Mini-Reviews: Frosbite (Vampire Academy #2) and Shadow Kiss (#3) by Richelle Mead

Frostbite by Richelle Mead is the second book in the Vampire Academy series. I loved the first book and after reading the second, I have a feeling this is going to be an awesome series.

2282133 Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose…

It’s winter break at St. Vladimir’s, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy’s crawling with Guardians—including Rose’s hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to-hand combat with her mom wasn’t bad enough, Rose’s tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason’s got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy’s not taking any risks… This year, St. Vlad’s annual holiday ski trip is mandatory.

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price…

Frostbite is an amazing sequel to Vampire Academy. It has all the characters, continues the storyline, but in book two, it. gets. real. I applaud Richelle for “going there” and making this series authentic with real feelings, real life and real consequences. I am in love with the main character, Rose. She is the type of heroine I love to read because she is tough but has vulnerabilities; she makes mistakes but knows right from wrong — a very important distinction. If a book has a character who makes too many mistakes without a conscience, then it just seems like they aren’t intelligent. I love that Rose is so very human despite the fact she is a dhamphir. She is just an amazing character overall. The stakes are getting higher and higher with this series, and for me, Frostbite hit on all the right things.

STARS: 5 out of 5

Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead is book number three in the Vampire Academy Series. I immediately jumped into it after devouring Frostbite. This book was great but I can now see the turning point that everyone was talking about. Now I have to decide whether it’s a good thing or not.

2802316It’s springtime at St. Vladimir’s Academy, and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn’t been feeling quite right. She’s having dark thoughts, behaving erratically, and worst of all… might be seeing ghosts.

As Rose questions her sanity, new complications arise. Lissa has begun experimenting with her magic once more, their enemy Victor Dashkov might be set free, and Rose’s forbidden relationship with Dimitri is starting to heat up again. But when a deadly threat no one saw coming changes their entire world, Rose must put her own life on the line – and choose between the two people she loves most.

If the stakes were high in Frostbite, than they’ve reached even higher for this book. I have a feeling this will be my favorite book in the whole series. There is a lot of action  (including an attack on the school) but more importantly the romance is really prevalent in this book. Rose and Dimitri’s relationship finally takes off and they take some risks and finally open up about how they feel. Their relationship is beautifully done. I LOVE these two together. However, with all the action, Mead takes some risks and my heart wasn’t prepared for what would happen. I don’t want to give anything away but by the end, I had no idea how this series could continue. What else could possibly happen? How can any of this end well?

I’ve heard people talk about this series as a whole, and how it’s only good until book three. I now somewhat understand what they mean but you’ll have to figure it out for yourself. Regardless of the ending, the rest of the book was magnificent and I was eating out the palm of Mead’s hand.  It’s worth the read but I’m concerned about where the plot is going to go.

STARS: 4 out of 5

Fire & Flood By Victoria Scott

From the moment I read the synopsis of Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott, I was sold. I had to get my hands on it. Fortunately for me, I was awarded an eARC from NetGalley, and I was beyond excited!

16069167A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother’s life—and her own.

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can’t determine what’s wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She’s lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she’s helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It’s an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother’s illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there’s no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can’t trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

Fire & Flood is the best thing I have read all year, hands down. Five beautifully fantastic, wonderfully amazing stars. I couldn’t put this book down. I couldn’t bear to look away.

This story is everything it claims to be and more. The race itself was complex and exciting, similar to the fight for your life in Hunger Games and the alliances in The Testing. Except, this book has pandoras —  animal companions with awesome abilities to help you through the race. I LOVED every minute of it! Tella’s love for her Pandora was endearing and her compassion for everyone else in the race was heart-warming. I loved her spunk, spirit and will to win. Plus, she’s hilarious! I laughed out loud more in this book than any book I’ve read in a long time. I truly, truly enjoyed it.

The complexity and depth of the relationships between the characters really brings this story to a whole other level. The alliances quickly set in but the doubting and betrayal doesn’t come out right away. I particularly loved the relationship between Guy and Tella. It’s so complicated because it’s new, inconvenient and happening during a race where you might die. At any given time, Tella doesn’t know if Guy is using her or falling in love with her, this uncertainty adds a bit of anticipation, creating some lovely tension. Overall, their relationship was sweet but forged in fire, where they had to define their relationship little by little with each challenge they had to face.

I just loved the concept of this story and the race, the reason behind the contenders, each of which play for their own reasons. I loved the action, the will to survive and the will to live and save their loved ones. This book plays up the theme: What would you endure to save the one you love? Tella falling in love during the process complicates things a bit, but that’s what makes this book so good.

I have nothing bad to say about this book other than it ended and now I want to see what happens next! The next book is still untitled without a future release date. I just hope that it comes out soon, very, very soon. Fire & Flood was released today so go get yourself a copy.  If you like survival stories with action and romance, this book is for you.

STARS: 5 out of 5

Thanks NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Mark of the Corripian by B. H. Parker

B.H. Parker recently reached out to me through email to review her book, Mark of the Corripian. She personally mailed me a copy which is so sweet and super exciting. She also lives in Alabama, which is where I reside. So it’s awesome to support a local Alabama author.

