Review: Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)

Vampire Academy

(Vampire Academy #1)

Richelle Mead

My rating:

4 star

Goodreads summary:

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.

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I actually picked up this book because I saw the trailer for the movie, and I have no regrets about it at all. Overall this was just a very enjoyable read; it just grabbed my attention and didn’t let me go until I was finished. The thing that made me love this book was to fact that it looked at vampire social structures differently. There was royalty and guardians and normal vampires and this made the social scene just feel much more realistic and more interesting in general. All the characters in this book were very pronounced and they all played their separate roles in the story.

The fact that there was such a complex structure to the social scene just really made me love this book a whole lot. It made you see vampire society as more than just one group and I think that it gave the whole book more realistic feel. It also allows for much more interesting interpersonal relationships. The whole vampire Academy concept was also very interesting especially because there were different types of studies to take, depending on what race you are.

The characters in his book were a lot of fun to read about because they were so pronounced. All of them had very specific traits which were consistent throughout the book. Rose was a very feisty character which made it very enjoyable to read her story. And Lissa balanced out Rose’s feistiness very nicely. All the secondary characters in this book also had a very realistic personality and they were all part of the bigger picture. They helped move the story along but it didn’t feel forced all, which was great.

Writing wise this story might not have been super special, but it didn’t bother me either, so that’s a good thing. The storyline itself was perhaps slightly predictable but even that didn’t really make me dislike the book. It just took me along for the ride and it just kept me wanting to read more. This book is definitely setting up for bigger and better things in the sequel and I hope it delivers!

In general the story was slightly predictable, but that didn’t really bother me. This was a fun, nice read and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

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Review: Backward compatible–Sarah Daltry & Pete Clark

Backward Compatible: A Geek Love Story
Backward compatible
Sarah Daltry & Pete Clark

My rating:

4 star

Goodreads summary:

A YA Gamer Geek Comedy in the vein of Scott Pilgrim and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Ideal for fans of The Big Bang Theory, The Guild, and all things Joss Whedon.

WARNING: There is no sex in this book. Your Kindle or other device will remain at a pleasant room temperature. At no point will your panties drop. Your significant other will be allowed to snore in peace as you read. You may, however, laugh yourself out of commission.

Not too long ago, in a town that, depending on your current location, is either not super far or actually quite close… (insert Star Wars theme music here…)
It is a time of chaotic hormones.
Two nerdy gents home for winter break have discovered a female gamer at a midnight release.
During the break, the gamer trio manages to reveal the game’s secret boss, a hidden enemy with enough power to destroy anything in its path.
Pursued by other gamers who want to be the first to beat this boss, George and Katie race to level up, and, in so doing, restore decency and sexual activity to their personal galaxy…

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This was very refreshing to read as a gamer myself. I haven’t really read any contemporary romances with this geeky twist before. I loved the characters in this book but also the game and the general nerdiness about it all. Reading this book was a very fast affair and that was mainly due to me not wanting to put it down before I finished it. So if you are a gamer yourself and you are also a fan of pop culture and you love to read, this is really a book that might interest you a whole lot.

Katie and George were the main characters in this book with their alternating POVs and that was nice. It really added to this awkward love story because you got a lot of insight into how they both felt. Lanyon is George’s best friend and he was just so funny. I think he might actually be my favorite character in the whole book. But the thing I actually liked the most about the characters in this book was that they were so diverse. There are so many different kinds of gamers and this book really shows that. It’s not because you like gaming that you automatically do a whole lot of other stuff as well, every gamer still has a personality outside of gaming.

The story in this book was very nice and was just spiced up with a lot of humor and references to pop culture and awkwardness. I do have to say that at times the writing didn’t flow as easily as I would have liked, but these parts never lasted very long. The ending of this book wasn’t really unexpected, but for me that really didn’t make me like it any less. I’m not sure as to the background of the authors, whether they are gamers or not. That because either they themselves really like gaming or they really took their time to get into this hobby. I would guess that they do like their fair share of gaming though, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t?

In general this book was just a very cute and fun read which just sucks you right in and won’t let you go until it’s done.

Review: Angelfall- Susan Ee

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1)

Angelfall

(Penryn & the End of Days #1)

Susan Ee

My rating:

4 star

Goodreads summary:

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.
Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.
Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.
Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.
Recommended for ages 16 and up.

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This book was me taking a leap back into YA dystopians, which I have really enjoyed in the past, until I suddenly got fed up with it. Due to too much of the same thing happening in different books. It tends to make reading new books less exciting. But this book was going to be different! Though at first it was only average. It didn’t diverge all that much from the standard “something bad happened and now I will have to save my family”. But there was some new stuff in there, at least for me, and that definitely brightened up this novel. It’s not a hugely long book so it didn’t take very long to read.

I enjoyed the characters in this book and the relationship they had was very nice to bear witness to. It wasn’t the completely awestruck, instant romance stuff that can happen at times in YA books, so that was good. No extreme fawning over cute angel guys that will get the main character in so much trouble she’ll never get out. So that was a strong point for this book. It’s rally weird that in the synopsis the mother isn’t mentioned, because she does play a role in the story, though it’s a special role. Raffe was a real fun guy to read about, and he felt realistic in that way that he just didn’t give away all of his secrets at once, just because Penryn happened to blink at him in a certain attractive way. He knew how not to give away all of the information at the same time, which was great for diverting great informational floods.  On a side note: I really dislike the name Penryn.

Obviously angels play a role in this story (or did you miss that obvious hint in the title?) and while I haven’t read a lot of books centered around these creatures they didn’t feel extremely classic. Their actions are at times pretty unorthodox which made them for interesting “villains” in this story. I found their interactions with each other less ordinary than I imagined before I started reading this book. And the descriptions of their appearance were a lot different from the angels we see in more classic literature. This was a nice surprise, though I have to say I was not as pleased with all of their appearances. But it doesn’t matter all that much, so no big deal.

