Thursday, March 31, 2016

Book Review: Spirit Bound, by Richelle Mead (Third review for the 2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge)

Here's my third review for this AWESOME challenge,
hosted by Evie @ Bookish Lifestyle!

For the rules and a list of 
participating blogs,
Just click on the link above!
There are GREAT prizes involved,
so be sure to check out
the rules and consider joining in!!

Spirit Bound
(Vampire Academy, Book 5)
Richelle Mead
Hardcover, First Edition, 489 pages
Penguin Razorbill
May 18, 2010
Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy

Book Synopsis:
Dimitri gave Rose the ultimate choice. But she chose wrong...

After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri's birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir's-and to her best friend, Lissa. It is nearly graduation, and the girls can't wait for their real lives beyond the Academy's iron gates to begin. But Rose's heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he's out there, somewhere.

She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. And this time he won't rest until Rose joins him... forever.

Once again, Richelle Mead has delivered a page-turning novel with the most fabulous characters, and twists and turns galore! The most unexpected things happen, especially when an old enemy unwittingly -- as well as unwillingly -- becomes a lifesaver, and Rose finds her hopes renewed, while at the same time facing the uncomfortable prospect of having to decide between the two men in her life.

I love Dimitri, so it really hurt to see how much emotional turmoil and guilt he suffered in this novel. It also hurt to feel Rose's inner turmoil right along with her. She still loves him, of course, and doesn't know what to do about the current situation. At the same time, she feels guilty about not loving Adrian enough. Dimitri and Rose are two highly-ethical people with noble ideals, and their lives have seemed to conspire against those very ideals. Mead handles their inner conflicts with great skill; psychologically, they are very believable.

In this novel, I can't help but feel sorry for Adrian Ivashkov. In fact, I kept switching back and forth from "Team Dimitri" to "Team Adrian". Dimitri is (or was, before he was turned into a Strigoi), an admirable hero -- romantic, intelligent, brave, loyal, passionate, a dedicated fighter and guardian. But Adrian.....there's just something about Adrian.... He appears to be a flippant, irreverent, spoiled rich boy who only wants to have fun. This is just a facade, however. There's another side to him, one that he's mostly willing to let Rose see. He's also tender, thoughtful, and as smart as Dimitri. He might not be totally a hero, but his heart's in the right place. 

And now, in this novel, he has become Rose's boyfriend, even though she's still conflicted about Dimitri.

I really can't blame Rose for giving Adrian a chance, however. She believes that Dimitri is completely lost to her now. Besides, he has already warned her that he will be watching out for an opportunity to kill her, since she had already refused to join him as a Strigoi. So, reluctantly, Rose decides to see if she and Adrian can have a relationship. Unfortunately, although she does develop some feelings for Adrian, who wears his heart on his sleeve for her, deep inside she still harbors a strong love for Dimitri....

Incredible things happen in this installment of the series, but then, every one of these books has very imaginative twists and turns that prove what a terrific writer Mead is, and how easily her fertile imagination concocts seemingly hopeless scenarios that end up being resolved in very surprising ways.

Lissa and Rose are reunited at St. Vladimir's, and become partners in a plan hatched by Rose (of course!) which might just work to save not only Dimitri, but others who were unwillingly turned into Strigoi in the past. It's a daring plan that involves illegal activities. If Rose is caught, her future as a guardian will be over.  Who knows what will happen to her partners in crime? (Hint: Adrian is also involved, naturally.)

I love how much Lissa and Christian have grown since the series began. They are both now totally committed to joining forces with the guardians for the protection of themselves and their fellow Moroi. They are no longer content to take a passive stance while guardians risk their lives for them. This is one of the elements of the series that I believe has made it such a winner with YA paranormal and urban fantasy fans. This development lends an air of excitement to the plot of this novel, and it was present in the previous two, as well. With their magical talents, Moroi can work together with the guardians in order to defeat the evil Strigoi. Lissa, who is the last of the royal Dragomir line, is leading this fight, right along with Christian. In the process, the two resolve their previous differences. Mead thus brings them together as lovers just as much as fighters. This is definitely great story-telling!

Eddie Castile, a dhampir who has become a good friend of Rose's, also returns in this installment. I've always liked him. He's a very loyal friend to Rose, and is willing to help her as much as he can whenever she embarks on one of her crazy adventures. He totally believes in her! Well, after all, he does owe his life to Rose; she, along with Christian, saved him from Strigoi in a previous novel.

