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Classy Cat Books

Liza Barrett: I find that I spend most of my time staring at numbers: as a full-time cost estimator and a part-time statistics graduate student, I can usually be found staring at a spreadsheet or some other statistical software, and I tend to get very bogged-down in data sets or lost in technical presentations about a part(s) I’m trying to price. Unfortunately, when I’m involved in a project, I tend to fixate on it. I learned a long time ago that if I want to have some semblance of a personal life away from work and school, I need to find something else to think about. For me, that comes in the form of reading and writing. Through my two blogs, Classy Cat Books, and The Briar Patch, I have been able to accomplish both. Here at Classy Cat Books, I post “reviews” about the books I’ve been reading. Some books I actually read, and some I listen to as an audiobook (I used to hate audiobooks, and then I had a 40-minute drive one-way at least once a week and decided that they were pretty awesome—not to mention chores go faster that way). I try really hard to avoid spoilers in my posts. It’s my hope that anyone could read my posts and learn what I think the highlights and shortfalls of the book were without having read it already. I will provide a rating and will usually rant about what bothered me or rave about what I thought was amazing. Most importantly, I will be keeping my author-hat on. Typically, I’m looking to see what works for me as a reader so that I can bring it back to my own writing. I started Classy Cat Books so I could take a critical eye to my own skill as a writer—this is an outlet for me to think critically about things I see getting publish that I have or don’t have in my own stories, and I try to work on what I complain about. That said, if you’ve read the book being reviewed and would like to offer more insight—what did you like? what didn’t you like?—please leave a comment! If it’s your first comment, I will have to review and approve, but after that you’ll be on my ‘approved’ list already. Also, if you’d like to read my writing and see if you can spot where my comments about my own mistakes come up, head on over to The Briar Patch, where I post every Thursday and my good friend, R. A. Stark posts every Monday. All feedback is appreciated! (By the way, the name of the blog, Classy Cat Books, comes from the fact that I have two lovely cats, Tux and Oli, who spend a good deal of time sitting on my bookshelves)

Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3) by Richelle Mead

Shadow Kiss - Richelle Mead

Read this review and more at Classy Cat Books.


Rating: 4/5


Man, I was not prepared for that when I started this book. I need to stop reading Richelle Mead at certain times of the month, if you catch my drift. She always manages a hell of an emotional roller coaster. Though not as intense as the Georgina Kincaid series was (for me at least), I’m still always impressed. Whenever I pick up one of Mead’s books, I walk away from it feeling like I’ve just accomplished something—that warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from finishing a good book. But it’s also tinged with a heavy dose of melancholy because I feel so deeply for the characters in the novel.


Even more impressive is the fact that I don’t like Rose, and I still feel this deep of an emotional connection with her. And for some reason, even though I dislike her for most of the novel, I still always end up loving her by the end. This is officially becoming a trend in this series.


That emotion is something that makes being a good writer so hard. How do you elicit such a strong reaction from your reader simply by the words you put on the paper? A lot of it has to do with strength of character, but as I mentioned, I don’t actually like Rose, not yet anyway. This is evidence that it’s much more about believability. You have to make your readers believe in the characters, believe in the world they live in, and believe in the motivations of the entire plot. Without belief in all of those aspects, a tragic scene isn’t really all that moving. Tragedy alone does not an emotional scene make. Otherwise the world would be full of phenomenal writers.


I do think that this book will be a turning point in the series for me. I’ve been on the edge before with this series — I didn’t like the first book much at all, the second left me feeling, well, like there was potential but it hadn’t been realized yet. But not only is a turning point in Rose’s life, but the macro plot of the series has taken us deeper, and the world now has more definition than ever before. The tension between the Strigoi and Moroi seems more real now, and the concepts of these kinds of vampires is growing on me. Some of the supporting characters have gained new depths for me, and some of the characters that had been mentioned in the background but never really presented are finally real. I had a similar trend with the Georgina Kincaid series, which I now rank as one of my favorite overall series ever. Needless to say, I have high hopes for the rest of these books.