Thursday, February 27, 2014

Frost Bite: A Vampire Academy Novel

After feeling lukewarm about the Vampire Academy debut by Richelle Mead, I decided to give the second book in the series, Frostbite: A Vampire Academy Novel , a shot.

Rose loves Dimitri. Dimitri might love Tasha. Mason loves Rose. Of the tangled webs Mead weaves in this series.

Rose, a Guardian-in-training, accompanied by her instructor Dimitri Belikov, is on her way to take a qualifying test with famous Guardian, Arthur Schoenberg. When they arrive at the Guardian's house, they find the remnants of a Strigoi massacre. Even worse, the Strigoi are now working with humans.

The Moroi Society and dhampir Guardians are put on high alert, especially when a second family is attacked and slaughtered. Strigoi are known for working alone, but it's clear from these attacks that they are banding together to join forces against the Moroi race, taking out families one at a time.

But while the elder Guardians and Moroi are arguing over how best to handle the situation, Rose goes rogue, leading a team of novices out into the fray intent on bringing this Srigoi faction down once and for all. What she doesn't bargain on is that they're ready and waiting, and not everyone is going to survive the fight.

While still a tad bratty and dramatic, Rose's character gains strength in this novel. We see her fierce convictions and her willingness to protect Lissa at all costs. She doesn't stop to think about the consequences to herself, or necessarily to others, but suceeds in winning this small war with devastating consequences.

We also learn more about the bond between Lissa and Rose. Mead introduces us to a Moroi magic, something that is no longer used as a weapon among the Moroi. Lissa has special powers. She has the power of Spirit. She is able to bring people back to life, putting her in grave danger. It's a power many people want, and some will do anything to get it.

On the love front, Dimitri avoids any close encounters with Rose, and she turns to her friend Mason instead, hoping she can feel something like love for him. Lissa and Christian Ozera continue to get hot and heavy.

This book is really about introducing the war on Strigoi and the need to change Moroi Law and Rule to go on the offensive again the Strigoi instead of the defense.

I was very pleased with this installment. It drew me further into the Moroi/dhampir society. Mead has a wonderful way of connecting characters from the first book to this one, building relationships and increasing characterization. Her writing was much improved and more adultlike which I appreciated. The first book was a bit too juvenile for me.

Total rating: 50 pts for reading + 40 pts = 90% = 4 stars
Plot: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Setting: 8/10
Pacing: 8/10
Writing Style: 7/10

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: "Richelle's books have been on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists and received honors from the American Library Association. Her books have been translated into over two dozen languages, as well as transformed into graphic novels. A lifelong reader, Richelle loves mythology and wacky humor. When not writing, she can be found spending time with her family, buying dresses, and watching bad reality TV. More at:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Vampire Academy Legacy Begins

Before the advent of the Vampire Academy movie trailer, I'd never heard of the premise, the book series or Richelle Mead. Although I love to read young adult books, even at the age of 36, I don't get as much exposure to the young adult book scene as I'd like to at times. This is probably why I was a bit behind the proverbial bandwagon with the 2007 Vampire Academy Series debut.

After reading the premise on goodreads, I was still hesitant to take the plunge and buy the first book. The Kindle version was $9.99 on Amazon, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to spend that kind of money on a book again after what I call: The Twilight Debacle.

The Twilight Debacle: Don't get me wrong - I know Twilight is a franchise for a reason. And since vampires are the only supernatural/fantasy type of characters I enjoy, I decided to give it a chance. Bad decision! Not only was the first book (or at least the first 30 pages I actually tried to read) immaturely written, the lead character of Bella did not appeal to me. I don't like completely helpless female characters dependent on a man to carry them through life. Just doesn't do it for me, so I prompted sold the book to Half Price books, then quit reading vampire books . . . until . . .

The daily email I receive from The eReader Cafe, which sends me a list of Amazon's daily e-book FREEBIES and BARGAINS, sent me an offer a week ago to get Vampire Academy for $2.99. For $2.99, I couldn't resist the lure of the vampire anymore and took the plunge. I was soon living in St. Vladmir's Vampire Academy, and boy would it be a wild ride.

Rose and Lissa share an unusual bond. Rose cannot only hear Lissa's thoughts, but she can also see Lissa's surroundings by looking through her friend's eyes. Did I mention that Lissa is a vampire? A royal vampire. And Rose? She's a dhampir, a hybrid of Moroi, training to be Lissa's Guardian or bodyguard after high school graduation.

Rose and Lissa have been on the run from their vampire boarding school, St Vladmir's Academy, for two years, hiding among the human race. Amidst threats to Lissa's life, gutsy Rose, not knowing who to trust, broke Lissa out of boarding school to keep her friend safe from unknown enemies. For two years, their plan has worked - that is until the day Guardian Dimitri Belikov (a dhampir) arrives on the scene. Dimitri has come to take Rose and Lissa back to school but not without an epic fight between the two dhampirs.