Of course, the ever-so-lovable Queen Tatiana creates some havoc in this novel, too, and pushes a controversial decree that totally divides the Moroi. Rose, of course, is infuriated, and manages to get herself in trouble, as usual. Not everyone sides with the queen, though.

A new character is introduced -- Robert Doru, who happens to be the evil Victor Dashkov's half-brother, and holds a secret vital to the future of the Moroi world. Like Lissa and Adrian, he's a Spirit user. He's not totally fleshed out in this novel, but I suspect we will see more of him in the final book of the series, Last Sacrifice.

Just as everything seems to be finally on the way to being resolved, Mead suddenly throws an unexpected (or not, as she excels at plot twists that have readers alternatively groaning and cheering) wrench into the works. This makes the novel end in yet another cliffhanger. But again, I don't mind this at all, coming from Richelle Mead. She's too gifted a writer for this to make any difference to me. I'll simply go on to the next installment, where I know the cliffhanger will be explained and neatly dealt with!

Richelle Mead has created another great plot  for this installment of her bestselling series! All PNR/UF fans who also enjoy reading the Young Adult Fiction genre will surely love Spirit Bound!  


Richelle Mead is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens. Originally from Michigan, Richelle now lives in Seattle, Washington where she works on her three series full-time: Georgina Kincaid, Dark Swan, and Vampire Academy.

A life-long reader, Richelle has always loved mythology and folklore. When she can actually tear herself away from books (either reading or writing them), she enjoys bad reality TV, traveling, trying interesting cocktails, and shopping for dresses. She's a self-professed coffee addict and has a passion for all things wacky and humorous.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday No. 159: The Fate of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen

This is a weekly event hosted by
It showcases future releases which
we book bloggers
are eagerly anticipating!!

Here's my choice for this week!

The Fate of the Tearling
(The Queen of the Tearling, Book 3)   
Hardcover, 416 pages
HarperCollins Publishers
November 29, 2016
Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

The thrilling conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Tearling trilogy.

In less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has transformed from a gawky teenager into a powerful monarch. As she has come into her own as the Queen of the Tearling, the headstrong, visionary leader has also transformed her realm. In her quest to end corruption and restore justice, she has made many enemies—including the evil Red Queen, her fiercest rival, who has set her armies against the Tear.

To protect her people from a devastating invasion, Kelsea did the unthinkable—she gave herself and her magical sapphires to her enemy—and named the Mace, the trusted head of her personal guards, Regent in her place. But the Mace will not rest until he and his men rescue their sovereign, imprisoned in Mortmesne.

Now, as the suspenseful endgame begins, the fate of Queen Kelsea—and the Tearling itself—will finally be revealed.

Why I'm waiting on this one!

This is  definitely a most unique fantasy
series, which I have just found out
about!  Of course, I want to read it from the 
very beginning. The concept is
new and original, while the fact that
there's a strong heroine involved
is a HUGE plus to me!
I'm very much intrigued!!


What do you think of my choice?
Leave your link below, so I can
come check out your pick(s)!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

First Chapter, First Paragraph No. 4: Rebel of the Sands, by Alwyn Hamilton

Welcome to First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intros,
hosted by Diane @

Every Tuesday, each participant
shares the first paragraph 
(sometimes more) from a book
they're reading,
or thinking about reading.

The book I've picked this week is....

Rebel  of the Sands
(Rebel of the Sands, Book 1) 
Alwyn Hamilton
Hardcover, 334 pages
 Viking Books for Young Readers 
March 8, 2016
 Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult Fiction

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic.  For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.

Amani Al’Hiza is all three.  She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.

Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.
Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes—in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power. 


They said the only folks who belonged in Deadshot after dark were the ones who were up to no good. I wasn't up to no good. Then again, I wasn't up to no bad, either. 

I slid from Blue's saddle and tethered her to a post behind some bar called The Dusty Mouth. The kid sitting against the fence was sizing me up suspiciously. Or maybe that was just his two black eyes. I tugged the wide brim of my hat lower as I stepped out of the yard. I'd stolen the hat from my uncle, along with the horse. Well, borrowed, more like. Everything I owned belonged to my uncle anyway, according to law, down to the clothes on my back.

