Monday, May 31, 2010

Discussion Questions: Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

  1. When reading dystopian, the scary aspect is thinking, "Could this happen one day?" Did you ask yourself this while reading Birthmarked? Do you think a future like this is possible?  Personally? This particular Humans are lazy and in Birthmarked they weren't relying heavily on technology - well, it didn't come across that way - yes they may not have had the resources like we do now, but humans are not only lazy, but smart also so I think it would have been more plausible to have us zooming around in oxygen powered hovercars than to the old adage of "The first world war was fought with bows and arrows as will the fourth, because we will destroy everything in the third"
  2. How did the puzzle aspect of the story work for you?  Did you figure out the code or was the explanation a surprise? Does this element work for you in a story or is there one you like/appreciate more? I figured it out and I really liked it, i thought it was very clever. It took me back to the days of the Plot Busters books.
  3. Gaia follows in the steps of her mother as a midwife. For Gaia in the beginning its service and only later does she realize what taking the babies signifies. Can you put yourself in the mothers role, what would you do if Gaia tried to take your newborn? To be honest, I would probably seriously injure/kill her and run. Doesn't matter if its "treason" or I might have to fend for myself, I would rather be on the verge of starving than let anyone take my child.
  4. Gaia feels ugly because of her scar and unable to fit in within the wall (enclave) because she wasn't perfect. Do you think finding out that her parents lied to her [about how she got the scar] was able to move the story along?? I think that Gaia feeling ugly and accusing everyone of mocking her and her scar grew extremely tiresome. The fact that her parents gave it to her and that we didn't have to spend too much time trying to figure out how she got it (because I couldn't care less and thought she really needed to get over herself) was ok, it didn't slow us down too much. I can understand why they did it, I don't understand how they managed to hurt their own child as they did though.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Book Review: Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

Review: Birthmarked
Series: Birthmarked – Book 1
Author: Caragh M. O’Brien
No of Pages: 361
Release Date: 30 March 2010

In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the wall and those, like sixteen year old midwife, Gaia Stone, who live outside. Gaia has always believed it is her duty, with her mother, to hand over a small quota of babies to the Enclave. But when Gaia’s mother and father are arrested by the very people they so dutifully serve, Gaia is forced to question everything she has been taught to believe. Gaia’s choice is now simple: enter the world of the Enclave to rescue her parents, or die trying.

My Thoughts:

Set in a world 300 years from now, after climate change has ravished the earth we are looking through the eyes of Gaia, a sixteen year old midwife who lives on the outside of the wall protecting what is portrayed to be the only civilised human colony left. The colony has a pretty communised outlook on life, banishing the poor, disfigured, uneducated people to a life of poverty on the outside whilst the privileged live on the inside.

Coming back from her first solo delivery Gaia finds her parents have been arrested, after realising that her parents aren’t coming back Gaia sneaks into the inside of the wall to rescue them, an offense punishable by death.

Birthmarked didn’t really have a futuristic feel but more of a medieval feel especially with the public hangings. It was also a little unrealistic in the fact that the world seems to have gone from having six billion inhabitants to a couple of thousand, which is all that was portrayed, hopefully this will be reconciled in future books. I almost got a Village (remember the movie?) feel as I got deeper in.

Birthmarked drew me in completely despite the flaws, the code that Gaia had to decipher was ingenious and although it took a little while to work out, was very fun to decipher once I realised how it worked. The world was very fleshed out and although it was a little unrealistic I found myself with an easy picture in my mind of what was going on.

It is hard to discern where Birthmarked is set, considering the mention of Eucalyptus, which is native to Australia and Indonesia, and various dried up bodies of water I am assuming Birthmarked was set in America, considering it’s an American author. Usually I don’t care, but in the way of Birthmarked I felt the need to find out which country went up the creek.

Gaia was a consistent character. She was dumb but only because she had been brought up to accept everything that the Protectorat said. It did get a little annoying but it was understandable, and it was very well done how she gradually came to terms with the unfairness of how she lives.

Although Gaia was strong, smart and very, very courageous I felt unable to connect with her. Her whining over her scar made her a little boring. Gaia constantly accused everyone of looking down upon her because of her scar, yes it’s a long term psychological damage but when people merely want to talk to you, the internal dialogue of “they only want to see the scar, they are all secretly laughing at me, everybody hates me” gets a little tiresome.

Flaws aside Birthmarked was an intriguing dive into the world of dystopian fantasy and one that I would gladly continue on the journey of. Originally, Birthmarked was written as a standalone book, I am anticipating the second book but I think it would have almost worked better by itself.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Reader Habits

I have seen this "meme" or questionnaire go up on several blogs, and thought that since I have time to kill, I'd fill it out. (D isn't here yet.) Anyway, the list of blogs that have participated are...

Simcha - SFF Chat

All of the blogger's blogs are linked to their reading habits blog post. (Try saying that 10 times fast, eh?) :)

Do you snack while you read? If so, favourite reading snack:
I tend not to snack when I read because it takes away from maximum page turnability and it becomes a hassle if I'm eating something big...not too mention grubby fingers :( I'm very anal about my books being in top condition.

What is your favourite drink while reading?
Meh, whatever is nearest. Usually water.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
That question just made my eyes bleed...writing in books? OMG who would do that?!?!?!?!

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?
I have an impecable memory for numbers, it's why I am an accountant. As long as I remember to look at the page before I close the book I never forget where I am, even if I neglect the book for a couple of days, or weeks in the case of Beautiful Creatures. People used to give me book marks, but I would always lose them, I have thought of trying a book thong, but it would be kind of pointless.

Fiction, non-fiction, or both?
Pretty much fiction. The only non-fiction I have read are Ancient History books and Chopper Reeds memoirs. The history books were years ago though. I only pick up non-fiction if I have to, like for tech or a writing reference.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere?
If I am trying to be difficult with my mum, then I will ask to go to the end of the chapter before I have to get up, but I can stop anywhere. To be honest a lot of the times I don't notice when I have started a new chapter.

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?
NO! I feel guilty when they fall off the table let alone throwing them!

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?
I don't want to sound hoity toity but well, there aren't many words that I come across that I don't know the meaning of...especially in YA. But even adult novels, usually I will have a fair idea of what every word means and the context of the sentence concretes the meaning.

What are you currently reading?
Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler

What is the last book you bought?
Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead (it still hasn't come yet :"( )

Are you the type of person that reads one book at a time, or can you read more than one?
I like to say that I focus on one book at a time, but lately it has been a little different. Graphic novels I will read in the ten minutes I have before I leave for work, anthologies, I will focus on one story at a time and maybe read novels in between, novels I like to stick to one primary but there are a few I have started and have left for the moment. e.g my boyfriend gave me Lover Awakened on saturday and I started reading it right then, even though I was halfway through Birthmarked. I review for Blog With Bite as well, so if a deadline is coming up and I need to read the book, depending on what I am currently reading I may stop and start the BWB feature.

Do you have a favourite time/place to read?
Hmm, in the car or in bed. Reading or writing in my car is surreal for me, you can see everything outside, but you aren't connected to it, you're in your soundproof (ish) bubble and there are no distractions. In bed is when I do a lot of reading, I have been know to have black eyes because I have fallen asleep with a book in my hand and it bashed me in the face when it fell. My mum always comes up to check on me as well to turn the light off and put the book on the table.

Do you prefer series books or stand alones?
It really depends on the story, i have a habit of reading series more than I read stand alones. As long as it looks good, I will read it.

