Tag «vampires»

Series Review: House of Royals by Keary Taylor

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

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Synopsis for House of Royals (from Goodreads):

Every town has its history and skeletons, but Silent Bend, Mississippi’s are darker than most. Ruled from the shadows by the House—the immortal Born and their aging, enslaved Bitten—everyone knows not to go out after dark and that the police will never look into crimes involving blood.

Alivia Ryan didn’t know the man who claims to be her father through a will even existed until she inherits the Conrath plantation. Instead of the sleepy house she expects, she finds a mansion and a staff who look at her with fear in their eyes.

Ian Ward tried to kill Alivia the first time they met, and then insisted he train her to defend herself against the House, who he claims will try to manipulate and take her in for their own political reasons. And the growing attraction between them will threaten their lives—Ian is a sworn enemy of the House.

In Silent Bend, people disappear, the threat of a demented King and the legend of his resurrecting Queen hang over everyone’s heads, and proving loyalty means far more than blood. You’d better watch who you trust in this town…

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Series: House of Royals; Blood Descendants Universe

Spin-off Series: Crown of Death

Author: Keary Taylor
# of Books: 8 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological & Connected

Story Arcs: Books 1-5; Books 6-8

Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Vampires, Politics
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: June 2015 – July 2017
Source & Format: Netgalley & Own–eBook

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**This post was originally posted as an ARC review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Last year, I tried my hand at a New Adult vampire novel, Queen of Blood and loved it. Despite the bad rep they get, I enjoy the action and excitement most vampire novels have. I also love the new adult genre as a whole and so combining those two things seem like a winning combination.

So when I saw House of Royals on Goodreads and saw that it had a political spin on it, I just had to have it in my hands.

The Concept / The World:

I found the vampire world very easy to understand. It’s pretty straightforward which makes for easy reading. I didn’t feel very confused or left behind in any respect.

I also like the darker aspect to it. Vampires that fight their inner nature are great and all, but I don’t mind a little blood shed and these books definitely had their share of action and death.

The Plot:

The plot for House of Royals is pretty straight-forward and that has its pros and cons. Not having a lot happening really allows the reader to get a grip on the world and the setting. By not focusing on too many issues at once, I was able to get attached to the characters and understand the world they found themselves in. In the same stroke, it made for a story that really only reached its climax within the last few chapters; which is definitely a good thing because it makes you want to pick up that sequel.

The Characters:

I liked Alivia a lot. I thought she had a good head on her shoulder (for the most part) and made the best of the situation she finds herself in. Obviously she makes some mistakes but I totally understand why she would given everything that happens.

The side characters keep things interesting as well. They are unpredictable and have intriguing backstories that kept me wanting more from them.

The Romance:

The romance was really sweet with this one. Forbidden love is my favourite romance trope and this one is pretty flawless. I really liked Ian and Alivia together. I thought they complimented each other well. I simply adored their scenes together and rooted for them the entire time I was reading even when I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m super excited to see what is going to happen next for these characters! I feel like House of Royals built everything up at a great pace that the next few books are going to unleash all the pent up energy and tension between all the characters at play!

updates

–January 6, 2018– Book #2: House of Pawns      **copy not provided**

It’s been a long time since I read the first one but I found it so easy to get back into this world. I love all its politics and danger. We get to meet a lot more characters and the world is getting a little more complex so it sucked me in.

Alivia has an interesting character development path in this one. Her reaction to certain things (mostly of the romance variety) at the end frustrated me. But we get some interesting plot developments so I’m curious to see what happens next!

Series Rating: 4/5

House of Royals 4/5 | House of Pawns 4/5 | House of Kings TBP

overall

My experience with this book has just cemented vampire New Adult books to be my new favourite subgenre. While House of Royals doesn’t have a lot happening within its own book, I feel like it sets the stage for some great plot twists in its sequels!

