This book was utterly boring. Nothing really happens in the book! The whole thing with the dual narration wasn't very good. I found it too difficult to...moreThis book was utterly boring. Nothing really happens in the book! The whole thing with the dual narration wasn't very good. I found it too difficult to connect with either of the main characters.(less)
The Vampire Academy series is the series that actually fully integrated me into the world of YA. Before tha...moreRead more of my reviews at Nick's Book Blog
The Vampire Academy series is the series that actually fully integrated me into the world of YA. Before that, the only YA series I had read was Twilight. I figured since it's the book that helped me discover the awesome books out there and it's one of my all-time favorite series, it deserved some space on my little blog.
The characters in Vampire Academy were the kind that had depth and personality. Not a single one of them was bland or boring. They all had redeeming qualities that you cannot help but love them, even the villains and the mean girls. Richelle Mead sure does know how to write brilliant characters. Rose Hathaway was one of the most kick-butt characters I have ever come across. She had a strength and fire to her that makes you want to be in her mind at all times. At times, she came off as a show-off, especially when she kept on saying that she had an awesome body and all the guys kept lusting after her. However, I didn't have any trouble liking her character. Deep down, all she wanted was to protect her best friend, Lissa. Her devotion and protectiveness for her was truly a remarkable feature. Rose wanted nothing more than to be an excellent guardian to Lissa that she would risk her life for her. She's also the kind of person who doesn't pay attention to what people were saying about her. Those kind of things didn't bother her. Overall, she was a brilliant main character and I absolutely loved being inside her head.
Rose's relationship with Lissa was one of my favorite parts of the book. I loved how they were so different, but they were a perfect fit for each other. While Rose was the reckless and adventurous one, Lissa was the gentle and loving kind. Lissa went through a heck of a time in Vampire Academy. No matter what the situation was, they were there for each other. Their friendship was inspiring and beautiful.
I thought that Richelle Mead did a fabulous job with the world-building in this book. It was rich, complex and extremely well-developed. I loved the whole world VA was set in. Learning about the Strigoi, Moroi and Dhamphirs was simply really exciting. The world-building was brilliant. I love when authors go to great lengths to actually describe and make you understand the setting. Richelle's Mead writing was vivid, beautiful and entertaining. She has a knack for creating situations that make you want to flip through the pages of the book at high speeds. I,also, adored the plot of the book. It was exciting and full of suspense. Honestly, this was a fantastic series debut and words can't express my love for this book.
Overall, if you can't tell from my review, I loved Vampire Academy. I loved it so much that I don't think any vampire books that I read after this lived up to VA. Wonderfully complex and memorable characters, rich world-building and a suspenseful plot will have you pining for more after reading this book. (less)
I read this book in mid-2011 and I hadn't written a review for it. Since, I didn't get much reading this week, I decided to write a review for this bo...moreI read this book in mid-2011 and I hadn't written a review for it. Since, I didn't get much reading this week, I decided to write a review for this book. I remember looking at the cover and thinking how I knew this was going to be a boring read, but fortunately I was delightfully surprised.
The book stars Amy Nelson, a sixteen year old half American, half Israeli girl living with her mother in Chicago. Her father, who is mostly absent from Amy's life, calls to inform her that he is taking her to Israel for vacations to visit Amy's ailing grandmother. Amy is super mad at this since she never even knew she had a grandmother and she is somewhat angry at her dad for being such an absentee from her life. Amy's mother forces her to go and she begrudgingly agrees. She is confident that this trip will be a disaster, but Amy's going to be really surprised. Amy, the main character of the book, is pretty much annoying, stubborn and confident. Nevertheless, I found her to be likable. That's because I found her to be very much real. In fact, she reminded me a lot of myself when I was sixteen. She was sarcastic, witty and funny. She was the kind of person who stood up for herself and didn't let other people control her. She was,in a way, independent and I loved her for that. At the beginning of the book, she goes to Israel with plenty of stereotypes indoctrinated inside of her, but throughout the vacation she comes to realize about how wrong she was about certain things. That's yet another characteristic I admired in Amy. She might seem narrow-minded, but in fact she's not. I especially liked how she took an instant liking to her grandmother. Throughout the book, the reader sees Amy mature a lot. She goes from disliking Israel to eventually falling in love with the country and realizing that it was in fact her heritage. I also liked Amy's slowly growing relationship with her father. It was really sweet and I was pretty much like "Awwwww" when it finally dawns on her how much her dad meant to her. Some of the things she did were hilarious. Reading about Amy's adventures was so enjoyable! Overall, Amy was a very likable character.
How To Ruin A Summer Vacation has a great set of equally likable secondary characters. I'll admit that I have a soft spot for Avi, Amy's dad and her grandmother. Avi is the love interest of Amy in this book. He initially starts out as being rude, annoying and a downright jerk to Amy. He really did frustrate me at times with his behavior, but sometimes he shows his softer side. Although, he tries to show that he hates Amy, he constantly helps her out whenever she's in need. I liked that about him. Towards the end of the book, we learn why Avi acts so despicable at times and I completely understood his position. Around that same time, he accepts that he has feelings for Amy and admits them. He becomes a very different person and his attitude towards Amy changes. They begin to share their stories, their fears, their hopes and their insecurities. In a way, he helps Amy realize that a lot of Amy'sviews on Israel and Israelis are quite wrong . I found their romance to be completely adorable and I found that they made a perfect couple.
As I mentioned above, I also really liked Amy's dad. He was the father who cared so much for his daughter that he refused to leave America and return to him hometown that he loved. The primary goal of Ron, Amy's dad, in bringing his feisty daughter home was strengthening their relationship. The poor guy tries really hard to do so. I loved seeing their relationship grow. Amy's grandmother was such a sweet character. I loved how accepting of Amy she was and I loved all the useful advice she gave Amy. Oh and I loved Mutt, the dog with the speech impairment who annoys the heck out of Amy.
When I started this book, I thought it would be just a light fluffy read, but I was wrong because I learned so much about Israel and the people of Israel. Simone Elkeles makes me want to visit Israel so much! The culture, the heritage and the way of life of Israelis is described beautifully in this book and in a way it helped to clear up some stereotypes I had about Israel. Overall, this book is about family, culture, friendship, love and finding one's identity.
Simone Elkeles writing is simple and addictive. I finished reading this book really fast and I wanted the book to never end.
Overall, this book was a fantastic read that made Simone Elkeles one of my favorite YA author! If you haven't read this book yet, then go buy it now!(less)