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?
Definitely Richelle Mead and Jennifer Echols and Sophie Kinsella. I don't recommend authors so much as i recommend titles. I learned a long time ago never to judge a book by it's author.

How do you organize your books? (by genre, title, author's last name, etc.)
At the moment, my book shelf is a complete nightmare. Titles I have read are stacked in order of series. Favourites get the eye level shelf. I am running out of room on a massive scale though and books are just stacked where they will fit. Books I haven't read are in piles, sorted by the month I bought them.

You can take these questions and answer them on your own blog and join in on the fun. I hope you enjoyed my answers and I look forward to reading your answers as well. If you do take part in the meme, be sure to leave a link and I'll check out your answers as well.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday 56: 28/5/2010

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles
Page 56, 5th Sentence

"Mom told me this morning; she heard it at the diner"

Helps having a mum who works at one of the biggest gossip spots in the town...

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
*Post a link along with your post back to Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
* Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Book Review: Tempting the Beast by Lora Leigh

Review: Tempting the Beast
Series: Breeds – Book 1
Author: Lora Leigh
No. Of Pages: 252
Release Date: 24 November 2003

Callan Lyons is a genetic experiment. One of six fighting for freedom and the survival of their pride. Merinus Tyler is the reporter who will tempt him, draw him, until the fury of the “mating frenzy” locks them into a battle of sexual heat there is no escape from.

Deception, blood, and the evil Genetics Council are hot on their trail. Callan will use his strength to try and save them both...and do all in his power to keep his woman in the process.

My Thoughts:

Whew! That is some seriously hot writing!

Tempting the Beast is not just what every woman needs but what every man needs as well. It was extremely hot and the pages were sizzling as I tried to get through them as fast as what my eyes would let me.

Merinus is a journalist investigating the claims that there is a new breed of half human half animal beings hiding in a small town. As soon as she sees the picture of Callan Lyons, she is drawn to him and must meet him.

Merinus has grown up being sheltered by her seven older brothers, turning her into a stubborn, wilful, woman who is used to getting her own way, and won’t stop until she gets it.

That doesn’t make her unlikeable, her sharp tongue and witty comebacks in the face of men who are twice her size make for some very comical reading especially when she refers to her marine brother as a GI Joe and her half-breed lover as a Lion-O.

Put her in a room with Callan Lyons and you have yourself an explosion just waiting to happen. Callan is part lion (he he Lyons, get it?), he has the DNA of one of the proudest creatures on earth coded into his system; it’s his entire way of thinking. Callan is the leader of his Pride, of Breeds but he is the only lion. He was the original Breed, and he was the one who rescued the others from their torturous times in the labs, it now falls to him to protect them.

Callan doesn’t want anything to do with Merinus, according to him she is the enemy. Albeit a very nosy, nice-smelling, arousal inducing enemy, but an enemy all the same. He leads her astray during her first few days in search of his house, teasing her, tempting her with information. It isn’t until her poking gets her into trouble with his real enemies, dangerous soldiers trying to capture him that he gets close enough to her to realise that she might be something more than an annoying female.

Tempting the Beast was an interesting read into genetically altered humans, whilst being part animal and having the traits of the animal they are merged with the Breeds can’t actually shape-shift like werewolves can.

Although we don’t get too much into the science of how the Breeds came about it does pose for an interesting topic.

Basically though, you don’t go into Tempting the Beast expecting something as mild as Twilight or Mercy Thompson. The sex scenes were well written and although some of the story surrounding the sex scenes leave a little to be desired the effortless detail Leigh gives us without making us think we’re complete pervs is very well done.

Now that we have the world building out of the way, I am looking forward to exploring the rest of the Breeds stories.

Also in this series:
The Man Within
Elizabeth's Wolf
Kiss of Heat
Soul Deep
The Breed Next Door
Megan's Mark
Harmony's Way
Tanner's Scheme
Wolfe's Hope
Jacob's Faith
Aiden's Charity
In a Wolf's Embrace
Dawn's Awakening
A Jaguar's Kiss
Mercury's War
Christmas Heat
Coyotes Mate
Christmas Kiss
Bengals Heart
Lions Heat

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's here! It came! OMG!!!!!

The Holy Grail that is Spirit Bound is finally here!!!! I laid my hands on it last night! And have already started reading it! Absolute MAGIC!!!!

OMG OMG OMG!!!! Massive happy dance right now!!! But don't worry, I bought two copies! When I have a little cashola in hand next month I will be giving one brand spankin new hardcover copy away to one uber lucky winner!

Yeay!!! Soooo excited!!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: 25/5/2010

Currently Reading: Birthmarked by Caragh M'Obrien
"Gaia was a steady assistant today," Sephie said. "You should take her with you next time. Teach her a thing or two."

Teaser Tuesday is the brainchild of Should Be Reading

Monday, May 24, 2010

Book Review: Hourglass by Claudia Gray

Review: Hourglass
Series: Evernight – Book 3
Author: Claudia Gray
No of Pages: 339
Release Date: 9 March 2010

Bianca has found refuge again with the Black Cross, and she and Lucas work desperately to keep her secret. In this company, being a vampire is a death sentence, and the two of them live and train alongside the hunters without anyone noticing her increasing need for blood.

Even though she's with the boy she loves more than anyone else in the world, Bianca can't help worrying about the family and friends she left behind. Caught between three feuding worlds, it's starting to feel as though she'll never be entirely at peace again.

When another betrayal puts the lovers in mortal danger once more, they realise that all they truly have in one another. But with the secret of Bianca's birth taking hold, not even Lucas can help her win her toughest fight

My Thoughts:

Between the end of Stargazer and the beginning of Hourglass Bianca had a serious attitude change, and it works so well on her.

I think we can safely assume that Evernight and Stargazer didn’t impress me much, I only really read them because I had the time, Hourglass though is a whole different story, and a whole new reason to read this series.

Bianca and Lucas are first bunking with Black Cross but after they escape Black Cross after being found out Bianca and Lucas’ lives become a whole new story. They need to fend for themselves and they are quickly realising that that isn’t as easy as it sounds.

In Hourglass Bianca grows up a lot. No longer is she the whiny dependant little girl we met in Evernight and Stargazer. No longer does she have the stupid delusions of safety and romance outside of the school. Being faced with the real world is like a shock to her system, and I have to commend Bianca for dealing with it quite well.

She doesn’t do too well with holding down a job, but she tries at least and she doesn’t leave Lucas to do absolutely everything when it comes to setting up house. Granted they aren’t completely self sufficient because they are living in a friends deserted basement but they do pretty well under the circumstances.

Until Bianca gets sick.

She’s been weakening for a long time and it becomes obvious to the reader – unfortunately not to Bianca – that she is at the end of her road. Vampire or Wraith, which will she become? Also kind of obvious if you ask me, but I won’t spoil the ending for you.

I don’t know how Gray did it, but a lot of her style has changed in regards to the Evernight series and after reading Hourglass not only am I eagerly anticipating Afterlife but I will also be sad to see whats has turned into a great series come to an end.

Others in this series:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

It's days like these I feel proud to say that I am human...

