Saturday, August 27, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1)
by Richelle Mead
Published by Razorbill
Released August 23, 2011
The first book in Richelle Mead's brand-new teen fiction series - set in the same world as Vampire Academy.
When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning.
Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive - this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood.
My favorite characters taking a backseat to the other characters didn't bother me as much as I thought, but I think the main reason is that the characters taking the stage this time around were characters that I did enjoy in the other series. Sydney was a great character. Although she is no Rose, she's amazing in her own ways. Where Rose was always a kick-ass character who dove into action, Sydney felt more realistically human to me in that she is eighteen, yet still learning who she is and is sometimes vulnerable. Of course, this might have to do with that fact that Rose wasn't exactly all human... but I liked both of them for very different reasons. I also loved the fact that Adrian took a bigger role in this book than what I was expecting. I loved him in Vampire Academy and it was good to see him, though his pain sometimes made my heart ache. However, we still had some very Adrian moments that definitely let us know he's still Adrian... just an Adrian trying to get over heartbreak.
Bloodlines is written exactly the way that we've come to expect and love from Richelle Mead - which is nothing less than page-turning. There's action, an amazing plot and some cameos that were not expected but definitely welcomed. The one thing that this novel lacked that Vampire Academy did not was a love interest and romance. There were hints to some that may come along in the next book, but it definitely took a backseat to everything else in this one. At the end, there were some unanswered questions but I'm sure we'll get our answers as the series continues. If you haven't read the Vampire Academy series, you may be a little lost. Richelle Mead definitely put some information in to help you out, though I don't know if it's substantial enough to keep you completely informed.
Overall, this was a great start to a spin-off series and I absolutely adored it. Vampire Academy fans will definitely feel at home with the familiar characters. Everyone else will enjoy a great story full of engaging characters and a spectacular plot that will have your head spinning.
Monday, August 22, 2011
There are going to be FIVE themed prize packs that you can choose from. It's up to you how many you'd like to enter to win, so enter just one... or a few... or all of them! Each one has a specific theme and all the books in the prizes will come brand-spanking-new from Book Depository, which makes each and every one eligible to be INTERNATIONAL.
Prize Pack #1: The Beach Bum Prize Pack
All books in this category are beach-related in some way, shape or form. If you win this prize pack, you will get your choice of three books.
Prize Pack #2: Bitten & Smitten Prize Pack
These books are all about vampires. Again, I'll list some of my favorites and you will get your choice of three books.
Prize Pack #3: Boys, Boys, Boys Prize Pack
Some of my favorite books, all written by male authors. Pick three.
Prize Pack #4: Everything In-Between Prize Pack
The books listed here are some of my absolute favorites of the year. If selected, you will choose three.
Prize Pack #5: Surprise Prize Pack
This prize is pretty much all about the winner, but with a twist. On the entry form, there will be a place where you will write down your top six books on your wishlist. If you're selected as the winner of this prize pack, I will choose three of those six books to order and send to you.
Bonus Prize Pack: Ultimate Follower Prize Pack
Okay, I lied... there's one more prize pack. This one is made specifically for you to show my gratitude.
In this prize pack, you will get the following:
· Your choice of three books.
· Two random ARCs that I have lying around.
· A whole bunch of swag - bookmarks, bookplates, charms, stickers, notepads, etc.
These will be shipped in two packages. Your choices will be mailed from Book Depository, and the ARCs and swag will be mailed from my place. The ARCs are a total surprise but I will say that they will be recent releases. I will be shipping these in a medium package, and will use the swag to fill the box the rest of the way. The last time I did this, someone got over 50 pieces of swag.
So there you have it, SIX PRIZE PACKS! All for you guys because I appreciate all that you do.
1. You MUST be a follower of this blog.
2. You WILL have the option of extra entries (below) to give you more chances to win.
3. All prize packs listed above are INTERNATIONAL.
4. This contest will be open from today (August 22) until midnight EST on Sunday, September 4, 2011.
5. All winners will be notified via e-mail, so you MUST enter a valid e-mail address in the entry form.
6. When I e-mail you with your notification of winning, you MUST e-mail me back with your choice of books for whatever prize pack you win within 72 hours of me sending the e-mail. If I don't hear back from you, I will choose another winner.
