Blogmas Book Review: The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

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GoodReads Summary:
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.
Their forbidden romance exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s bestselling Bloodlines series.
When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, she and Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world and alter their lives forever.
Don’t miss their unforgettable final chapter…
The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, #6)Review:
The final book in this series, The Ruby Circle, was not my favorite. Honestly, I think things could have ended at book four with a great happily ever after. I still enjoyed it because I’m obsessed with these characters.
I’m going to start here and say like I did in my last review that if you haven’t read any of the books in this series you should stop reading now. I would write this without spoilers but that’s pretty much impossible at this point. So, if you don’t want to be spoiled please stop reading here.
Sydney really started to stand up for herself and I loved that. She asked for help when she needed it. She made deals where she saw they would benefit her and her loved ones. I just really love her. She’s brave and stubborn and does whatever it takes to reach her goals and protect those she cares about.
Adrian was honestly kind of losing it in this book. Spirit is starting to take over and I hated that. I hated that he let it get to this point, but I loved the way things ended. He proves again and again how strong he is, and that he won’t let spirit win.
The part of this book that I didn’t like about this book was Jill. She’s been kidnapped at the end of Silver Shadows and while it’s obviously a big deal, they basically do nothing about it until the end of The Ruby Circle. I just didn’t feel like it was a big of a deal as it was supposed to be. Everything else kept getting in the way. I think maybe this was because Sydney and Adrian weren’t allowed to help, so we didn’t get to see the start of others looking for Jill.
Overall, I still enjoyed this book. This series is one of my favorites and I’m really glad they have withstood time, unlike many other books. Richelle Mead is an incredible writer. She’s created such a loveable group of friends that manage to work past their differences and care about each other anyway. Also, Richelle, when are we going to get a series about Declan as an adult? Because I would make some serious sacrifices to the gods for another series in this world.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

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GoodReads Summary:
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 Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.
Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.
For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .
Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.
Silver Shadows (Bloodlines, #5)Review:
Man am I a sucker for a forbidden love. I’m just going to go ahead and say that if you haven’t read the Vampire Academy series or any of the books in the Bloodlines series you should stop reading this review now. It’s practically impossible for me to say anything about this book without spoiling things in the previous books. So, stop reading now and come back when you’ve read the books.
Sydney really broke my heart in this one. Not because of anything she did, but because of the things she had to deal with. She’s been taken by the Alchemists and sent to reeducation, a place that is basically the worst nightmare of the Alchemists. She endures it to the best of her ability. She’s stubborn and determined to help anyone that she can that happens to cross her path. Despite literally being tortured, she still manages to help her fellow Alchemists that have been sent to reeducation. I just love her more and more in each book.
Then there’s Adrian, who does not handle things as well at Sydney does. He basically loses his shit and I really had a hard time with his chapters. I was so mad at him that I didn’t even want to listen. I was so glad when he finally pulled his life together and came up with a plan to save Sydney.
As always, I adore all of the supporting characters. They’re such a tight-knit group of friends and I just really love them.
Overall, this one was probably my least favorite in the series, but that’s not to say it was bad. It was a four-star read, but I just didn’t love it because Sydney and Adrian were apart for most of the book. I did however absolutely adore the turn their relationship took after Sydney was away from reeducation. The end of this book was terrible. I just want them all to be safe and happy already. Richelle Mead really has a way of ending a book leaving me shrieking into the void. I’m actually listening to the final book in the series as I type this review because I just couldn’t wait.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

