Anne McCaffrey Reading Challenge 2011!

Hi all!

As I hinted a few weeks back, I will be hosting in 2011 the Anne McCaffrey Reading Challenge.

I am organising this challenge for readers to discover (and re-discover) the wonderful talent of Anne McCaffrey. She has written more than a 100 books and novellas in both science fiction and fantasy genres. She is the first woman to have won the Hugo Award (in 1968) and in 2006 she was inducted in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.

Anne McCaffrey is absolutely amazing and she has written fantastic novels on various subjects (Dragons? check. Unicorn girl? check. People with extrasensory powers? check. Dinosaurs? check. Pirates? check. Aliens? check. And plenty more!).

The Challenge:

The Challenge won't be anything too complicated: you set yourself a goal at the beginning of the year (may it be 2 or 25) and you achieve it whenever you want during 2011. You can obviously change your goal during the year, so if you set yourself 3 books and realise you can't survive another day without reading a fourth Anne McCaffrey book, just amend your initial goal! 
If you have no idea who Anne McCaffrey is and don't know where to start, you can trust my fantastic taste *beams* and follow my lead in my schedule below!

Update: I had a few emails about it and I confirm: you can set yourself a goal of one book and complete your challenge during the year, that is entirely fine!

Everyone can participate in the challenge, so if you don't have a blog you can publish your opinion of the book on websites like Goodreads or Amazon and send me the link!

As any challenge, this challenge will have prizes and cool events (says me - and I might be prejudiced in the matter) so stay tuned! 

I have focused on Anne McCaffrey Young Adult-y books but you can read her adult novels as part of the challenge!

(all links to Goodreads)

I am aiming to read the following books - you can join me for a quarter or the entire year but it's definitely not mandatory!

First Quarter: Harper Hall Trilogy
The Harper Hall trilogy has been listed as one of the best young adult fantasy novels of all time (link here) and centres around harpers (traditional singers) and people bonding with their personal dragons in the fantasy planet of Pern. (Fantasy series)

Bonus read: Dragonharper (written with Todd McCaffrey)


Second Quarter: The Tower and Hive series
The Tower and Hive series, written with Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, is set in the Pegasus universe, a technologically advanced society in which telepathy, psychokynesis and other psychic Talents are used. It is a love story through space! (Science Fiction series)

April: The Rowan
May: Damia

Bonus Read: Lyon's Pride


Third Quarter: The Dragonriders of Pern (the original trilogy)
Those three following books represent the original trilogy of the Dragonriders of Pern. If you wonder why I put this trilogy after the Harper Hall trilogy, it is simply because The White Dragon needs to be read after Dragonsong, Dragonsinger and Dragondrums. You may read the books in the order you prefer! (Fantasy series)

August: Dragonquest
September: The White Dragon


Fourth Quarter: Your choice!
I still haven't decided which book to read for the fourth quarter (I may be reading Anne McCaffrey's stand alone novels like Restoree instead of a series) and you will have read at this point enough books to know what you will prefer! I'll post my choices in September if you still don't know what to choose!
You don't need to decide now either, I'd rather you decide in October if you prefer reading her science fiction novels or more of her Dragon books or if you would like to try her Acorna the Unicorn Girl series!

Visit Anne McCaffrey's wikipedia page for a complete bibliography (link here)!

To participate:

  • Post an article on your blog about the Challenge, linking to this article setting your goal and maybe the books you would like to read.
  • You may add my pretty logo to your blog
  • Send me a link (email here) or comment on this post giving me a link to your article, I will add the link to my Challenge page.
  • As you review the books, update your sign up post with links to your reviews. (If you are a non blogger, send me an email or comment on this post and I shall add you).
  • I have added a linky post for you to put the link of your reviews 
  • And most importantly enjoy the books!!

If you have any questions or doubts, don't hesitate to contact me, I will be happy to answer any question or/and help you with anything I can! I really hope you will enjoy discovering the worlds created by Anne McCaffrey!

You can visit Anne McCaffrey's blog (link here) for more info and news about her!

For my logo I used an artwork from The Pern Museum and Archive (link here), don't hesitate to take a look at their gorgeous website!


Caroline @ Portrait of a Woman
Nayu @ Nayu's Reading Corner
Christina @ Reading Extensively
The Mole @ Our Book Reviews Online
Kaz @ Karen Mahoney - Urban Fantasy Writer
Hannah @ My Book Journey
Demitria @ Demitria Lunetta
Becky @ The Bookette
Katherine Roberts @ The Reclusive Muse
Book Dragon @ Book Dragon's Lair

A zillion thanks to Transworld Publishers for the help and support with the Challenge!

