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: 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.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (Series Review)

GoodReads Summary:
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.
After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger . . . and the Strigoi are always close by.
Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever . . .
Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)Review:
I loved Vampire Academy just as much as I did the first time I read it. I love everything about it. I love the vampire lore, the characters, literally everything. I know this isn’t a perfect book. But it’s nostalgic and it’s perfect.
I love Rose. She’s kickass, loyal as hell, and doesn’t take anyone’s shit. I love how much she loves Lissa. I also really enjoyed the fact that she learned she was wrong, accepted it, and tried to make amends for it. Rose is just one of my favorite fierce females.
Lissa was more complex. She’s got some serious issues, and Rose is the only reason she gets through them. I don’t know why I’d completely forgotten about the self-harming aspect of this story, but it’s there and it really showed the severity of Lissa’s issues.
Then there’s my favorite, Dimitri. My favorite book boyfriend. I love him. He’s strong and powerful, plus really hot. I love that he looked out for and mentors Rose.
Overall, this is still one of my favorite books. I’m interested to see how well the rest of the series holds up. I loved this first book, and I’m excited to continue on with the next.

But wait! There’s more! — So, I managed to finish the rest of the series on audiobook while I was on vacation and didn’t really have time to give a review for each book. So, I’m going to do a series review for the rest of the book. There are potential spoilers for all the books after the first one. So, if you’ve only read the first and don’t want to be spoiled, STOP HERE.

I love everything about this series. The second and third books, Frostbite and Shadowkiss, are my favorite and I honestly believe they could have ended Rose and Lissa’s story right there. Rose had so much incredible character development. She really grew into herself. But then book four comes around and her life goes to shit and she regresses. I understand that parts of that were Rose taking spirit’s effect from Lissa, but it just made me mad. I also absolutely HATED the fact that they made Dimitri a Strigoi. I understand the reasoning behind everything in books four, five, and six. But I just don’t know that it was needed. I think Richelle Mead could have made VA a trilogy and then had another trilogy with other characters. That’s complicated and probably over convoluted though. If that was the case, I’d probably be complaining that I hadn’t gotten enough of Rose and Lissa and the gang.
The gang was definitely my favorite part of this series. I loved Mason and he deserved better. I loved Eddie (and I’m still loving him in Bloodlines). I even adored Christian. I hated it when he and Lissa weren’t together. I adored Adrian as well. I love the bond they all form and how they become their own little family.
I really really didn’t like Rose and Adrian together. I felt like this was added just to have a love triangle. It wasn’t fair to Adrian for Rose to do him dirty the way she did. I really feel for the guy because everyone in the world (not really, like at all) knew that Rose and Dimitri were endgame. I just feel bad for him.
Overall, this is still an all-time favorite series of mine and I’m really glad it’s held up so well over the years.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Back to School

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week we talk about our top ten with a different topic provided by Jana. This week’s topic is top ten – back to school/learning freebie. So for this, I’m going to choose my top ten favorite books that take place in or at a school. In no specific order here’s my top ten for this week.
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1. Looking for Alaska by John Green – A book that kickstarted my secret desire to go to a boarding school or live in a dorm of some sort (something I never got to do.) Even though this book 1000% broke my heart into a million pieces, I loved the unique experience these characters had living away from their parents, making friends and the adventures.
2. The Seven Realms & The Shattered Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima – Oden’s Ford, the school in these two series was a really interesting one. It trained everyone from all of the realms, warriors, wizards, and healers alike, regardless of the war going on around them. It’s a place of peace and learning in a tumultuous time.
3. The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead – Featuring a school that trains girls how to be upper-class ladies so that they may find husbands and work on developing the new world into a proper society.
4. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson – Another boarding school adventure. But this one is a murder mystery. Everything about this school intrigued me. They give their students the freedom to study what they want, for no cost at all.
5. The Secret of Spellshadow Manor by Bella Forrest – This was a fantastic series that featured several different schools. Not always good at teaching their students and some of them were pretty twisted, but it made for a really good story.
6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – Am I even a real bookworm if I don’t have this book/series on this list?
7. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead – Good old St. Vlad’s.
8. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira – This heartfelt story follows Laurel through her first year of high school where she’s trying to figure out who she is without her sister and what her place in this seemingly foreign world. I love this book very much.
9. Evernight by Claudia Gray – I’m putting this in here for a throwback. An oldie, but goodie. Evernight Academy was such a creative idea, a place for vampires to figure out how to really blend in with the rest of the world. I still think, years after reading this series, which was a great twist on the vampire craze.
10. First Year by Rachel E. Carter – With a choice of working a trade or attempting to earn an apprenticeship as a soldier, mage or knight Ryiah always dreamed of becoming a mage. This series follows her through her incredible journey during her schooling.

