Monthly Archives: November 2012

Degrees of Wrong

Degrees of Wrong

Degrees of Wrong by Anna Scarlett

Genre: Romance, Science-fiction, Adult

Published: August 28th 2012 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

This time, the straight-and-narrow path could be the road to ruin. Dr. Elyse Morgan’s mission: find the cure to the HTN4 virus. The compensation, courtesy of the United Nations: a lab stocked with hi-tech goodies, limitless resources and enough chocolate to make her rear look like a cellulite farm. Bonus: she gets to live.

Rescued (kidnapped) and secreted (imprisoned) on an undersea warship, Elyse adjusts to her assumed identity as a cadet with the finesse of a toeless ballerina. Her sulfuric temper and blatant insubordination capture the unwanted attention of the ship’s captain, the gorgeous, infuriating, engaged Nicoli Marek.

Elyse would rather perform her own autopsy than become the other woman, but Nicoli—who’s as full of himself as he is of secrets—regards his impending marriage as a mere political transaction. And Elyse as fair game.

As Elyse’s suspicions about the UN’s true agenda mount along with her attraction to the relentless, chronically shirtless captain, she must choose between the murky path to everything she’s ever wanted, or the squeaky-clean path of self-sacrifice—which could mean taking the secrets of the virus with her to the grave.

My Review:

Honestly, my first impression of the cover—which  honestly is my selling point of a novel; fickle I know—is that this book was about mermaids or underwater creatures. Truthfully, it’s pretty far from the truth, we’re set in a world that’s riddled with secrets and corruption and a new disease released by a terrorist group that is striking down the population. However, I was so glad to find all this along with a romance that is scorching, but sadly seemingly doomed from the start. Our protagonist is wily, determined and intelligent and to throw into the mix we have the shirtless smooth captain who ties you up in riddles. I loved it!

HTN4 is a virus strain that’s a more modern version of the ‘Black Plague’ and is striking down the population quickly and it’s deadly. Not only that, but a terrorist group released this virus and they’re using it as a biological weapon to up the intensity. The novel clearly drags in politics in the future setting of 2053 with the UN needing to find a cure, and the terrorist group closely on their heels. In the middle of this all, we have our protagonist Elyse and she certainly has a lot of problems to deal with. However, she’s not about to break so easily, but she gives us some entertainment along the way.

“This must be the Information Extraction Room. Pushing back fear, I examined my surroundings, searched for the torture devices. The concrete walls were a stark, institutional white. No tools or straps hung from the ceiling, no eerie hooks protruded from anywhere. Of course, I couldn’t see behind me—maybe everything was placed out of sight, in case they could get me to talk without torture. I had, after all, confirmed my name without so much as a paper-rock-scissors.”

Elyse from the moment I met her had wrapped herself around my heart and refused to let go because she was such a character. She’s not the perfect Mary-Sue nor the moulded cliché protagonist for the romance genre, she had an individual personality to her. She’s clearly highly intelligent and her efficient planning and work ethic really push the novel in multiple directions quickly to keep our attention engaged. She also has the most unhealthy addiction to chocolate—a quirky characteristic that really rounds her character. Ultimately her relationship with the other characters of the novel is what makes her truly entertaining because she maintains this professional distance, but then slowly and not always with her consent they slide under her skin and into her system. It really builds the novel up the different directions the story gets drawn out into and the plethora of secondary characters behind her and The Captain really sustain an entertaining romance read.

“Captain Marek made me forget my name by catching me when I fell—at a time when I was emotional, vulnerable, kidnapped, for God’s sake. It didn’t mean he could undermine my ability as a doctor. Besides, I didn’t even like the man. He was about as compassionate as the flu. And like the flu, I’d get over him and his feverish touch. Right?”

Elyse comparing a man to the flu really had me. If Captain Marek was my flu, I’d want him all year around, because he certainly makes you hot. He’s an educated, well-versed man of authority who’s bossy, smart-ass and his use of persuasive methods are clearly the way to go with the opposite sex. From the moment he is introduced I was a puddle at his feet. His back story begins to unravel and Elyse’s total ignorance to his background really adds to the novels twists and turns that make it so much more than just a romance. Captain Marek may be a hot body, but he’s also a smart brain. And he makes an impression upon his introduction.

“Instead, my cheek smacked against Captain’s chest, forcing him to wrap his arms around me to hold me  steady. There, pressed against him, I wondered if the dock wouldn’t have been a softer landing. Everything hiding under his shirt was solid, hard, planed. I tried to convince myself that the heart ripping through me was just from embarrassment. But myself didn’t believe it.  Gentler then I expected given the circumstances, he pried me from his chest and peered down at me, his deep brown eyes smoldering in what looked like disbelief.”