Merry Christmas!!

Hi all of you!

I thought I would be able to read and blog as usual but work and Christmas shopping got the best of me! I am (hopefully) leaving for France to see my family on the 24th and come back beginning January.

I will write reviews and talk about my awesome Anne McCaffrey Reading Challenge next week!

A zillion thank you to you dear followers, you have made 2010 one of the best years I ever lived, I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year!
May 2011 be full of amazing books for you and I wish you all the happiness in the world!

Have a lovely time (and try not to eat too many chocolates!),


Caroline x

Last Sacrifice - Richelle Mead

Title: Last Sacrifice
(Vampire Academy Book 6 and last)

Author: Richelle Mead

Publisher: Penguin

Release Date: 2010

Category: Young Adult ; Urban Fantasy

Source: From Penguin

Paperback: 584

Summary from Goodreads:
Rose Hathaway has always played by her own rules.
She broke the law when she ran away from St. Vladimir’s Academy with her best friend and last surviving Dragomir Princess, Lissa. She broke the law when she fell in love with her gorgeous, off-limits instructor, Dimitri. And she dared to defy Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi world, risking her life and reputation to protect generations of dhampir guardian to come.
Now the law has finally caught up with Rose- for a crime she didn’t even commit. She’s in prison for the highest offense imaginable: the assassination of a monarch. She’ll need help from both Dimitri and Adrian to find the one living person who can stall her execution and force the Moroi elite to acknowledge a shocking new candidate for the royal throne: Vasilisa Dragomir.
But the clock on Rose’s life is running out. Rose knows in her heart the world of the dead wants her back… and this time she is truly out of second chances. The big question is, when your life is about saving others, who will save you?
If you have read my post on the five previous Vampire Academy books (link here), you will know how much I love this series (which I just discovered!).

Sadly, I cannot review Last Sacrifice without sharing major spoilers on the 5 previous books!

As I was saying before the spoiler alert bat flew over this review, I have fallen in love with this series and this last book is just packed with the very best!

At the end of Spirit Bound, the Moroi Queen Tatiana is staked and Rose is accused of committing the crime (gasp!). True, Rose has been vocal about her opposition of the Age Law (a law which would bring to 16 the age of dhampirs being sent to the world to become Guardians) and she has such a terrible temper and an aversion to rules that she is the best scapegoat.

She learns from her father, Abe Mazur, that she risks to be executed if she is not proven innocent soon enough (double gasp!). Rose is also given at the end of her trial a piece of paper written by Queen Tatiana herself before her death. Not only does Rose have to prove she is innocent, but she is also given the impossible task to find Lissa's long lost secret sibling to give Lissa a seat in the Moroi Council (triple gasp!).

This book is action-packed and resolves most of the issues and mysteries presented all along the series, leaving enough tension and a cleverly subtle cliffhanger to make you impatient for the next series. Indeed, even if Last Sacrifice is the last book in the Vampire Academy series *cries*, another series set in the same world and featuring most of the same characters will be coming out (really soon I hope!).

The characters are as wonderful as ever. Rose has become one of my favourite characters and I just love her personality. Of course, she has many flaws, like never being afraid of danger and never thinking before acting, but she is the best, really.
In this book, Lissa is learning to rely more on herself than on Rose or Christian. She is really growing up and is becoming, with her progressist ideas, an important figure for both Moroi and Dhampirs.
Dimitri is coming to terms with his transformation back to a Dhampir and his outlook on life is progressively changing. I absolutely love Sydney, she is also one of my favourite characters (and apparently she will feature in the next series, to which I say yes please!).

And I think that my future sentence will suffice itself. 
Love that guy! Best character EVER! I just can't help laughing whenever he's there (there in the book, I mean) and I love his interactions with Rose!

Okay so I can go on (and on) for each character like that, but to sum up, they are all wonderful and have great personalities!

There is a lot of romance in there *rolls eyes*, but as you might have understood by now, it's not my favourite aspect of urban/horror YA fantasy. I actually thought there was a bit too much chiseled-chest talk* in there but oh well, one can't always be satisfied!

I already said that the vampire mythology is ace, but it is acer in this one! You will get to meet many many other characters *emphatic background music* which give a nice counter vision to the sheltered life (most of the time) of both Lissa and Rose. I cannot get over how amazing the world Richelle Mead created is. One of the very best.