The doors of the bar banged open, spilling out light and noise and a fat drunk with his arm around a pretty girl. My hand snapped to my sheema before I could think better of it, checking it was still tightly fastened so the better part of my face was covered. I was wrapped up to my eyes, and even hours after sunset I was sweating under the padding like a sinner at prayers. I figured I looked more like some lost nomad than a real sharpshooter, but so long as I didn't look like a girl it didn't much matter. Tonight I was getting out of here with at least my life. All the better if I got out with a few coins in my pocket, too.   


I'm pretty excited, just from 
reading the above!
This novel will soon be part of
my personal collection!
Would you continue reading,
judging from the excerpt above ?

Sunday, March 27, 2016


This beautiful painting is part of
the Isenheim altarpiece,
which is now on display at
 the Unterlinden Museum at Colmar,
in Alsace, France.
The artist is Matthias Grunewald,
and he painted it around 1506 to 1515.

May His Divine blessings
fill your life with joy and peace!!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Book Blogger Hop No. 42: Balancing Blogging and Reading

Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop,
hosted by Billy @

For more information, click HERE.

What to Do

1.) Post on your blog answering this week's

How much of your day is devoted
to your blog, and how much is
devoted to reading?

(submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)

2.)  Enter the link to your post in the
Linky list on Billy's blog.

3.)  Visit other blogs on the list and
comment on their posts. 

4.)  Be sure to find out next week's
question when you visit
Ramblings of a Coffee-Addicted Writer!

My Answer

I wish I could say that I have perfectly balanced my blogging and my reading, but alas, I have not.... I'm way behind on reading the books I want to read. There's another cause for that, as well, but I'll get into that later.

Like most bloggers -- whatever the subject blogged about -- I have always been a perfectionist regarding my blog, and want to make sure that I present not only posts done to my satisfaction, but also the best blog design I could possibly get, that would reflect my visual values. So, during my first year of blogging, I went through a few blog designs, until I settled on this one. My post backgrounds used to be dark gray, then I changed to black, and now I'm satisfied with the Navy blue I selected some time ago. 

Since I don't know anything about PhotoShop, I could not create a header I liked and could live with. Then I came across the work of Jennifer Johnson @ Sapphire Blog Designs! She designed my header and blog button, and I absolutely love them! (As you an see, I'm a huge fan of the color blue, lol.)

Added to all this is the fact that I want to maintain a certain style and look for this blog that goes along with its name. So I've experimented throughout the years with font sizes and colors, as well as image sizes. 

When I'm creating a new post, I'm also very much a perfectionist in regards to the writing. I always check for spelling and grammatical errors, as well as the best ways to express myself. This is especially true when I'm writing a book review; many times I will tweak and re-tweak a review several times even after I publish it.

One hour is usually not enough for me to create a post if, in addition to the writing, it contains several images and links. In fact, it can take me up to 5 hours to create one post, depending on what's to be included in it.

Then there's the issue of commenting. I think this is extremely important! Since I greatly appreciate any comments I receive on my posts, I always make it a point to not only reply to them on my blog, but to visit the commenter's own blog, and comment back on their post. When I read posts on other blogs, I always read the entire post, too, instead of  just skimming it. Then I can leave a thoughtful comment about it

All of the above translates to a LOT of time spent every day on my book blogging!  

When I do find time to read, it's mostly at night, when everything's quiet and hubby is fast asleep. I can sometimes get in a couple of hours, and maybe even three, depending on the book I'm currently reading.

I have found, of late, that I'm not reading as many YA novels as I'd like, in order to review them on this blog. I do have another blog, in which I review literary fiction and nonfiction. So the trouble is that lately, I've been wanting to read more of those types of books, and less YA.   

Recently, I've also been wanting to read books that are uniquely interesting to me. Therefore, I know practically no one will be reading my reviews of such books, which means I won't bother to write reviews of them.... But this means NO blogging activity while I'm reading them, of course.

Then there's the issue of blog tours.... I have been cutting down on those, because I don't seem to get many comments on such posts. I've heard that many bloggers consider blog tours to be spam, especially when these posts don't contain any original material. However, I have made sure that my blog tour posts contain at least some original material. Still no comments, not even when the post features my review of the book in question. So I'm thinking of not doing these posts anymore, which will definitely give me more reading time, and then perhaps I will be posting more reviews (non-tour-related, that is). Besides, blog tour posts are very time-consuming.

I really should have made a New Year's resolution about balancing my reading and blogging.....sigh.....        

What are your thoughts?
Please leave a comment,
and I'll go check out your post!