Read if You Like: vampire novels, New Adult characters, simple plots
Avoid if You: dislike royal politics, vampires, forbidden love

similarreads

  • Queen of Blood by Jill Myles
  • Crave by Melissa Darnell (The Clann Series #1)
  • Bloodspell by Amalie Howard (The Cruentus Curse Series #1)
  • House of Night by PC and Kristen Cast (House of Night Series #1)

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Single Sundays: Queen of Blood by Jill Myles

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 Queen of Blood (from Goodreads):
For one hundred years, Seri’s people have lived under the thumb of the Blood, the cruel and mysterious rulers of Athon. Seri wants nothing more than to put food on the table and marry the hotheaded but handsome Rilen come spring. But when a noblewoman asks Seri to be her handmaiden, Rilen insists she move to the enemy’s castle . . . and spy on the newly arrived prince.

Prince Graeme has grown weary of his family’s curse. The Blood are powerful and immortal, but doomed to live in the shadows, flitting from lover to lover, always in search of the mythic Eterna—the one woman who will sate their hunger. Now his father has sent him to the outskirts of the empire to stamp out a rebellious Vidari faction. But when a wild and alluring Vidari girl shows up at court, he finds himself torn between following his father’s orders and following his heart . . .

A war is brewing between Athonite and Vidari, between Blood and man. As uprisings sweep through the land, Seri and Graeme find themselves at the center of a storm with only one choice: betray each other, or betray their people.

breakdown

Author: Jill Myles (aka Jessica Clare)
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Paranormal, Vampires
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: Third Person, Single
Publication Date: June 30, 2015
Source & Format: NetGalley–eBook

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I randomly found this book on NetGalley thanks to its stunning cover. It drew me in and when I read the synopsis, I just had to request it! It’s been a long, long time since I read a vampire story and so I couldn’t wait to dive into this one!

Did I fail to mention the whole forbidden love and politics? That was a big draw for me as well!

The World:

I really enjoyed how simple this world was. I don’t mean simple to be a bad thing either–in this case it was perfect! What I mean is that the world isn’t overly complicated and it is easy to follow along. Within a few chapters you know why the world is the way it is, why Seri struggles with her new position and how Graeme and his people operate. Getting a strong handle on the world a few chapters in really let me connect to these characters and their story–instead of focusing on what this term or that term is.

The Plot:

I got HOOKED into this story. Everything built at a great pace when I was reading. In hindsight, it took a long time to get to what the synopsis describes and I think the beginning is slow action wise. It also felt a little rushed at the end. However, I think it goes to show Jill Myles’ talent that none of that really mattered to me as I was reading. I was addicted to see what happened next and didn’t mind that it took me awhile to get there.

I would say the plot mostly focuses on Seri learning who she is and becoming comfortable with that person. It’s very “New Adult” in that respect. While the politics of the world are important, don’t expect some great political saga or action (ie fighting) packed story. The tension of the plot comes from the romance and the character development.

The Characters:

It took me a while to like Seri–but I think that is part of the point. As I said before, it is her coming of age story in a way and so I expected her to have some great growth as we progressed and she did.

I did immediately like Graeme though. I think because we don’t really get his POV, he comes across as an already established character. He easily became a book boyfriend for me I think 😛

The Romance:

This is what sold me on this book: the sexual tension. WOW, it was off the charts. I’m not one for insta-love but I expected it given the synopsis–and in the end, I really didn’t mind. I really saw how these two worked together and it was a blast watching them find out for themselves. Definitely a New Adult romance and not a YA read.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

Perhaps I just read this book at the right time but I really, really enjoyed it! It was a lot of fun to escape into this world. The romance is passionate and drives the story forward. I wish the plot had a better flow but I honestly didn’t realize until I had finished the book. If you want a New Adult vampire book, I recommend this one!

Read if You Like: vampires, forbidden romance, New Adult
Avoid if You: don’t like insta-love/connections, want more political drama

similarreads

  • The Selection by Kiera Cass (The Selection Series #1)
  • Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey (Jessica Series #1)
  • The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski (The Winner’s Trilogy #1)

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Throwdown Thursdays: Vampire Diaries Books vs Vampire Diaries TV Show

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Since the beginning of time, similar things have always been compared to each other: Pepsi or Coke? Lemon or Lime? Boxers or Briefs? And books are no exception!