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GoodReads Review:
On the edge of town a beast haunts the woods, trapped in the Gray, its bonds loosening…
Uprooted from the city, Violet Saunders doesn’t have much hope of fitting in at her new school in Four Paths, a town almost buried in the woodlands of rural New York. The fact that she’s descended from one of the town’s founders doesn’t help much, either—her new neighbours treat her with distant respect, and something very like fear. When she meets Justin, May, Isaac, and Harper, all children of founder families, and sees the otherworldly destruction they can wreak, she starts to wonder if the townsfolk are right to be afraid.
When bodies start to appear in the woods, the locals become downright hostile. Can the teenagers solve the mystery of Four Paths, and their own part in it, before another calamity strikes?
The Devouring Gray (The Devouring Gray, #1)Review:
Can my review for this book just say, “I loved this book” five hundred times? I don’t know why I took so long to pick up The Devouring Gray. I started this late last night and couldn’t put it down until I reached the last page. I am so beyond excited for the sequel.
I would die for Violet and Harper. Violet’s story was full of grief. She’s lost her father and her sister and losing her sister is not something she’s handling well. She and her mom move back to the town her mom grew up in, but her mom doesn’t remember the truth about this small town, Four Paths. So, Violet has to figure it out alone. I admired her strength and courage. She’s thrown into an age-old battle between good and evil with barely any knowledge, but she, with the help of some new friends, manages to figure out her powers.
Harper is my favorite and I would die for her as well. Harper lost her hand in The Gray. She was performing her ritual when things went very wrong. But the secrets of what really happened that night is horrifying. I hated and loved learning the truth. Despite the things Harper has had to deal with, she powers through and helps take care of her many siblings. Harper is brave and stubborn and I loved her.
Then there’s Isaac, the fandom favorite. I loved him, but not as much as everyone else seems to. There’s something about his poor little damaged soul that just makes me want to give him a hug. He’s unflinchingly loyal, to a point that may be damaging him more. I really liked his new friendship with Violet. My two little damages babies becoming friends was so sweet.
Finally, there’s the Hawthorne siblings, Justin and May. At the beginning of the story, I hated one and loved the other, but by the end of the book, my feelings flipped. I loved the one I first hated and hated the one I first loved. Talk about mommy issues with these two. Their mother was a nightmare. She was horrible and drunk on her power, convinced she was doing the right thing for the town. But she has her kids trained to follow her orders without questions until Violet comes to town. Violet changes everything. I liked seeing Justin learn that there was more going on than what he first knew. I’m very interested to see how things develop with the siblings in the next book.
Overall, I’m obsessed with this book. I want to reread it again right now. I loved the characters. I loved the town. It was atmospheric and creepy. I loved the mystery and suspense. I loved the diversity of the characters, the friendships they made, and even the weird love square. We don’t know love triangles in this book, it’s a square of unrequited love, which made for lots of great drama. I loved everything about this book so please go read it right now.

Quotes:

“People could hurt each other without being monsters. And they could love each other without being saints.”

“This was hurt it would never understand. This was hurt made from love. And she immersed herself in grief, embraced it, the parts of her that had been so lost and broken, so long her enemy, were now her savior.”

“She thought about heroes, and villains, and legends, and monsters. And decided that whoever told the story was more powerful than all of them. Harper would never let someone else tell her story again.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: Rogue by Julie Kagawa