Here’s my top ten for this week’s school-related freebie topic. What books do you think I should have included in my list? Let me know your top ten in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Popular Books That Lived Up to the Hype

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Every week there’s a new topic where we get to choose our top ten and write about it. This week’s topic is the top ten popular books that lived up to the hype. This is going to be a fun one for me because I frequently buy or read books because of the hype.

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1. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead – I read this series book by book when it was first released. But even back then there was so much hype that was all accurate. This series still gets hyped up all the time, which says a lot right there.
2. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas – If you read any of my posts on a regular basis you already know how obsessed with this series I am. It’s one of my absolute favorites. I jumped on this bandwagon pretty early and had to wait for each book to be released which made it ten times worse.
3. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – After reading ACOTAR I knew I needed to check out her other series as well and I’m super glad I did. I can’t wait for Kingdom of Ash to be released.
4. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – I originally got these books from the library a few years ago and loved them so much I had to buy my own set.
5. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare – The first two or three books were already published and I had to not so patiently wait for the next three. But I also had to wait for the Infernal Devices and now I’m not so patiently waiting for Queen of Air and Darkness.
6. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – I am realizing that I am easily convinced to buy books. I bought this one not too long after it came out and have had to wait for each book to come out. Now that the whole series is out I somehow haven’t managed to reread them all.
7. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James – I totally bought this series for the hype. I wouldn’t say they’re the best books in the world, but I’ve enjoyed them enough to read them more than once.
8. Cinder by Marissa Meyer – I love a good fairytale retelling so when I heard the hype for these I obviously had to see what the deal was.
9. The Gender Game by Bella Forrest – Once I signed up for Kindle Unlimited (after I got my Kindle as a Christmas gift from my mother in law) I saw this series all over and eventually gave it a shot. I’m glad I did, these were fantastic books. I love everything Forrest writes.
10. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – I was super late to jump on the bandwagon for this one. I read this last month and I was just blown away.

This is my top ten for this week. What popular books have you read that lived up to the hype?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Rewind

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week we post our Top Ten for the weeks topic. This week’s is a rewind so we get to pick a topic we missed or wanted to revisit. I chose to do my top ten book I wish I could read again for the first time. Antonia chose a different topic, but also liked this one so her top ten is here along with mine. We hope you enjoy!
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Amanda’s Top Ten:

1)Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling– I’d like to be able to re read this whole series for the first time because well, it’s Harry Potter and I love them.

2)Looking for Alaska by John Green– This is my all time favorite book ever. I would love to be able to read this for the first time again. It was an amazing book and I’m going to try to put it on as many Top Ten’s as I can.

3)Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn– I read this book when my older brother was in school and he had to read it for one of his classes. I’m really glad I got to read this book and it’s one that I’ll keep rereading forever.

4)Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich– I would like to read this book for the first time again for purely x rated reasons. This is one of my favorite books in the now twenty book series.

5)Exit Here by Jason Myers– This is another book that has made it to my favorites list. I’d love to read this again for the first time so that I can fall in love with the story all over again.

6)Burned by Ellen Hopkins– Ellen Hopkins needs to be on this list somewhere. Burned is my favorite of her books.

7)The Book Thief by Markus Zusak– This book was amazing. I did just recently read The Book Thief, but I’d love to read it again and again.

8)Twilight by Stephenie Meyer– I know, haha. I put Twilight on this list because this saga was a huge part of my younger years and I read it so many times I could almost recite it to you. If I could read these books over for the first time, I wonder how I would feel about them.

9)Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith– I put this on this list mainly because I would love to be able to sit down with all of the books and just go crazy reading the whole series for the first time.

10)The House of Night Series by P.C. and Kristin Cast– This is also on the list because now that the whole series is out I would love to be able to have all of them and read them all for the first time. I think I lost interest in this series because I couldn’t keep waiting for the next one to come out.

Antonia’s Top Ten:

1)The Outstretched Shadow by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory– This is a given for me. It’s my favorite series of all time and I wish I could meet the characters all over again.

2)The Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima– These books made me feel so many different emotions. I wish I could experience that all over again.

3)Twilight by Stephenie Meyer– I wish I could love this series like I did when I was fifteen before the movie and all the twihards ruined it for me.

4)The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis– I wish I could feel all the feelings these books made me feel before they ruined my childhood by ending.

5)The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks– It’s one of my favorite love stories ever. I wish I could read it again without knowing how it ends.

6)Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead– I wish I could fall in love with Dimitri again without knowing what happens to him.

7)The Shack by William Paul Young– This book literally ripped my heart out, stomped on it with steel toe boots and shoved it back into my body. As masochistic as it sounds, I wish that could happen again.

8)The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling– I shouldn’t have to explain this one to anyone.

9)The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini– I wish I could read all four of these books consecutively for the first time. So much time passed between the release dates that I ended up forgetting too many details between reading them.

10)The Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout– I only wish I could read all of these consecutively for the first time, after the last book comes out this summer. I had so many feelings for all of these books.

These are our top ten books we’d love to read again for the first time. What are yours?