Throwdown Thursdays: On the first Thursday of every month I play the ultimate game of “Would You Rather” with books that are inevitably compared to each other. After 3 rounds, I pick my winner. Feel free to join in by commenting, making your own response (just link back) or vote in my poll! Here is this month’s match:
twiVSvam*I am only including the first 4 books of the original Vampire Diaries Series in my review; AND I only watched the first 4 seasons of the TV show
Book Series Review Here

I compare movies to their books all the time so why not try a TV show?

Round 1: Story

90s Cheerleader with Vampires & Witches vs Modern Teen with Vampires, Witches, Werewolves, Hybrids…did I miss any?

I think we already know who is going to win this one…

When you compare the book series to the TV series, it seems so basic in its execution and that’s because it is; and there is nothing wrong with that. You can do a lot more with TV/visual media than you can with literature because you have more time and have an easier way to present material without endless amounts of description. I’m not saying that it can’t be done in literature–because it can!–I’m just saying it’s a hell of a lot easier for TV shows and movies.

I find that the TV show expands upon the basic concepts of witch-craft and gets wayyyyyy deeper into the Catherine-Elena history. I also loved the darker edge the TV show has to it because I found the books to be a little cheesy at times (but that is probably because they were written in the 1990s). They aren’t afraid to kill off people on the show and I like the idea that no one is safe–it keeps things exciting!

One thing I really don’t like about the show is all the supernatural creatures they have going on. It got a little too crazy for me and because I was watching it sporadically it was hard to keep up. I plan to catch-up this summer though 🙂

Winner: The TV Show. I just prefer the darker storylines and the action. Never a dull moment!

Vampire Diaries Books: 0 | Vampire Diaries TV Show: 1

Round 2: The Characters

Golden Cheerleader with Sister vs Doppelgangers Galore with Brother

These little verses are hard to come up with!

In the book series, I found things to be pretty stereotypical. Sure, Elena didn’t live with her parents but she followed every other high school cheerleader stereotype. Cute boyfriend? Check. Rival Cheerleader? Check. Everyone loves her? Check. It was a little cliche to say the least but she did have some good character development, allowing her to break out of these molds at times. Stefan is your typical brooding heartthrob and Damon is evil. Add a BFF witch and a darling little sister and you have the original cast of characters. Nothing surprising but nothing all that exciting either.

The TV Show really revamped (no pun intended) these characters. gone is the childhood sister of Elena and in her place is the I-got-better-looking-as-the-series-progressed teenaged brother Jeremy. I really liked Jeremy’s character, his looks aside, because he added another perspective to the storyline and was another male character–and one who didn’t immediately fall in love with Elena. Elena herself is a much strong, independent heroine in the TV show. She doesn’t do anything rebellious for the sake of attention and has a good head on her shoulders. Bonnie became a lot more interesting and integral to the plot with her witch-craft. But really, it’s Caroline who stole the show for me. I really didn’t like her character in the books and it took me awhile to like her on the show, but she really grew on me!

As I said before, there are so many characters on the show that it is hard to follow them. And the doppelganger situation was starting to get a little out of control when I stopped watching. I LOVED the addition of the Originals (yet I haven’t started to watch the show yet!) and that whole storyline.

As for the brothers–they’re pretty much the same on the show except you realize Damon has a soul and isn’t as evil as you expected 😛

Winner: The Show. While they rotate them through quickly at times, I find they have a lot more substance to them.

Vampire Diaries Books: 0 | Vampire Diaries TV Show: 2

Round 3: Romance

One Sided Love Triangle vs Full Blown Love Triangle

In the books, the main focus is Elena and Stefan; in the show their love is important but so is the rest of the casts’

I always felt like the romance in the books was really a one-sided love triangle. I mean, I think we all knew which brother Elena was going to end up with from the start. One of her BFF’s gets a love interest but past that, it really is the Elena-Salvatore Brother love triangle.