All the way back in January I won my second ever (and last ever) contest. It was the Shades of Midnight contest being held by Cherry Mischevious.
Of course I was excited, hyper, choreographing a massively awesome happy dance and the like, after three weeks the book still hadn't arrived. After a few more weeks I put it down to being lost in the mail, disappointing, but life goes on.
Whenever I would get a package in the mail that I knew I hadn't ordered sometimes I would get a flair of hope that it might be Shades of Midnight, it never was.
It was funny because I ordered Kiss of Midnight two weeks ago and didn't even make the connection that the two books were from the same series (hey! I have a lot on my mind at the moment). Regardless, I had another fleeting thought about Shades of Midnight and hoped that whoever had received it was enjoying it.
Yesterday though when I get home unaware of anything coming in the mail and too pre-occupied with my cousins visit, I overlooked the box sitting on my desk. It wasn't until I went up a second time that I noticed the box, to be honest I was hoping that my pre-ordered Spirit Bound had arrived, but I noticed how some of the address was crossed off.
Tearing into the mystery box, out comes the beautiful blue cover that houses Shades of Midnight. Turns out that a 1 was missing off the address, just a measly 1 and it had gone to someone else. But whoever that guy was, sent it back to the post office and they worked to find out who it really belonged to. 
He could have done anything with it really, donated it to a library, sold it at a buy and sell book shop, given it as a gift to a friend, he could have done anything. But he didn't, he did an honourable thing by asking the Postie to find the true owner of the book.
What happened yesterday renewed a part of the faith I have in the human race.
So thank you Cherry for sending Shades of Midnight and thank you mystery man for doing a very honest thing and making me really really happy.
PS the reason why I told you guys this story was because I told my cousin what happened and she thought it was a bit sad that I was made so happy by a book. I thought you guys might appreciate it a little more.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Discussion Questions: Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

  1. Let's talk relationships.  What did you think of Elena's relationship with Philip? Were her feelings for him genuine? Why or why not? I don't think her feelings were genuine at all. She was making herself go out with him to prove to herself that she could lead a normal life, constantly trying to talk herself into loving him and staying with him.
  2. Keeping secrets from someone you love, is it being true to yourself?  Elena was hiding out in Toronto and away from the Pack. Did this make Elena a stronger character or whiny? I don't really think it made her either. If anything maybe a little stronger because she did manage to care for herself, but I definitely don't see it as whiny to try and make your life normal after having it turned upside down. I think that there are some secrets that need to be kept, for the good of the relationship. Telling someone you love that you were once engaged really isn't going to make any difference other than make your partner doubt you. There really isn't any point. The werewolf thing may be a different story, but Elena didn't think Philip could handle it, well she knows him doesn't she. Someone you truly love, should probably be let in on that little secret though.
  3. Kelley Armstrong's werewolves lean more towards the traditional side of the wolf legend. What "were" type are you? Do you enjoy the pain riddled, desiring human flesh werewolves like the Wolfman or the intensely scary wolves like in the movie Silver Bullet or do you prefer painless shifters that keep a majority of human and other light PNR novels? I LOVE her take on werewolves, they're real. You can't really expect to turn into an animal and still think like a person...that's kind of dumb. The fact that they can fight through their change and still think with a bit of a human mind is also, well, believable. I don't want to read about a werewolf that acts more like a puppy than a wolf and Armstrong gave me real wolves which I thoroughly enjoyed.
  4. Could you forgive the man you loved if he were to BITE you like what occurred with Elena? Hmm, this is a hard question. Depending on how much I loved him I think. I can think of a couple of exes that I would take great pleasure in killing if they turned me into a werewolf. I don't think I'd mind being one to be perfectly honest, but it does give me a good reason to kick some ass. I can think of some other people that in time, although it would be hard, I could forgive.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Book Review: Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook

Review: Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood
Author: Eileen Cook
No of Pages: 261
Release Date: 5 January 2010

In the final weeks of eighth grade, Lauren Wood made a choice. She betrayed her best friend, Helen, in a manner so publicly humiliating that Helen had to move to a new town just to save face. Ditching Helen was worth it, though, because Lauren started high school as one of the It Girls--and now, at the start of her senior year, she's the cheerleading captain, the quarterback's girlfriend, and the undisputed queen bee. Lauren has everything she's ever wanted, and she has forgotten all about her ex-best friend.

But Helen could never forget Lauren. After three years of obsessing, she's moving back to her old town. She has a new name and a new look, but she hasn't dropped her old grudges. She has a detailed plan to bring down her former BFF by taking away everything that's ever been important to Lauren—starting with her boyfriend.

Watch out, Lauren Wood. Things are about to get bitchy.

My Thoughts:

Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood is like Mean Girls, in book form.

Lauren Wood was Helen’s best friend, until she betrayed and humiliated her in front of the entire school forcing Helen to leave the state and start life fresh. Helen was a quiet girl when she left content with her old black and white movies and not really realising that she was being used by her best friend. But when she returns to her small home town and the high school that hated her before she left, she is a completely different person.

Now Helen is back under the name of Claire, and she’s out to destroy Lauren’s life just like hers was destroyed. She needs to steal her boyfriend, make her friends hate her, get her kicked off the cheerleading team and somehow make the whole school laugh at her.

Easy Peasy.

Helen is a funny character, albeit a little obsessed and a touch crazy, she is really likeable. She is completely focused on getting Lauren though, which makes her a bit annoying, but that is the whole point of the story.

I loved the fact that the love interest wasn’t your typical love interest for this general kind of book; he was the mysterious film-maker that no one really took notice of but everyone seemed to be talking about. Instead of the star quarter back that seemed to be the cliché interest at the start of the book.

Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood was a very feel good tale, and it was written in a way that doesn’t make you hate Helen for her revenge plan but understand her and also feel a little sorry for her in the process. It teaches us that not all friends are worth it and although sometimes revenge can go too far, a bit of cheese in a vent and a couple of missing buttons off a shirt isn’t all that dangerous.

I devoured Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood and anyone who did like Mean Girls like I did, will find this book laugh out loud funny.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I'm baaack!!!

Did you miss me?

I realise that Vampire Academy Week seemed to go ahead on it's own steam, only because I never got the time to take down all of the scheduled posts.

Soo, although the time frame for Vampire Acadmey Week has technically ended there are some outstanding posts that I owe you. I will be posting the two remaining reviews this weekend and the rest of the opinion pieces will be converted into My Two Cents posts.

On a personal front if anyone cares, for the moment I seem to be fine until something significant happens and the doctors can run more tests (I swear they're all secretly Vampires with the amount of blood they take) because they can't currently figure out what is wrong with me...that gives me some great confidence right there. So yeah...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Vampire Academy Week: Day 4 - Shadow Kiss

Shadow Kiss, things are getting darker now.

Book Trailer

Friday, May 14, 2010

Book Review: Frostbite by Ricelle Mead

Review: Frostbite
Series: Vampire Academy – Book 2
Author: Richelle Mead
No of Pages: 327
Release Date: 10 April 2008


Rose Hathaway's got serious guy trouble. Her gorgeous tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason has a huge crush on her, and she keeps getting stuck in her best friend Lissa's head while she's making out with her boyfriend, Christian.

Then a massive Strigoi attack puts St. Vladimir's on high alert, and the academy crawls with Guardians - including the legendary Janine Hathaway...Rose's formidable, long-absent mother. The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy's not taking any risks. This year, St. Vlad's holiday ski trip is mandatory.

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only provide the illusion of safety. When three students run away to strike back against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. Only this time, Rose - and her heart - are in more danger than she ever could have imagined...

My Thoughts:

Once again we are taken on a spell binding journey thanks to Mead’s wonderful storytelling.