For a very big part of this book the story line was entertaining though nothing too special. It didn’t feel extremely refreshing for the most part. But then suddenly we get to the ending, like barely a couple of chapters before the ending, and BAM the story takes a sharp turn away from things that have been seen before. Into a whole darker theme that feels fresh. It’s great that this happens and it really did leave ma wanting to read more (good thing there will be a next book). It’s just a shame that it only happens so late in the book because this could have been a lot more intense and dark. Let’s hope the next book will start off with that darker mood right away instead of blustering into it by the end.

In general I think the strong points of this book were the characters and the darkening plot-twist towards the ending.

Review: The Beginning Of Everything–Robyn Schneider

The Beginning of Everything
The Beginning Of Everything
Robyn Schneider

My rating:

4 star

Goodreads summary:

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.
No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.
But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?
Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

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I had been wanting to read this book since before it came out, so I was super excited about finally getting my hands on a copy. I have a hard cover copy of this, meaning that it’s called the beginning of everything, because the UK (which is where I order my book) paperback is called Severed Heads, Broken Hearts.  This was the original title of the book but was eventually changed before being published in the US. I read this book in just a couple of hours and I really liked it. A lot. The first chapter just reels you in straight away, which is just grand.

The characters in this book were good, but not always super likeable. Especially golden boy Ezra, sometimes he just felt a bit pompous. But this was worked into the story and it was his coming of age story, so I didn’t mind too much. He also had a very authentic voice and it really did feel as if we were reading this book from his perspective(in the way that it felt like a real male teenager).  A thing that I did notice was that the less popular crowd consisted of a lot more well-rounded characters than the popular crowd. There were definitely some pre-labeled jocks and cheerleaders in this book. It would have been nicer if they had been pictured a bit more multi-dimensional. But besides that I was a big fan of the inter-character relationships. To me they made a lot of sense and it’s a nice way to get readers invested in the story. This coming of age tale was very good in being what the name says: you just see the characters in this story grow into something more.

This coming of age story felt very well paced. There were never really any moments in the book where I just wished things would move a little faster. This is a real strong point for a YA book in this genre, because they can have the tendency to lull in certain points of the story. The writing was very enjoyable and I found a lot of Robyn Scheinder in this book as well( I follow her on YouTube, and this book just feels so much like her). She is definitely aware of the situation teenagers these days are in, especially technology-wise. And there were so many references to pretty much every current fandom out there. I think this really made the book more relatable than most. And did I mention the puns? There are just so many good puns in this book, if you are a fan of them (which I happen to be).

What I liked a little less was when we found out what Cassidy’s secret was. It was just a bit too predictable to my liking. I had figured it out a lot earlier than when it finally was revealed in full. But I did enjoy the true ending of the book which left me with a good feeling of this book. And I liked the message this book was giving people.

So if you’re in the mood for a strong coming of age story with an authentic voice, pick this book up and let me know what you think.

Review: Eragon – Christopher Paolini

Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle, #1)
Eragon
(The Inheritance Cycle #1)
Christopher Paolini

My rating:

4 star

Goodreads summary:

One boy . . .
One dragon . . .
A world of adventure.
When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.
Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.
Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.

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Let me first admit that I haven’t read a lot of fantasy before this book. I’ve read a little, but I’m anything but knowledgeable on the subject. But let me just say that I really enjoyed reading this book. I found the story to be very captivating as well as the world in which is took place. The world was complete with new creatures, languages and rules. Perhaps these creatures might not all have been the most original of fantasy creatures (dragons, dwarves) but there were some cool species as well (Ra’zac, Kull). There was definitely magic in this book but I loved the way in which the limitations were there throughout the story.

There was a good mix of action, world building, history and personal growth going on throughout this book. A lot of the time even more than one of these was going on at a time. This made it for some interesting reading all the way through this lengthy book. I know that there are plenty of readers out there who think differently about this. But to me the story didn’t move too slowly at all. It didn’t move super quick either but for me it didn’t have to.  

I really enjoyed Eragon as a character, he definitely wasn’t perfect, he made mistakes. He was definitely a sensitive enough boy as well as eager to learn more about this world he lives in. Saphira was a very interesting character as well. I love the gusto she has. The only thing I like a little less is how Saphira and Eragon communicate. Their “talks” feel incredibly formal and most of the time their dialogue is foreshadowing some event or another. Another thing I really like is how characters never completely give up all their secrets at once. Characters like Brom are not just spewing all that they know right away which keeps the story strong.

Eldest, the next book in the series, is definitely on my to read list after reading Eragon. I’m curious to find out what’ll happen next in Alaegësia.

Before I completely close of this blogpost I’d like to touch on some things that I’ve seen strewn around in other reviews of this book. A lot of people are saying that Eragon is a huge rip-off of Lord of the rings. I admit that I haven’t read the books yet but I have seen the films. I can see that there are some parallels between those books and this book. The thing is, isn’t there usually a bad guy who needs to be defeated in a lot of stories? And doesn’t someone eventually have to rise up to fight this person with all of the power?This isn’t the only book to use dwarves and elves besides Lord of The Rings. Admittedly this might not make this story the most original of stories ever to be written. But to me it definitely held its own, there were enough differences to make this book a separate entity instead of a rip-off.

Lastly, a lot of people are harping on about how Paolini was only 17 or something when he wrote this book. And it supposedly really shows in the writing. To me this was not apparent at all. And I can only be jealous at Paolini for writing this story at that age and getting it published. Yes it was first published by his parents’ publishing house, but later it was also published by another company so that means that it’s not just his parents doing him a favor.