The writing is just so compelling that you won't be able to let go of the book. And if you do, it's only to start reading the series all over again. The action scenes are brilliantly written and Rose's voice is clear and often hilarious. I am honestly going to miss seeing the world through Rose's eyes.

We get our fair share of politics in this novel and I love how realistic it is (okay, so, technically, Moroi politics and family feuds don't exist per se but honestly, the whole power struggles and interested friendships are totally in fashion in our boring every day world). It is absolutely convoluted and that's what makes it amazing! Go politics! (I mean in books, because I disagree with myself when it comes to real life)

To sum everything up, 
go buy this series and and start reading! 

*chiseled-chest talk: A chiseled-chest** talk refers to one of the most prominent features of young adult urban fantasy today and consists of the heroine being so impressed by a male character's chiseled chest that she can't stop talking about it because, let's face it, a chiseled chest is the most important thing in the world when you are in a life-threatening situation. The heroine then goes on to think that the owner of the aforementioned chiseled-chest is the most wonderful person in the world and therefore her soul mate. 

** The chiseled-chest talk is a trademark of mine, you are not allowed to use it because we have enough of this in books!

Many thanks to Penguin for sending me this wonderful book!

Soul Love - Lynda Waterhouse / Review + Interview!!

Summary from back cover:
Living with the past can be difficult, even at fifteen...
When Jenna refuses to reveal the truth behind her exclusion from school, she is sent away for the summer to stay with her aunt in a sleepy countryside village.
It's here that she meets Gabriel, who seems so genuine and different from other people she knows. But boys have been nothing but trouble for Jenna, and Gabe can be moody and withdrawn.
Despite her caution, Jenna can't help falling in love with Gabriel, and the longer she spends with him, the more deeply in love she falls. Could he be her soul mate? But then she discovers that Gabriel is living with a deep secret of his own...


When the story begins, Jenna is torn between what she feels is right and her faith and trust towards her friends. She puts her friendship above her own interest since she is excluded from her (very posh and renowned) school for something we learn she didn't do, at least not on her own. She lies for her best friend Mia and her love interest Jackson and takes all the blame though we only learn later in the book why.

Her mother doesn't stand by her (not that Jenna said anything not to sound guilty) and sends her to her sister Sarah's house in a tiny village called Little Netherby. As any village, everyone knows everyone and Jenna learns very quickly that people were awaiting the new trouble girl from London. She realises after a while that being sent in a village in the middle of nowhere isn't as bad as she had anticipated.

The story is like a snapshot in Jenna's life, it doesn't focus on one theme only or one sole aspect of Jenna's life and the characters, as well as the plot, are all multifaceted. The book is told from Jenna's point of view and we can see her evolve and grow up before our eyes. At the beginning of the story, she lives in the shadow of the gorgeous and cunning Mia and she takes the blame for something she didn't do because "that's what friends do". The reader realises soon enough that Jenna is deluding herself when she keeps saying (trying to convince herself?) that Mia will soon accept part of the blame and everything will be solved.
Funnily enough, no matter how scorned Jenna feels at the beginning of the story to be sent in an unknown place in the middle of nowhere, it is actually where she can finally be herself. Far from people's expectations and plans, she takes care of her aunt's second-hand bookshop while Sarah stays home, suffering from a breakup (or a pause) with her long time boyfriend Kai. 

All the characters in the book are so fascinating in their own way that you can't help falling for them. I really liked Jenna as a character, and how she learns to stand up for herself. Gabriel was such an interesting character as well and I loved reading the moments where he spent time with Jenna, only Jenna. The feelings they have for each other are so pure and keep growing as the story unfolds. Jenna trusts Gabe as she had never trust anyone before, even though both prefer keeping their secrets. 
I enjoyed reading about the few adult characters in the story because they felt so real in my eyes. They all have their own problems and sometimes they really don't act as if they are fully fledged adults. Sarah, with whom Jenna stays, is so caught up in her feelings for the poet Kai that she doesn't stop to think about what he is doing. Jenna has never really liked Kai, so the reader sees him (or rather, doesn't see him) through her eyes. He is full of himself and is quite a flirt. Jenna thinks he uses Sarah and she doesn't understand why her aunt would bother with him in the first place. Jenna also doesn't understand the cultural and spiritual aspect of their relationship. Kai is so perfectly described that I felt flustered whenever he was mentioned and wanted to throw random objects at him. As you will read in the interview below, Sarah and Kai relationship offer a contrast from the stable feelings Jenna and Gabe have for each other.
There are various themes in the book and I really liked how trust was treated when you compare the trust between Jenna and Gabe, or the one Jenna has with her family or her best friend Mia. 

