Magic Study

Magic Study (Study, #2)

Author: Maria V Snyder
Series: Study #2
Publication Date: October 1, 2006
Source: Purchased

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With her greatest enemy dead, and on her way to be reunited with the family she'd been stolen from long ago, Yelena should be pleased. But though she has gained her freedom, she can't help feeling isolated in Sitia. Her Ixian background has changed her in many ways—and her newfound friends and relatives don't think it's for the better....
Despite the turmoil, she's eager to start her magic training—especially as she's been given one year to harness her power or be put to death. But her plans take a radical turn when she becomes involved with a plot to reclaim Ixia's throne for a lost prince—and gets entangled in powerful rivalries with her fellow magicians.
If that wasn't bad enough, it appears her brother would love to see her dead. Luckily, Yelena has some old friends to help her with all her new enemies...

This book was quite different from Poison Study. Yelena is in her home land and is attempting to learn to control her magic - the whole feel of the book is different from the first. Since the book takes place in Sitia, the world building from book 1 is essentially gone.

The plot didn't feel as riveting and I found myself shaking my head as the protagonist made foolish decisions. Yes, she was always true to her character by consistently being brave and caring for other, but she was quite foolish.

In this book we are introduced to a number of new characters. Unfortunately, I didn't really care for any of them. None of them felt as well developed to me as the characters in the first book. I also felt like Valek has changed a bit - I understand that his relationship with Yelena developed and so naturally the way he interacts with her would be different but he just seemed far too different to me.

It was an OK read and I'll continue the series simply because I purchased the bundle.

Assassin Study

Assassin Study (Study, #1.5)

Author: Maria V Snyder
Series: Study #1.5
Publication Date: March 1, 2008
Source: Purchased

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Summary from Goodreads: Yelena, the heroine of Maria V. Snyder's stunning debut novel Poison Study, is on her way to her ancestral homeland of Sitia to be reunited with her family and to learn more about her magical powers. An order of execution hangs over her head should she ever return to Ixia. But her true love, Valek, quickly learns that an assassin has taken it upon himself to make sure Yelena doesn't reach her destination.
As Ixia's chief of security, and a highly skilled assassin himself, can Valek track down the killer in time to save Yelena's life?

This short story is told from Valek's perspective, but it doesn't really add to the series - it is straight forward and there is no character development. In terms of timing the novella takes place right in between books 1 and 2, however it seemed kind of pointless. The quality of the writing was not nearly as good as Poison Study. Honestly, it was a bit of a let down.

Important Note: After looking at the Author's website (where you can read this short story for FREE, it is apparent that the reader's were given the opportunity to vote on Valek's actions, which might explain some of the problem with the character development.

Poison Study

Poison Study (Study, #1)

Author: Maria V Snyder
Series: Study #1
Publication Date: October 1, 2005
Source: Purchased

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Summary from Goodreads: Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison...About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.
And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.
As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear...

This book has been on my Goodreads TBR shelf since my first day on the site in 2012! Since I have been in a reading/blogging slump, I went into this book without reading the summary, so I didn't exactly remember what I was in for.

At first I thought the book had a clear cut plot - Yelena is the Commader's new food taster. I had no idea that the book would flesh out in so many directions: magic, political elements and a subplot. I was pleasantly surprised and loved every minute.

I liked Yelena - she is strong and smart, but not overly cocky. I particularly liked her survival instinct and her personal growth. Her back story was interesting and I really liked the way it revealed to the reader. The book is told from Yelena's perspective which I think helped me connect to her so instantaneously.

Valek, is easily on of my favorite male characters. He is deep, reserved, and dedicated. I loved Rand and felt like he was exactly what I expected in a chef and D was exactly what I expected for a seamstress. The Commander surprised me - I am still not sure if we truly know him yet.

The world building was phenomenal. I felt like I was given information as it was needed for the story - there were NO info dumps. Considering the fact that this book was more complex than I initially thought, the world building was really well done.

The romance was well done, initially not obvious and once it was clear it was a slow build. The plot was pretty thick and the multiple layers to the story really kept me guessing.


Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)

Author: Susan Dennard
Series: Witchlands #1
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Source: Purchased
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Summary from Goodreads: In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.
Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.
Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she's a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden - lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult's true powers are hidden even from herself.
In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls' heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

Witch books are typically hit or miss for me; I am happy to say that Truthwitch was a hit. This book started out exciting and really held my interest. It was one of those books that made me look forward to going to bed early just so I could read it. The world building was great, I could easily envision where we were. I did struggle a teeny tiny bit with understanding some of the terms and the magic system, but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book.

I LOVED the characters! They are extremely well done, not only the main characters and secondary characters, but even the supporting characters. I felt like they were real people with real personalities. I also loved seeing the growth of certain characters – this felt genuine, like they are still themselves but have grown into better versions of themselves.

The relationships in this book are probably my favorite. I mean it’s a book about Threadsisters (which I like to think of as the best friends that are as close as sisters and even sort of soul mates). I LOVE LOVE LOVE that this book focused on a positive female friendship – it was beautiful. There are also Threadbrothers – and I loved seeing just how deep this thread-person bond was. There was some romance, I personally loved seeing the power of heartthreads with Ryber and Kullen. I am definitely looking forward to the development of a certain romance in the second book.

Typical to fantasy books, there is an epic journey with lots of action. I absolutely loved it! This was the perfect dose of the thrill when you ride a rollercoaster and edge of your seat suspense in a movie. It was perfection. There is a dash of political turmoil too. 

This book was everything I love about a good book and I can't wait for Windwitch!

Where's Emily?