All Moroi are in danger as we finish the first few chapters of Frostbite. Rose herself witnesses the aftermath of a horrific Strigoi attack on an unsuspecting Moroi family. Worse still is that it is a royal family, and the note written in blood found at the scene suggests that the Strigoi are deliberately picking off the royals, which doesn’t do much for Rose’s peace of mind as Lissa is the only Dragomir (Dragomir’s are royal) left.

So the whole school and quite a few other Moroi take refuge in a heavily guarded, highly exclusive ski resort. Rose and her friends gear up for a week of skiing, dancing, relaxing fun. Until a couple of her friends take off after some Strigoi...and one ends up dead.

Again I absolutely loved Rose. Witnessing the attack at the beginning of the book cooled her down a bit and snapped her out of the heroism thoughts of thinking that she could take down six Strigoi, by herself. Unfortunately it didn’t cool down some of her friends.

We saw more of the other characters in Frostbite as well. Mia made her return once again causing trouble for Rose and Lissa. As we were sucked into Lissa’s head more often we got to see her way of thinking a little more. Christian was excellent in this book, caring for Lissa whilst still being quite witty and helping Rose out when she needed him. Dimitri...was after another woman...but still as hot as ever. And then we have Adrian.
Ahh, Adrian, give me a moment while I swoon. Although there are mixed opinions about Adrian’s character, I love every bit of it. He is a male version of Rose, stubborn, witty, vulgar, self-confident and absolutely hilarious.

Rose also tried to move on from Dimitri, which is commendable because it doesn’t make her a swooning teenager which are so often left with.

Frostbite was of the same calibre as Vampire Academy, if not better as the story heats up.

Others in this series:
Vampire Academy
Shadow Kiss
Blood Promise
Spirit Bound
Last Sacrifice

Frostbite Excerpt

Here is Chapter 1 of Frostbite from Richelle Mead's Website

Chapter 1

I didn’t think my day could get any worse until my best friend told me she might be going crazy. Again.

“I…what did you say?”

I stood in the lobby of her dorm, leaning over one of my boots and adjusting it. Jerking my head up, I peered at her through the tangle of dark hair covering half my face. I’d fallen asleep after school and had skipped using a hairbrush in order to make it out the door on time. Lissa’s platinum blond hair was smooth and perfect, of course, hanging over her shoulders like a bridal veil as she watched me with amusement.

“I said that I think my pills might not be working as well anymore.”

I straightened up and shook the hair out of my face. “What does that mean?” I exclaimed. Around us, Moroi hurried past, on their way to meet friends or go to dinner. “Have you started…” I lowered my voice. “Have you started getting your powers back?”

She shook her head, and I saw a small flash of regret in her eyes. “No…I feel closer to the magic, but I still can’t use it. Mostly what I’m noticing lately is a little of the other stuff, you know…I’m getting more depressed now and then. Nothing even close to what it used to be,” she added hastily, seeing my face. Before she’d gone on her pills, Lissa’s moods could get so low that she cut herself. “It’s just there a little more than it was.”

“What about the other things you used to get? Anxiety? Delusional thinking?”

Lissa laughed, not taking any of this as seriously as I was. “You sound like you’ve been reading psychiatry textbooks.”

I actually had been reading them. “I’m just worried about you. If you think the pills aren’t working anymore, we need to tell someone.”

“No, no,” she said hastily. “I’m fine, really. They’re still working…just not quite as much. I don’t think we should panic yet. Especially you—not today, at least.”

Her change in subject worked. I’d found out an hour ago that I would be taking my Qualifier today. It was an exam—or rather, an interview—all novice guardians had administered to them during junior year at St. Vladimir’s Academy. Since I’d been off hiding Lissa last year, I’d missed mine. Today I was being taken to a guardian somewhere off-campus who would administer the test to me. Thanks for the notice, guys.

“Don’t worry about me,” Lissa repeated, smiling. “I’ll let you know if it gets worse.”

“Okay,” I said reluctantly.

Just to be safe, though, I opened my senses and allowed myself to truly feel her through our psychic bond. She had been telling the truth. She was calm and happy this morning, nothing to worry about. But, far back in her mind, I sensed a knot of uneasy, dark feelings. It wasn’t consuming her or anything, but it had the same feel as the bouts of depression and anger she used to get. It was only a trickle, but I didn’t like it. I didn’t want it there at all. I tried pushing farther inside her to get a better feel for the emotions and suddenly had the weird experience of touching something dark. A sickening sort of feeling seized me, and I jerked out of her head. A small shudder ran through my body.

“You okay?” Lissa asked, frowning. “You look nauseous all of a sudden.”

“Just…nervous for the test,” I lied. Hesitantly, I reached out through the bond again. The darkness had completely disappeared. No trace. Maybe there was nothing wrong with her pills after all. “I’m fine.”

She pointed at a clock. “You won’t be if you don’t get moving soon.”

“Damn it,” I swore. She was right. I gave her a quick hug. “See you later!”

“Good luck!” she called.

I hurried off across campus and found my mentor, Dimitri Belikov, waiting beside a Honda Pilot. How boring. I supposed I couldn’t have expected us to navigate Montana mountain roads in a Porsche, but it would have been nice to have something cooler.

“I know, I know,” I said, seeing his face. “Sorry.”

I remembered then that I had one of the most important tests of my life coming up, and suddenly, I forgot all about Lissa and her pills possibly not working. I wanted to protect her, but that wouldn’t mean much if I couldn’t pass high school and actually become her guardian.

Dimitri stood there, looking as gorgeous as ever. The massive brick building cast long shadows over us, looming like some great beast in the dusky pre-dawn light. Around us, snow was just beginning to fall. I watched the light, crystalline flakes drift gently down. Several landed and promptly melted in his dark hair.

“Who all’s going?” I asked.

He shrugged. “Just you and me.”

My mood promptly shot up past ‘cheerful’ and went straight to ‘ecstasy.’ Me and Dimitri. Alone. In a car. This might very well be worth a surprise test.

“How far away is it?” Silently, I begged for it to be a really long drive. Like, one that would take a week. And would involve us staying overnight in luxury hotels. Maybe we’d get stranded in a snow bank, and only body heat would keep us alive.

“Five hours.”


A bit less than I’d hoped for. Still, five hours was better than nothing. It didn’t rule out the snow bank possibility either.

The dim, snowy roads would have been difficult for humans to see, but they proved no problem for our dhampir eyes. I stared ahead, trying not to think about how Dimitri had on some amazing aftershave that was filling the car with a clean, sharp scent that made me want to melt. Instead, I tried to think about the Qualifier again.

It wasn’t the kind of thing you could study for. You either knew it or you didn’t. High-up guardians visited novices during their junior year and met individually to discuss students’ commitment to being a guardian. I didn’t know exactly what was asked, but rumors had trickled down over the years. The older guardians assessed character and dedication, and some novices had been deemed unfit to continue down the guardian path.

“Don’t they usually come to the Academy?” I asked Dimitri. “I mean, I don’t mind the field trip, but why are we going to them?”

“Actually, you’re just going to a him, not a them.” A light Russian accent laced Dimitri’s words, the only indication of where he’d grown up. Otherwise, I was pretty sure he spoke English better than I did. “Since this is a special case and he’s doing us the favor, we’re the ones making the trip.”

“Who is he?”

“Arthur Schoenberg.”

I jerked my gaze from the road to Dimitri.

“What?” I squeaked.

