Saturday, December 19, 2009

Vampire Academy Series, Books 1-3
by Richelle Mead




Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with an unbreakable bond to the earth's magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest and most dangerous vampires - the ones who never die.

The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa's best friend, makes her a Dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making her one of them.

After two years of illicit freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir's Academy, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. Rose will continue her Dhampir education. Lissa will go back to being Queen of the elite Moroi social scene. And both girls will resume breaking Academy hearts.

Fear made Lissa and Rose run away from St. Vladimir's - inside the Academy's iron gates, their world is even more fraught with danger. Here, the cutthroat ranks of the Moroi perform unspeakable rituals, and their secretive nature and love of the night creates and enigmatic world full of social complexities. Rose and Lissa must navigate through this dangerous world, confront the temptation of forbidden romance, and never onece let thier guard down, lest the Strigoi make Lissa one of them forever...



Rose's love life is all messed up. The man she likes has his eyes on someone else, her friend has a crush on her, and she keeps getting stuck in Lissa's head while she is making out with her boyfirend.

Then when a Massive Strigoi attack puts St. Vladimir's on high alert, the school is crawling with guardians. And one just happens to be Rose's formidable, long- absent mother, Janine Hathaway.

But this only provides the illusion of safty. When some students run away to strike back at the Strigoi, Rose must rescue them. Only this time, Rose - and her heart - are in more danger than she ever could have imagined...



Rose knows it is forbidden to love another guardian, and that her best friend Lissa - the last Dragomir princess - must always come first. Unfortunately, when it comes to Dimitire Belikov, some rulse are meant to be broken...

But since her first Strigoi kills, Ros hasn't been feeling right. Something dark has begun to grow in her mind, and ghostly shadows warn of a terrible evil drawing near. Tensions in the Moroi world are higher than ever.

Lying to Lissa about Dimitri is one thing, but suddely there's way more than friendship at stake. In a Heartstopping battle to rival her worst nightmares, Rose will have to choose between life, love and the two people who matter most...but will her choice mean that only one can survive?


There were a alot of good parts in these books. Richelle Mead has done a wonderful job in writing them. In this amazing series of novels you will find: love, friendship, inner trials, excitement, action and adventure. It is a fast paced read, one thrill after another. But I have to admit that some parts in the middle are a little slow, but it won't last long if Rose Hathaway has anything to say about it.

The character development and story line are so well done that I think I am a student at St. Vladimir's Academy myself. The book is told from Rose's point of view. And while you might be able to predict the smaller happenings of the plot, it's not that easy with the bigger picture. I can tell you one thing, I did not expect half those things to happen.

Rose is a seriously independent, handle it on her own, never let a fight go unchallenged kind of girl. While Lissa on the other hand, is a kind of moody, dependent and slightly annoying. (The annoying part is my own personal opinion offence.)

Book-alikes: ~I would recomend these books for anyone who is a fan of Vampires, the Twilight series, the House Of Night series, etc.~

Profanity: Mild

Drugs & Alcohol: Mild

Sexuality: Mild, it is suggested but never in detail

Violence: Mild

Rating: **** 4 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed by :



Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

So basically, the book is about fighting the evil side with in all of us. Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul. (Summary by


The Dark Divine was surprisingly quite a good book! At first I was a little apprehensive to read it, because it sounded like just another spin off of Twilight, but I found the character development to be much better. I actually liked the realistic way Bree made her characters feel, though I feel that her male characters were stronger then the female ones.

I did find the main heroine of the story lacking in some personality. It's not that Grace was not likeable, I just think that you expected her to grow more as the book progressed. Her growth was stunted, I think, because the author was trying so hard to capture Daniel and his struggle that she forget to continue to develop Grace in the same ways. I wish she had gone a little bit deeper into Jude's side of the story as well, so you could really see what was going on between both of these very compelling characters. I feel Jude hung there for a long time not being used. Over all I liked the book a lot: it portrayed some very human emotions, it was not "CHEESY", it moved well, and had great humor. Bree makes you fight to love these characters, as much as the characters in the book are fighting to love each other. I loved the end. It showed that you do have to sacrifice, and I think that's one element love stories tend to leave out. A very nice read over all!!!

Profanity: Mild
Drugs & Alcohol: Medium, talked about, and a scene where a guy is high, but nothing really bad.
Sexuality: Mild, there is some kissing :)
Violence: Medium, but really nothing gory.
Rating: **** 4 out of 5 stars.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Wings by Aprilynne Pike: Review

By: Aprilynne Pike

Description: Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful—too beautiful for words.

Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.

In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.

Review: I was so close to loving this book. There were just a few things that have prevented me from really getting into it like I wanted to.

My favorite character in this book was David, easily. He seems to genuinely be interested in Laurel's well being. When her dad gets sick, he volunteers time at their bookstore and other things that show that he really cares.

The Faerie lore was another aspect I really enjoyed.  The author did a great job of taking an idea and really running with it. Also, the villains were pretty good. I only wish they had been featured more. I'd really like to know more about their history and hope that they play a bigger role in the sequel.

This book is a good middle-reader fantasy. It was a little slow as far as actual action goes, and some of the events in the book were a little trite. But, I would very highly recommend this book for a pre-teen girl that you don't want to give a book about abusive vampire relationships. There isn't any of that in this book. And, I liked it enough to be pretty excited about the sequel coming out next year.

3.5 stars rounded up to 4

Book A-Like:
Twilight, If you like paranormal romance you'll like this book.

Profanity: None
Drugs and Alcohol: None. She doesn't even eat meat.
Sexuality: None
Violence: Mild. There is one fight scene.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix: Review

By: Margaret Peterson Haddix

Description: Thirteen-year-old Jonah has always known that he was adopted, and he's never thought it was any big deal. Then he and a new friend, Chip, who's also adoped, begin receiving mysterious letters. The first one says, "You are one of the missing." The second one says, "Beware! They're coming back to get you."

Jonah, Chip, and Jonah's sister, Katherine, are plunged into a mystery that involves the FBI, a vast smuggling operation, an airplane that appeared out of nowhere -- and people who seem to appear and disappear at will. The kids discover they are caught in a battle between two opposing forces that want very different things for Jonah and Chip's lives.

Do Jonah and Chip have any choice in the matter? And what should they choose when both alternatives are horrifying?

Review: Man, can Margaret Peterson Haddix write a YA thriller or what? I have no idea where she comes up with these ideas for stories, but they are phenomenal.

Jonah is a great character. He's very much a teenage boy. His parents have worked very hard to make his adoption a normal thing for him. Chip on the other hand has never been told that he's adopted. Frankly, it seems like his parents are pretty disconnected in a lot of aspects of Chip's life.  I was really interested in the two totally different ways these families handled the adoption situation.

The book was incredibly suspenseful. Haddix does a wonderful job of giving just enough information to be clear, but not enough to guess what is going to happen next. This book, like many of her others, is pretty short. I read this book in about two hours.

I wish I could go more into the details of the story, but any further information would really ruin the story. Basically, I loved this book.

I gave this book 5 stars.

Profanity: None that I can remember
Drugs and Alcohol: None
Sexuality: None
Violence: Mild. At most, there is a fistfight.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fire by Kristen Cashore

Fire by Kristin Cashore

480 pg

YA Fantasy


Fire, Graceling's prequel-ish companion book, takes place across the mountains to the east of the seven kingdoms, in a rocky, war-torn land called the Dells.

Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored-- fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green-- and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans.

Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story.

Wondering what makes it a companion book/prequel? Fire takes place 30-some years before Graceling and has one cross-over character with Graceling, a small boy with strange two-colored eyes who comes from no-one-knows-where, and who has a peculiar ability that Graceling readers will find familiar and disturbing...


Fire, a human monster mostly distrusted because of her ability to enter the minds of others and influence them, is asked to leave her secluded life in the northern wilderness of Dell and travel to the King's City to help the royal family uncover the plots of power-hungry men who would divide the kingdom with war. Fire must find where the boundaries of her abilities lie and just how far she is willing to go to use them. She must also navigate through the complicated relationships in her life, with her longtime friend and lover, Archer; the young King Nash, often overcome by his emotions and desires; the determined and noble Prince Brigan; and her own father, who was cruel and violent to everyone else but showed his small tendernesses to his monster daughter.

My thoughts:

This book was just as good, if not better in some ways, than the first book, Graceling. It is a complex story that highlights a lot of contradictions and difficulties in human relationships. First is Fire's relationship with herself. As an exquisitely beautiful woman, her beauty is more a burden to her than anything else. People are either driven to mindless desire or utter rage by it, and her ability to enter the minds of others through cracks in their emotions only causes more distrust of her. Fire must find where the boundaries lie between good and evil with the use of her abilities and figure out where she stands with her beliefs as she is asked to help a breaking nation. Can some things done in the name of good be bad?

