Monday, July 27, 2015

Trace of Magic by Diana Pharaoh Francis

Title: Trace of Magic
Author: Diana Pharaoh Francis
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Diamond City Magic #1

Trade paperback, 303 pages
Publication: September 30, 2014 by Bell Bridge Books

Source: Personal Library


Even the most powerful tracers can’t track you if the magical trace you leave behind is too old. But I can track almost anything, even dead trace. That makes me a unicorn, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Lock Ness Monster all rolled into one. In a word, I am unique. A very special snowflake. And if anyone ever finds out, I’ll be dead or a slave to one of the Tyet criminal factions.

Riley Hollis has quietly traced kidnapped children and quietly tipped the cops to their whereabouts one too many times. Now she’s on the radar of Detective Clay Price, a cop in the pocket of a powerful magic Tyet faction. When he blackmails her into doing a dangerous trace for him, Riley will have to break every rule that keeps her safe. Or become a Tyet pawn in a deadly, magical war.
I’ve been looking forward to reading Trace of Magic ever since it was published last year but haven’t gotten around to it till now. I’ve read Francis’s Horngate Witches series and loved it. The last book in the Horngate Witches series wasn’t as good compared to the first 3 books but overall it’s still one of my favorite Urban Fantasy series I’ve ever read. When I heard Francis was going to start a new series I was ecstatic! The cover and synopsis looked and sounded really promising.

It pains me to say this but Trace of Magic was disappointing. It didn’t live up to my expectations and I had high expectations coming from her previous novels. Trace of Magic is labeled as an Urban Fantasy but it’s really a Paranormal Romance. The plot, world building and characterization took a backseat and the romance aspect was full on blast. I’ll talk about the characters and romance in a second. The world building was a bit confusing, there are 5 gangster-type guys ruling Diamond City and there are certain people with special abilities but readers don’t really learn much of either. The information and details of the world is almost nonexistent. Our main heroine Riley is a tracer. She has the ability to locate anyone, anywhere and see whether or not they’re dead or alive because every individual leaves a distinct color track/thread in their wake. Riley’s ability is very interesting, and the first book seems to only scratch the surface of it. But instead of actually learning about Riley herself, readers are thrust into an investigation looking for Riley’s sister’s ex-fiancée and a mysterious rich woman connected to Tourey, a Tyet gangster.

I did not like Riley. Riley rubbed me the wrong way right from the beginning. She’s snarky but not in the funny way. She’s cocky and annoying as hell. But it got worst once she teamed up with Detective Clay Price. For the entire book she was getting all hot and bothered by Price and would internally reprimand herself for lusting after him because he’s supposed to be the enemy. Yet, the moment they weren’t being chased and shot at…they had time to have sex (right after waking up from being shot at). Riley also had a problem assuming things left and right and she would talk about hypothetical situations where Price would betray her...but he never does. It drove me nuts! I wished I could reach inside the book and shake her for her idiocy! And the biggest annoyance of all…Riley and Price thought they were in ‘LOVE’ with each other after only 48 hours! Are you kidding me?! That’s worst than reading insta-love in YA. I also never warmed up to Price. Price was described as an asshole from the beginning, which wouldn’t be a problem if he had any redeeming qualities. I seriously can't think of any. But now that I think about, yeah, he was an ass for most of the book. Riley and Price are probably the least likable couple/leads I’ve read to date. I really despise them.

I’m still in disbelief that this is by the same author as my beloved Horngate Witches series. I mean, The Horngate Witches series feels like a seasoned author wrote it, while Trace of Magic felt like it was written by a newbie. The plot is weak, the world building lackluster and the characters flat and unlikable. If you haven’t read Francis’s books yet, I’d suggest skipping this book and checking out her Horngate Witches series…it’s much better.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern 
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Standalone 

Hardcover, 387 pages
Publication: September 13, 2011 by Doubleday

Source: personal library 


The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.
I heard nothing but raves about The Night Circus upon its publication in 2011 and still occasionally do till this day. I ended up buying myself a copy just last year but haven’t gotten around to reading it till now. I finally see why so many people loved it; it felt like a very sophisticated fantasy with beautifully written prose. The Night Circus is all about magicians, a circus and the performers’ lives that get mixed up in the deadly competition…who wouldn’t be intrigued?