Arthur Schoenberg was a legend. He was one of the greatest Strigoi slayers in living guardian history and used to be the head of the Guardians Council—the group of people who assigned guardians to Moroi and made decisions for all of us. He’d eventually retired and gone back to protecting one of the royal families, the Badicas. Even retired, I knew he was still lethal. His exploits were part of my curriculum.

“Wasn’t…wasn’t there anyone else available?” I asked in a small voice.

I could see Dimitri hiding a smile. “You’ll be fine. Besides, if Art approves of you, that’s a great recommendation to have on your record.”

Art. Dimitri was on a first name basis with one of the most badass guardians around. Of course, Dimitri was pretty badass himself, so I shouldn’t have been surprised.

Silence fell in the car. I bit my lip, suddenly wondering if I’d be able to meet Arthur Schoenberg’s standards. My grades were good, but things like running away and getting into fights at school might cast a shadow on how serious I was about my future career.

“You’ll be fine,” Dimitri repeated. “The good in your record outweighs the bad.”

It was like he could read my mind sometimes. I smiled a little and dared a peek at him. It was a mistake. A long, lean body, obvious even while sitting. Bottomless dark eyes. Shoulder-length brown hair tied back at his neck. That hair felt like silk. I knew because I’d run my fingers through it when Victor Dashkov had ensnared us with the lust charm. With great restraint, I forced myself to start breathing again and look away.

“Thanks, coach,” I teased, snuggling back into the seat.

“I’m here to help,” he replied. His voice was light and relaxed—rare for him. He was usually wound up tightly, ready for any attack. Probably he figured he was safe inside a Honda—or at least as safe as he could be around me. I wasn’t the only one who had trouble ignoring the romantic tension between us.

“You know what would really help?” I asked, not meeting his eyes.


“If you turned off this crap music and put on something that came out after the Berlin Wall went down.”

Dimitri laughed. “Your worst class is History, yet somehow, you know everything about Eastern Europe.”

“Hey, gotta have material for my jokes, comrade.”

Still smiling, he turned the radio dial. To a country station.

“Hey! This isn’t what I had in mind,” I exclaimed.

I could tell he was on the verge of laughing again. “Pick. It’s one or the other.”

I sighed. “Go back to the 1980s stuff.”

He flipped the dial, and I crossed my arms over my chest as some vaguely European sounding band sang about how video had killed the radio star. I wished someone would kill this radio.

Suddenly, five hours didn’t seem as short as I’d thought.

Arthur and the family he protected lived in a small town along I-90, not far from Billings. The general Moroi opinion was split on places to live. Some argued big cities were the best since they allowed vampires to be lost in the crowds; nocturnal activities didn’t raise so much attention. Other Moroi, like this family apparently, opted for less populated towns, believing that if there were fewer people to notice you, then you were less likely to be noticed.

I’d convinced Dimitri to stop for food at a 24-hour diner along the way, and between that and stopping to buy gas, it was around noon when we arrived. The house was built in a rambler style, all one level with gray-stained wood siding and big bay windows—tinted to block sunlight, of course. The house looked new and expensive, and even out in the middle of nowhere, it was about what I’d expect for members of a royal family.

I jumped down from the Pilot, my boots sinking through an inch of smooth snow and crunching on the gravel of the driveway. The day was still and silent, save for the occasional breath of wind. Dimitri and I walked up to the house, following a river rock sidewalk that cut through the front yard. I could see him sliding into his business mode, but his overall attitude was as cheery as mine. We’d both taken a kind of guilty satisfaction in the pleasant car ride.

My foot slipped on the ice covered sidewalk, and Dimitri instantly reached out to steady me. I had a weird moment of déjà vu to the first night we’d met, back when he’d also saved me from a similar fall. Freezing temperatures or not, his hand felt warm on my arm, even through the layers of down in my puffer coat.

“You okay?” He released his hold, to my dismay.

“Yeah,” I said, casting accusing eyes to the icy sidewalk. “Haven’t these people ever heard of salt?”

I meant it jokingly, but Dimitri suddenly stopped walking. I instantly came to a halt too. Tension so palpable it nearly slapped me snapped into place around him. He turned his head, eyes searching the broad, white plains surrounding us before settling back on the house. I wanted to ask questions, but something in his posture told me to stay silent. He studied the building for almost a full minute, looked down at the icy sidewalk, then glanced back at the driveway, covered in a sheet of snow broken only by our footprints.

Cautiously, he approached the front door, and I followed. He stopped again, this time to study the door. It wasn’t open, but it wasn’t entirely shut either. It looked like it had been closed in haste, not sealing. Further examination showed scuffs along the door’s edge, as though it had been forced at some point. The slightest nudge would open it. Dimitri lightly ran his fingers along where the door met its frame, his breath making small clouds in the air. When he touched the door’s handle it jiggled a little, like it had been broken.

Finally, he said quietly, “Rose, go wait in the car.”

“But wh—”


One word—but one filled with power. In that single syllable I was reminded of the man I’d seen throw people around and stake a Strigoi. I backed up, walking on the snow covered lawn rather than risk the sidewalk. Dimitri stood where he was, not moving until I’d slipped back into the car, closing the door as softly as possible. Then with the gentlest of movements, he pushed on the barely held door and disappeared inside.

Burning with curiosity, I counted to ten and then climbed out of the car.

I knew better than to go in after him, but I had to know what was going on with this house. The neglected sidewalk and driveway indicated no one had been home for a couple days, although it could also mean the Badicas simply never left the house. It was possible, I supposed, that they’d been the victims of an ordinary break-in by humans. It was also possible that something had scared them off—say, like Strigoi. I knew that possibility was what had made Dimitri’s face turn so grim, but it seemed an unlikely scenario with Arthur Schoenberg on duty.

Standing on the driveway, I glanced up at the sky. The light was bleak and watery, but it was there. Noon. The sun’s highest point today. Strigoi couldn’t be out in sunlight. I didn’t need to fear them, only Dimitri’s anger.

I circled around the right side of the house, walking in much deeper snow—almost a foot of it. Nothing else weird about the house struck me. Icicles hung from the eaves, and the tinted windows revealed no secrets. My foot suddenly hit something, and I looked down. There, half-buried in the snow, was a silver stake. It had been driven into the ground. I picked it up and brushed off the snow, frowning. What was a stake doing out here? Silver stakes were valuable. They were a guardian’s most deadly weapon, capable of killing a Strigoi with a single strike through the heart. When they were forged, four Moroi charmed them with magic from each of the four elements. I hadn’t learned to use one yet, but gripping it in my hand, I suddenly felt safer as I continued my survey.

A large patio door led from the back of the house to a wooden deck that probably would have been a lot of fun to hang out on in the summer. But the patio’s glass had been broken, so much so that a person could easily get through the jagged hole. I crept up the deck steps, careful of the ice, knowing I was going to get in major trouble when Dimitri found out what I was doing. In spite of the cold, sweat poured down my neck.

Daylight, daylight, I reminded myself. Nothing to worry about.

I reached the patio and studied the dark glass. I couldn’t tell what had broken it. Just inside, snow had blown in and made a small drift on pale blue carpet. I tugged on the door’s handle, but it was locked. Not that that mattered with a hole that big. Careful of the sharp edges, I reached through the opening and unlocked the handle’s latch from the inside. I removed my hand just as carefully and pulled open the sliding door. It hissed slightly along its tracks, a quiet sound that nonetheless seemed too loud in the eerie silence.

