Bloodlines by Richelle Mead: Series Review

870952787095238709526983318487095248709528Titles: Bloodlines, The Golden Lily, The Indigo Spell, The Fiery Heart, Silver Shadows, The Ruby Circle

Author: Richelle Mead

Publication dates: 2011-2015

Genre: Young Adult/New Adult Urban Fantasy

Synopsis: 18-year-old Sydney Sage has lost the trust of her people, a top secret human organization known as the Alchemists dedicated to keeping humans from learning supernatural creatures exist. The only way to gain it back is to succeed at her current assignment: keeping the vampire princess safe by mascaraing as students at a human boarding school to prevent a vampire civil war.

Sydney’s relationship with the vampires is to remain strictly professional . . . Yeah, that’s going to happen. Sydney has been told for as long as she can remember that vampires are evil, heartless creatures, but the more time she spends with them the more Sydney begins to question her teachings and her vampire coworkers become trusted friends. There’s even this one vampire who Sydney thinks she might want to be more than friends with.

Review: This series is highly addictive. On at least two occasions while reading these books I ended up trying to go to bed halfway through but being unable to fall asleep because I wanted to know what happened next so badly. I then had to get up and read the book until I was finished which was usually only a few hours before I had to wake up the next day.

Sydney’s personality is much different from Rose’s and for some people I can see Sydney’s lack of self-confidence as hard to warm up to. Bloodlines is less action oriented than Vampire Academy with more focus on internal struggles. Throughout the story Sydney gradually becomes more sure of herself and confident.

Many of the characters from the original series make an appearance, but main characters remain in the periphery. Characters from Vampire Academy who have a major role in Bloodlines include Eddy, Jillian, and Adrian. Sydney was also featured in the last few books of Vampire Academy.

This series mirrors the first one in many ways. The first few books mostly confine Sydney to the boarding school she attends where high school drama is prominent in the plot after that Sydney and her friends are forced to venture out into the wider world.

There was no true love triangle in this series. There were boys Sydney dated, but the whole time it was fairly clear to the reader these relationships wouldn’t last long. It was fairly clear to the reader who Sydney really wanted to be with even at the time when the two of them wouldn’t admit it to themselves.

The final book was my least favorite of the series. It was still gripping but not in the instantaneous way the other books were. I felt many plot points were rushed as if the author had grown board of these characters and just wants it over with. After twelve books set in the same world I can’t exactly blame her.

What Readers Should Know: There is a reason I classified the last few as new adult. Not only does Sydney eventually turn 19 she also gets physically involved with a certain romantic partner. The series also contains cases in which the main character is tortured because of her interactions with vampires.

Rating: This is a gripping, fast pace series. I recommend it to fans of Vampire Academy, and anyone with enough time to devote to finish an entire book in one or two sittings.I give the series overall four out of five for its gripping nature, but the last book would get a 3.5 if I were rating it individually.

4 blue jays

April 2015 Camp Nanowrimo Pep-talk: Mid-month Slump

It’s now halfway though the month of April. For those participating in Camp National Novel Writing Month this means the mid-event writing slump has come on full force. I see it in my cabin where some of my once active fellow cabin mates are struggling to balance life and writing, and I have seen it during past NaNoWriMo events I’ve participated in. In 2013 I wrote a several thousand words in the first week, only about a thousand words in the two weeks that followed, and several thousand words at the end in an attempt to catch up with my goal.

Those of you not familiar with NaNoWriMo as an event or the more relaxed Camp NaNoWriMo events are probably thoroughly confused. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a month long event that takes place every November in which participants try to write the first 50,000 words of a novel in a month. Camp NaNoWriMo is an event in which participants chose their own word goal and write that much in a month because while 50K might not be an attainable goal for everyone 10,000 or 20,000 words very well might be. This event takes place in April and July.