19323998In a world defined by separation, one Ability shall unite them all.

Hundreds of years from now, humans survive on the planet Macathia, where they have each developed a unique power called an Ability. These humans are separated into two societies, Solum or Kedesh, depending on their type of Ability. The land outside the two countries is occupied by the Kairian race, who has inhabited Macathia from the beginning.

Zenia was trained by her father from a young age to skillfully utilize her Ability and to defend herself from an attacker, but none of those teachings matter after she witnesses a brutal murder outside the strict borders of Solum. Forced to leave her home, she is placed in the seemingly capable hands of a knowledgeable, albeit secretive, young man. He may be the only one capable of keeping Zenia alive, but he seems to be following an agenda of his own.

Xavier doesn’t remember leaving Kedesh or joining his current agency in Solum. All he has are a dog tag with someone else’s name on it and an eerie tattoo on his right arm. So when the opportunity arises to recover his forgotten memories, Xavier decides to take a chance, even if it may be a trap and may mean placing the life of an innocent Solumian girl in danger. Is reclaiming his forgotten memories worth the death of one girl?

Amidst it all, an ancient prophecy foretelling a war between the human and Kairian races is coming true, and the only one able to save the world from its ultimate destruction will bear the mark of the Corripian.

First, I have to point out that B.H. Parker wrote this while she was still in high school. What an amazing feat! I could barely write a five page paper in high school, let alone an entire book. To write a book and get it published before the age of 20 is crazy awesome. Kudos to Ms. Parker!

Mark of the Corripian had such an intriguing and unique plotline. Set in a futuristic world where a war is brewing between humans and the Kairian race, this story was very well thought out and exciting.  I loved the idea of different super powers and the story kept getting better and better with each new little twist or bit of information.

This story is told in alternating point of views between Zenia and Xavier. Both of them had very distinct voices, which made the alternating fonts from chapter to chapter unnecessary (Similar to Marie Lu’s Legend series). It was distracting at first but then I got used to it. I have to say that Xavier was definitely my favorite. His background and issues were intriguing and the story slowly unravels the mysteries of his past. I couldn’t wait to figure out the reasons behind his scars and lost memory. Zenia was an interesting character. She was both damsel in distress and badass chick. In the beginning, she was very independent and defiant, which I loved. However, towards the end she seemed to be more damsel in distress, always being afraid and crying — lots of crying. I appreciated the vulnerability but when she was hiding her skills during training, I kind of wanted to smack her. She needed to kick ass and take names!! With the ending, I’m looking forward to seeing more growth and gumption. Although, I really liked that she was compassionate and caring. It’s one of those things where you shouldn’t mistake kindness for weakness. Zenia, as a character, has lots of potential.

The relationship between Xavier and Zenia was hot and cold. The dynamics between Xavier’s hard exterior and Zenia’s warmth was fun to watch but I was hoping for more romance. Parker really makes the reader wait for it; it’s almost the end of the novel before any feelings are expressed. In the next book, I’m hoping for more chemistry between them.

I loved the action in this book. At one point, Zenia has to undergo an evaluation, which was very similar to the fear simulations in Divergent by Veronica Roth. This was probably my favorite part because Zenia finally shows off her skills. I basically loved anything that had to do with physical combat but the use of their abilities was awesome too. Johnny, a muse who can read minds and such, was hilarious. I instantly liked him as a character.

I really enjoyed reading this book. At times, I could tell the writer was inexperienced based on some of the wild swings in the narrative and a certain sense of detachment between the reader and the characters, but this was an amazing debut for someone so young.  The story itself was unique and kept me on the edge of my seat. I’m excited to see further development in the writing as the story progresses. Since this is only book one in a series, there are a lot of loose ends. With a war looming and the characters having to pick sides, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

STARS: 3.5 out of 5

Thanks B.H. Parker for a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Wait For You by J. Lynn (Jennifer Armentrout)

There is a reason why everyone and their momma is madly, deeply in love with Ms. Jennifer Armentrout and Wait For You is another wonderful example of her talent.

17314430Some things are worth waiting for…

Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at the Halloween party five years ago—an event that forever changed her life. All she needs to do is make it to her classes on time, make sure the bracelet on her left wrist stays in place, not draw any attention to herself, and maybe—please God—make a few friends, because surely that would be a nice change of pace. The one thing she didn’t need and never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she’s building for herself.

Some things are worth experiencing…

Cameron Hamilton is six feet and three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, complete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make her want things she believed were irrevocably stolen from her. She knows she needs to stay away from him, but Cam is freaking everywhere, with his charm, his witty banter, and that damn dimple that’s just so… so lickable. Getting involved with him is dangerous, but when ignoring the simmering tension that sparks whenever they are around each other becomes impossible, he brings out a side of her she never knew existed.

Some things should never be kept quiet…

But when Avery starts receiving threatening emails and phone calls forcing her to face a past she wants silenced, she’s has no other choice but to acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. When the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface this time with one less scar? And can Cam be there to help her or will he be dragged down with her?

