Top Ten Tuesday: YA Books for YABC

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

The topic for this week is: Ten Books I’d Love to Read With My Book Club/If I Had A Book Club (or you could pick a specific kind of book club — like if you had a YA book club or an adult book club or a science fiction book club etc.)

My friend Di and I have an unofficial YA book club (YABC) where we meet up, drink wine, exchange books and rant/swoon over them. It’s pretty awesome. Therefore, I am choosing the books that have been the most successful YABC topics in the past.

Oh the rants we’ve had…

(Links go to related posts)

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1. The Hunger Games: Well, durrr. There was a period of time where myself and Di were banned from talking about THG in public because we just couldn’t stop, and it always ended in the same very heated (but y’know, friendly..) argument.

Mainly because it turns out that Di likes NICE BOYS like Peeta and is therefore WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING. I mean really, Peeta over Gale…?? SERIOUSLY. Other topics included why I hated the first movie (because I’m right) and why Di didn’t (because she’s wrong).

2. Vampire Academy: Oh, we are not even close to be being done with VA YABCs! But the series so far (we are up to book 3 I believe), has already provided us with so much good ranting material.

There’s been the obvious Dimitri-in-my-pants rants and girl crushing all over Rose Hathaway and her complete awesomeness. And then there’s the hilarity that ensued when we realised we couldn’t pronounce any of the vampire species so anyone listening in to our convo in the bar at Waterloo station probably thought we were having a stroke.

And lastly, there’s the fact that it’s impossible to discuss VA without comparing it to our favourite topic ever – Buffy!! So good!

3. Twilight: Possibly the first ever YABC-type rant in the history of Di and Lipsy book rants.

Topics mainly revolved around how ridiculous it is but quickly descends into how much we want to have sex with control freak Cullen, and ultimately how much we COULDN’T STOP READING. There has also been a lot of discussion over the TERRIBLE fashion choices Meyer made – if there’s ever a BEIGE POLO-NECK shortage just head to Forks, yeah!

Oh and in case you were wondering, I’m the lion and Di’s the lamb. LOLZ.

4. The Selection Series: The big debate here is clearly Team Maxon Vs Team Aspen but for once I think me and Di actually agreed (we did, right?). Team Maxon to the max…see what I did there. There was also a lot of talk about how this series helped with our post-Hunger Games blues, and how much we want GILES to play the king in the TV Series. What ever happened to that?

5. Graceling: Oh so much swooning went on at the Graceling edition of YABC. We swooned over the pretty much perfect Prince Po, and at how AWESOME Katsa is. We just love her. KATSA & PO 4EVA.

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6. The Chaos Walking Trilogy: This wasn’t so much a YABC meet-up as it was a constant texting/tweeting/ranting/raving/crying over how amazing, heartbreaking, and just plain HORRIBLE this series is. I think at one point I declared how much I hate Di for giving it to me. IT HURT MY IMPENETRABLE HEART. We cried over poor Todd. And how cute him and Viola are. And let’s not even mention the dog. I just can’t.

7. Uglies: After giving this to Di to read and hearing her thoughts on it I can’t even think about the book without bursting into laughter. I liked it. Sure, the protagonist was annoying, but I thought it was a really brave book that covered some important teenage issues. Di did not. Di hated it with a firey passion which naturally led to a particularly loud edition of YABC.

8. Divergent: There were only really a few topics we managed to focus on when discussing Divergent. First…back to The Hunger Games. Second, HOT MAKE OUT SCENES ON TRAINS. We did manage to briefly discuss which faction we’d be before quickly returning to swoon over Four and his tattoos. Sigh.

9. The Mortal Instruments: Let’s face it. There’s only really one topic in discussion where TMI is concerned – whether Jace and Clary will EVER get it on (I only got up to book 3). And not forgetting the whole possible incest thing. INCEST IS BEST. Ahem. I have a brother – It is NOT. Shudder.

10. The Lunar Chronicles: This is only so far down the list because for once we pretty much agree on everything about these books. Mainly, that they are beyond awesome. We’ve swooned over Prince Kai, Captain Thorne and even Wolf – or maybe that was just me? We love Cinder, and Scarlet and Cress and want to poke Levana’s eyes out. And now we’re just waiting for more.

One more thing: I feel the need to include Narnia here too. I don’t think we’ve even had an actual Narnia YABC but it’s never really far from our thoughts to be honest. Whether we’re discussing if it’s OK to fancy High King Peter, or laughing at Ben Barnes’ accent in the Prince Caspian movie….it’s always a Narnian life for us. For Narnia!

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September 2014 on Lipsyy Lost & Found/ October Releases

September hasn’t been my best month, reading wise and beyond.

I had a successful month free of booze (hurrah), but I also had to start job hunting, which left less time to read than usual (not hurrah). However, I’m trying to see the whole palaver as an opportunity. On to bigger and better things…I hope.