Writing this much takes effort and discipline. The writer needs to be passionate, and dedicated to write. The motivating community factor of these NaNoWriMo events can help, without these events it took me a year and a half to write a first draft, but in November 2013 and 2014 I had a first drafts finished in about two months, and in July 2014 I wrote an entire first draft in a single month. At the same time it is important to remember that an event cannot make a writer write. It’s still up to writers to put their time and energy into putting those words on paper or a screen.

Finding time to write is hard, and sometimes next to impossible. I’m not suggesting anyone abandon a baby, neglect a major school projects, or a job for the sake of their writing. I’m suggesting that those who truly want to get a story written try to plan out their activities to make time when writing whenever possible. According to a 2013 survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics 95% of US citizens participate in a leasure activity, and the average American age 15 and older spends more than five hours a day on leisure activities this means that while I can’t speak for people in the rest of the world, most people in the US have a few hours worth of time they could be devoting to writing instead of watching TV, YouTube, or reading Tumblr.

All the time I hear people I know telling me all about how they went to bed at 2 am and have absolutely no time for anything anymore. Then they proceed to tell me about that new episode of The Vampire Diaries or Game of Thrones they watched last night. Could these people have gone to bed earlier? Probably, but they decided they valued TV over sleep. Well, someone could also decide to value writing over sleep if they’re just going to stay up late anyway.

There are extremely good reasons to not have time to write, but for many people I think the main culprit is distraction. We live in the addicting modern world of the internet, and getting distracted by the internet is far easier and more fun than typing in solitude, especially once the initial excitement of the story has died down.

This month I’ve gotten lucky, and am doing much better than I expected, but it is not without sacrifice. This month I expected to only have time for 20,000 words which I surpassed on the 16th. By watching fewer YouTube videos, spending less time daydreaming, and reading fewer books I’ve been able to free up time I never knew I had. Could I maintain the current rate at which I’m writing for the long term? Unless I quit school, and put some other responsibilities permanently on hold probably not. I’ve been sacrificing some sleep as well, and I’m not one of those people who can function well in the long term without a full seven to eight hours of rest, but the point is that right now I’m finding a way to get what I want to do done, and what I want to do is write.

The April event has actually brought me out of a couple month long writing slump. Between the months of January, February, and March I’ve written only a few thousand words. Before the event my enthusiasm was building, and I now realize how much I had been missing getting those words on paper. With the exception of a few short stories I wrote for school assignments the only thing I’d written for the past three months was nonfiction. As much as I love writing nonfiction pieces like book reviews and this post, I like writing fiction even more. It just has this great quality that when I finish writing I feel as if I have created something from nothing whereas with nonfiction I feel as though I have merely complied preexisting information into a way that is easier to understand.

This month I am writing on my third draft of my November 2013 project, that’s right the same one where I suffered such a massive mid-month slump, and I can honestly say that at this time in the month I have gotten much further writing my third draft than I was at the equivalent of this time of the month writing the first draft even though this is my second time almost entirely rewriting it.

I wish everyone participating this month luck in reaching their goal, and regardless of whether you win or not, or even whether you’re participating or not, I wish all the writers reading this post luck in finishing their current project, because that’s what truly matters. If a writer loses for the month, but have still gotten closer to the finished product than it’s still 2K, 10K, or 25K closer to whatever s/he started out with.

This isn’t my usual type of post, and that I probably should have made a post about my participation at the beginning of the month, but between life and Camp NaNo I’ve just never got around to it. Regardless, I hope everyone enjoyed this atypical post and is having a great month.

If you’re participating in this month I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below! What’s your current word count? Are you suffering from a mid-month slump, or have you managed to stay motivated and pull though? If so, what’s your secret?

Burn, Rewrite, Reread Tag

The purpose of this tag is to select three books at random and chose one to burn, one to rewrite, and one to reread of these three. If I burn anyone’s favorite books it’s nothing personal. It just has to be done. To select books I used my Goodreads read shelf, and the random integer function on my graphing calculator to select a row and column.

Not sure who created this tag, but all credit goes to them. I was tagged by Victoria over at Addlepates and Book Nerds. I’m not sure who has been tagged and who hasn’t, so I tag anyone who wants to do it.