With the show, who knows who will really win Elena’s heart? That’s part of the reason why I stopped watching because I hate back and forth love triangles in my TV shows. They are exhausting to watch! But what kept me around was everyone else’s romantic encounters. Jeremy, Bonnie, Caroline and Tyler, even Klaus and Rebecka all had me totally onboard with their relationships and provided a fresh storyline I was interested in watching.

Winner: The Show–in the sense that there is more romance going on. However, I prefer the love triangle of the books so both get a point!

Vampire Diaries Books: 1 | Vampire Diaries TV Show: 3

Ultimate Winner: the TV Show

Final Comments: The show really amplified the basis of the Vampire Diary stories and brought them to the next generation. And because I am from that “next generation”, the show appeals to me a lot more. It’s faster, darker and has a whole lot more drama–basically everything I like in a good TV show!

What are your thoughts: which one would you rather read? Leave a comment below!

Next Time: Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy vs Crossfire Series

Throwdown Thursdays: Twilight vs Vampire Diaries

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Since the beginning of time, similar things have always been compared to each other: Pepsi or Coke? Lemon or Lime? Boxers or Briefs?

And books are no exception!

Throwdown Thursdays: On the first Thursday of every month I play the ultimate game of “Would You Rather” with books that are inevitably compared to each other. After 3 rounds, I pick my winner. Feel free to join in by commenting, making your own response (just link back) or vote in my poll! Here is this month’s match:
twiVSvam
Twilight Saga Review Here  | Vampire Diaries Review Here

*I am only including the first 4 books of the original Vampire Diaries Series in my review

**Note: I am comparing the BOOK series, not the movie vs TV series

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Round 1: Story

Unsuspecting New Girl Falls for Local Vampire vs Local Girl Falls for Newbie Vampire

At the base of these stories is a romance, but there is some more to them plot-wise…

Contrary to popular belief, Twilight was actually written YEARS after the first Vampire Diaries novel. It’s simply that the revival of the Vampire Diaries series with the TV show happened after Twilight’s popularity became main-stream so people accuse it of being a rip-off of Twilight.

But I can understand the comparison. In a lot of ways these books are similar: a new person at school, a stand-offish relationship until a major event changes everything and then throw in a vampire antagonist and you have the bones of each series.

Twilight focuses more on the romance I think. The whole first book is basically Bella learning about the vampire world with a dash of dramatics near the end. Then you have a whole book dedicated to heart-break (New Moon); followed by a book of romantic indecision (Eclipse) which all wraps up in the final book of fan-fiction wishes (Breaking Dawn). Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you go into it knowing that it is a romance with some paranormal elements. And I will be the first to tell you that as a teen-aged girl, I loved the first novel because of the romance with its little bit of excitement near the end.

Vampire Diaries takes a bit of a different approach. The dramatic paranormal plot is pretty much right there from the get-go, side-by-side with the romance. I felt like there was a good balance between the two. But most of the focus is on Damon trying to make Elena his Queen of Darkness, Stefan fighting his true nature and Elena trying to figure out her path in this crazy world she finds herself in. Throw in a witch, magic and a creepy grave and you get a more paranormal urban fantasy than Twilight provides.

Winner: Based simply on plot concept alone, I have to give it to Vampire Diaries. While I found they were slower and didn’t have too much going on, I liked the fact that it focused more on the paranormal and trying to solve the supernatural problems that were happening.

Twilight: 0 | Vampire Diaries: 1

Round 2: Vampires

Glitter in the Sun, Mind-Power Vampires vs Bat-Transforming, Will Die in the Sun Vampires

It’s a battle between the modern and the classic vampires…

Twilight gets a lot of flack for the fact that Edward glitters in the sun. And while it isn’t my favourite modification of vampires ever (that goes to Vampire Academy), I can appreciate the fact that it is fiction and with fiction comes artistic licence. I also sympathize with Edward because my skin is so pasty I too reflect sunlight when I am outside 😛

I also didn’t mind (no pun intended) the whole mind-powers bit that vampires possess–initially. It got a little ridiculous near the end of the series to me though (do you get the impression yet that I really, really didn’t like Breaking Dawn?). What I did like was how vampires were the ultimate predators; the scientist in me can see how this would happen in nature. I also kinda liked the fact that they were these sophisticated vampires who secretly ran their own world. I thought that it was really interesting to read.