Back at the Academy, Rose's punishment for running away is to spend every waking moment outside class training with Guardian Belikov. She's missed two years of important Guardian study and needs to catch up with the rest of the novices so she can graduate. Rose bucks at this training, impatient to learn how to use the Guardian stake, the weapon used to kill the undead vampires, the Strigoi. Strigoi have no souls, feed on the living, and can turn mortal Moroi, dhampirs and humans into Strigoi. They are the Moroi race's biggest predator and the dhampir's biggest challenger.

Lissa's homecoming isn't easy either. While Rose is used to being an outcast at school, Lissa was once a popular member of the Academy. Upon her return, her old friends shun her, leaving her depressed and alone. She begins using magic called Compulsion to make people like her again - magic that's forbidden to use.

This first book is less about plot and more about meeting the carefully constructed characters Mead created. Rose is 3-dimensional through and through. She acts before she thinks. Rose knows no fear. Through her bond, we do see her softer side - always concerned about Lissa's feelings and hardships than concerned about her own. Although Rose can be bratty and immature at times, overall it's nice to read about such a strong female heroine for a change.

Lissa is a bit more wish-washy. Most Moroi are helpless, dependent upon Guardians to protect them. Sometimes, though, it would've been nice to see Lissa whine a bit less.

For those of you interested in romance, you will definitely find it in this book. Lissa finds solace in Christian Ozera another royal Moroi who is shunned because his parents purposely turned Strigoi. And you didn't think I was going to forget to mention Rose and Dimitri Belikov, did you? They are clearly Mead's choice of power couple, although their feelings must be kept under the radar at school due to their age difference and their teacher-student relationship. Nothing overt happens. Rose pushes the subject in her immature 17-year-old way, while the older Dimitri is able to keep himself in check and focus on his Guardian duties. But don't count them out yet. I'm betting the Rose/Dimitri love will work it's way through the rest of the series.

I enjoyed this book, overall. My only criticisms is that it seemed like it was written by a writing newbie. The facts were well researched and the society laid out, but more depth was wanting. I also felt that Dimitri's character was written 2-dimensionally. Rose is a dynamic character, and at times, it was hard to see what Rose found so attractive about Dimitri other than his good looks.

Total rating: 50 pts for reading + 35 pts = 85% = 3 1/2 Stars
Plot: 6/10
Characters: 9/10
Setting: 8/10
Pacing: 7/10
Writing Style: 5/10

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: "Richelle's books have been on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists and received honors from the American Library Association. Her books have been translated into over two dozen languages, as well as transformed into graphic novels. A lifelong reader, Richelle loves mythology and wacky humor. When not writing, she can be found spending time with her family, buying dresses, and watching bad reality TV. More at:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Book Characters & Authors I'd Love to Follow on Twitter

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1. The Illustrious "A" from the Pretty Little Liar Series - Oh the sick and twisted secrets that would slip out if he/she had a twitter account!

2. Rose Hathaway from the Vampire Academy Series - Rose doesn't censor herself, and I know she'd be pretty blunt about her opinions on lots of things going on in the world.

3. Detective DD Warren from Lisa Gardner books - She's a Barbie doll with her black belt in solving homicides. She'd get to the bottom of many things quickly.

4. Turtle Wexler from The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin - Her sister is a bomber and her mother is a liar, but Turtle is adept at solving mysteries. She might just solve ours.

5. The Dollenanger Siblings from Flowers in the Attic - Now, seriously, tell me this wouldn't be the craziest twitter account on the internet!

6. JB Fletcher from the Murder, She Wrote Series - Or maybe she already has a twitter account.

7. Emma from Jane Austen - Emma's a matchmaker by nature. She could be the new face of in addition to tweeting dating tips!


8. Jane Austen - I'd love some nice tweets about Mr. Knightly from Emma. There's no much out there about Mr. Darcy when we all know Mr. Knightly is the true gentleman!

9. Roald Dahl - Does he have a twitter account?

10. Walt Disney (the man) - I bet he'd have quite a lot of wisdom to impart.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Welcome to She Read, Our Online Book Home

Hi all! I'm Vi (pronouced Vy like Violet) and my partner-in-crime is Elaine. We're coworkers spend half the day at work talking about our similar tastes in books (instead of, um, working), so we decided to set up something official. "She Read" was born!

Although it's still in its infancy, our goal is to read and review ARCs established authors as well as newbies! I'm a wannabe writer myself. Hopefully one day Elaine will be reviewing my memoir on here (and saying nothing but awesome things about it ;)). We also welcome author interviews, cover reveals, and blog tours. We'll also have a few giveaways once we get rolling! We LOVE to read, and we are here to help YOU spread the word about your new work!

At this time, we are seeking to read both self-published and traditionally-published works. This may change as our review queue grows.

To submit a book for review, use our contact form on the right.

Vi's Genre Likes:
*Young Adult - Coming-of-age, overcoming trauma, romance, suspense, mystery, & vampires (No sci-fi, horror or fantasy)
*New Adult

Note About Vampires: I hated the Twilight Series, but loved the Vampire Academy Series - I enjoy books with a strong female character.

Elaine's Genre Likes:
Apparently, she's not particular because she likes to read anything she can get her hands on, EXCEPT romance. No romance for Elaine. Send those to Vi. :)