Friday, July 23, 2010

Hop & Follow Fridays!

This is a weekly event hosted by Jen at Crazy For Books. It's a chance to discover new blogs and to garner new readers for your blog as well.
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Technically, I'm not reading anything as I'm preparing to visit my parents this weekend. However, I did just finish Poison Study by Maria V Snyder. It's a fantasy book about a girl who is given the opportunity to have a second chance at life after being sentenced to death for killing General Brazell's son. Her new life? Being the Commander's food taster. Not the most fabulous job around, but Yelena is happy to have avoided the noose - but not everyone is as happy about her new-found freedom.

To join Parajunkee's new feature and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:

1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { } and any one else you want to follow on the list.
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3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments.
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Review: Poison Study, by Maria V Snyder

Poison Study (Study, Book 1)
by Maria V. Snyder
Paperback, 416 pages
Published by Luna
Released on March 1, 2007 (1st: 2004)
· isbn: 0778324338
· isbn13: 9780778324331

Choose: A quick death and hell or slow poison and hell.
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.
Read the first chapter of Poison Study here.

This book for me was very bittersweet. Bitter in the way that it took me a few chapters to actually get into the story. I don't think it was the author's fault, as there definitely was some action and the writing is really good - I blame my recent interest in paranormals that take place in modern-day times. The sweet part to this was, once I did get into the reading, I absolutely couldn't get enough of it!

I think the thing that I enjoyed the most was the author's no-holds-barred portrayal of Yelena's life, including the events that led up to her imprisonment and her present as a food taster. She is smart, a fast-learner, and definitely talented, yet she is still out-smarted and does tend to get beat up despite her training. So, no Mary-Sue here ... which I congratulate the author on. So many times, you read books where a girl may not be at her potential, but suddenly she's the smartest person in the room that is wanted by everyone and can beat anyone's tail up. This is NOT the case with Yelena. While she may be wanted by many of the characters, not all of it is for the good. Just the opposite.

There were many parts of this book that was great. I think the favored character for me would be Valek, who's loyalty is something that we don't see a lot of in books or in real life. Plus, he's talented in words and in action. While the food tasting part wasn't one of my favorites, it was descriptive and well researched. The fight training and fighting, as well as Yelena's mission as a fugitive was some of the best parts - and these parts also introduced me to some of my favorite characters. I think the part that stood out the most for me was the gory details that led up to Yelena's imprisonment. Nothing was censored and I applaud the author. I also applaud her on the twists in the plot that completely blind-sided me once I figured them out.

Although it was a little difficult to get into the story at first, the time of struggling was rewarded with a well-scripted story full of action, three-dimensional characters, and plot twists that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to find out what happens next. Poison Study is an excellent beginning to a trilogy that holds a promising premise.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

by Alex Flinn
Released on February 8, 2011

Johnny works after school in a shoe repair shop in a swanky hotel in Miami. He loves shoes and is talented; he even aspires to be the next Manolo Blahnik. But the real reason that he is working so hard is because his dad left when he was a baby and he needs to help his mom pay the bills. At least he has his friend, Meg, who works at the hotel coffee shop, to keep him company.

When beautiful Princess Victoriana comes to stay at the hotel, Johnny is thrilled when Victoriana invites him to her suite. There she tells him that her brother has been turned into a frog, and that she needs his help finding him in the Florida Keys. Johnny thinks she is crazy and does not believe her, until she gives him a magical cloak that immediately transports him to another location. Armed with the cloak and a magical earpiece that can help him talk to other transformed humans Johnny sets out to save the Prince ...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays!

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading.

· Grab your current read.
· Open to a random page.
· Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
· BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
· Share the author and title, too, so that the other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

Kiss of Death, by Rachel Caine
p. 93

He laughed. "Right." He looked at Claire, who leaned her own suitcase against the wall and looked around. "So, I guess this is good night?"

"Guess so," she said. "Um, unless you guys want to watch movies?"

"I'll bring the chips."