The Night Circus is centered on Celia and Marco, two talented magicians pitted against each other in a much obscured arena with even vaguer rules and purposes. The book spans years as readers see how Celia and Marco are groomed and taught in two completely different styles of magic by their mentors. Celia’s instructor is none other than her father, The Great Prospero who teaches Celia visually, hands on and through vigorous practices. While Marco on the other hand, is plucked from an orphanage by the enigmatic Mr. A H who stresses the importance of studying magic through books. The two become implicitly bound at an early age but don’t meet until they come face to face at ‘Le Cirque des Reves’.

I enjoyed The Night Circus very much, more than I thought I would. The attendees of The Night Circus had a few words to describe it from: enchanting, magical, enthralling and like a dream…and all these words perfectly described my experience reading Morgenstern’s debut. Her writing had that gripping quality that made you get swept up into the story and forget about the real world. There were moments that I literally lost track of time since I was so wrapped up in Celia and Marco and the other wonderful characters that made up the circus like Chandresh, the Burgess twins, Friedrick, and Bailey to name a few. My favorite part of the book was the description of the circus itself. The circus is made up of various sized tents. Each tent housed a special attraction or a performer…there are so many tents that even if an attendee came 3-4 times they still wouldn’t have gone to every tent! 

My only complaint is the unrealistic romance. I don’t want to say too much, but while the characters knew each other for years, I didn’t think they spent enough time with each other to actually build a real connection. I never felt the chemistry between the two, and every interaction they had felt forced. Thankfully, the romance was always in the background and was so subtle that it didn't take away from the overall story (it is said that the circus and the tents were seen as a love letters to one another but again, I didn't really see it as that).

Overall, The Night Circus was a solid and enjoyable read. Like many reviewers stated, The Night Circus is a slow paced book, with the occasional flashbacks and jumps in different narratives… but I still think it’s a book that everyone should read at least once in their life. The writing style alone is fresh and unique and the world building and characters are complex and fully developed. This book is a book for all readers. It won’t matter if you like/or don’t like fantasy or history… If you’re a reader, you’ll appreciate it. Period. I highly recommend The Night Circus and believe its worth checking out. 

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett

Title: Bitter Spirits
Author: Jenn Bennett
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Roaring Twenties #1

Mass Market Paperback, 328 pages
Publication: January 7, 2014 by Berkley Sensation

Source: Personal library.


It’s the roaring twenties, and San Francisco is a hotbed of illegal boozing, raw lust, and black magic. The fog-covered Bay Area can be an intoxicating scene, particularly when you specialize in spirits…
Aida Palmer performs a spirit medium show onstage at Chinatown’s illustrious Gris-Gris speakeasy. However, her ability to summon (and expel) the dead is more than just an act.

Winter Magnusson is a notorious bootlegger who’s more comfortable with guns than ghosts—unfortunately for him, he’s the recent target of a malevolent hex that renders him a magnet for hauntings. After Aida’s supernatural assistance is enlisted to banish the ghosts, her spirit-chilled aura heats up as the charming bootlegger casts a different sort of spell on her.On the hunt for the curseworker responsible for the hex, Aida and Winter become drunk on passion. And the closer they become, the more they realize they have ghosts of their own to exorcise…
Firstly, it must be said that I am a big fan of Bennett’s Arcadia Bell series and the author herself…she’s one of the kindest and sweetest authors I know. I was excited when I first heard that Bennett was writing a new series; a series set in the 1920’s and with ghosts! Everything sounded very promising. Bennett once again sets her new series in the familiar stomping ground of San Francisco, following Aida a spirit medium and Winter, a bootlegger.

I’m starting to think that paranormal romance (ones with changing characters/plots)aren’t for me. I’ve read a lot of paranormal romance in the past and only one series comes to mind that I absolutely loved from start to finish. But this is Benett we’re talking about; if her name is on it…I’m going to read it. That being said, it really pains me to say this but I didn’t enjoy this as much as I enjoyed reading the first Arcadia book/series (also by Bennett). The writing is excellent of course and yes, I was engaged most of the time but it didn’t have the same spark as her other series. Bitter Spirits is set in the 1920 era but I never got that vibe or enough descriptions to paint the picture of a 1920’s San Francisco. Winter, our male lead is hexed by black magic, which turns him into a walking magnet for ghosts. The predicament Winter finds himself in leads him to spiritualist Aida, who has the ability to banish specters. And off goes the sexual fireworks. The sexual tension, in my opinion is seriously overboard. I can’t think of a single scene, where the character weren’t picturing each other naked or having improper thoughts. It was too much for me, and took away from the story. But if I’m being honest, there wasn’t much of a story to begin with, since the book focuses only on the main characters. And I’m all for character driven novels, but even so, I didn’t connect or empathize with these characters all that much.