Vampire Diaries features your more classically known vampire stereotypes. They transform, they drink human blood (though Stefan, like the Cullens, drinks animal blood), and they don’t do so good in sunlight (unless they have a magic amulet/ring). Naturally they are more aggressive and tend to stay alone. There really isn’t much more to say about them.

Winner: Call me whatever you want, but I liked learning about the vampires in Twilight. I like different takes on popular ideas. Sure, some of the ideas weren’t that great, but to me it was more exciting because these vampires and their characteristics were unknown. While I can appreciate the darker vampires in Vampire Diaries, they weren’t anything new to me.

Twilight: 1 | Vampire Diaries: 1

Round 3: Romances

Love Triangle vs Love Triangle

Oh! Don’t forget the male BFF who is also in love with the heroine! So I guess that makes it a love square?

I detest love triangles–I actually have Twilight to thank for that realization: so thanks TwilightI just never got why three boys (you are probably wondering where I got three from: Jacob, Edward and Mike, you know the normal guy who crushes on her in the first book) all simultaneously fall in love with dull Bella. Maybe they like her moodiness? I guess girls like brooding guys so I suppose it works vice versa. But the worst part of this triangle was the indecisiveness on Bella’s part. Like I said in Round 1, all the books focused on Bella sorting out her love life. And while I can see why it might be hard to differentiate romantic feelings from ones of friendship, I think it was glaringly obvious to everyone else who she was going to pick. Mostly, I’m just mad that I had to read New Moon–perhaps one of the most boring books I have ever had to read–to set up a love triangle. Yes, I am still bitter 7 years later.

There is also a love triangle (plus one) in Vampire Diaries. However, it never really felt like a love triangle to me (at least in the first four books, I never read past that). Elena is smart enough to know her feelings for Matt are just friendly and she is magically compelled to fall for Damon. It was frustrating to watch her swoon all over Damon but because I knew that there were supernatural things at play, I think I always knew deep down what the end result was going to be. But, I did find the romance between Elena and Stefan to be a little too insta-love for me in addition to being super cheesy (was it just me or were romances really cheesy in the 1990s?)

Winner: Vampire Diaries for sure! It never made me pull out my hair or read an entire book about a girl mooning over her boyfriend while another hot guy tries to sweep in. The Vampire Diaries love triangle served a purpose plot-wise which I can appreciate.

Twilight: 1 | Vampire Diaries: 2

Ultimate Winner: The Vampire Diaries!

Final Comments: Both series had their quirks that irritated me but they also had aspects that I really enjoyed. Yet neither series tops my Favourite Series list for various reasons (read my individual reviews to learn why). But for me to make this decision it really came down to the basics of what I like more as a reader objectively. Which is hard because enjoying a book is supposed to be subjective! However, I think if I had chosen different Round topics, the results could have definitely swung in Twilight’s favor.

What are your thoughts: which one would you rather read? Leave a comment below!

Next Time: Vampire Diaries Novels vs Vampire Diaries TV Series

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: House of Night by P.C. Cast

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Series: House of Night
Author: P.C and Kristin Cast
# of Books: 12 (Marked, Betrayed, Chosen, Untamed, Hunted, Tempted, Burned, Awakened, Destined, Hidden, Revealed, Redeemed)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Redeemed will be published in October, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Vampires, Romance, Drama, Action
Heat Rating: very warm (for a Young Adult Novel)
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

PLEASE NOTE: That as of May, 2014 I have only read up to Destined (Book 9) of the series.

I started this series as a recommendation from a co-worker. She absolutely loved this series and I had liked her previous suggestions so I decided to give this series a try.