But for now, let’s just get on with the stats…

Total Posts: 24
Books Read: 5

Reviews (5):

  • Trust In Me by Sophie McKenzie, 4/5 (View)
  • Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence, 3/5 (View)
  • Of Scars and Stardust by Andrea Hannah, 5/5 (View)
  • Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead, 3/5 (View)
  • How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, 4/5 (View)

Read But Not Yet Reviewed: N/A

The Breakdown

Most Surprising: Of Scars and Stardust
Most Disappointing: Prince of Thorns
Most Exciting: Of Scars and Stardust
Most Swoon-worthy: Shadow Kiss
Most Beautifully Written: Of Scars and Stardust

Genres: YA (3/5); Thriller/Mystery (2/5); Dystopian (1/5); Supernatural/Paranormal (1/5); Fantasy (1/5)

Formats/Sources: Advance Copy (2/5); Paperback (3/5); Owned (1/5); Borrowed (2/5)

Friday Features:

  • Book Event Envy (View Post)
  • Horror October: Ghostly Guest Posts & Slimy Submissions Wanted (still open!) (View Post)

Guest Posts, Promos and Other Highlights:

Most Viewed Posts:

 

Added to the Shelves:

I lifted my book buying ban to buy some books for Horror October…and The Maze Runner for good measure.
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Netgalley Approvals:

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Awards

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cotm - sept

mlft - oct

October Releases

Here are the October releases I’m most excited about:
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Available to pre-order from Waterstones.

Lazy Saturday Review: Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead

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Title: Shadow Kiss
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy #3
Edition: Paperback, 460 pages
Publication Details: November 13th 2008 by Razorbil
Genre(s): YA; Paranormal Romance
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it.

Goodreads
Purchase

It’s springtime at St. Vladimir’s Academy, and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since Mason’s death, Rose hasn’t been feeling quite right. She has dark flashbacks in the middle of practice, can’t concentrate in class, and has terrifying dreams about Lissa. But Rose has an even “bigger” secret . . . .She’s in love with Dimitri. And this time, it’s way more than a crush. Then Strigoi target the academy in the deadliest attack in Moroi history, and Dimitri is taken. Rose must protect Lissa at all costs, but keeping her best friend safe could mean losing Dimitri forever…

These books will be the death of me. I swear not a lot happens for 300 pages and then BAM just before the end Richelle Mead hits us with a brick and makes it impossible to not buy the next book. What’s up with that!?

In this, the third book in the series, everyone is concentrating on graduating to become fully fledged Moroi Guardians, or for the Moroi themselves (vampire royalty) just staying alive long enough to be assigned on of the said guardians.

A lot of the story surrounds the last test for the trainees, a six week long field experiment where they’re assigned a Moroi to protect and can be attacked at any time by the guardian teachers pretending to be the crazy, murderous vamps known as Strigoi. Rose can’t wait to prove herself, but one thing is getting in the way – Mason’s ghost, and he’s not the only thing she is seeing.

I enjoyed Shadow Kiss. It just sort of ambled along nice and pleasantly for a while and then the shit hit the fan and I have no words. Mead upped the ante in respect of the action, and the romance, and I need to know what’s going to happen next with Dimitri and Rose, and Adrian and Lissa. Ahh too many good characters!

The more I read of this series, the more it stands out in the vampire genre. There’s definitely a lot more to it than you’d think, but I feel like the plots are getting thinner as it goes on.

unicorn rating 3

The Vampire Academy Series is available in paperback from Waterstones now.

WWW Wednesday 22.07.2014

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

Hope you’re all having a good Wednesday – the weekend will be here before we know it. Hurrah!

Here are my answers to those burning Ws this week…

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Currently Reading: The Princess Bride by William Goldman
I’m almost finished with this one, and I’ve loved every minute of it, as I knew I would. Any fans of the film will love it too.

Recently Finished: Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
I had a lot of issues with this book, but I’m kind of addicted to its badness. I’ve scheduled my review/rant to go out tomorrow so check back then 🙂

Up Next: ???
Probably Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3) or The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass Novellas) by Sarah J. Maas, but it should be A Midsummer Night’s Dream as I was supposed to read it in June for the Once Upon A Time challenge…but I failed.

WWW Wednesday! 24.06.2014

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

How is it Wednesday again already? I mean, really! I’ve been so busy (good busy) again this week so I haven’t had nearly as much reading time as I would like. But anyway, enough whinging…here’s what’s been going on around here:

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Currently Reading: I’ve finally picked up Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer, but I haven’t even managed to read the first chapter yet. The universe is against me reading this book!

Recently Finished: I just finished Burial Rites by Hannah Kent which took me over a week to read, but not because it wasn’t good. It was totally gripping despite a slow plot, and it was written so beautifully that I didn’t want to rush it. A full review should follow at some point. I also finished Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozenieweski which was a great pulpy, horror. I reviewed it here. I am nothing if not eclectic.