Unlike some books I read with HIV positive characters, Soul Love isn't a book about HIV but rather a book which happens to have an HIV positive character in it. Of course, the issue is explored and the book isn't always light but the general story is so much more that HIV isn't seen as this horrifying virus threatening people, but as a hard condition to live with. I felt the subject was treated with a lot of sensitivity and gave information about how teenagers live with it, especially their need to keep it a secret.

The context of the book is simply amazing. As Jenna, you find yourself seeing before your eyes that tiny village and its tiny second-hand bookshop where you meet some adorable (and odd!) regular customers. You can even feel the anti-folk music from Charlie's band coming out of the pages. The book is so wonderfully written that you get immediately taken in the story and feel for the amazing characters.

 It is one of the best Young Adult contemporary novels I have read and the story has stayed with me ever since. I cannot wait to discover more books by Lynda Waterhouse!


As part of my week dedicated to HIV in Young Adult literature, I met the author of Soul Love Lynda Waterhouse in the beautiful Royal Festival Hall in South Bank for a little discussion. Funnily enough, I was so nervous that I talked more than I let Lynda! As I didn't have anything to record the conversation, I will just sum up what we talked about!

On Writing
When you love reading and you get passionate about writers, their lives become – sometimes – as fascinating as the stories coming out of their imagination. Not their lives exactly, but how they came to find the idea for a book or “how they write”. I found the story of Soul Love to be so simple and at the same time so powerful that I wanted to know more about Lynda, not only regarding the book in itself, but also about her writing process.
Lynda told me that she had always wanted to write. She listens often to other people’s conversations or observes people around her and most of the time that is where she gets some inspiration for her stories or her characters. If you go on her website you can actually send her a snippet you heard! Lynda also stressed the fact that you can’t be a writer today without having at least a part-time job. Though we get blinded constantly by the likes of J. K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer, most writers actually have to work at the same time. And it is also a way to get inspiration.
We discussed about the young adult genre in general and how Lynda didn’t set to write a book specifically in this genre, but rather wrote a story which was later seen and marketed as a young adult book. For some books, being marketed as either adult or young adult fiction makes them lose some appeal. The boundaries should definitely be less definite between the genres.
Following this topic on YA, we talked about first person point of view versus third person narrator and how one of the main characteristic of the young adult genre is the use of the first person point of view. Soul Love is written in first person but Lynda told me she was feeling a bit rebellious and didn’t feel like using a first person narrator all the time.
Soul Love is very popular in Brazil though not as much in the UK and Lynda might be interested to write a companion novel to Soul Love. [To which I say YES PLEASE!!!!!]

On The Book
As you may know, I have some hope of one day finishing one of my crazy ideas and transform it into a book, but I am also a very curious avid reader, so I was really really curious as to the writing process of Soul Love and how it went from a snippet to a book.
Lynda explained that she wanted to write something close to an atypical romance novel. She didn’t set to write Soul Love as an issues book and not even a book about HIV.
Two years previously, she read an article on teens living with HIV and how they really couldn’t tell anyone about it since they would be ostracized and judged. She kept this newspaper article in her snippets file - medication moved on faster than prejudices and misconceptions, she told me. Lynda went to Body and Soul where she met various teenagers affected by or living with HIV. She volunteered for a few sessions and even met Adele Minchin  the author of The Beat Goes On.

I asked Lynda about the adult characters who, on one side seemed very normal (as in entirely desecrated and with their own issues) and on the other completely unnerving. I mean, Jenna’s aunt Sarah? That complete waste of space that is her boyfriend Kai? I wanted to shake Sarah during the entire book to tell her to stop thinking about Kai and that she deserved much better than him! Lynda told me that Sarah and Kai’s childish behaviour acted as a counterpoint to Gabe and Jenna. And I have to be honest that it looks very realistic (sadly).

I am always interested to read books set in a “small town” as opposed to a big city. Coming from a tiny village myself, I entirely related to the setting in Soul Love and how people acted with each other! She wanted to take her character from a big school with a wealthy surrounding and “friends” which use Jenna more than enjoy her company to then send her to this small village where everyone knows everyone and everyone gossips about her arrival.  The village is not based on any particular place and only exists in Lynda’s imagination.