I like Winter, he’s your usual flair of an alpha male hero...I can’t think of anything negative to say about him. As for Aida, I liked her in the beginning. She started off as a strong and independent business woman but once she started working for/with Winter…it was like she got bit by the nasty jealous bug. Okay, I know it’s normal to be jealous at times in a relationship…its human nature. But the scene where Winter and Aida visits Ju and meets Ju’s woman, Aida learned a whole lot about Winter’s past and got all annoyed and jealous. That really bugged me. She got mad that Winter didn’t tell her about his past involvement with Ju’s lady. Like really, Aida? Realistically, why would he?! They’re not together and he’s only known her for a couple of weeks. Not everyone bares all their secrets to strangers! The more I read about Aida, the more I disliked her. But there were other characters that shined. Surprisingly though, the two characters I found most intriguing weren’t the leads but the minor characters Bo and Astrid. They both made brief appearances, Astrid had just a handful of scenes but it was enough to make them memorable.

Bitter Spirits was an okay-good read. The world building and plot isn’t strong which is quite a shock for me coming from Bennett other series, and the characters not as personable as I like. I didn’t like this book nor did I hate it. Bitter Spirits had its moments; there were some scenes I enjoyed and others not so much. This is probably a 2 1/2 star book, but I can't give the author anything less than 3 stars because it was well-written...just, everything I usually love about her characters/world building, I got less of. Does that make sense? I still have the other two books in my TBR pile, debating if I should continue with the series or not. Who knows, maybe I’ll enjoy the other leads more. I am curious about Bo and Astrid’s story. We’ll see.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

[Early Review] Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Title: Ink and Bone
Author: Rachel Caine
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: The Great Library #1

Hardcover, 352 pages
Publication: July 7, 2015 by NAL

Source: I received a review copy form the publisher in exchange for a honest review.


Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from.

When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn.…
Have you ever wondered what it’s like if the Library of Alexandria was still around and was a great power today? Imagine a library with so much control, that they determined what information and knowledge was for public consumption. And the unthinkable, that it was illegal to own physical, original printed books. Well, that is exactly what Ink and Bone is…in a nutshell.

The year is 2031 and it is illegal to own books. Instead, the public is all given ‘blanks’ a book with exactly that, blank pages that are filled with texts using alchemy. With the outlawing of original book possession, it has become an expensive commodity thus the upsurge of the black market for it; which brings us to our main character, Jess Brightwell a 16-year-old runner A.K.A book smuggler. Jess has been running books since he was 10, and now at the age of 16 his father think his usefulness to the family has come to an end and the only way he can still be beneficial to the family is if he gets a job…inside the Great Library of Alexandria. After taking a test, Jess wins a spot to be among the 30 candidates to fill 1 of 6 library positions. In order to snag an once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity, Jess and the other contenders are given a series of test and missions till the numbers dwindles down. It is during his teaching and training that Jess finds himself conflicted between his family and his love of books and that the Library of Alexandria isn’t as altruistic and magnanimous as it seems.

This is my first Caine book, and all I can really say is WOW. The book design, the title, the setting, the story, the characters...are all just perfect. When I first read the synopsis, I knew I had to read this book. But I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. The idea is very unique and nothing like anything I’ve ever read before and it just blew me away at how utterly amazing it was! There were so many things to love about the world building; from the concept of blanks and alchemy, a codex in which all citizen are ‘encouraged’ to write in daily to document their every waking moment so that they’re immortalized when they past and their codex are housed within the library, a resistance group dubbed burners because they make it their mission to burn originals…I can go on and on. Then there’s the location, how cool is it that it’s set in Egypt of all places?! And in a Library! This is a book lover’s dream come true…this book! Caine did an excellent job at describing the hot and humid landscape of Egypt and the lush details of what the Library of Alexandria might have look like with its many rooms and hidden chambers. I was enchanted with it all.