I stepped through the doorway, standing in the patch of sunlight that had been cast inside by opening the door. My eyes adjusted from the sun to the dimness within. Wind swirled through the open patio, dancing with the curtains around me. I was in a living room. It had all the ordinary items one might expect. Couches. TV. A rocking chair.

And a body.

It was a woman. She lay on her back in front of the TV, her dark hair spilling on the floor around her. Her wide eyes stared upward blankly, her face pale—too pale even for a Moroi. For a moment I thought her long hair was covering her neck too until I realized the darkness across her skin was blood—dried blood. Her throat had been ripped out.

The horrible scene was so surreal that I didn’t even realize what I was seeing at first. With her posture, the woman might very well have been sleeping. Then, I took in the other body: a man on his side only a couple feet away, dark blood staining the carpet around him. Another body slumped beside the couch: small, child-sized. Across the room was another. And another. There were bodies everywhere, bodies and blood.

The scale of the death around me suddenly registered, and my heart began pounding. No, no. It wasn’t possible. It was day. Bad things couldn’t happen in daylight. A scream started to rise in my throat, suddenly halted when a gloved hand came from behind me and closed over my mouth. I started to struggle, then I smelled Dimitri’s aftershave.

“Why,” he asked, “don’t you ever listen? You’d be dead if they were still here.”

I couldn’t answer, both because of the hand and my own shock. I’d seen someone die once, but I’d never seen death of this magnitude. After almost a minute, Dimitri finally removed his hand, but he stayed close behind me. I didn’t want to look anymore, but I seemed unable to drag my eyes away from the scene before me. Bodies everywhere. Bodies and blood.

Finally, I turned toward him. “It’s daytime,” I whispered. “Bad things don’t happen in the day.” I heard the desperation in my voice, a little girl’s plea that someone would say this was all a bad dream.

“Bad things can happen anytime,” he told me. “And this didn’t happen during the day. This probably happened a couple nights ago.”

I dared a peek back at the bodies and felt my stomach twist. Two days. Two days to be dead, to have your existence snuffed out—without anyone in the world even knowing you were gone. My eyes fell on a man’s body near the room’s entrance to a hallway. He was tall, too well-built to be a Moroi. Dimitri must have noticed where I looked.

“Arthur Schoenberg,” he said.

I stared at Arthur’s bloody throat. “He’s dead,” I said, as though it wasn’t perfectly obvious. “How can he be dead? How could a Strigoi kill Arthur Schoenberg?” It didn’t seem possible. You couldn’t kill a legend.

Dimitri didn’t answer. Instead his hand moved down and closed around where my own hand held the stake. I flinched.

“Where did you get this?” he asked. I loosened my grip and let him take the stake.

“Outside. In the ground.”

He held up the stake, studying its surface as it shone in the sunlight. “It broke the ward.”

My mind, still stunned, took a moment to process what he said. Then, I got it. Wards were magic rings cast by Moroi. Like the stakes, they were made using magic from all four of the elements. They required strong Moroi magic-users, often a couple for each element. The wards could block Strigoi because magic was charged with life, and the Strigoi had none. But wards faded quickly and took a lot of maintenance. Most Moroi didn’t use them, but certain places kept them up. St. Vladimir’s Academy was ringed with several.

There had been a ward here, but it had been shattered when someone drove the stake through it. Their magic conflicted with each other; the stake had won.

“Strigoi can’t touch stakes,” I told him. I realized I was using a lot of can’t and don’t statements today. It wasn’t easy having your core beliefs challenged. “And no Moroi or dhampir would do it.”

“A human might.”

I met his eyes. “Humans don’t help Strigoi—” I stopped. There it was again. Don’t. But I couldn’t help it. The one thing we could count on in the fight against Strigoi was their limitations—sunlight, ward and stake magic, etc. We used their weaknesses against them. If they had others—humans—who would help them and weren’t affected by those limitations…

Dimitri’s face was stern, still ready for anything, but the tiniest spark of sympathy flashed in his dark eyes as he watched me wage my mental battle.

“This changes everything, doesn’t it?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “It does.”

Frostbite Trailer

Again, fanmade but absolutely stunning! (I think this same chick did the first Vampire Academy Trailer as well, will have to check that though)

Vampire Academy Week: Day 3 - Frostbite

Frostbite, now we venture outside of the school, and some interesting new characters are introduced.

Book Trailer

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Vampire Academy: Spirit Bound - Teaser #4

If you were to attend Vampire Academy, what power would you have and why?

This is actually very hard for me to choose. Do I want a Moroi Elemental power? A dhampir fighting power? or the power to live forever as a Strigoi?

I will eliminate Strigoi first, purely because I do rather enjoy having a soul. And although they are really strong and live forever, and have all the awesomeness of what I consider true vampires we are in Vampire Academy world now, and although I may be evil, I'm not that evil.

Next are the Moroi. Elemental power but weak. This piece is based purely on the first book, not what happens in the latter books. According to Moroi law, Moroi aren't permitted to use their powers for anything other than lame party tricks. No fighting allowed. If I were to choose Moroi, I would want to be a water element. Just because I naturally am a water element. Either that or fire. But I think that ultimately I would prefer water.

Then there are the Dhampirs. Super human ninjas. Fighting fit, and ready to go at all times. But with no powers and in a way, are dependant on the Moroi if they get clucky. Then there is also the duty of having to guard and be on hand at all times. Everytime they want to go out, you have to go with them etc.

So, weak ruler, or awesome servant. I am naturally lazy...but being Moroi would mean having to conform to Moroi rules and ways...yet being dhampir would just mean being a human, but a bit stronger...well I have always wanted to learn Kung-fu...

Although it would be very, very hard to follow the rules and discipline that come with being a Moroi, and also the social restrictions, I think having magical water powers would be better than having kung fu powers, because with my water powers, I could also meditate.

Water based Moroi it is.

Vampire Academy Excerpt

Here is Chapter 1 of Vampire Academy from Richelle Mead's Website:

Chapter 1

I felt her fear before I heard her screams.

Her nightmare pulsed into me, shaking me out of my own dream, which had had something to do with a beach and some hot guy rubbing suntan oil on me. Images—hers, not mine—tumbled through my mind: fire and blood, the smell of smoke, the twisted metal of a car. The pictures wrapped around me, suffocating me, until some rational part of my brain reminded me that this wasn’t my dream.

I woke up, strands of long, dark hair sticking to my forehead.

Lissa lay in her bed, thrashing and screaming. I bolted out of mine, quickly crossing the few feet that separated us.

“Liss,” I said, shaking her. “Liss, wake up.”

Her screams dropped off, replaced by soft whimpers. “Andre,” she moaned. “Oh God.”

I helped her sit up. “Liss, you aren’t there anymore. Wake up.”

After a few moments, her eyes fluttered open, and in the dim lighting, I could see a flicker of consciousness start to take over. Her frantic breathing slowed, and she leaned into me, resting her head against my shoulder. I put an arm around her and ran a hand over her hair.

“It’s okay,” I told her gently. “Everything’s okay.”

“I had that dream.”

“Yeah. I know.”

We sat like that for several minutes, not saying anything else. When I felt her emotions calm down, I leaned over to the nightstand between our beds and turned on the lamp. It glowed dimly, but neither of us really needed much to see by. Attracted by the light, our housemate’s cat Oscar leapt up into the open window.

He gave me a wide berth—animals didn’t like dhampirs, for whatever reason—but jumped up on the bed and rubbed his head against Lissa, purring softly. Animals didn’t have a problem with Moroi, and they all loved her in particular. Smiling, she scratched his chin, and I felt her calm further.