The end of the book
I found that the ending of Soul Love was very bittersweet and I was interested to know whether people usually questioned it. Lynda told me that in the first versions of the book the ending was different (as in darker) and that when she shared it with a 15 year old girl she met at Body and Soul who had filled her in on the practical aspects of living with HIV Lynda felt very strongly that she didn’t want any of her characters to die.

Body and Soul is a UK charity supporting children, teenagers and families living with, or closely affected by HIV. The charity proposes many activities for various age groups to inform and support people. It is one of the only charities in the UK which helps not only individuals but families and groups of people. The Guardian published an article last Sunday about Body and Soul's new campaign called In My Shoes to raise awareness in schools and youth clubs. The campaign will feature picture of celebrities and teenagers affected by HIV, their faces hidden by their shoes. The Guardian article shows the testimony of Peter who is 20 year old and has been living with HIV since he was a child, and for him "We still need to educate people so that when someone else comes out and says: 'I've got HIV,' they won't step back, but come forward."
If you would like to support the charity or maybe volunteer, head over to their gorgeous website.

Lynda also gave me some blog, film and music recommendations which I copied below:

Special links :
An Awfully Big Blog Adventure:  the ramblings of a few scattered authors
Buzz About Books: Blog of the Islington Writers for Children group

Anti-folk recommendations:
Soul Love features a lot of talks about Anti-folk music. Lynda explained that her passion for this music came more or less while she was researching the book. Having never heard the mention of “anti-folk” before, I asked for a few recommendations to get acquainted with the style!

Film recommendations:
All The Real Girls by David Gordon Green
Diary Of A Lost Girl by G W Pbast and with Louise Brooks

I had an amazing time with Lynda and was thrilled she took the time to answer all of my questions! A million thanks to Lynda and Piccadilly Press for sending me the book!

Sunday Brunch #4

Hello book lovers!

How was your reading week?

The main idea of this feature is to talk about books without it being a review (where I only talk about one book and its themes) or a meme (because it doesn't leave much place to debate sometimes).



My review and interview with Lynda Waterhouse will be posted tomorrow and there are some good stuff in there (if I may say so myself), so don't forget to drop by to read it!



I received and started reading immediately Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead (Yes, Vampire Academyyyy wouhouu) and I really loved it though I can't wait for another series! Thanks Penguin for sending it my way :) Review to come soon!

I have started Matched by Ally Condie and I really can't get into it... I was waiting to be entranced by the story (you know, because there is so much buzz about this book, I actually figured I would enjoy it from the first pages), but I am yet to be moved by a single character. Oh well, I'm sure it will get better... Hopefully...

I am reading an adult book (gasp!) for my book group at work and I chose The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell which is short listed for the Costa Prize. The style is original and we follow two different characters, one in the Soho art scene of the 1950s and the other in the present day. I am loving the 1950s passages!


Stuff I read and want to share:

This week I have a zillion things to share so brace yourself!

Google launched its own ebookstore (Google eBooks: What The Media Said | The Bookseller) last week and a day after Amazon launched his. This is starting to look like a soap opera *beams*. Can't wait for the next episode!

The world's most expensive book was sold £7m at an auction. Guess what the book is about? American birds! If you want to know why it is the most expensive, check out this BBC article.

More seriously, I read a fascinating on books translated in English and how cultural institutes (especially European ones) try to support American and British publishing companies to promote their own authors. "Books translated into English help nations large and small put their names on the literary map" says a representative of the Romanian Cultural Institute. (Translation As Literary Ambassador | The New York Times). 

I discovered AmazonCrossing from reading this previous article. AmazonCrossing is a publishing imprint of which focuses on world literature translate in English. 

A Really Short Story Of Nearly Everything written by Bill Bryson has won the 2010 Educational Writers' Award. Congrats!!

I came across a new blog! The YA YA YAs is a blog where three Young Adult librarians blather about YA literature and YA librarianship. Go check out their awesomeness!