Up Next: I’m not too sure this time. It will probably be either Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3), an ARC called One of Us which is released in August, or maybe The Fault in Our Stars.

Not Your Average School Ski Trip…

Frostbite by Richelle Mead

spr4It’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…

Well, getting hooked on this series was probably inevitable. Some hot vampires and a kick-ass female lead, in a high school setting…now, where have I seen that before!? I was really impressed with the first book in this series though, as I wasn’t expecting it to be so rooted in Vampire Lore. (You can check out my review of book 1 here.)

Frostbite, continues where we left off. Rose is getting closer to becoming an official guardian and trying to keep her distance from hot russian Dimitri, whilst Lissa is sickeningly in love with Christian and trying to control her weird Vamp powers.

It’s Christmas (yay) and they are all forced (not that you wouldn’t go willing by the sounds of it) to spend it at an exclusive ski resort to keep hidden from the deadly Strigoi who are still picking off the Moroi royalty one by one. Of course! Where else would one go?

I was pleased that this book has a prologue that went over what we’d learned thus far; the gospel according to Dhampirs, Moroi and Strigoi if you will (I still can’t pronounce them), to remind us of all the intricacies involved in their society and the stigma that comes from certain choices, should they make them. However what I wasn’t OK with was all of the other catch-up sessions in the book. The prologue was perfect, I really didn’t think we needed the rest.

There were a few other things I was disappointed with in this book as well, maybe disappointed is a bit harsh considering I couldn’t put it down, but I felt like all the dark shiz that made me love the first book was gone.

Now they know what Lissa’s deal is, there’s no self-harm (which is obviously a good thing but it made for good reading!), no dead animal corpses in her dorm, and now that Lissa and Rose are permanently back at St Vlads (yes, we’re on nick-name terms already, I move fast) no hot ‘dirty’ feeding sessions. Bore off.

But, I digress. Overall, Frostbite wasn’t boring at all. With the focus taken off Lissa and Rose a little, we get to explore some of the minor (and new!) characters a bit. There’s definitely more of Christian, Lissa’s boyfriend, who I’m really hoping is going to turn out to be evil, right? Because if not what is he good for?-Creating tension between Lissa and Rose I guess, but it was a bit meh.

We also get more of Mason, who grew on me throughout the book, he’s pretty adorable. And then there’s the introduction of tall, dark, mysterious and probably deadly Adrian who seems to be stalking Rose a bit. Well, who wouldn’t!?

AND OF COURSE, there’s Dimitri. Oh delicious Dimitri… Richelle Mead you really are spoiling us!

I liked that they didn’t get together too quickly (because you know, it’s wrong), but I really hope it’s not going to end up being a whole on/off, on/off thing for the next 4 books too.

I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS right now. Sigh.

One thing I wasn’t expecting however, was that Rose started to annoy me a bit in this book. I like a protagonist that is confident, but in Frostbite, her self-assuredness (that’s not even a word is it? Bitca!) got a bit too much. She’s constantly pointing out how hot her body is, like anyone actually ever says that to themselves all the time! Pfft, anyway…

No matter what, I couldn’t put Frostbite down. It definitely has some flaws but I’m too far gone to care. I’m invested in Rose, Dimitri and Lissa, and GIVE ME THE NEXT ONE NOW.

Ahem. Please.

unicorn rating 4

Disclosure?: Nope, I bought it!
Title: Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2)
Author: Richelle Mead
Details: Paperback, 327 pages
Published: April 10th 2008 by Razorbill
My Rating: 4/5

WWW Wednesday! 09.04.14

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

We’ve made it to another Wednesday, hurrah! Here’s what I’ve been up to this week.

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Currently Reading: Dark Eden by Chris Beckett. Early days yet. It’s definitely taking a bit of getting into but it’s going to be either amazingly epic, or awful. Plus, I also started The Selection Stories which is kind of distracting. Oh Maxon!

Recently Finished: I finished The False Prince which I really liked despite having some issues with it (review here) and Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2) by Richelle Mead which was great but not as great as the first one. Review will be up in the next day or so.

Up Next: Battle of the sequels continues – Either Insurgent or Scarlet. Uber excited about both. On verge of Fangirling.

Let me know what you’re reading, or leave a link to your post and I’ll come and take a look 🙂

Friday Feature: We Need to Talk About…

…reviewing books in a series.

What happened to #1???

What happened to #1???

I’ve been thinking about this for a while. In a similar way to how I find reviewing 5-star (or in my case 5-Unicorn) books difficult, I find reviewing individual books from a series just as difficult.

