Monday, September 29, 2014

The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4) by Richelle Mead: mini review

Goodreads rating: 4.44
Hardcover, 420 pages
Published November 19th 2013 by Razorbill
Series: Bloodlines #4
Genre: YA urban fantasy/romance

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives.

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure — and re-education — looms larger than ever. Pulses will race throughout this smoldering fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

Possible spoilers from previous books in the series!

Initial reaction: Not as good as the other books, but that ending is such a cliffhanger!! I'm so glad we don't have to wait forever for the next book to come out... Also Sydrian was so awesome in this one, but I'm hoping the next book gives Adrian a chance to really shine even more than he did in this one.

This turned out to be a lot more about Adrian, which was just fine with me. I'm still not sure how I felt about seeing things through his eyes, especially Sydney, when we never got to see Rose from Dmitri's POV. It just doesn't seem fair, and I'm afraid that many authors are starting to write parts of their books from the guy's POV in order to sell books. I don't think that's the case here, but, while it was interesting, I don't think it was necessary. That's all part of the mystery, I think, and while I think it's interesting to see scenes in the girl's perspective re-written in the guy's, but otherwise I'm kind of over it. Speaking of Rose and Dmitri; we do get to see them for a bit, and it made me seriously miss their story. I recently re-read the Vampire Academy series, and while I didn't sob this time since I knew what was going to happen, it made me remember how much I missed those two.

Sydrian takes a significant step in this one. Actually, Sydney kind of annoyed me in this one. After Sydrian do the deed (not really a spoiler, it was going to happen sooner or later), it's almost as if she loses ALL of her awkwardness about doing it. Adrian describes it as how she does the rest of her life: in a scientific way with experiments. Yeah. Now, I'm not a prude (I've been in a relationship for almost 6 years now, after all), but I was actually kind of freaked out by the idea of Sydney experimenting when she really is the epitome of a prude before having sex with Adrian. So, yeah, that actually really bothered me--a lot more than I thought it would. But just like in Vampire Academy, after the deed is done, something terrible happens to one of them. That would be the cliffhanger I was alluding to.

Overall, it was good, but not great, with an insane cliffhanger that I don't know how they're going to get out of! I actually just bought Silver Shadows, so I'll be starting that soon!


People who have read the previous books in the series, and anyone who loves urban fantasies, steamy romance, and anything by Richelle Mead.

The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
The Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent

Sunday, September 28, 2014

My Poisonous Book Haul (74)

This has now become my replacement for In My Mailbox (which was created by The Story Siren). Since that feature has made some changes, I decided that I needed to move on as well. My book haul feature has a name that's more catered to my blog's theme, but it's exactly the same. Basically, you create a post of the books you either received in the mail/e-mail, bought at a bookstore, or borrowed from the library.
This week's books are minuscule compared to the last couple weeks since I've been back from Europe, but that doesn't mean they aren't all awesome!

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Between #1) by April Genevieve Tucholke: I've been dying to read this book (I mean, that cover, the premise, everything!), and I finally bought it with a B&N coupon.

Stay With Me (Wait For You #3) by J. Lynn: I pre-ordered this one when it was pretty cheap. I actually finished it a few days ago!

Afterparty by Ann Redisch Stampler: I received this from the publisher for a blog tour. It's been a while since I've been a part of one, so I'm excited to get back into it.

Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School #2) by Gail Carriger: It was weird, I requested both the third and second book of this series. I was approved for the third one the next day, but waited almost a week for the second book (this book) to get approved. I bought the first for really cheap and I'm excited to get started on this series.
The Good Girl's Guide to Bad Boys by Katie Hart: I don't know much about this one except it's New Adult and I need more of it in my life!
The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1) by Amy Engel: Looks really good, and it's Entangled Teen, so I'm hoping for something epic!
Stone of Destiny (The Danaan Trilogy #2) by Laura Howard: I can't remember what the first book was about, but I remember that I really wanted to read the sequel. It's hard not to want to read books with Celtic mythology.
Unmarked (The Legion #2) by Kami Garcia: I recently remembered that I have a physical ARC of the first book, and I've heard that Kami is the better of the two authors from the Beautiful Creatures series.
Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater: Ugh I need to start this series! I have a physical ARC of book one from ALA, and book two as an ebook. So I really have no excuse now.