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GoodReads Summary:
Deserter. Traitor. Rogue.
Ember Hill left the dragon organization Talon to take her chances with rebel dragon Cobalt and his crew of rogues. But Ember can’t forget the sacrifice made for her by the human boy who could have killed her—Garret Xavier Sebastian, a soldier of the dragonslaying Order of St. George, the boy who saved her from a Talon assassin, knowing that by doing so, he’d signed his own death warrant.
Determined to save Garret from execution, Ember must convince Cobalt to help her break into the Order’s headquarters. With assassins after them and Ember’s own brother helping Talon with the hunt, the rogues find an unexpected ally in Garret and a new perspective on the underground battle between Talon and St. George.
A reckoning is brewing and the secrets hidden by both sides are shocking and deadly. Soon Ember must decide: Should she retreat to fight another day…or start an all-out war?
Rogue (Talon, #2)Review:
I just am having a really hard time WANTING to read these books. I remember loving them when I first read them. But I’m just over it. Antonia said that they get really good in this book and the next one. While I didn’t hate Ember in this one as much as I did in the last one, I still didn’t love her for most of the book.
Ember is now a rogue dragon. But instead of helping Riley figure out who the mole in his system is or literally doing anything useful, she is determined to rescue Garret, who is going to die because he spared her life. I get that she loves him, and in any real situation I probably would do the same thing, but I just hate him. Aside from that, Ember does and experiences things that really affect her. It was nice to see her trying to work through these issues rather than just glossing over it like too many stories do.
I love Riley. He is the end game I want and if I don’t get it I’m going to be very upset with Julie. We get bits and pieces of his backstory and the events that led to him going rogue and I really enjoyed that. I just love Riley.
Garret is okay, I guess. I mostly just want him to go away. I don’t hate him only because he does anything in his abilities to protect Ember. I just wish Ember had never gotten involved with him.
Overall, Ember did grow and become less annoying in the second half of Rogue. I’m interested to see what the gang does next. I am going to do my best to finish this series, but if I’m not enjoying the next book I might just have to give up on it. There’s no shame in DNF’ing friends.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

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GoodReads Summary:
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the wolds 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.
The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4)Review:
I’ve been rereading the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series via audiobook over the last month and I’m just so happy that I still love these books just as much as I did when I first read them. It really had been so much fun getting sucked back into the incredible world that Richelle Mead has created. I can’t help but love these characters with my whole heart and feel like I’m just a part of the gang.
The Fiery Heart might be my favorite of the series (we’ll find out after I finish the last two books), because everything for Sydney is just perfect, right up until it isn’t. Mead has a way of pulling you into the story with her writing and not letting you go until the very last page. And even then, those last pages are always filled with things that leave you screaming and rushing to pick up the next book. I’d forgotten about this talent of Mead’s until I needed to stop listening to write this review before starting the next book.
Sydney has really grown and it’s clear in this story. She’s accepted that she might not agree with all of the things the Alchemists believe and that while she still agrees with some of the things, she was taught growing up, she knows that so much of the ideas and values instilled in her are wrong. I just adored this confident and clever Sydney that is finally starting to put herself and her wants first.
But then her sister Zoe is assigned to live with Sydney in her dorm and assist on the assignment of protecting Jill. Zoe complicates things because she still firmly believes in every Alchemist value and has a burning desire to please their father. This causes a bit of conflict now and again when Zoe unknowing rats on Sydney for doing things that aren’t entirely in her job description. I really wanted to like Zoe, but what she did in the last chapters of this book were unforgivable. I don’t remember anything that happens in the next books, so I’m interested to see whether or not the Sage sisters can fix their relationship.
Adrian is amazing. I love him. I will forever love him. He’s doing his best to stay away from drinking and smoking cigarettes. He tries to limit his Spirit use, and he even goes to therapy. He and Sydney are relationship goals. I was sad for them having to sneak around so much after Zoe comes to live with Sydney, but also very happy at the times they did get to spend together. They are just such a good team. They really bring out the best in one another and I adore them so much. My heart broke for Adrian with the cliff hanger in the ending.
The rest of the gang is as loveable as ever. Eddie is a forever favorite. He’s honorable and brave. Jill is finally starting to fit in. I would like to see a bit more interaction between her and Lissa, but I have a feeling that’s coming. Angeline was hilarious. She just adds the perfect amount of comedy to this series. She says ridiculous things and acts without thinking. Or with her own sort of thought process. The newcomer, Neil, was kind of bland, though I think that was intentional.
Overall, I would die any day of the week for every single one of these characters. Richelle Mead’s writing is so well done. Her characters are well developed and all around loveable. I cannot wait to dive into the next book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts

GoodReads Summary:
With the legends and lore of Ireland running through his blood, falconer Connor O’Dwyer is proud to call County Mayo home. It’s where his sister, Branna, lives and works, where his cousin, Iona, has found true love, and where his childhood friends form a circle that can’t be broken… A circle that is about to be stretched out of shape—by a long-awaited kiss. Meara Quinn is Branna’s best friend, a sister in all but blood. Her and Connor’s paths cross almost daily, as Connor takes tourists on hawk walks and Meara guides them on horseback across the lush countryside. She has the eyes of a gypsy and the body of a goddess…things Connor has always taken for granted—until his brush with death propels them into a quick, hot tangle. Plenty of women have found their way to Connor’s bed, but none to his heart until now. Frustratingly, Meara is okay with just the heat, afraid to lose herself—and their friendship—to something more. But soon, Connor will see the full force and fury of what runs in his blood. And he will need his family and friends around him when his past rolls in like the fog, threatening an end to all he loves…
Shadow Spell (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, #2)Review:
In the second installment of the Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy, we follow two more of the six that this series follows. We already know them all from the first book, but we get to know Connor and Meara a bit better. They’re known one another their whole lives, and after a brush with Cabhan, Meara finds herself unable to resist her lust for Connor after she thought him dead. I liked that this book was sort of the opposite of the first. In the first Iona is new to the area and the people, but with Connor and Meara there’s history. There’s a past there.
Connor is the guy that’s friends with everyone. He’s a loveable flirt. But his loyalty knows no bounds. I love his relationship with his sister and cousin, but I also love the brotherhood he shares with Fin and Boyle.
Meara is the tough girl that you don’t want to mess with. But she has a heart of gold she doesn’t let many see. She fears that she is like her father and finds it hard to let herself be loved. I loved seeing the growth she goes through in working through this issue. I also loved her ferocity when up against Cabhan.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. Not a favorite, but it was fun. There was action and romance, friendship and growth. I will always love Nora’s books and this one was no different.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab

GoodReads Summary:
Trouble is haunting Cassidy Blake . . . even more than usual.
She (plus her ghost best friend, Jacob, of course) are in Paris, where Cass’s parents are filming their TV show about the world’s most haunted cities. Sure, it’s fun eating croissants and seeing the Eiffel Tower, but there’s true ghostly danger lurking beneath Paris, in the creepy underground Catacombs.
When Cass accidentally awakens a frighteningly strong spirit, she must rely on her still-growing skills as a ghosthunter — and turn to friends both old and new to help her unravel a mystery. But time is running out, and the spirit is only growing stronger.
And if Cass fails, the force she’s unleashed could haunt the city forever.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Schwab returns to the spooky and heart-pounding world of City of Ghosts, delivering thrilling new adventures and an unforgettable spin on friendship. (Because sometimes, even psychic ghost best friends have secrets. . .)
Tunnel of Bones (Cassidy Blake, #2)Review:
Another buddy read on the books! I love buddy reading with Alana, Rae, & Books in the Skye. We always have such fun conversations about the books we read, even when we all have very different opinions.
While I had fun with the story, much like the first book, I just didn’t love it. Cassidy is brave and I really admired that. She even makes a Spiderman reference when her best friend Jacob tries to convince her that this particular ghost really isn’t their problem. “With great power comes great responsibility.” There was actually quite a bit of pop culture references, mostly Harry Potter, which made me smile.
Jacob honestly just annoyed me for most of the book. He didn’t want Cassidy to help the ghost she found, but he came around eventually. We got to learn a bit of his back story toward the end of the book and I liked that.
I wanted more of Lara, the friend she made in the previous book. She was the wise mentor that Cassidy called when she needed help. But it was only over the phone, and I want them to team up again.
I adored the Paris setting. Seeing all the haunted areas of Paris was really interesting. I think it was a great choice for this second book.
Overall, this was an average read for me. I liked it but I didn’t love it. I’m still undecided whether I’ll continue the series because both books have been pretty average. But they are great reads for the spooky season.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.