“When did we last do a feeding?” I asked, studying her face. Her fair skin was paler than usual. Dark circles hung under her eyes, and there was an air of frailty around her. School had been hectic this week, and I couldn’t remember the last time I’d given her blood. “It’s been like…over two days, hasn’t it? Three? Why didn’t you say anything?”

She shrugged and wouldn’t meet my eyes. “You were busy. I didn’t want to…”

“Screw that,” I said, shifting into a better position. No wonder she seemed so weak. Oscar, not wanting me any closer, leapt down and returned to the window where he could watch at a safe distance. “Come on. Let’s do this.”


“Come on. It’ll make you feel better.”

I tilted my head and tossed my hair back, baring my neck. I saw her hesitate, but the sight of my neck and what it offered proved too powerful. A hungry expression crossed her face, and her lips parted slightly, exposing the fangs she normally kept hidden while living among humans. Those fangs contrasted oddly with the rest of her features. With her pretty face and pale blonde hair, she looked more like an angel than a vampire.

As her teeth neared my bare skin, I felt my heart race with a mix of fear and anticipation. I always hated feeling the latter, but it was nothing I could help. A weakness I couldn’t shake.

Her fangs bit into me, hard, and I cried out at the brief flare of pain. Then it faded, replaced by a wonderful, golden joy that spread through my body. It was better than any of the times I’d been drunk or high. Better than sex—or so I imagined, since I’d never done it. It was a blanket of pure, refined pleasure, wrapping me up and promising everything would be right in the world. On and on, it went. The chemicals in her saliva triggered an endorphin rush, and I lost track of the world, lost track of who I was.

Then, regretfully, it was over. It had taken less than a minute.

She pulled back, wiping her hand across her lips as she studied me. “You okay?”

“I…yeah.” I lay back onto the bed, dizzy from the blood loss. “I just need to sleep it off. I’m fine.”

Her pale, jade-green eyes watched me with concern. She stood up. “I’m going to get you something to eat.”

My protests came awkwardly to my lips, and she left before I could get out a sentence. The buzz from her bite had lessened as soon as she broke the connection, but some of it still lingered in my veins, and I felt a goofy smile cross my lips. Turning my head, I glanced up at Oscar, still sitting in the window.

“You don’t know what you’re missing,” I told him.

His attention was on something outside. Hunkering down into a crouch, he puffed out his jet black fur. His tail started twitching.

My smile faded, and I forced myself to sit up. The world spun, and I waited for it to right itself before trying to stand. When I managed it, the dizziness set in again and this time refused to leave. Still, I felt okay enough to stumble to the window and peer out with Oscar. He eyed me warily, scooted over a little, and then returned to whatever had held his attention.

A warm breeze—unseasonably warm for a Portland fall—played with my hair as I leaned out. The street was dark and relatively quiet. It was three in the morning, just about the only time a college campus settled down, at least somewhat. The house in which we’d rented a room for the past eight months sat on a residential street with old, mismatched houses. Across the road, a streetlight flickered, nearly ready to burn out. It still cast enough light for me to make out the shapes of cars and buildings. In our own yard, I could see the silhouettes of trees and bushes.

And a man watching me.

I jerked back in surprise. A figure stood by a tree in the yard, about thirty feet away where he could easily see through the window. He was close enough that I probably could have thrown something and hit him. He was certainly close enough that he could have seen what Lissa and I just did.

The shadows covered him so well, that even with my heightened sight, I couldn’t make out any of his features, save his height. He was tall. Really tall. He stood there for just a moment, barely discernible, and then stepped back, disappearing into the shadows cast by trees on the far side of the yard. I was pretty sure I saw someone else move nearby and join him before the blackness swallowed them both.

Whoever these figures were, Oscar didn’t like them. Not counting me, he usually got along with most people, growing upset only when someone posed an immediate danger. The guy outside hadn’t done anything threatening to Oscar, but the cat had sensed something, something that put him on edge.

Something similar to what he always sensed from me.

Icy fear raced through me, almost—but not quite—eradicating the lovely bliss of Lissa’s bite. Backing up from the window, I jerked on a pair of jeans that I found on the floor, nearly falling over in the process. Once they were on, I grabbed my coat and Lissa’s, along with our wallets. Shoving my feet into the first shoes I saw, I headed out the door.

Downstairs, I found her in the cramped kitchen, rummaging through the refrigerator. One of our housemates, Jeremy, sat at the table, hand on his forehead as he stared sadly at a calculus book. Lissa regarded me with surprise.

“You shouldn’t be up.”

“We have to go. Now.”

Her eyes widened, and then a moment later, understanding clicked in. “Are you…really? Are you sure?”

I nodded. I couldn’t explain how I knew for sure. I just did.

Jeremy watched us curiously. “What’s wrong?”

An idea came to mind. “Liss, get his car keys.”

He looked back and forth between us. “What are you—”

Lissa unhesitatingly walked over to him. Her fear poured into me through our psychic bond, but there was something else too…her complete faith that I would take care of everything, that we would be safe. Like always, I hoped I was worthy of that kind of trust.

She smiled broadly and gazed directly into his eyes. For a moment, Jeremy just stared, still confused, and then I saw the thrall seize him. His eyes glazed over, and he regarded her adoringly.

“We need to borrow your car,” she said in a gentle voice. “Where are your keys?”

He smiled, and I shivered. I had a high resistance to compulsion, but I could still feel its effects when directed at another person. That, and I’d been taught my entire life that using it was wrong. Reaching into his pocket, Jeremy handed over a set of keys hanging on a large red keychain.

“Thank you,” said Lissa. “And where’s it parked?”

“Down the street,” he said dreamily. “At the corner. By Brown.” Four blocks away.

“Thank you,” she repeated, backing up. “As soon as we leave, I want you to go back to studying. Forget you ever saw us tonight.”

He nodded obligingly. I got the impression he would have walked off a cliff for her right then if she’d asked. All humans were susceptible to compulsion, but Jeremy appeared weaker than most. That came in handy right now.

“Come on,” I told her. “We’ve got to move.”

We stepped outside, heading toward the corner he’d named. I was still dizzy from the bite and kept stumbling, unable to move as quickly as I wanted. Lissa had to catch hold of me a few times to stop me from falling. All the time, that anxiety rushed into me from her mind. I tried my best to ignore it; I had my own fears to deal with.

“Rose…what are we going to do if they catch us?” she whispered.

“They won’t,” I said fiercely. “I won’t let them.”

“But if they’ve found us…”

“They found us before. They didn’t catch us then. We’ll just drive over to the train station and go to L.A. They’ll lose the trail.”

I made it sound simple. I always did, even though there was nothing simple about being on the run from the people we’d grown up with. We’d been doing it for two years, hiding wherever we could and just trying to finish high school. Our senior year had just started, and living on a college campus had seemed safe. We were so close to freedom.

She said nothing more, and I felt her faith in me surge up once more. This was the way it had always been between us. I was the one who took action, who made sure things happened—sometimes recklessly so. She was the more reasonable one, the one who thought things out and researched them extensively before acting. Both styles had their uses, but at the moment, recklessness was called for. We didn’t have time to hesitate.

Lissa and I had been best friends ever since kindergarten, when our teacher had paired us together for writing lessons. Forcing five-year-olds to spell Vasilisa Dragomir and Rosemarie Hathaway was beyond cruel, and we’d—or rather, I’d—responded appropriately. I’d chucked my book at our teacher and called her a fascist bastard. I hadn’t known what those words meant, but I’d known how to hit a moving target.

