearted, often predictable plot-lines of chick lit and more towards the “darker”, twisty plot lines of young adult fiction and adult romances. I just got tired of reading about the same situations all the time and that included the heroine.

It also doesn’t help that I read some of Madeleine Wickham’s standalone novels that were published afterwards and I felt like she just writes the same type of heroine all the time. I guess you write what you know best but I had a hard time liking them and I think that might have influenced how I felt about Becky in her later novels.

I’m not a huge fan of “air-headed” heroines so it’s kind of a surprise that I would enjoy Becky’s character. But when I didn’t take her too seriously, I just found her to be so funny and a lot of fun…until she wasn’t. I just felt like Becky’s character never grew in the way I expected. I wanted her to learn from her mistakes and mature and it just got tiring waiting for that to happen. At times, it made her hard to read about and I could see how her character would rub people the wrong way.

After a while, each book just seemed like a regurgitation of the past and formulaic and that isn’t fun for me to read. I just wanted something to surprise me and I didn’t want to be annoyed by Becky so I made the decision to stop reading the series (and other Madeleine Wickham novels).

Conclusion:

If you chick lit, this is a great series for you: it’s light and funny and British. But it can get a little tiring if you like unpredictable reads and heroines that have more substance to them.

Rating: 3.5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: If they loved chick lit, yes!

Similar Reads: Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot (Queen of Babble Series #1)

Synopsis for Confessions of a Shopaholic (from Goodreads):
MEET BECKY BLOOMWOOD, AN IRRESISTIBLE HEROINE WITH A BIG HEART, BIG DREAMS — AND JUST ONE LITTLE WEAKNESS …

Becky Bloomwood has what most twenty-five-year-olds only dream of: a flat in London’s trendiest neighborhood, a troupe of glamorous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the season’s must-haves. The only trouble is, she can’t actually afford it — not any of it. Her job writing at Successful Saving magazine not only bores her to tears, it doesn’t pay much at all. Still, how can she resist that perfect pair of shoes? Or the divine silk blouse in the window of that ultra-trendy boutique? But lately Becky’s been chased by dismal letters from Visa and the Endwich Bank — letters with large red sums she can’t bear to read — and they’re getting ever harder to ignore. She tries cutting back; she even tries making more money. But none of her efforts succeeds. Her only consolation is to buy herself something … just a little something …

Finally, a story arises that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life — and the lives of those around her — forever.

Series Review: Immortal by Gillian Shields

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

book2

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Immortals (from Goodreads):
Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Ladies, housed in a Gothic mansion on the bleak northern moors, is elite, expensive, and unwelcoming. When Evie Johnson is torn away from her home by the sea to become the newest scholarship student, she is more isolated than she could have dreamed. Strict teachers, snobbish students, and the oppressive atmosphere of Wyldcliffe leave Evie drowning in loneliness.

Evie’s only lifeline is Sebastian, a rebellious, mocking, dangerously attractive young man she meets by chance. As Evie’s feelings for Sebastian grow with each secret meeting, she starts to fear that he is hiding something about his past. And she is haunted by glimpses of a strange, ghostly girl—a girl who is so eerily like Evie, she could be a sister. Evie is slowly drawn into a tangled web of past and present that she cannot control. And as the extraordinary, elemental forces of Wyldcliffe rise up like the mighty sea, Evie is faced with an astounding truth about Sebastian, and her own incredible fate.

breakdown

Series: Immortal Series
Author: Gillian Shields
# of Books: 4 (Immortal, Betrayal, Eternal, Destiny)
Book Order: Chronological, Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult/Teen, Paranormal, Witches, Romance, Magic
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person, Single
Publication Dates: January 2009 – July 2012
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

PLEASE NOTE: I have not read book 4, Destiny, in the series prior to this review. I will probably never read it either.