Round 1: Endlessly, Inkheart, Charlotte’s Web

Endlessly (Paranormalcy, #3)Inkheart (Inkworld, #1)Charlotte's Web

Burn: Inkheart

I like this book, but look at the fire on the cover. It’s just begging to be burned.

Rewrite: Endlessly

This book was a lot of fun to read, but I feel maybe something can be added by revision.

Reread: Charlotte’s Web

It’s a classic, so burning it is not an option (as much as there are other classics I would love to). I also have no interest in writing a story about farm animals, and there’s just not anything to improve on.

Round 2: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Dream Thieves, How to Read Literature Like a Professor

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2)How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines

Burn: How to Read Literature like a Professor

This was my summer reading. Yeah, I’m feeling kind of bitter even if it was interesting to learn more about literary symbolism.

Rewrite: The Dream Thieves

I enjoyed the story-line, but found the novel itself hard to get into. I think some rewriting could change that.

Reread: How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

This book is super short, so it won’t take long to reread at all. This book was a huge part of my childhood, so of course I’m not going to burn it.

Round 3: The Iron Queen, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, A Great and Terrible Beauty

The Iron Queen (The Iron Fey, #3)The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia, #1)A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)

Burn: Iron Queen

I feel bad because I really enjoyed this book. It’s only getting burned because I liked the others more.

Rewrite: A Great and Terrible Beauty

I really liked this book but would like to rewrite the first few chapters because I did not like the way the setting was introduced very much and almost stopped reading.

Reread: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

I’ve been meaning to reread this anyway. It’s one of the books that got me into reading in the first place, so I owe it a debt of gratitude.

This is the first book tag I’ve participated in, so I hope everyone enjoyed it, and that I’m doing this properly. If there is some part of the “book tag process” that I’ve done wrong please let me know in the comments and I’ll try to correct it as soon as possible.

Reading Wrap-up: March 2015

In March I read five books. One was nonfiction, and three were young adult fantasy, and one was New Adult Fantasy that was arguably also YA Fantasy.

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

Short synopsis: Assassin nuns must defend the Duchess of Brittany from her enemies. Sequel to Grave Mercy. 

Thoughts: I highly enjoyed this look into Sybella’s mind. Her back story and family complications were clearly well thought out. She is a great character with so much complexity and background. The integrate world building with its historical inspiration sealed the deal. My favorite book in the trilogy so far.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

 

 

 

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca SklootShort Synopsis: Women’s cells are cultured without her permission, but save millions of lives. The backstory of HeLa  cells.

Thoughts: The moral and ethical issues discussed in this book were extremely enlightening. I had no idea any of this was going on. It also shows the person behind an important medical achievement, something not usually shown in nonfiction.

Rating: 

five blue jays

 

 

 

 

Ensnared by A.G. HowardShort Synopsis: Third book in the Splintered Trilogy. A series of Alice and Wonderland retellings.

Thoughts: I enjoyed it, but not as much as the previous books in this series. For my full thoughts see my series review.

Rating: 

3.5 blue jays

 

 

 

 

The Ruby Circle by Richelle MeadShort Synopsis: The final book in the Bloodlines Series, the spin-off of Vampire Academy.

Thoughts: This is the book I’m considering New Adult fantasy. The main character is now 19, and let’s just say her commitment to her relationship goes beyond what is normally seen in YA. What I love about Rachelle Mead’s novels is that they’re so gripping and well paced. I did not find that to be the case with this book as much as I had with the others in the series. Something felt off, and the plot felt a little forced, but it was overall still a fun read.

Rating:
4 blue jays

 

 

 

Shadow Scale by Rachel HartmanShort Synopsis: The second book in a series about dragons in a fantasy kingdom.

Thoughts: Still a fun read, but I had some trouble getting into it. Something about the pacing in the beginning felt off, but I liked the second half more than the first and am pleased with where the story ended up.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

 

 

 

 Currently Reading: 

The Picture of Dorian Gray

10800916