Chosen by Kiersten White

Summary:
Nina continues to learn how to use her slayer powers against enemies old and new in this second novel in the New York Times bestselling series from Kiersten White, set in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Now that Nina has turned the Watcher’s Castle into a utopia for hurt and lonely demons, she’s still waiting for the utopia part to kick in. With her sister Artemis gone and only a few people remaining at the castle—including her still-distant mother—Nina has her hands full. Plus, though she gained back her Slayer powers from Leo, they’re not feeling quite right after being held by the seriously evil succubus Eve, a.k.a. fake Watcher’s Council member and Leo’s mom.
And while Nina is dealing with the darkness inside, there’s also a new threat on the outside, portended by an odd triangle symbol that seems to be popping up everywhere, in connection with Sean’s demon drug ring as well as someone a bit closer to home. Because one near-apocalypse just isn’t enough, right?
The darkness always finds you. And once again, it’s coming for the Slayer.
Review:Chosen (Slayer, #2)
Chosen
is the sequel to Slayer. It’s White’s continuation of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer world. You can find my review for the first book here. I was never huge into the Buffy show, but I’m a sucker for vampire books. I also really enjoy White’s books and this series is no different.
Nina is dealing with a lot when this book opens. Her sister has left, the guy she had a crush on died, and life at the Watcher’s Castle has changed. They have changed their mission of killing demons indiscriminately and instead have been working on making the castle a sanctuary. Now, I feel like that’s all I can say about the plot so that I don’t spoil things.
Nina is struggling emotionally, but also physically because of her Slayer abilities. Much of this book was Nina trying to internally work through her emotions and the things she went through in the first book. I think Nina showed a lot of growth by the end of this book. I don’t know how to get into it without giving anything away. But she doesn’t always make the best choices, she’s reckless, and sometimes that leads to her learning things that will hurt her. But she grows from that and I really liked that.
Overall, this was a fun story, but it also covered important things, like mental health and how family relationships can change. I definitely wanted to watch Buffy again after reading this book. I really enjoyed all the lore and fantasy elements (like the demons). The friendships were also enjoyable. There were a few things that I predicted before they were revealed, but that didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the story.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Thoughts on How Vampire Novels Never Died

Hi, lovelies! Today I want to talk about books with vampires. We all know that books like Twilight and Vampire Academy started a trend of young adult books about vampires becoming extremely popular. People on the bookish internet are always talking about how we need to bring vampire books back. But the question I had (which prompted this post) is: bring them back from where? I firmly believe that vampire novels never died. There have been so many great ones since Twilight and some of those published in the early 2000s still hold up today. But there are also new vampire novels, for both adults and young adults, and some are slated to be published this year. So, today I’m here to share with you some of the more recent (by recent I’m going with the last ten years) and upcoming vampire stories. I have some that I’ve read, some that I want to read, and some that have yet to be published.

Vampire Stories I’ve Read and Recommend

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa (2012)
This one is another vampire dystopian novel. But in this one, the cities are controlled by vampires. It’s a fascinating story about a girl that hates vampires, until one night, she becomes one. Kagawa is a long-time favorite author of mine and her vampire series is one of the more interesting ones.

A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest (2012)
I absolutely devoured this series when I found it on Kindle Unlimited. This is one of those series that just went on for so long that things got incredibly weird. But I continued to devour these books. They’re fast reads, with compelling plots and interesting characters.

Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (2013)
Dystopian books are my favorite. They have been for a long time. So, this story where vampires are known to the world and segregated into their own cities called ‘Coldtowns’ was such an interesting story. I loved how this world was built and how fast paced the story was. It was a really interesting twist on the more traditional vampire stories.

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (2016)
While this isn’t only a vampire novel, there are lots of other paranormal people in this series. There are vampires and I love them all.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (2017)
This is technically the second book in a series, but it can be read as a standalone. This is one of my favorites in the series. Aside from my love for the Wayward Children, the vampire aspects of this story are both terrifying and appealing. I highly recommend this one if you like darker stories.

Hotbloods by Bella Forrest (2017)
This is another pretty bizarre series. It somehow is paranormal and science fiction at the same time. There are vampires, but it’s also about other planets. I don’t think I ended up finishing this series, but I definitely want to.

