Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Title: Vampire Academy
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy #1
Publication date: August 16, 2007
Number of pages: 332
Synopsis: Only a true best friend can protect you from your immortal enemies . . .

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.

After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger . . . and the Strigoi are always close by.

Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever . . .

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
When it comes to paranormal fantasy, I’ve got to admit I absolutely love the genre if written right. Vampire Academy was one of the paranormal fantasy books I’ve really liked in a while.
For one thing, I really like the innovative idea Mead came up with by introducing the Moroi and Strigoi vampire battle with Dhampirs thrown in the mix. All the distinctions between the different races were well-explained and I was never confused as to what each race was.
I also really liked the fact that Vampire Academy was set in a high school as I feel it gave me a better understanding of the Moroi society. Being in high school myself, I was able to understand what Rose and Lissa felt and the motivations behind their actions.
Next, I really liked both Rose and Lissa as main characters and liked how Mead developed their relationship and explained the reasons behind their friendship. Both girls were distinctly unique while still being relatively similar. I was able to connect with both on different levels and understand their struggles as they related with each other as well as the rest of the society.
The development of romantic relationships between Rose and Dimitri and Lissa and Christian was also well-executed and I appreciated the fact that the relationships did not take up the whole story. Each relationship was slowly developed and I liked how Mead took time building the trust and substance of the relationships.
The rest of the characters in the novel were also unique, well-developed, and each enhanced the story in a certain way that kept up the action and/or helped explain the society, other characters, or develop new plotlines. I never once got confused with characters or forgot who was who as they were all distinct and each had a purpose in the story.
Lastly, I really liked the action and pacing of the book. Although the book wasn’t entirely action, the bits that weren’t fight scenes or action packed weren’t boring at all. Since the storyline, characters, and world were being developed, scenes that weren’t filled with action were welcome and necessary for my understanding of the book and my overall enjoyment as they prevented me from getting confused or frustrated. That said, all of the action scenes were well-written and kept me on the edge of my seat. The balance between action packed scenes and non-action packed scenes made this book have a perfect pace and kept me interested the whole way.
Overall, I really enjoyed Vampire Academy because of the relatable characters and setting, well-developed world, characters, and plot, and the excellent balance between action and non-action scenes. I am definitely going to continue the series to see what goes on with Rose and the rest of the characters.


SST 4 – Review: For the Record by Charlotte Huang

Title: For the Record
Author: Charlotte Huang
Publication date: November 10, 2015
Number of pages: 320
Synopsis: If Almost Famous were a YA novel… a raw, honest debut celebrating music, friendship, romance, and life on the road.

Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like… until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything

Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen heartthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.

Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule… Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?

**I received a copy of this book on a read to review basis in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the SST, the publisher, and author for the opportunity.**

For the Record by Charlotte Huang
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
I really enjoyed reading For the Record because of it’s light nature and topics. I absolutely love singing and music so reading a book about a girl who joins a popular band and the adventures, ups and downs, and drama that ensued was wonderful. The book was a fun read and I definitely enjoyed reading about the tour Chelsea and the rest of the band took.
I also really liked the characters because they all had their own personality and little quirks that made them different from each other. Chelsea in particular was really easy to connect with for me because I could understand where she came from–being bullied and wanting the fame of being in a band/singing. She was also just very easy-going and got with the flow of things very quickly. At the same time, I thought that some of her actions were a little annoying, but can’t completely blame her for them as I’m not sure how I’d react to so much fame. Overall though, I really connected with Chelsea.
The other characters in the book were also really easy to connect with and I liked most of them. While I liked most of the characters, there were a few I didn’t care for much, but whom grew on me by the end. However, there was one character in particular that shrunk on me so to speak and whom I just couldn’t stand in the end.
I really liked the plot and pacing of the novel and would definitely recommend it. However, the only reason for the 3.5 instead of 4 is because of the ending! I won’t say anything except I need more! If you’ve read this, please discuss with me because I just can’t deal.
Overall, I really enjoyed For the Record and would recommend it for people looking for a light, dramatic and romantic read. I will definitely read more of Huang’s work in the future as I really enjoyed her writing style.