I really did enjoy the first novel, Marked. It was a different spin on vampires and I liked that it was much darker than other Young Adult vampire reads. It was also a lot “spicier” than other books in the genre (definitely a result of PC Cast being an adult romance writer) as it mentions a lot more sexual content. Which was a bit of a shock to me because I hadn’t really come across that too much in other books but it isn’t full out descriptive by any means. Overall, it was your typical intro book to a longer running series.

One thing I knew from the start was that I didn’t like Zoey. Ugh–she is the definition of my most disliked heroine in a Young Adult series ever (though Bella Swan is a very close first). I just never connected well with her and Lead-Heroine Self-Sacrifice Syndrome. It is also no secret that I am NOT a fan of love triangles and this book has them in plenty. But wait…it gets better! Not only does Zoey find herself in one love triangle but she practically has 12 going on at the same time (no lie, she legit has 4 boys vying for her attention at any one time). I remember reading somewhere that this was done intentionally to have a female lead with polyamory because of something or other–but it’s just too over the top for me. It just drove me nuts because I never really liked any of the male romantic leads (except one really) and I just hated the flip-flopping back and forth.

When I started the series, there were only 6 books in the series–so I thought that was where it was going to end. Which would of been fine as I liked how the plot was progressing. But once I reached book 7, Tempted, I realized that wasn’t the case.

To me, this is one of those series that has suffered from its popularity and fandom in the case that the plot gets dragged out because readers want more. As is the case with a lot of other series **coughcoughCROSSFIREcoughcough** I think the series overall takes a hit. Do I necessarily remember how much I enjoyed the first set of books? No, but because I haven’t enjoyed the last 3 or so novels as much so it creates a bias to me that I didn’t enjoy the others that much either (though to be truthful this series never did too much for me anyways). I just feel like the plot has gone in a completely different direction and they keep doing stupid things just for the sake of dragging this series out.

As I said at the start of this post, I have only read up until book 9, Destined. Part of the problem was that I got tired of waiting a year to read each new book when I wasn’t totally in love with the series anymore. I’m probably going to finish the series just for the sake of finishing it, but I’m in no rush to do so. For anyone in the same boat or who doesn’t want to read it, Wikipedia has extensive plot overviews that will help you get back on track or finish the series for you.

According to the Wikipedia page for the series, 5 movies are planned for the series. Personally, I would have rather seen this a s a TV series more than anything with the way the series and its romances progress. The thought of it as a movie slightly scares me in that I fear it will do extremely well at the box office (though I don’t think that will be the case) and be a massive hit when other book-movie series like the Mortal Instruments, Vampire Academy and Beautiful Creatures have substantially better characters and plotlines yet flopped at the box office. I probably will watch the movie if it is made but I won’t be going opening weekend…

Conclusion:

If you like high drama, love triangles galore and sexier Young Adult reads, you will probably love this series. But if you hate love triangles, like your heroines with a little more backbone and don’t enjoy dragged out plots, AVOID this series.

Rating: 3/5 (The first half of the series deserves the 3, the last half deserves a 2.5)

Similar Reads: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy #1) and Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz (Blue Bloods #1)

Synopsis for Marked (from Goodreads):
The House of Night series is set in a world very much like our own, except in 16-year-old Zoey Redbird’s world, vampyres have always existed. In this first book in the series, Zoey enters the House of Night, a school where, after having undergone the Change, she will train to become an adult vampire — that is, if she makes it through the Change. Not all of those who are chosen do. It’s tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends, and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx. But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers. When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school’s most elite club, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny–with a little help from her new vampyre friends.

Series Review: The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Canadian Author, Favourite Series #14
Series: The Drake Chronicles
Author: Alyxandra Harvey
# of Books: 6 (Hearts at Stake, Blood Feud, Out for Blood, Bleeding Hearts, Blood Moon, Blood Prophecy )

There are a lot of novella side stories and prequels: Full List Here

Book Order: Connected Chronologically
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Paranormal, Action, Vampires, Humour
Heat Rating: lukewarm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

I’ve read a lot of vampire novels so I was excited to see that this series appeared to be a fresh take on vampires and by a Canadian author to boot!