Anybody else want a fan? I know I need one. He’s just so serious. However, not everything about him is serious, we see this as the front of him, but then you get to know him and he’s one of those men with two sides. The front he has to show to the world and then who he actually is and seeing this unveil is really sweet.

“Oh!” I said, infuriated anew. I tried to grab the papers from his hand, but he stood and held them over his head. Even jumping, I couldn’t reach them.

“This behaviour is not very becoming, Dr Morgan.” He laughed as I punched him in the gut.”

Two fabulous characters are then added to by the developed, complex plot that draws in the reader from the very first moment with it’s fast pace, and unique ideas. There is so much to uncover and I don’t want to spoil it, but you get a little bit of everything. I think romances, fantasy and science-fiction lovers alike can find something to enjoy from this novel. I found the strengths in the characters and the dynamics and the political correctness of this novel between characters clearly had me smiling at the social structures. I think this book has so much to offer, my only complaint was the ending. It was too soon and rather unexpected. I wanted further development into some of the loose threads the author had about some of the other characters, so I do hope we get a second novel (which I haven’t seen any plans for at this moment) to explore some of the secondary characters.

4 books

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Filed under 2012 Publication, 4 Books, Adult, Anna Scarlett, E-book, Romance, Samhain Publishing, Ltd., Science-Fiction

Waiting on Wednesday (17)

WoW

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This meme highlights some of the books whose releases bloggers are most anticipating this year.

This week I’m hotly anticipating…  *Slight spoilers for the first book*

The Pirate's Wish

The Pirate’s Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke (GR)

After setting out to break the curse that binds them together, the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji find themselves stranded on an enchanted island in the north with nothing but a sword, their wits, and the secret to breaking the curse: complete three impossible tasks. With the help of their friend Marjani and a rather unusual ally, Ananna and Naji make their way south again, seeking what seems to be beyond their reach.
Unfortunately, Naji has enemies from the shadowy world known as the Mists, and Ananna must still face the repercussions of going up against the Pirate Confederation. Together, Naji and Ananna must break the curse, escape their enemies — and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction.
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Top Ten Tuesday (9)

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an weekly meme created and hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week it’s the Top Ten Most Anticipated Books of 2013.

2013

Oooh, this is a really hard week to pick ten books. I think there are so many fabulous books that are coming up in 2013 and lots of books I’ve probably not even heard about yet, so this is hard.

Dance of Shadowsetiquette and espionageEverboundLover at Last

The Pirate's WishThis is What Happy Looks like

Inhumanjulie kagwapaper valentineTaken

 

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Charmeine

1 Charmeine Book CoverCharmeine by Emily Guido

Genre: Paranormal-Romance, Adult

Series: The Light-Bearers Series #1

Published: January 12th 2012 by WordPress

Tabbruis is an extremely attractive Blood-Hunter who has reconciled himself to be alone forever. Over millennia Tabbruis has wandered the Earth alone, aimlessly living through many historical events.

Charleen (aka Charmeine) was found in 1997 as a teenager, unable to remember where she was from or where her family was. She was sent to an orphanage where she met her best friend, Shane. With determination, she works hard and becomes a school teacher. Tabbruis comes to her aid when she is attacked by a Blood-Hunter. Charmeine’s power as a Light-Bearer, one who throws lightning, is triggered when she meets Tabbruis, and it grows exponentially. When they meet, the attraction is immediate, romantic and passionate. They are polar opposites and clash together in a dramatic way.

Will Charmeine and Tabbruis fulfil their destinies? Will they realize their importance in both the Blood-Hunter and Light-Bearer world?

My Review:

An intriguing, unique concept laid before you, a book with a general consensus to be really good, but for me, I just couldn’t connect as much as other people seem to have done. I adored the foundations of the plot and thought that Charmeine and the Light-Bearers series could really go far, but I felt that the little details of the novel weren’t quite there for me. I’m a little picky honestly and this book wasn’t perfect in the way it was written. I found the writing to be rather disjointed for myself and whilst periods of it really drew me in and engaged my attention, other scenes through me out and certain character traits.

 

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Filed under 2012 Publication, 3 Books, Adult, E-book, Emily Guido, Paranormal Romance, WordPress

Waiting on Wednesday (16)

WoW

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This meme highlights some of the books whose releases bloggers are most anticipating this year.

This week I’m hotly anticipating…

Forever

Forever by Jacquelyn Frank (GR)

Expected Publication: May 28th 2013 by Ballantine Books

After being brought back from death, police officer Jackson Waverly receives the shock of his life: he has become host to a Bodywalker, a spirit that is reborn in flesh and blood, and part of a proud, ancient race that uses its extraordinary gifts to battle dark, evil forces. Jackson’s spirit is a powerful one—none other than the Egyptian pharaoh Menes, who longs to reunite with his eternal love, the Egyptian queen Hatshepsut.