I’m wondering this as I try to write a coherent review of Monsters of Men, the final book in Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking Trilogy. But I’m not even talking about trilogies here. They are hard enough, but what about say a book #6 or #10 in a series? How do you, as reviewers, tackle those? I tend to get vaguer with every sequel I talk about!

Here are the obstacles as I see them:

1. Spoilers: It’s pretty much impossible to review one of the books with enough depth without giving away any spoilers from any of the previous books. Depending on the complexity of the series of course, but it can be impossible to mention anything plot-wise that will not give away something that you wouldn’t want to know if you hadn’t read the previous books.

2. Content: And then there’s the actual content of the review. Do you give an overview of the story so far each time, or do you just concentrate on that one book? If you don’t give any background, will what you say even make any sense?

3. Audience: Which brings me to wonder if only people who have read, or at least started the series, will want to read the review? I must admit – I do it. If bloggers put one of those handy ‘about’ bits at the start of their review and it says ‘Series so and so’ #4′ I probably wouldn’t bother reading the review. I might see if it gives the name of the first book to check out, but 9 times out of 10 I wouldn’t read the main body of the post. Don’t get me wrong, blog stats are not the be all and end all for me at all. But what’s the point of spending time writing something and posting it on a public outlet for no one to read it. That’s why we blog right? Especially if you do that for 8 books that the majority of your readers won’t read.

Luckily for me, I am pretty rubbish at sticking to series. I have to be really engrossed by them read every book just because I don’t like to read the same kind of things back to back, and when I take a break from a series to read something else I usually forget to go back to them…and by the time I do remember I don’t feel the same need to read the next book any more. Madness, I know.

One I do want to continue with though are the Vampire Academy books by Richelle Mead. I really enjoyed the first book and I’m waiting for the next one to arrive. Early days yet, but if I do end up reading the whole series I’m wondering how to tackle it. I know I won’t read them all in one go so it could be forever until I finish them if I wanted to review the series as a whole. Or do I just do mini-reviews (I think I like this idea the most – anything to save a bit of time)…?

So I ask you lovely blogosphere…have you come across any of these obstacles? And, if so, do you have any tips to share?

WWW Wednesday (05.02.2014)

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

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Currently Reading: I’m reading Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman as part of my rereads challenge. I must say, I’m finding it a bit of a chore this time round. I have no idea why, it was one of my favorite books when I was at school. 😦

Recently Finished: This week I only finished Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. It was pretty good. And when I say good, I mean hot. You can read my review here.

Up Next: I have so many awesome-looking ARCS to choose from, and also Cinder by Marissa Meyer, but I really want to start Zombies Vs Unicorns which is a collection of stories, so it’ll probably be good to take away with me next week so I can dip in and out of it.

Leave a comment with your link and I’ll come and have a gander!

3 Vamps, 1 Stone: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

345627 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.

What surprised me most about this book was that it surprised me.

I’d been meaning to start this series ever since it came out in 2007 (woah, has it really been that long?), so I figured I knew what it was going to be about. I expected another fluffy teen vamp read. Which it kind of was. I expected a cross between Twilight and Gossip Girl. Which it also kinda was. But what I didn’t expect was that it would be heavy on mythology and be a unique take on Vampire Lore. That, was a pleasant surprise.

Let me try to explain, more for myself than anything. There are three different kinds of vampires in Mead’s series. Rose is Dhampir, non-royal but strong and whose mission in life is to train as a guardian to protect the Moroi, the weaker of the vampires who have their own royal family. Dhampir’s and Moroi exist together in relative peace although the Dhampir’s that do not train as guardians are often seen as scum. These two breeds of vamps are living, mortal vampires. The Strogoi however, are not. And they’re the bad guys who prey on the moroi (especially the royalty) hence the need for guardians.

It’s pretty ridiculous but it works. I enjoyed the dynamic between Rose and Lissa, who by the way have a psychic bond, and the sexual tension between them was pretty transparent. Hot though, obviously. I liked the whole getting bitten by a vampire is addictive, but dirty thing. In fact we are pretty much bombarded with both actual rules and social suicide rules that these vamps must abide by in order to stay respected. That rang pretty true in a school setting.

Overall, I was impressed by the complexity of Vampire Academy as I was expecting more of a throw-away story, but it was also that complexity that dragged it down sometimes. I felt like this book was just an introduction to a much bigger story (which it obviously is considering how many books there have been) that throws too many ideas around too soon. But I still really enjoyed it.

I look forward to seeing what happens with Dimitri (Rose’s hot Russian Mentor) and Rose’s doomed love story.

I’m obviously going to get hooked.

unicorn rating 4

Disclosure?: Nope, Oh Chrys sent it to me as part of her Bookish Christmas Bookswap 🙂
Title: Vampire Academy (#1)
Author: Richelle Mead
Details: Paperback, 332 pages
Publication Date: August 16th 2007 by Razorbill
My Rating: 4/5