Book Reviews

The Vampire Diaries: The AwakeningThe Vampire Diaries: The Awakening

Written By: L.J. Smith
Grade: B

The Awakening is the first book in the popular series, The Vampire Diaries aimed at young adults. It was originally released in the early 90’s and was re-released in 2007. The Awakening really hasn’t aged a bit since its original release. Since then it has reached an entirely new audience and has been picked up for a TV pilot by the CW. Read the Full Review.

The Vampire Diaries: The StruggleThe Vampire Diaries: The Struggle

Written By: L.J Smith
Grade: A

The Struggle, the second book in the vampire diaries series picks up right where the last one left off. The two really seem more like one book than two separate. The book begins as Elena is screaming Damon’s name in the graveyard. Stefan has gone missing, which is assumed to be proof that he is guilty of a series of murders that have been going on in Fell’s Church. Elena seems to be the only one who believes he is innocent, but the real murderer is a vampire who is often not visible and sometimes only presents himself in crow form. There is no solid evidence that he killed these people and no way to catch him. So Elena and Stefan can’t do anything to stop him. Read the Full Review.

The Vampire Diaries: The FuryThe Vampire Diaries: The Fury

Written By: L.J. Smith
Grade: A-

The Fury is the third book in The Vampire Diaries series. The book picks up post-Elena’s death and what life is like now for everyone that loved her. Vampire brothers and enemies, Stefan and Damon, are now brought right back to what caused their rivalry years ago when the love of their lives and the girl who turned them both in to vampires committed suicide in hopes that they could get along if she wasn’t around for them to fight after. Of course, they just blamed each other. They are now back at that place they were centuries ago, except this time if they kill each other they won’t go on living in any form. As Stefan is so much weaker than Damon now, we realize that we may have to say goodbye to the two characters we felt for the most. Read the full review.

The Vampire Diaries: Dark Reunion The Vampire Diaries: Dark Reunion

Written By: L.J. Smith
Grade: B-

Dark Reunion is the last chapter in the original series of The Vampire Diaries. This book was written much later than the first three. The series was originally meant to be a trilogy and in some ways I would have liked to see it end with The Fury. It was a clean cut ending and while tragic, it served as a good ending to the story, leaving no loose ends behind. Read the full review.

The Vampire Diaries: The Return: NightfallThe Vampire Diaries: The Return: Nightfall

Written By: L.J. Smith
Grade: A-

Nightfall marks the start of a new chapter in The Vampire Diaries series. The Return is a sort of sub-series. This is the start of a new trilogy with the same characters, but a new focus in the story: Elena, the light beauty and  her relationship with the powerful vampire of darkness, Damon. Stefan, the caring and more morally conscious vampire actually isn’t even in majority of the book. Nightfall was written over 15 years after the first book and there are obvious differences in both Smith’s growth as well as her characters. The style is similar, but more adult, dark, and everything is far more layered and complex. Read the full review.

The Vampire Diaries: The Vampire Diaries Shadow SoulsThe Return: Shadow Souls

Written By: L.J. Smith
Grade: C+

L.J. Smith certainly has gone a different direction with “The Return”, the sub-series of the Vampire Diaries. Shadow Souls marks the second book and most recent addition to the Vampire Diaries. That being said the bulk of it doesn’t really feel like a Vampire Diaries book. We are only very briefly in the supernatural magnetic small town of Fell’s Church, Virginia. For the first 200 pages very few of our characters are together, in the same place at the same time. The vampire element isn’t nearly as central as it has been in the past. It mostly lies in Damon and Elena’s undeniable attraction that she at long last gives in to. Read the full review.

Vampire Academy: Blood Promise Blood Promise

Written By: Richelle Mead
Grade: A+

The highly awaited sequel in the Vampire Academy series, Blood Promise, has been well worth the wait. This series just keeps on getting better and Blood Promise doesn’t hold anything back. It takes us in to another world than we are used to. Most of the book is set in Russia , but more importantly it is how close our heroine brushes with death and how the lines of love and monstrosity blur her vision. Yet we are still able to visit parts of that old world, although it’s different, distant, and troubling both for those that inhabit it and those that are so far away from it. Read the full review.

Vampire Academy: Spirit BoundVampire Academy: Spirit Bound

Written By: Richelle Mead
Grade: B+

Two great Vampire Academy novels in one year; Richelle Mead is on a roll. As the series go along, it just gets better. I’m really not sure which is my favorite of the series, but the newest addition, Spirit Bound, certainly adds to the intrigue that the series has already built. There’s plenty of action and enticing characters, including our fierce protagonist, Rose, and her truly undying love. Read Full Review.

The Forbidden GameThe Forbidden Game: The Hunter

Written By: L.J. Smith
Grade: B

The Forbidden Game is another popular series by The Vampire Diaries author, L.J. Smith. I have to say it took me awhile to get in to The Hunter, the first novel in the series. The first 50 pages I was mostly disinterested, but wanted to give the book a chance. The biggest issue that held the beginning back were the characters. I didn’t dislike any of them, but most of them seemed kind of bland at first glance. I wasn’t sure if I really felt for them or could experience the story through their eyes the way I should. Once it got in to the game itself and the supernatural element kicked in, it became much more intriguing and exciting. Read Full Review.

Angel of VengeanceAngel of Vengeance

Written By: Trevor O. Munson
Grade: B+

Angel of Vengeance is the novel that inspired the TV show, Moonlight, which has been unpublished until now. I have not seen the show, but just based on how the author talks about the two, it seems that the novel is the grittier, more uncompromised version of the story. It makes sense since this is the original. Things were romanticized a bit more for the television audience. With Angel of Vengeance we are given a vampire hard boiled noir tale of addiction, seduction, and deceptions, just to name a few of the compelling components that keeps this story going at a fast pace and keeps you interested every step of the way. Read the full review.

The Strain The Strain

Written By: Guillermo Del Toro, Chuck Hogan
Grade: C-

The Strain is a vampire novel brought to us by the collaborative efforts of director/producer, Guillermo Del Toro and thriller author, Chuck Hogan. It seems that Del Toro set up the basic idea and possibly certain set ups in the story while Hogan composed the bulk of the work. The book seems to be void of Del Toro’s touch of artistry and meaning even if his basic idea of a vampire apocalypse through an airplane of the infected was promising. Read the full review.

Kelsey Zukowski is a horror actress/ writer and internationally published alternative model who gravitates towards dark, complex material full of thematic exploration.

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