Hi Everyone,

You may have noticed that things has slowed down significantly around here. Well - life happens and things just haven't slowed down for me. Work has been busy and family obligations have taken up lots of my time. I've also fond myself in a bit of a reading slump -  just don't have the interest in reading the way I used to. So, I am riding the waves right now. Reading when I can, blogging when the desire hits. I'm sorry, I've neglected my readers, but I appreciate your understanding. I have no idea how often I'll be blogging, but I am definitely not quitting.

See you around! 

Guest of the Month #3

Have you ever wished you knew more bloggers? Do you want to have the chance to guest post on other people’s blogs? Would you love to have a break and have a post written for you? You are in the right place!

What is Guest of the Month club?Guest of the month club is a monthly opportunity to collaborate with different bloggers! Every month you will be paired with a different blogger. You will each plan a guest post for the other’s blog (topic suggestions will be provided every month!). Then all of the club members will post on the same day of the month to make blog hopping easier. This event is hosted and organized by Emily @ Emily Reads Everything.

This Month's Guest is Cyra from Rattle the Pages

Beyond the Blog: Top 5 Books I Want to Read in 2016

Hello everyone! I’m Cyra (Sear-ah) from Rattle the Pages! I’m happy to be hosted today by Emily for the Guest of the Month Club! Today I’m going to be talking about the top 5 books I can’t wait to read in 2016!

First of all, this topic really isn’t fair because there are SO many amazing books coming out this year, I don’t know how I’m supposed to pick just five! So I cheated a little bit!

First, here are the top five books that I want to read this year that are NOT debuts!

  1. The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson - I absolutely adored The Kiss of Deception! I really liked The Heart of Betrayal as well! After the ending of HOB, I think that things were as bleak as they could possibly be for Lia and things can literally only go up from there. I can’t wait for this one!
  2. Remembrance by Meg Cabot - I was SO excited when I heard about this book! I used to have EVERYTHING by Meg Cabot, but when I was running out of bookshelf space, I gave them to the used bookstore. So I can’t even reread this series in anticipation of this book! I need to get these books again because these were my absolute favorite of her books! Even if I can’t get them soon, I heard that this one can be read as a standalone so that’s awesome!
  3. Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard - After that HEARTBREAKING betrayal that SUNK MY SHIP TO THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN, I need to know what happens next. I am SO excited for this book!
  4. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas - I loved A Court of Thorns and Roses. I loved Feyre and Tamlin. I’m excited to read this book, but also scared because if there’s going to be a love triangle and Rhysand is one leg of it, this is quickly going to become a book that I really don’t care for. I HATED Rhysand!
  5. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys - I love WWII historical fiction! This one sounds like it’s gonna be really sad, but really good! I can’t wait to dive into this one!
Now for top five debuts that I want to read this year!

  1. Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie - I have heard nothing but good things about this one and fantasy is my favorite genre. So I think that this one will definitely be a hit with me!
  2. Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan - I don’t think that this is the author’s general debut, but I think it’s her YA debut. Not sure if that’s right or not, but that cover is literally the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever been fortunate enough to lay my eyes on.
  3. The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye - This one just sounds really good. I just really want it. I don’t even really have a reason except that it sounds fantastic.
  4. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi - This one sounds so good! The idea of a fantasy inspired by Indian Mythology really excites me! 
  5. After the Woods by Kim Savage - The summary of this book reminds me of an episode of a crime drama like Criminal Minds or something! Crime dramas are my favorite so I’m really excited for this one!
Those are just a few of the many, many books that I am anxiously awaiting this year. I need them all like, yesterday!!

Poison Tour

Poison by Lan Chan
(Wind Dancer #1)
Publication date: September 1st 2015
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
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Synopsis: Since the night her mother was murdered, sixteen-year-old Rory Gray has known one truth: There are no good Seeders.
In post-apocalyptic Australia, the scientists known as Seeders have built a Citadel surrounded by food-producing regions and populated with refugees from the wars and famine. To maintain their control, the Seeders poisoned the land and outlawed the saving of seeds.
It’s been six years since Rory graced the Seeders’ circus stage as the Wind Dancer and still the scars on her body haven’t healed. Even worse are the scars on her heart, left by a Seeder boy who promised to protect her.
Now the Seeders are withholding supplies from Rory’s region for perceived disobedience. Utilising the Wanderer knowledge she received from her mother, Rory must journey to the Citadel through uninhabitable terrain to plead for mercy.
However, the Citadel isn’t as Rory remembered. The chief plant geneticist is dying and rumours fly that the store of viable seed is dwindling. The Seeders are desperate to find a seed bank they believe Rory can locate, and they will stop at nothing to get it.
To defy the Seeders means death. But Rory has been close to death before–this time she’s learned the value of poison.
Recommended for fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, strong protagonists, minority characters, circuses and nature!

Lan Chan is a writer, gardener and professional procrastinator based in Melbourne, Australia. She is still waiting for her super powers to manifest but until then she writes young adult novels featuring strong female protagonists, minority characters and has a particular interest in dystopias and urban fantasy. Lan’s debut novel POISON, the first in her WIND DANCER series is due for release in September 2015.
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This is a unique dystopian, I loved that the focus was on seeds and genetic modifications to plants. I also really liked that it was set in Australia.

This book takes off at a fast pace that does not let up. There were a few graphic/violent scenes that were a bit much for me. While the plot moved at an exiting pace, there were times when I felt like Aurora lost her focus on her journey. But there were plenty of plot twists that kept me on my toes. The world building was OK, but could have used more details. A few details seemed unrelated, but later in the book they came together. I felt like this could have been executed a little better. Unfortunately, the book lacked character development. I did, however like that there was not a heavy focus on romance. I was a little let down by the ending because the story felt unfinished. All that being said, I did enjoy reading the book, it was exciting and I am really interested in reading the next book in the series.

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