On top of all that awesomeness we have going on, there are the characters. Jess is a great main protagonist; I was instantly drawn to Jess when readers first meet 10-year-old Jess running through the streets of London smuggling the most important book in the world. Jess is pragmatic, clever, honest and a leader sort of veiled as an underdog. That last bit might sounds weird or confusing but that’s the best I can describe Jess. What I mean is, anyone can see early on that Jess comes from the poorer side of London. The test needed to get to the Library of Alexandria is usually only possible for the upper-class rich folks but then again Jess’s father own the territory on book smuggling….so it definitely didn’t come cheap in securing him a test spot. And comparing Jess to his fellow postulates he was seriously lacking in the hierarchy and education department. While he was being groomed in the family business, other kids were getting prepared for a position in the library. But like I said, Jess may be lacking in status but he’s a natural born leader, which will become more evident as he progresses through the library-life challenges. As Jess learns the way of the library, the truth about the library, and the misconception about Burners; he begins to question everything he thought he knew…and readers will see his character develop greatly by the end of the book. Then there’s the supporting cast. Jess is surrounded by very strong and fully fleshed out characters that made lasting impressions from: Khalila, an intelligent poised girl that has a making of a Scholar, Glain whom I’d call G.I. Jane, Dario the obnoxious roommate, Thomas the gentle giant, Morgan the mysterious, and my most favorite character of all, Proctor Wolfe whom is always dour and oh, so misunderstood. I don’t want to say too much about Wolfe but he was constantly surprising me throughout the book and the ending revelation…was like whoa, that's his family!

I’ve mentioned this before; those that follow the blog know how picky I am when it comes to the YA genre. I don’t read many YA for that reason, and if you noticed, only 25% of the books I review are YA. I’m very selective when I choose to read/review a Young Adult book. So, it is with great pleasure to say that my expectations of Ink and Bone were beyond exceeded. Ink and Bone is by far the best Young Adult novel I’ve read all year and the most imaginative YA I’ve read in a very, very long time. I wasn’t a fan of Caine before, but after Ink and Bone…I absolutely am now and will be checking her back-list! I highly recommend this book to everyone…all you book lovers out there; you need to pre-order this book A.S.A.P! I ‘m already dying for the next book…and this book isn’t even out yet! Read it, you won’t regret it!

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Felix Chronicles: Freshmen by R.T. Lowe

Title: Freshmen
Author: R.T. Lowe
Genre: New-Adult, Fantasy
Series: The Felix Chronicles #1

Trade Paperback, 500 pages
Publication: May 20, 2015 by Createspace

Source: I received a review copy from the author in exchange for a honest review.


Reeling from a terrible accident that claimed the lives of his parents, Felix arrives at Portland College hoping only to survive the experience. In time, however, his reality star roommate shows him there is more to higher education than just classes, shared bathrooms and bad dorm food, and Felix gradually dares to believe he can put his past behind him. But a fateful storm looms on the horizon: In the nearby woods, two hikers become the latest victims in a series of gruesome murders; a disfigured giant embarks on a vicious cross-country rampage, killing teenagers who fail his 'test'; and an ancient society of assassins tasked with eradicating the wielders of a mysterious source of power awakens after a long silence. Only one man--the school's groundskeeper--knows that the seemingly unrelated events are connected, and that an eighteen-year-old boy stands in the center of the storm.
It was a little daunting starting The Felix Chronicles: Freshmen because the book (physical copy) clocks out to be almost 500 pages and the font looked smaller than normal or the spacing in my opinon slightly off; whichever the reason it kind of made me drag my feet while reading the book. It also didn’t help that the prologue, which is normally short, was 15 pages long. The prologue, which takes place around 300 A.D. and many of the later scenes in the book felt completely out of place and at times left me confuse; wondering how they can possibly be relevant to our main character Felix. However, Lowe had a plan and purpose for everything he wrote. As the story progressed, the prologue and those key scenes finally made sense tying into the bigger picture revolving around the mystery plot and how it’s connected to Felix. I’m so glad I didn’t stop reading because the story definitely picked up and got more interesting!