The article is three months old but I read it just this week while reading about parents banning books from schools and how it's more an American thing. (Why Are Parents Banning School Books? | BBC News)

I came across this amazing article about, a website for bookish teenagers. "A free platform for young people to read and write fiction, both on their computers and on their cellphones. Users are invited to write novels, short stories and poems, collaborate with other writers and give and receive feedback on the work posted on the site." (Web Site For Teenagers With Literary Leanings | The New York Times)


That is it for this week and I shall try to write the reviews of all the books I read for next week :D
(I did say *try*)

Have a lovely week and think that in 12 days you will be able to eat plenty chocolate (but who's counting?)

x Caroline

Vampire Academy series - Richelle Mead

I have read in less than a week the five first books of the Vampire Academy series and CAN'T WAIT to read The Last Sacrifice. As opposed to reviewing each book independently, I am going to tell you why going out in the snow right now to buy all the books is not such an insane idea at all.

Summary of Vampire Academy from Amazon:
St Vladimir's Academy isn't just any boarding school - hidden away, it's a place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They've been on the run, but now they're being dragged back to St Vladimir's where the girls must survive a world of forbidden romances, a ruthless social scene and terrifying night time rituals. But most of all, staying alive.


I can see the ones who didn't read the series telling me that it is just yet another YA series on vampires and that it probably holds all the clichés in there and the story must be all about men chiseled chests and girls swooning. 
That's what I thought last week and that's why I haven't really been keen to read any series coming remotely close to vampires in a while. I like enjoying my reads and being taken into the story and not rolling my eyes every couple of pages because of what's going on. And oh boy was I taken into this one. I have been breathing Vampire Academy for the past days and people probably think I am insane. I just LOVE these books!

The whole vampire mythology, which expands throughout the books, is *awesome*. I can really feel that Richelle Mead was inspired by real vampire myths from Eastern Europe. I really love the distinction between Moroi (who drink blood but aren't dead) and Strigoi (who drink blood, and are dead and evil). I really love that in both societies there are strong issues, like elitism in the Moroi world. The different relationships between the various groups were fascinating and sounded real. It is one of the best vampire mythology I have read and everything makes sense.

The writing is absolutely perfect. The book is told from the amazing Rose's point of view (yes, I am Team Rose all the way :) ) but because she has a bond with Lissa, she also sees through her eyes and can tell what happens to Lissa when she isn't close. Aside from being a really awesome plot twist, it is an absolutely fantastic narrative tool! Rose's voice is snarky and often hilarious and she is the best character to tell us the story.

The characters are all amazing. They are full of layers and really serve the very rich mythology behind the story. The story is multidimensional and I loved seeing those characters falling very low and try to come back and make mistakes and... grow up.
Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir and acts as a protector for Lissa, who is the last member of the Dragomir family, one of the 12 royal families in the Moroi world. Rose often punches before talking (ok, not often, all the time) and she always says the worst things very loud. If you are a friend you think she is badass, if you are a foe you think she is a badass b****. Lissa is in a way Rose's contrary, both physically and mentally and is very sweet, but the magic she can do brings a darkness to her that is a real challenge for her compassion.
There are tons of other characters, and most of them not in the first book so I don't want to give spoilers, but they are all more than just a character, they bring something to the story and make you think. Even secondary characters have depth so you know you will enjoy the books if you like character-driven stories.
The relationships between characters are ace. Obviously Rose and Lissa have a fascinating way of dealing with their friendship, but we see a lot of parent-children relations (Rose and Janine for instance) as well with all the other characters. 

For the swooning teenage girl part of you (and oh boy must you be quite a few out there), the romance part is great and that is saying a lot since you know how much I get bored when the chiseled chest and I-can-see-through-your-soul talk starts. There is romance (everywhere!) but it doesn't hijack the story completely and is more of a teaser rather than full on fluttering heartbeats and sexy make out sessions dragging on for chapters (thank God). Brownie points for Richelle Mead!

The action. The action is wow and since most of it is done by Rose, it is wower. That girl is amazing and she knows how to throw a punch. There is a lot of fighting in there, and the action just flows effortlessly out of the pages and makes you part of the action. I woke up thinking about trying to save Rose at theand of Spirit Bound this morning. Crazy! And yes, though there are some dark parts in the book, the feminist in me didn't cringe all the time!

The sequels are really all amazing and the story doesn't lose its appeal after the fifth book, it just keeps on growing! There is always something new brought to each new book and it keeps the mythology as well as the characters and relationships between them fascinating. It is one of the best YA urban/horror fantasy series I have read!

The last books in the series The Last Sacrifice is out today, and the whole series has now a pretty new look in red and black, perfect Christmas present!!!

Have I convinced you yet? 

Watch the gorgeous trailer and be convinced at last:

Thank you so much to Penguin for sending me these wonderful books!