Lissa and I had been inseparable ever since.

“Do you hear that?” she asked suddenly.

It took me a few seconds to pick up what her sharper senses already had. Footsteps, moving fast. I grimaced. We had two more blocks to go.

“We’ve got to run for it,” I said, catching hold of her arm.

“But you can’t—”


It took every ounce of my willpower not to pass out on the sidewalk. My body didn’t want to run after losing blood or while still metabolizing the effects of her saliva. But I ordered my muscles to stop their bitching and clung to Lissa as our feet pounded against the concrete. Normally I could have outrun her without any extra effort—particularly since she was barefoot—but tonight, she was all that held me upright.

The pursuing footsteps grew louder, closer. Black stars danced before my eyes. Ahead of us, I could make out Jeremy’s green Honda. Oh God, if we could just make it—

Ten feet from the car, a man stepped directly into our path. We came to a screeching halt, and I jerked Lissa back by her arm. It was him, the guy I’d seen across the street watching me. He was older than us, maybe mid-twenties, and as tall as I’d figured, probably 6’6” or 6’7”. And under different circumstances—say, when he wasn’t holding up our desperate escape—I would have thought he was hot. Shoulder-length brown hair, tied back into a short pony-tail. Dark brown eyes. A long, brown coat like horse riders wore, not quite a trench coat. A duster, I thought it was called.

But his hotness was irrelevant now. He was only an obstacle keeping Lissa and me away from the car and our freedom. The footsteps behind us slowed, and I knew our pursuers had caught up. Off to the sides, I detected more movement, more people closing in. God. They’d sent almost a dozen guardians to retrieve us. I couldn’t believe it. The queen herself didn’t travel with that many.

Panicked and not entirely in control of my higher reasoning, I acted out of instinct. I pressed up to Lissa, keeping her behind me and away from the man who appeared to be the leader.

“Leave her alone,” I growled. “Don’t touch her.”

His face was unreadable, but he held out his hands in what was apparently supposed to be some sort of calming gesture, like I was a rabid animal he was planning to sedate.

“I’m not going to—”

He took a step forward. Too close.

I attacked him, leaping out in an offensive maneuver I hadn’t used in two years, not since Lissa and I had run away. The move was stupid, another reaction born of instinct and fear. And it was hopeless. He was a skilled guardian, not a novice who hadn’t finished her training. He also wasn’t weak and on the verge of passing out.

And man, was he fast. I’d forgotten how fast guardians could be, how they could move and strike like cobras. He knocked me off as though brushing away a fly, and his hands slammed into me and sent me backwards. I don’t think he meant to strike that hard—probably just intended to keep me away—but my lack of coordination interfered with my ability to respond. Unable to catch my footing, I started to fall, heading straight toward the sidewalk at a twisted angle, hip-first. It was going to hurt. A lot.

Only it didn’t.

Just as quickly as he’d blocked me, the man reached out and caught my arm, keeping me upright. When I’d steadied myself, I noticed he was staring at me—or, more precisely, at my neck. Still disoriented, I didn’t get it right away. Then, slowly, my free hand reached up to the side of my throat and lightly touched the wound Lissa had made earlier. When I pulled my fingers back, I saw slick, dark blood on my skin. Embarrassed, I shook my hair so that it fell forward around my face. It was thick and long and completely covered my neck. I’d grown it out for precisely this reason.

The guy’s dark eyes lingered on the now-covered bite a moment longer and then met mine. I returned his look defiantly and quickly jerked out of his hold. He let me go, though I knew he could have restrained me all night if he’d wanted. Fighting the nauseating dizziness, I backed toward Lissa again, bracing myself for another attack. Suddenly, her hand caught a hold of mine. “Rose,” she said quietly. “Don’t.”

Her words had no effect on me at first, but calming thoughts gradually began to settle in my mind, coming across through the bond . It wasn’t exactly compulsion—she wouldn’t use that on me—but it was effectual, as was the fact that we were hopelessly outnumbered and outclassed. Even I knew this would be pointless. The tension left my body, and I sagged in defeat.

Sensing my resignation, the man stepped forward, turning his attention to Lissa. His face was calm. He swept her a bow and managed to look graceful doing it, which surprised me considering his height. “My name is Dimitri Belikov,” he said. I could hear a faint Russian accent. “I’ve come to take you back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, Princess.”

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Book Review: Vampire Academy by Ricelle Mead

Review: Vampire AcademySeries: Vampire Academy – Book 1
Author: Richelle Mead
No. Of Pages: 332
Release Date: 16 August 2007


Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with an unbreakable bond to the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest and most dangerous 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 her one of them.

After two years of illicit freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. Rose will continue her Dhampir education. Lissa will go back to being Queen of the elite Moroi social scene. And both girls will resume breaking Academy hearts.

Fear made Lissa and Rose run away from St. Vladimir’s – inside the Academy’s iron gates, their world is even more fraught with danger. Here, the cutthroat ranks of the Moroi perform unspeakable rituals, and their secretive nature and love of the night creates an enigmatic world full of social complexities. Rose and Lissa must navigate through this dangerous world, confront the temptation of forbidden romance, and never once let their guard down, lest the Strigoi make Lissa one of them forever...

My Thoughts:

The perfect beginning to a perfect series.

Mead introduces us to a whole new world. Seamlessly incorporating intricate world building into the telling of the story, without even realising it I had a picture forming in my mind of the academy and by the end of the story, every little detail was effortlessly coloured in.

Vampire Academy uses the Romanian vampire structure of Moroi (good vampires who are mortal) and Strigoi (evil vampires who are immortal). It was an interesting take on the genre. All moroi have the ability to connect with the earth, which basically means that they wield elemental magic.

Protecting the moroi are the dhampirs, half vampire half human guardians. Dhampirs aren’t really like vampires as they can eat real food and aren’t affected by sunlight. They are more or less super-human ninjas.
Vampire Academy is told through the eyes of Rose Hathaway, a dhampir girl who is a rebel with a cause, that cause being the protection of her best friend Lissa.

Rose has become one of my favourite female heroines. She is strong, smart, witty, vulgar, rebellious and for being a super-human ninja, quite normal.

She likes boys, wants them to notice her, is fiercely defensive of her friends, doesn’t know when to shut her mouth and although she hates school, and hates what it does to Lissa, knuckles down and learns her skills because she knows that is what is going to keep Lissa safe.

What I love about Vampire Academy is the fact that Rose and Lissa aren’t just social outcasts; they are popular, party girls who get ok grades and have good friends. And with being so popular, they are still extremely likable. Rose threatens a person a minute it seems and yet is still respected by the others as a good person. She can also hold her own with the guys, a fully trained female guardian is not common anymore and she is looked up to for that.

Even when it comes to Dimitri – oh, Lordy! – She keeps her cool, almost. Dimitri is her trainer, there to help her catch-up after running away from the school. They do extra lessons together every day, and the awesome romantic element of falling for you not that much older instructor, which is so completely dangerous and cool at the same time.

Vampire Academy has a little bit of mystery – with the case of the dead animals – a little bit of romance, a little bit of YA, and a whole lot of awesome. Vampire Academy was an absolutely stunning introduction into the world at St. Vladimir’s Academy.

Others in this series:
Shadow Kiss
Blood Promise
Spirit Bound
Last Sacrifice

Available at:
Book Depository


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