7 ARC Giveaway from Babbling Flow!

See the books above? That's just a teaser (a little less than a half) of the ARCs that are available in Sara @ Babbling Flow's Summer Saradise 7 ARC Giveaway to celebrate the middle of the summer! Other titles include Firelight, Halo, Paranormalcy, and Personal Demons! This is definitely a squee!-worthy contest! For your chance to win these great titles, head over to Sara's blog and fill out the form. Contest ends August 6th!

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Chance To Win Torment (ARC)!

Carly at Writing From The Tub is tugging at my heartstrings this week by offering up an ARC of Torment, the sequel to Fallen, by Lauren Kate. While I would love, love, love to hoard this little contest all to myself ... it's only fair that I give others the opportunity to win as well. After all, I'm not the only one to love this book. So, here's your chance! Head on over to Carly's blog post, fill out the form, and spread the word all over the blogosphere about this amazing giveaway!

CSN Review: Coming Soon!

As you know, the primary reason for me to start this blog was to talk about books and give my reviews of them. I think I can safely say that it's expanded to a little more than that. Promotions - especially when it comes to book-related things. I promote books a lot because that is my number one love. I should also promote other things that help with books. What more is there to books? Well, how about lighting? And where do you put the books? There are bookcases, shelves .. maybe even on a table? You need a light to read. Do you take books with you when your leave your home? What do you carry them in? And where do you read your books when you ARE at home: a comfy chair, a bed, a place on the floor ... maybe a hammock outside? Things like this should also be promoted and reviewed.

I thought about all of this when Sean from CSN Stores contacted me and asked if I would like to do a review for them. Looking over their site, I'm a little overwhelmed by all of the things that they provide, as well as free shipping on most of their items. So, I'm happy to say that I will be reviewing a product for them and I will have a post up as soon as possible. Until then, why don't you check out all that CSN has to offer you?

Review: Beastly, by Alex Flinn

by Alex Flinn
Paperback, 336 pages
Published by HarperTeen
December 29, 2009 (1st: October 1, 2007)

· isbn: 0060874163
· isbn13: 9780060874162

I am a beast. A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog, but a horrible new creature who walks upright – a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll stay this way forever – ruined – unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and a perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly beastly.

Beastly is a modern day re-telling of the classic fairytale, Beauty and the Beast. We're introduced to our 'beast', Kyle Kingsbury, immediately as he is our narrator in the story. With the story being in first person POV, we get to see Kyle Kingsbury for who he truly is. He knows he's rich, attractive, and popular, but every now and then we get a glimpse of someone with an actual conscience - even if he does choose to ignore the kind and compassionate part of himself. In choosing to ignore this and live up to his elitist reputation, he makes a witch mad who puts a spell on him that turns him into a beast, and she gives him two years to find someone to truly love him to break the spell. She also gives him one more gift, a mirror that allows him to see what others are up to. The mirror becomes his obsession, along with his greenhouse and roses that he starts to take up some of his time in his new solitary apartment that his dad hid him in with his maid Magda and his blind tutor, Will. During his time alone when he's looking in the mirror, Kyle starts watching a classmate from his 'old life', Lindy, who turns into our 'beauty' of the story - even though Kyle just saw her as plain and nothing special before. A run-in with Lindy's drug-addicted father gives him the opportunity to have Lindy come live with him in hopes that she will fall in love with him.

This story was delightful. Through Kyle's perspective, you can really see him grow and mature as a character. Through his time alone and his mirror, he sees how his friends truly are and realizes that maybe his life wasn't as great as he thought. I really liked Kendra and how, even though she was the one who put the spell on Kyle, she did sympathize and wanted to see him change. The twist with the relationship between Kendra and Magda was definitely a surprise! I guess the only complaint that I would have would be that we really don't get to see Lindy until almost half-way through the story. However, I can understand *why* this was the case, as the author did need to show some actual growth and change in Kyle before the two could be together.

With a fresh cast of characters, some new plot twists and wonderful character growth, Beastly is one of the best re-tellings I have read in quite some time. Even with its own originality, Beastly manages to keep the main themes of the classic tale and captures the romance between the beauty and the beast brilliantly.
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