You’d think the whole secret societies and prophecies theme would be played out, but Lowe breathed new life into it, making it feel completely fun and original! I loved that the setting was Portland College, because I don’t think I’ve ever read a book set in Oregon or on a college campus for that matter (okay, maybe one but it’s still in the few category). There’s was also a lot going on in this book, and while it may seem like overload…once you read it, it’ll all make perfect sense! So, There’s 'monsters' attacking/eating people in a forest right outside Portland College, a serial killer going cross country killing teenagers, and an ancient group of assassins with a hit list. And our main character Felix is at the center of it all…except he doesn’t know it.

I really liked Felix and his group of eclectic friends. As supporting characters goes, I thought they were fully fleshed out with their distinctive personalities and they played their role well. For example there’s Allison the best friend, Caitlin the serious and oblivious one, Harper the hot chick, and Lucas the TV celebrity. My favorite character is probably Allison, not only is she a good friend that is always there but who knew that she was also a total kick-ass! I was really surprised by the final scenes because Allison did some serious damage to the bad guys! Harper is probably my least favorite character. She just rubbed me the wrong way and came across a bit too desperate and bitter. In addition to the well developed characters, the campus and its surrounding is a wonder in itself. I loved how Lowe described Portland College with its secret tunnels and rooms, which was cool and creepy, then there’s Ashfield Forest with its long list of missing people and creatures lurking in the shadows and finally a ravaged town beyond PC known as No Man’s Land; where no one sane would be caught dead at.

Overall, I enjoyed The Felix Chronicles: Freshmen  and I can’t wait to see what the author has planned for Felix and the gang. I highly recommend The Felix Chronicles: Freshmen to people ages 17 and up (due to some graphic scenes) and anyone looking for a fresh unique read. If you’re into secret societies, prophecies, assassins, and magic then this book is for you! This is a debut not to be missed!

Friday, June 19, 2015

[Blog Tour] Review: Shards by F.J.R. Titchenell & Matt Carter + Giveaway

Title: Shards
Author: F.J.R. Titchenell & Matt Carter 
Genre: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Series: Prospero Chronicles #2

Paperback, 368 pages
Publication: June 16, 2015 by Jolly Fish Press

Source: I received a review copy from the author in exchange for a honest review, and blog tour.


When autumn descends on Prospero, California, Ben Pastor hopes that the normality of the new school year may offer a reprieve from the town’s recent paranormal horrors. Mina Todd, however, knows all too well that there are no reprieves and no normality in this town, especially after she starts having crippling, unexplained hallucinations of the dead. But even she can’t prepare for what the coming year holds.

On top of a brewing civil war that threatens all of humanity, inside the walls of Prospero High, Ben, Mina and their expanding network face a sinister campaign that aims to destroy their friendship, a newly human Haley Perkin struggling to readjust to life, and an assassin of untold power who is picking off human rebels. Ben and Mina’s one hope may rest with a mysterious figure hiding in the woods outside of town; a living legend who may know how to stop this dangerous new breed of supernatural foe. That is, assuming the figure doesn’t first kill everyone himself. 

We’re back to Prospero, California with Shards, the second book in the Prospero Chronicles following Splinter Hunter Mina and her best friend Ben as they try to navigate high school and protect the town from Splinters who are body snatching the residents. Since the events in Splinters, we find Mina and Ben in a precarious agreement with the Splinter Counsel. The agreement states that as long as they keep quiet about Splinters and stay within Prospero’s limits; the counsel won’t go after them and their friends and families. But the Splinter Counsel is the least of their worries, as they discover a more superior race of Splinters called ‘Slivers’ or ‘Shards’ who are out to start a war by attacking humans and splinters alike.

Like the first book, the chapters alternate POVs between Ben and Mina, enabling readers to immerse themselves into what the characters think and feel. I had so much fun reading Shards and in my opinion it was even better than the first. With the world building and characters’ foundation already set reading this book was a breeze. I love that there’s no more secrets between Mina’s group of friends and the splinters. There are no more fake pleasantries or cordialness, and that’s where the fun begins…when Mina and her friends stop being scared and fight back. The new characters Greg and Julia were a hoot and who knew Haley had so much in her! She definitely surprised me the most. Readers will get to meet Mina's new allies and foes and ‘The Old Man’, a mysterious guy who started training her since she was 8-years-old. Lots of interesting things happen in Shards…now that Mina actually convinced people that there’s a threat to the town and she’s not trying to take on the problem alone.