And this series is a fresh take! It reminds me of a more up-beat Vampire Academy because we have different types of vampire species at play here with a lot of kick-ass action but it is done in a much more fun way. Lucy is witty and her parents are a little crazy and the Drake family is highly entertaining.

The first 4 books in the series focus on a different Drake sibling and their respective love interest. I like this setup because we get to learn more about the different Drakes, get to watch a new couple fall in love and get a fresh take on the overarching plot. You see, although the first 4 books focus on different characters, they each contribute to the plot that starts in the first novel and concludes in the last. This has its pros and cons in my opinion but it is a setup we don’t commonly see in other young adult series and it makes this series unique.

A pro about this series setup is that there is never really a lull in the plot progression (or at least there isn’t one that is as noticeable as in other series). It also gets you more familiar with the characters and helps your understanding with the world the Drakes are apart of. And at the same time, you don’t get annoyed or bored reading the same characters’ perspectives for an entire 6 book series.

A con about this series is that the last 2 books focus on Solange, Nicholas and Lucy who are the stars of the first book. Now the con isn’t that it follows these characters–because Nicholas and Lucy are my two favourite in this series–rather I was under the impression that when I started this series that each book was going to focus on a different Drake sibling and their love interest. I was expecting to see the oldest Drake brothers fall in love and unfortunately, I don’t get to (though a novella follows one of their love stories).

It would be easy to get past this I think if I enjoyed where the plot ended up going; but unfortunately, I didn’t love the path we take for the final climax. Solange was never my favourite character but I really didn’t like her storyline in Blood Moon and Blood Prophecy and because she is a main focus, I felt like it really dragged.

It took me a really long time to finish Blood Prophecy–I just couldn’t get into it. Although I loved the fact that the characters we were previously introduced to get adequate screen time I just felt like the book was way too long. The plot dragged and I got bored with the plot. I warmed up by the end but it was too little too late.

Part of the problem is that it had been 1.5 years since I finished book 5, Blood Moon–which I didn’t totally love either so that also changed my expectations for the final book. Regardless, I just found it hard to keep everything straight because there are multiple vampire species that have different abilities and the like; and they all have odd names so I found it hard to keep them straight. If I had read all books in a row within a month, I probably wouldn’t have been as lost and enjoyed the final two books a lot more.

A note on the novellas: I’ve only read some of the novellas. They aren’t necessary for the story but they do give some context and are entertaining, purely fan-service reads.

Conclusion:

If you want a vampire series that focuses equally on romance and action–this is a series for you. It’s a lot of fun, has strong heroines and lots of kickass action! But be sure to read them close together to keep everything straight and keep within the Drake-mindset!

Rating: 4.5/5

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

Synopsis for Hearts at Stake (or My Love Lies Bleeding) (from Goodreads):
On Solange’s sixteenth birthday, she is going to wake up dead. As if that’s not bad enough, she also has to outwit her seven overprotective older brothers, avoid the politics involved with being the only daughter born to an ancient vampire dynasty, and elude Kieran Black—agent of an anti-vampire league who is searching for his father’s killer and is intent on staking Solange and her entire family.

Luckily she has her own secret weapon—her human best friend Lucy—who is willing to defend Solange’s right to a normal life, whether she’s being smothered by her well-intentioned brothers or abducted by a power-hungry queen. Two unlikely alliances are formed in a race to save Solange’s eternal life—Lucy and Solange’s brother Nicholas, and Solange and Kieran Black—in a dual romance that is guaranteed to jump start any romance-lover’s heart.

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:

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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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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:

Series Review: The Blood of Eden by Julie Kagawa

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

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Synopsis for Immortal Rules (from Goodreads):

To survive in a ruined world, she must embrace the darkness

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them—the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies and becomes one of the monsters.

Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what and who is worth dying for again.