Slayer by Kiersten White (2019)
More from the Buffyverse? I was never a super fan. But I did really enjoy this continuation of that world. I liked the twin sisters. I liked the mythology of the world. I think this was a really fun way of looking into a world that many are familiar with.

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout (2020)
This is one of my new favorite series. I am eagerly anticipating the third book in this series (which you will see named later in this post). I fell so quickly in love with these characters and the world they live in. Poppy is such an interesting character to follow and the romance is absolute perfection.

The Fell of the Dark by Caleb Roehrig (2020)
I borrowed this one randomly from my local library and I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed it and how little I’ve seen people talking about it. I hear “why don’t we bring vampire stories back” so often, which is such a shock when there’s gems like this book out there. It’s queer. It’s historical. It’s awkward. It’s complete perfection and I need everyone to read it now.

The Southern Book Clubs Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix (2020)
This was a book club read for me. I read this as one of my first real horror novels. Since then I’ve explored a little more into the genre. This one was a wild ride. It’s dark and a bit gruesome. But I still somehow enjoyed it. The whole time I was reading, I couldn’t quite tell if there was actually a vampire in the story or not (there is).

Crave by Tracy Wolff (2020)
So many people love this book. I thought it was entertaining, but not anything groundbreaking. I don’t know that I’ll ever manage to continue or finish the series. I don’t like using the phrase ‘guilty pleasure’ when I’m talking about reading books, but this book definitely fits the bill. It’s easy to read and entertaining, but it’s a lot like Twilight where tons of people really love the books even though they’re objectively not great books.

Vampire Stories Still on my TBR

Dark Lover by J.R. Ward (2005)
Glass Houses by Rachel Caine (2006)
The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (2019)
Vampires Never Get Old: Tales With Fresh Bite edited by Natalie C. Parker & Zoraida Cordova
Metallic Red by Jennifer Ann Shore (2020)
Love Bites by Ry Herman (2020)
The Afterlife of the Party by Marlene Perez (2021)

Vampire Stories on my Anticipated Releases List

Vampire Hearts and Other Dead Things by Margie Fuston (2021)
A Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout (2021)
Certain Dark Things by Silvia Morena-Garcia (2021)
The Coldest Touch by Isabel Sterling (2021)

There you have it. These are some vampire books I’ve read and enjoyed, some that I want to read, and some that are soon to be published. Hopefully, after this list, some of you reading this will agree with me when I say that vampire novels never died. They are still here in creative and unique ways, in stories that are compelling and full of characters waiting to be loved. This is also by no means an extensive list. These are just the ones personally on my list. So, there are many more vampire stories out there. What’s your favorite book with vampires?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

GoodReads Summary:
Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.
Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.
Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.
As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…
But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.
One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.
Slayer (Slayer, #1)Review:
I’ve really enjoyed most of White’s books, but I was never a huge Buffy fangirl. I’ve watched and liked it well enough, but I’m not wild for it like some people are. So, I wasn’t super excited about this book when it was released like some people were. I definitely wanted to read it (obviously, because I bought it). I actually really enjoyed this book.
The story follows Nina. She’s training to be a medic for the Watchers. The supernatural world isn’t what it once was. Buffy has done something that has eliminated magic, and also changed the way that Slayers come into their power. There’s a rift between the Slayers and the Watchers, so when Nina realizes that she is the last Slayer that will ever be chosen, she really struggles with it. Nina’s dad was Buffy’s first Watcher. He died, and Nina really holds a grudge against Buffy for it. She doesn’t particularly care for any of the Slayers. So, when she learns that she is one, she has some really mixed feelings. She’s impressed and excited about her new abilities, but she doesn’t want to be a Slayer.
Eventually, Nina realizes that it isn’t about what she wants. It’s about what she’s supposed to do. There are complications in the form of Nina’s relationships. Her mother has been trying to keep Nina from realizing that she’s a potential Slayer for Nina’s entire life. Nina’s twin, Artemis, is also a complication because they’ve always been close but Artemis has always been the one to look out for Nina and protect her. But Nina doesn’t need protection anymore and this changes their relationship dynamic.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. There were really interesting and complicated relationships. There were demons and monsters. There were teenagers doing their best to save the world. And there were also some moments where we got to see Buffy. I sort of hope she makes an appearance in the second book, even if it’s just for a minute. I loved the action, but most of all, I loved the characters and their friendships.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.