**Most importantly, you MUST fill out the entry form to be entered.
+3 each: Follow
+5 each: Announce
Tweet About It
+10 each: Post It
There's a limit of one each for announcements and posts, meaning you can post more than once but you'll only get the extra entries once. If there are other ways that you spread the word, please let me know in the Other areas and I will give you points accordingly.
**Please remember to post all links in the entry form as this is the only way that I keep up with them and, therefore, your only way to get the points. If you decide to go for the extra points after you fill out the form, do NOT fill out the form again! Simply comment on THIS POST with the your name (the one you used in the form) with your links and I will add them to your entry.
Thanks for everything you guys, and good luck!!
**Edit: This contest has been extended and MORE prize packs have been added. To read more about this, click here.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Here Lies Bridget
Paige Harbison [F] [T]
Bridget Duke is the uncontested ruler of her school. The meanest girl with the biggest secret insecurities. And when new girl Anna Judge arrives, things start to fall apart for Bridget: friends don't worship as attentively, teachers don't fall for her wide-eyed "who me?" look, expulsion looms ahead and the one boy she's always loved—Liam Ward—can barely even look at her anymore.
When a desperate Bridget drives too fast and crashes her car, she ends up in limbo, facing everyone she's wronged and walking a few uncomfortable miles in their shoes. Now she has only one chance to make a last impression. Though she might end up dead, she has one last shot at redemption and the chance to right the wrongs she's inflicted on the people who mean the most to her.And Bridget's about to learn that, sometimes, saying you're sorry just isn't enough….
With that said, I will say that sometimes it was a little difficult for me to accept ALL of Bridget - actions, attitude and all. I will also say that the build-up of Bridget's character as a horrid person was a good portion of the book, which made the resolution feel a little hurried and maybe even a little predictable. But again, most of it is needed for this book to be as successful of a story as it is.
The writing was great, the plot was just as wonderful. Over all of that, I have to say that the character development was very meaty but this also made the character growth in the story astronomically better than most that you see. Besides seeing small areas of improvement, you're almost getting a new character - one that is still recognizable, but her whole train of thought and reactions are not like the old her in the very least. I think, if nothing else, that made the book completely worth the read... although her circumstances were fantastical at the very least, her actions are very real and make for an incredible story.
· Ward Against Death [Buy]
I started writing fantasy at a young age—I still have the little picture book I made in grade 3 about the Adventures of Sprinkle the Fairy—and have always been drawn to magic. I'm sure if you ask my mother she'll say I went through a princess phase, but as I grew up I wanted to be the princess who defeated the villain and saved the handsome knight in peril.
You could say it started with fairy tales, but I think it goes deeper than that. I think a lot of kids start with fairy tales and not all of them start writing their own. There was just something about the magic and the adventure that attracted me. While my Dad and brother were reading science fiction and my Mother was reading mysteries, I was still reading stories of magic. I read about unicorns discovering fire (Birth of the Firebringer by Meredith Ann Pierce), I read about hobbits (The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien), I read about girls who wanted to be knights (Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce) and I read about magical horses who found kids who had magical powers (Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey). And as I grew older I found writers like David Eddings, Guy Gavriel Kay, and Patricia A. McKillip.
I love the freedom and challenges that come from writing fantasy. The freedom is I can write just about anything I want in just about any time period. People can cast spells, they can come back from the dead, and they can literately be monsters. And I love the challenges of creating a magical world and characters who have desires like you and me but magical complications.
I've come a long way from Sprinkle the Fairy. The magic in my novel, Ward Against Death, is a tad darker than a pink sparkly fairies. The hero is a reluctant necromancer who starts the story by bringing the heroine back from the dead, but I don't think I'll ever forget my roots. Sprinkle had a pretty big adventure saving the world from a terrible (and slightly homesick) dragon.
Thanks for joining me today. I shared some of the titles of some of the books that inspired me to write fantasy. What’s your favorite fairy tale or fantasy book?