Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Review: The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3) by Richelle Mead

Author: Richelle Mead
Release Date: In all good bookstores now!
Publisher: Penguin
Thanks to: Penguin Australia for the review copy!
In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, the Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive—this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone’s out for blood

Sydney Sage, my how you've grown! Looking back at the strange, biased, yet slightly endearing Alchemist we first met in Blood Promise compared to her now, the difference is striking. She's tearing down the steel walls her Alchemist upbringing has built around her heart and mind. She's willingly participating in magic, she's thinking outside her once iron-clad beliefs and engaging in plots to defy, outwit and expose those she once followed. Let's not even get started on her colourful choice for a pet and that while she may tell Adrian 'it can't ever happen!', her actions tell an entirely different story. Girl has grown a pair of balls and she's fast learning how to use them.

Adrian. Is there anything more I can say about Adrian that hasn't already been screamed in varying notes of raging sexual desire from every female whose path he's crossed? I'm pretty sure you can even hear Dimitri growling his name affectionately in Russian every night. Sydney isn't the only one who's grown throughout the series. What I love more than ever is his persistence in this. It's becoming increasingly frequent that when things don't go his way, his immediate reaction is not to turn to the bottle or his smokes or some random woman all too eager to jump into bed with him (me! me! me!), but to persist with delightfully annoying momentum. Sydney may have rejected him at the end of The Golden Lily, but our favourite Moroi isn't stupid. He knew the kiss meant something, and so he's completely honest in declaring his intentions and feelings to Sydney. If she doesn't like it? Tough. He's not changing the way he feels and he'll wait for her as long as it takes. Of course, Adrian being Adrian, he's not going to wait idly by without pushing her buttons, which pave the way to hilarious banter, steamy interactions that no straight girl could resist, and helps to continue building upon the solid friendship that simmers beneath their crackling sexual chemistry.

Outside of the romance, Marcus Finch finally shows his face. While he doesn't live up to the huge expectations I had build given the hype prior to release, the first time he and Adrian meet? Epic. Witches and magic also play a heavier role as Sydney investigates some disturbingly fatal cases, and she could very well be the next victim. I will admit I haven't found the main mystery plots of each book in the Bloodlines series to be the strongest. The Indigo Spell's version of a witch's obsession with power and beauty is nothing new, however I did feel it maintained greater strength throughout the entire novel than the previous two. I can't deduct a stare or even half a star for this though, because what I love so much about the series is the characters and their tangled web of emotions. Richelle excels at character growth and building strong foundations for their relationships. Plus, I don't know if you heard, but there's this guy called ADRIAN. (I am maybe, slightly, a little bit, in love).

The Indigo Spell does not follow the same third-book trend as Shadow Kiss, although I've no doubt Richelle will hit us with that kind of punch to the heart again soon. Instead, it is the most grin-inducing, flirty, romantic novel we've received from her yet. Think lacy dresses and bunny themed hotel suites, steamy spirit dreams and pie, painted shirts (SWOOOOOON) and the only college sorority you will ever want to join. It gave birth to the biggest smiles and most embarrassing giggles from this smitten little human. But really, it's worth reading just to see what Sydney names Adrian's Mustang. I'm not going to spoil it for those who haven't read, but let's just say I want to ride it so bad ;)

5/5 Golden Apples!

Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Bookworld | Fishpond | Booktopia | The Nile

**Please feel free to leave any links to your own recent posts in your comment so I can stop by. I am soooo behind, I always am!**

Monday, February 4, 2013

Dance of Shadows Blog Tour: Interview with Yelena Black

Thanks to the amazing Bloomsbury Australia, I'm delighted to welcome Yelena Black, debut author of the upcoming DANCE OF SHADOWS to answer some questions today! Romance, mystery and a little devilish charm, Dance of Shadows is sure to pirouette off the shelf and into your hands the moment you glimpse its gorgeous cover!

Be sure to check out the Dance of Shadows Facebook page for the next stops on the tour, and also to keep updated on the thrills and dangers of this hot new release!

"Dancing with someone is an act of trust. Elegant and intimate; you're close enough to kiss, close enough to feel your partner's heartbeat. But for Vanessa, dance is deadly – and she must be very careful who she trusts . . ."

Can you sell us Dance of Shadows twitter-style, in 140 characters or less?
An edge-of-your seat romantic thrill ride about a girl in an elite ballet academy, searching for her missing older sister—and what she uncovers in the process.

Ballet plays a huge role in the book - do you have any experience with dancing? If not, did you do any research to help zone in when writing the dance scenes?
I trained as a ballet dancer when I was younger, so the world is familiar to me. I was never as talented as any of my characters, though, and I never attended a professional school like they do, so I did do some research about those elements—what kinds of classes they would take, what would be expected of them—but I also just created a lot myself. I spent a fair amount of time in Lincoln Center walking around, feeling the surroundings, and imagining my characters there.

In addition to ballet, mystery is also a vital player in Dance of Shadows. Is it difficult to try to consciously maintain the suspense or does it just flow naturally from you?
I grew up reading mysteries, and so I think suspense and plot twists are sort of in my blood! As a reader, I love being kept on the edge of my seat … and I definitely wanted Dance of Shadows to be that sort of book as well. Some of the suspense was inherently there in the first draft, but this is also something I worked on diligently during revisions.

The cover art is stunning! What were your initial thoughts when you first saw it? Was it anything like you were expecting?
Thank you! I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was completely blown away when I saw the cover. I feel so lucky, and it’s such a beautiful piece of artwork.

Has writing been a long-life dream for you or one that developed during your adult years?
When I was younger I wanted to be a dancer, but ever since college I wanted to be a writer. I finished my M.F.A. in fiction and began writing for teenagers—and I’ve never looked back!

What's on your iPod right now?
Dashboard Confessionals “Alter the Ending.”

The next movie you're dying to see is... ?
I haven’t seen Lincoln yet, and I’m very interested in seeing that. Also, if there is ever a sequel to Pitch Perfect, I will be standing in line bright and early!

And the last book you read was.... ?
Kathryn Littlewood’s Bliss. A delightful and funny book for middle grade readers about a family with a magical bakery.

Add Dance of Shadows to Goodreads
Buy it at: Fishpond | Booktopia | The Nile | Bookworld
Find Yelena Black on: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
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