My Review:

I read Immortals because it was recommended to me by my recent book purchases a few years ago. It had all the makings of a series I would love but it just fell flat for me and here’s why:

1) I didn’t like Evie–at all. She bored me to tears and was a selfish idiot at times. I didn’t like her relationship with Sebastian either. And because the first two books focus mostly on her, I just couldn’t get into them.

2) The plot is dull. Witch stories aren’t my favourite books ever and this is no exception. I just didn’t like the plot as it didn’t grab my attention.

3) I slowly started to dislike characters I had once liked. Sarah was my favourite character in the first two books, so I was excited when she was the focus of the third book, Eternal. But I didn’t enjoy her character development in it and I didn’t enjoy the plot so it was really blah to me.

4) Teenage angst. ‘nough said

Perhaps I was just too old for these books but I think if I read them when I was 16 I would be bored and sad that this is how girls act.

Series Rating: DNF

overall

Those who like slower plots with a dash of mystery to them and can tolerate selfish characters will like this supernatural series. But it can be boring so if you don’t enjoy the first book, Immortal, don’t bother with the rest.

similarreads
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libby Bray (Gemma Doyle Trilogy #1)
Swoon by Nina Malkin (Swoon Series #1)

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Series Review: Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Tantalize (from Goodreads):

Are you predator or prey?
CLASSIFIED ADS: RESTAURANTS
SANGUINI’S: A VERY RARE RESTAURANT IS HIRING A CHEF DE CUISINE. DINNERS ONLY.
APPLY IN PERSON BETWEEN 2:00 AND 4:00 PM.
Quincie Morris has never felt more alone. Her parents are dead, and her hybrid-werewolf first love is threatening to embark on a rite of passage that will separate them forever. Then, as she and her uncle are about to unveil their hot vampire-themed restaurant, a brutal murder leaves them scrambling for a chef. Can Quincie transform their new hire into a culinary Dark Lord before opening night? Can he wow the crowd in his fake fangs, cheap cape, and red contact lenses — or is there more to this earnest face than meets the eye? As human and preternatural forces clash, a deadly love triangle forms, and the line between predator and prey begins to blur. Who’s playing whom? And how long can Quincie play along before she loses everything?

breakdownSeries: Tantalize
Author: Cynthia Leitich Smith
# of Books: 4 (Tantalize, Eternal, Blessed, Diabolical)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Vampires, Werewolves, Angels, Dark
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person

thoughts

PLEASE NOTE: I have not read the fourth and final book in the series, Diabolical, and I don’t plan to.

I was really excited to read Tantalize and when I saw my library had it, I dashed to go get it. It sounded unlike anything I had ever read before and I was interested to see where it was going to go.

And it was unlike anything I read before. It was darker but also slightly disturbing in terms of a certain relationship Quincie develops with an older man. It just wasn’t what I thought it was going to be and not in a good way. It was cliché and not at the same time–which is hard to describe but it you ever read it you would understand. It was like a mash of teen stereotypes in one book topped with some teenage angst. It wasn’t as much fun as I hoped it would be.

I probably wouldn’t have read the next book, Eternal, if it wasn’t for the sample we got at the end of the book. Somehow it sucked me in and I wanted to read it. I enjoyed it more than Tantalize but I also didn’t love it. It was dark and if I recall correctly I didn’t love the direction it ended up going. But, it was different from other books out there so I enjoyed it in that respect.

I honestly don’t remember what happened in Blessed but I know that it left me with no desire to see what happens in the fourth book, Diabolical.

Series Rating: 3/5

Tantalize 3/5 | Eternal 3/5 | Blessed 3/5 | Diabolic N/A

overall

I think some people will like the unconventional aspects of this series. In theory, it’s a cool mashup of paranormal trends but poorly executed. Although it’s a different spin on the young adult paranormal genre, it still has a lot of what people expect of the genre and what they probably don’t like about young adult series (aka teenage angst). But it definitely isn’t for everyone and I think most people will not enjoy it as a series.

similarreads

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White (Paranormalcy Trilogy #1)

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