And some things are worth fighting for…

Wait For You was fun, romantic and real. I hung on every word and Armentrout’s writing catapulted me into Avery’s head. First, I have to mention the ninja turtle shout out. I have always wanted a pet turtle called Shredder (funny, right?) so seeing that Arementrout put not one but two turtles in this book made me smile.

The relationship between Avery and Cameron was beautiful. Their romance was slow and realistic, and the sexual tension was off the charts! The only complaint I have is there is no way a boy like Cam, who is that good looking, would continually hang with a girl who rejected him repeatedly. Just saying. But I loved that their vulnerabilities were hidden but just beneath the surface.

Armentrout handles the subject of rape so well. It’s taken seriously but it’s also the journey of how Avery gets through it and moves on. I found it to be very genuine, which is great because that is hard to do.

I’m not sure what else to say other than read this book, read all her books! That’s what I’m going to do. Armentrout’s books are like crack. I’m addicted and I can’t wait for another taste.

STARS: 5 out of 5

Fragile Brilliance by Tammy Blackwell

My first taste of Tammy Blackwell’s writing was the Timber Wolves trilogy, which I loved. So reading Fragile Brilliance was a no brainer.

13554639Maggie McCray has worked her whole life for the opportunity to attend Sanders College. It’s her one chance at becoming a world-renowned artist, and she’s determined nothing will get in her way. But when a murder brings Maggie and her powers to the attention of the Alpha Pack and the tragically handsome Charlie Hagan, her carefully planned future hangs in jeopardy.

Charlie Hagan isn’t happy when the Alpha Female assigns him as Maggie McCray’s personal bodyguard. Just being near the Thaumaturgic threatens to unleash the primal instincts he’s been suppressing for so long. Charlie knows if the coyote is uncaged, then the person he’ll most need to protect Maggie from is himself.

This book follows a new heroine, Maggie, but all your favorite characters from the Timber Wolves trilogy are there, including Charlie. I will say that if you can, read the Timber Wolves trilogy before this book so you can have all the background and context. However, it can be read as a standalone.

I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the trilogy. I think it’s because I was in love with Scout and her voice so reading from someone else’s point of view wasn’t the same. I did enjoy seeing Scout and the others and how they are faring since the end of the Timber Wolves trilogy, though.

I was super happy that Charlie got his happy ever after. He was one of my favorites and this book was like watching a really good friend finally finding the girl of his dreams. With all the baggage these shifters carry, it’s no wonder that that girl is hard to find. This book begins with a murder and the mystery continues as Scout and her group try to solve it. With Maggie and Charlie stuck in the middle, the stakes are high but the romance is smoking. Maggie and Charlie’s relationship is a slow-building romance with sexual tension and sweet remarks. However, towards the end, there was a “spider-man” moment (where they can’t be together because it’s “too dangerous”). This annoyed me but I understood the need for conflict in the end.

Although Fragile Brilliance wasn’t as good as the Timber Wolves trilogy, I can’t wait to read more from this Shifters and Seerers series to see more of my favorite characters.

STARS: 3.5 out of 5

The Timber Wolves Trilogy by Tammy Blackwell

Over the holidays, I stumbled upon a special deal on Tammy Blackwell’s Timber Wolves Trilogy, Destiny Binds, Time Mends,  and Fate Succumbs. I’d never heard of this series before but I thought for a few bucks, why not give it a try? I am so so glad I did.

10713851Scout Donovan is a girl who believes in rules, logic, and her lifelong love of Charlie Hagan. Alex Cole believes in destiny, magic, and Scout. When Alex introduces Scout to the world of Shifters, men who change into wolves or coyotes during the full moon and Seers, women who can see your most private thoughts and emotions with a mere touch, the knowledge changes everything and everyone Scout thought she knew.

This series is addicting! I had to read them one after the other and they are all blurring together so I’m going to review the series as a whole, but each book has something to offer. The main character, Scout, is so relatable and I loved her point of view. The series grows leaps and bounds from book one to the final book. There are so many twists and turns that you don’t see coming and Scout really grows into her own person.

Blackwell really delivers the romance. She creates sweet, sigh-worthy relationships that deal with real issues that sometimes end in heartbreak. This series has a bit of a love triangle so there are tons of juicy guys to choose from. 🙂 I really enjoyed how Blackwell didn’t shy away from reality even though this is a supernatural story. Her writing was so effortless and believable I was sucked into the story from page one.

The wolves in this series are the classic werewolf but with a unique twist. The pack politics and the constant hiding what they are really added to the suspense and action in these books. I loved every minute of it.

I don’t know what else to say other than I loved it! It had everything a paranormal romance should tons of romance and plenty of action. I highly recommend this series.

STARS: 5 out of 5

Releases and Recommendations: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day that books are released to the world. Today, I’m anticipating the release of Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen, which will be released on Tuesday, April 1, 2014.

17926775For those who have loved Seraphina and Graceling comes another truly fabulous fantasy…

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.

But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.

As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.

Trolls. enough said. I want to get my hands on this one. It seems so original!