Enter Julie Kagawa’s dark and twisted world as an unforgettable journey begins

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Authors
Series: The Blood of Eden Trilogy, The Immortal Rules Trilogy
Author: Julie Kagawa
# of Books: 3 (The Immortal Rules, The Eternity Cure, The Forever Song)

There are some novellas and short stories. See here.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Post Apocalyptic, Vampires, Science Fiction, Adventure, Action, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: April 2012 – April 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook & Hardcover

thoughts

I absolutely LOVED the Iron Fey Series (not sure why I haven’t reviewed it yet! The HORROR!) so when that series ended and this series was announced, I made sure my name was on the waiting list for the Immortal Rules.

This series is completely different from the Iron Fey Series–which has its pros and cons. Pro: because it shows off Ms. Kagawa’s great writing skills and her ability to create two drastically different worlds. Con: it isn’t light-hearted like the Iron Fey Series so it can get a little depressing to read.

The “depressing” feeling is important to highlight I think because not everyone enjoys reading about Post-Apocalyptic worlds. I also want to stress that not all Post-Apocalyptic novels are dystopian–there is a difference: so don’t assume that this is a dystopian novel  because it really isn’t (there are some “dystopian” elements but they play a very minor role in the novels).

I know that a lot of people are going to read the synopsis and go, “ugh, vampires” but I want to assure people that these vampires aren’t “anti-vampires” — meaning they kill people and drink human blood. There’s lots of action and bad guys so don’t think this is some light-hearted romantic read because the story is very, very dark.

What I love about Ms. Kagawa’s writing is that she is able to blend multiple genres together in her writing. You’ll see in the stats above that I listed a crap-load of genres that these books touch upon. Basically, these books have a little bit of everything in them and that makes the reading experience unique. I wish the romance was built up a little more (so don’t read this is you want a book solely focused on romance) but when we do get those snippets, I enjoy them immensely.

However, I did struggle to get through these books at times, especially the Eternity Cure. One reason is Allison. She isn’t my favourite character ever and I just don’t like her as much as I could. I’m not sure what it is, I think I just find her depressing at times because of all the stuff she has gone through. Though to be fair, Meagan Chase (Iron Fey) is a hard act to follow so that might be why.

Another reason I struggled through these books is all the detail–HOLY SHIT is it descriptive! I understand why because the science fiction elements require explanation and details but I will admit to skimming most of the Eternity Cure at times because there was just so much detail!

Both The Immortal Rules and The Eternity Cure start slow but they slowly build as you read and have great plot twists near the end that make things more interesting. I’m excited to see what happens in the Forever Song.

updates

–September 29, 2016– Book #3: The Forever Song

DNF’d at 40% — Start of Chapter 9

It’s been two years since I read The Eternity Cure and all I can remember is not enjoying it all that much. I think it’s safe to say that I was kinda dreading picking this book up. I was apprehensive and worried I wouldn’t be able to finish it but I did want to see how this series wrapped up and so I took a chance.

Alas, my fears were realized. I ended up DNFing this book because of sheer boredom.

The exorbitant amount of detail really turned me off. I felt like I was reading 10 pages for one scene of tiny movement. It was exhausting. I was at the point I was skimming the pages just to get the gist of what is happening. And that was my plan to finish the book; but even watching the World Cup of Hockey at the same time couldn’t keep me motivated to skim this. I peeked at the ending and can happily call this series finished.

Series Rating: 3.5/5

The Immortal Rules 4/5 | The Eternity Cure 3.5/5 | The Forever Song DNF

overall

While this is not my favourite series ever, I give props to Ms. Kagawa for creating such an awesome world. The world itself is what captures my attention the most when I read these books. Fans of the Iron Fey Series will probably be disappointed because there really isn’t much in common between these books besides the author. However, readers who like darker Science Fiction reads with vampires will enjoy this series.

Read if You Like: slow stories, vampires, post-apocalypse
Avoid if You: want more romance, dislike violence

similarreads

  • Black City by Elizabeth Richards (Black City Series #1)
  • Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London (Darkness Before Dawn Trilogy #1)
  • Poison Princess by Kresley Cole (Arcana Chronicles #1)

 

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