Fire's relationship with her father is also a central part of the story. Cansrel was a vicious monster adviser to the previous king, Nax, who used his mental powers to drive the weak king to lush extravagance and cruelty. It is largely his doing that the kingdom of Dell is in its current state. Fire acts in response to her relationship with her father, not wanting to become him and also wanting to make up for who he was.

I liked that the characters in this book were flawed, complex beings. Fire, and we as readers, love many of the people in this book despite seeing their cracks and weaknesses. Archer is a complicated man, and Cashore did a good job of revealing his layers through out the book. Cansrel, Fire's manipulative father, was a monster in every sense of the word to everyone else, but through Fire we see that he did show her kindness and love as much as he was capable of. Does that negate his evilness? Or just make him more complex and human?

I will admit, though, that at times Fire confused me. She didn't act as I would myself, or as I thought she might. Through the changing and evolving process, Fire reacts to events late in the book in ways that I wouldn't have expected. Sometimes it took awhile before Cashore explained the reasoning for some of these behaviors. It all made sense in the end, but sometimes I had to wait and suspend my understanding until the explanation was revealed.

The story revealed itself at a nice pace for me. A few of my friends mentioned that they thought the beginning was a bit slow, but I really didn't mind it. The characters felt complete and the plot was satisfyingly romantic and intense as Fire got more involved in the war effort. I must also say that one of the pleasant things about this book was that the romance wasn't typical. I am a romantic, I'll admit, and love to get the butterflies in my stomach, but I am so sick of books where 'getting the guy to trust/love/admit he loves you' is the central storyline or purpose of the character. The romance in this book is very sweet and tender and natural, but it doesn't get in the way of the ultimate plot. It doesn't try to take over as the main concern when there are more important things going on. The love that develops between the two characters serves to enhance the plot and weaves nicely into it.


5/5 stars. I'm not obsessed with it, but I'm definitely going to tell all of my friends about it. It's an excellent and exciting read with plenty of romance and adventure. Cashore has done an amazing job and I can't wait to read Bitterblue, which should come out sometime next year.


Profanity: None

Violence: plenty of violence and action, but none excessively gory or brutal.

Drugs and Alcohol: None

Sexuality: referred to through out, but never in detail and always respectfully done.

Reviewed by Julie

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner
By: James Dashner

Blurb from back:
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

This book definitely kept me on my toes. Similar to Jason Borne in The Bourne Identity and other amnesia-plagued characters, you find yourself trying so hard to piece together the little information given to you by the author into a back story for the character.

Post-apocalyptic fiction is some of my favorite to read, because I really enjoy the aspect of human survival. Every book has its own flavor of how people survive when situations aren't ideal. What I liked about The Maze Runner was the many different conflicts that contributed to the story. Thomas is conflicted about his past, he wants to know who he is and where he came from. But, once the truth begins to come out, he is rightly conflicted about wanting to know more. Thomas is also conflicted about the information that he gives to the leaders of the group, and the information he's holding in his thoughts. There are of course environmental conflicts as would be expected with a group of boys governing themselves. This is increased with the addition of a girl to the Glade.

I liked the characters in the books. Even though there were quite a few to keep track of, I felt like they were all easily distinguishable from each other. Each contributed to the story in an important way. I especially felt a connection to Thomas' first roommate Chuck. It gives a little bit of a softer edge to the otherwise hardened life at the Glade.

I only had a couple things I didn't like about the book, and they definitely weren't deal breakers. The first was the made up slang. I also didn't like it in Ender's Game.  I felt like it really clogged up the dialogue sometimes, and regular slang words would do.

Also, I felt like not enough was done with the female character in the story. This can be easily remedied in the sequel; however, and I'm sure she'll make a bigger impact.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I highly recommend this book for boys, especially ones that don't especially like to read. It's a fast-paced, easy read that will leave you thinking about it for days. I gave it four stars.

Profanity: Mild, and it's not actual swear words used in every-day English, but made up slang
Drugs and Alcohol: None
Sexuality: Mildly hinted at when the girl first arrives
Violence: Mild. People do die in the book, but it's not overly graphic.

Books similar to this one: Ender's Game, Lord of the Flies

In accordance with FTC guidelines please note that I received a review copy from Delacorte Press for Young Readers. I was not compensated for this review.