Overall, Shards is a great squeal to Splinters which was full of actions and humorous dialogue. Which is always a win in my book. I can’t wait to see what happens next. It seems like all the events since the first book is leading up to a big explosive finale and I have a feeling it will happen in the next book! I highly recommend Shards! I know the covers don’t have that big wow factor…but don’t let that stop you from checking this series out, it’s worth reading!

From June 3rd to July 3rd
a Rafflecopter giveaway


 J.R TITCHENELL and MATT CARTER met and fell in love in a musical theatre class at Pasadena City College and have been inseparable ever since. Though they have both dreamed of being writers from a very young age, they both truly hit their stride after they met, bouncing ideas off of one another, forcing each other to strive to be better writers, and mingling Matt's lifelong love of monsters with Fiona's equally disturbing inability to let go of high school. They were married in 2011  in a ceremony that involved kilts, Star Wars music, and a cake topped by figurines of them fighting a zombified wedding party.
Titchenell and Carter live in San Gabriel, California.

Connect with the authors!
  F.J.R. Titchenell   Facebook | Twitter  |  Website
Matt Carter  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Website

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

Title: The Golden Lily 
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Series: Bloodlines #2

Paperback, 418 pages
Publication: January 8, 2013 by Razorbill

Source: Personal Library


Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. Alchemists protect vampire secrets - and human lives.

But the closer she grows to Jill, Eddie, and especially Adrian, the more she finds herself questioning her age-old Alchemist beliefs, her idea of family, and her sense of what it means to truly belong. Her world becomes even more complicated when magical experiments show Sydney may hold the key to prevent becoming Strigoi - the fiercest vampires, the ones who don't die.

But it's her fear of being just that - special, magical, powerful - that scares her more than anything. Equally daunting is her new romance with Braydon, a cute, brainy guy who seems to be her match in every way. Yet, as perfect as he seems, Sydney finds herself being drawn to someone else - someone forbidden to her.

When a shocking secret threatens to tear the vampire world apart, Sydney's loyalties are suddenly tested more than ever before. She wonders how she's supposed to strike a balance between the principles and dogmas she's been taught, and what her instincts are now telling her.
Should she trust the Alchemists - or her heart?

Sydney would love to go to college, but instead, she's been sent into hiding at a posh boarding school in Palm Springs, California - tasked with protecting Moroi princess Jill Dragomir from assassins who want to throw the Moroi court into civil war. Formerly in disgrace, Sydney is now praised for her loyalty and obedience, and held up as the model of an exemplary Alchemist.

I’m starting to really dig Adrian and Sydney as leads and possible couple. I’ve read many books where the secondary characters go off and become leads of their own novel but Adrian and Sydney are the only characters that I’ve seen that made it worked…they’re actually more interesting and likeable enough to carry a novel all on their own. In the first book, Bloodlines, we finds out hiding out in Palm Spring isn’t as boring or uneventful as everyone believed it to be. The Alchemists thought hiding Princess Jill in a desert oasis would ensure her safety but instead there were sightings of strigois and vampire hunters. Readers encountered strigois in the Bloodlines, and now in The Golden Lily, we delve deeper into the world of vampire hunters.

In my review of Bloodlines, I wrote that Rose is my all-time favorite YA heroine and no one can compare to her. While that is still true, the more I read about Sydney the more I like her. Rose is one of the most kick-ass heroines in the YA genre but Sydney can totally kick-ass in her own ways through hard work and smarts. And, in my opinion Sydney is way more relatable than Rose. Then there’s Adrian, the Moroi everyone loves. Underneath Adrian’s devil-may-care attitude is someone who’s sweet, caring, and intelligent...and surprisingly cares about what people think of him (to an extent). I really love Adrian, ever since he turned up in Frostbite…and now that I see another side to him…it’s like Dimitri who? LOL.

All in all, The Golden Lily is a solid addition to the Bloodline series. I love that I get to see more of Sydney, Adrian, Jill and Eddie who all played secondary or tertiary characters in the Vampire Academy series and meeting new characters like Trey and Angeline. I'm looking forward to reading more of this series, and can’t wait to see what Mead has in store for Sydney and Co.