What did you get in your mailbox? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

What Does the Bookworm Say? : Top Ten Book Series

Okay, so our topic this week is about our top ten favorite series. I have a love-hate relationship with series; I love them because I love it when the story is able to be prolonged and become more complicated (fun fact: originally, the Twilight books were only going to be a duology, but Meyer's agent asked if she could make it longer, and lo and behold, the Twilight love triangle!), but I hate them because there's always at least a one-year wait for the next book in the series. Anyway, here are my favorite series:

  1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  2. The Mortal Instruments (only #1-3) & The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
  3. Vampire Academy books by Richelle Mead
  4. The Angelfire trilogy by Courtney Allison Moulton
  5. The Shade trilogy by Jeri Smith-Ready
  6. The Twilight saga by Stephanie Meyer
  7. The Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson
  8. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (even though the last book isn't out yet)
  9. The Lux and Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  10. Pushing the Limits companion series by Katie McGarry
There are a lot of other fantastic series out there that I have some serious love for as well, but these really are at the top of my list. And even though that standard for YA seems to have risen significantly the past couple years, I can't help continuing to love some of the first series I ever read.

What are your favorite series? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Banned Books Week and Why We Need to Talk About It

This is going to get a bit ranty! I'm truly sorry if I offend anyone, this subject just really gets my blood boiling. Reading is a huge part of my life, an obsession that started when I was a child, and I hate that there are people out there trying to restrict that for others just learning the magic of reading and the new worlds it can open up.

When I look at the list of banned and challenged books out there, I'm truly appalled. I can't understand why people insist on eliminating imagination and personal growth, which is what I see happening here. I remember a time when my mom thought it might be a good idea that I stop reading Harry Potter books because she's Christian, and a certain amount of Christians believe that Harry Potter will teach children to enjoy witchcraft and fall into the "damned" life and Satanic rituals of the Wicca community. This, of course, is ludicrous [in case you're wondering,  I did NOT decide to start practicing Satanism after reading Harry Potter and I don't know anyone that did... just putting that out there]. So what if Charlotte's Web features talking animals? I STILL adore talking animals [umm Disney movies anyone?] and I'm certainly not a child anymore. And how is talking animals even harmful to children? I recently did a small amount of research at the ALA (American Library Association) website on what books are banned and what books are consistently challenged, and the truth is that I hope to one day be on that list. These books that have made the list are the best and most classic works of literature known to the world. I haven't heard of anyone not at least remembering the mind-altering (in a good way) implications of To Kill a Mockingbird, and yet it's near the top of the list. This list consists of many other classics like The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, The Grapes of Wrath, The Color Purple, Ulysses, The Lord of the Flies, 1984, Of Mice and Men, Catch-22, Brave New World, Animal Farm, As I Lay Dying, A Farewell to Arms, Gone with the Wind, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Slaughterhouse-Five, The Call of the Wild, The Lord of the Rings, and so many others.

I remember at least reading excerpts of many of these books in school, which means that these naysayers aren't getting the best of society, and most schools and libraries are giving children the privilege to read works of literature as powerful as these. But there are other schools out there that keep a much tighter leash. I still hear people say today that a private Christian education is the best there is, but I don't believe it. When it comes to the books allowed in some Christian schools [trying not to generalize here], I believe that religion limits children's creativity and want to read because of the so-called "right" beliefs of their adult parents, something children already have to work at this day and age. I want to believe that it works like reverse psychology; normally when you tell a child they shouldn't do something, they do it anyway. But it doesn't work that way with books. Most children aren't set on making reading a priority like they would video games or television. This list is limiting the imagination, and I can't think of a worse crime when it comes to education. It scares me how may parents take this list to heart.

But religion doesn't seem to always be a key player, considering the stats below. According to the ALA (American Library Association) website:
Over this recent past decade, 5,099* challenges were reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom.
1,577 challenges due to "sexually explicit" material;
1,291 challenges due to "offensive language";
989 challenges due to materials deemed "unsuited to age group";
619 challenged due to "violence"' and
361 challenges due to "homosexuality." [Homosexuality? Seriously?]
Further, 274 materials were challenged due to "occult" or "Satanic" themes, an additional 291 were challenged due to their "religious viewpoint," and 119 because they were "anti-family."

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According to FTC guidelines, I'm obligated to share with you that all of the books that I review on my blog are either purchased by me or given to me by an author/publisher. All of the opinions expressed in my reviews are mine and I do not receive any sort of monetary goods for writing either good or bad reviews.