While Menes is obsessed with finding the perfect vessel for his queen, Jackson cannot stop thinking about Dr. Marissa Anderson, the gorgeous precinct shrink who keeps pushing him to confront his grief over the loss of his K-9 partner. But what Marissa really arouses most in Jackson is intense desire, which is exactly what Menes is looking for. To fight a great enemy, pharaoh and queen must join; but to host Hatshepsut, Marissa will first have to die. Fate has given Jackson a profound choice: save Marissa from Menes’ plan or keep an entire species from the brink of extinction.

So this looks really good. It’s the second book in The World of the Nightwalkers series and I really loved the first one and now I cannot wait to hear about Jackson’s story. And the cover… well I think it’s pretty self explanatory.

What are you waiting on?

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Forbidden

Forbidden

Forbidden by Jacquelyn Frank

Genre: Paranormal-Romance, Adult

Series: The World of Nightwalkers #1

Published: October 30th 2012 by Ballantine Books

The unexpected happens in an instant. On her way to work, secretary Docia Waverley hurtles into a crashing crossroads, and she quickly begins to suspect that things will never be the same. Then, when a tall, blond, muscular stranger intervenes on her behalf, telling her it is his duty to protect her at all cost, what is just a feeling turns to proof positive. That is, as long as Docia’s savior doesn’t turn out to be a crazed kidnapper.

When Ram finds Docia, he has no doubt that she is his queen. But as this golden warrior sweeps in to protect her, he feels something more than body heat every time they touch. He is overwhelmed by a searing connection that goes deep into the twin souls inside him. A desire rises in him that is forbidden—this woman is his queen, the mate of his king, his leader, his best friend. And yet Docia is so vulnerable and attractive that she awakens a hunger in Ram that is undeniable, a carnal craving he cannot yield to . . . not without risking the very survival of the Bodywalkers.

 

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Stacking the Shelves (18)

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

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A Thousand Bayonets

A Thousand Bayonets

A Thousand Bayonets by Joel Mark Harris

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Adult

Publication: August 18th 2011 by iUniverse.com

Upon returning from Afghanistan, journalist John Webster discovers a gang war in his backyard. Now he must find a way to survive in this Canadian warzone-or die in the crossfire.

John Webster has seen the terrible things human beings can do. He’s an experienced investigative journalist, recently returned from the war in Afghanistan. John saw hell over there; he looked death straight in the face. He is glad to be back to the normalcy of his Canadian home-that is, until he realizes there is a war brewing in his own backyard, and “peace” is a word no longer spoken.

John gets caught up in the battle between two of the most powerful and murderous criminal gangs in the city. Using what he learned on the foreign battlefields, he stays alive, despite the price on his head. The only way to save his own life is to find the man responsible for the brutal neighborhood bloodshed. When the police slap a subpoena on him, though, John finds his only solace on the streets.

Suddenly, John is back in a warzone, fighting for his life. Will he be able to stop the bloodthirsty crime lords? The flashbacks to Afghanistan threaten to pull John into darkness. Soon, the past and present collide, and he can’t tell which way is up or down. The need for redemption may be stronger than the need for survival as John Webster finds himself on his most dangerous assignment yet.

My Review:

This book was a pleasant surprise. From the first moment I was immersed in the suspense, action and heart-clenching pace of this novel really excelled. I have to admit I was a little wary when I got asked to review this novel because I thought “Is this going to be my thing?” and it might not be my usual genre, but it was brilliant! Unpredictable and engaging; I literally couldn’t put this book down even on my holiday. Not really a cheery holiday read, but certainly a realistic and emotive book.

John Webster was a very strange character. I never fully got to grips with him as a character and his personality. He seemed rather withdrawn from society and whilst I didn’t connect with him entirely I think it wasn’t needed for this type of story. From the outside you could take him in and really find frustration with his situation and character and get carried along with the direction of the story without the need for the connection. His character was flawed and he was frustrating and you wanted to knock his head against a brick wall, but that kept the suspense and anticipation throughout the novel that made ‘A Thousand Bayonets’ thrilling.

We had some really nice descriptions that weren’t over the top and they really helped to build the background and create some nice visuals for reading. I liked this one in particular because of it’s references to books.

“He had a wall-to-wall bookcase behind his desk. The bookcase was filled with classics written by Dickens, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky, and textbooks he used to teach his Friday morning class at the University of British Columbia.”

There was even a little bit of romance in this book which was bizarre and I didn’t know entirely which direction I was going with it because there was so many different routes, but I think that makes the reality of this novel so stark because it wasn’t perfect and it was riddled with imperfections. I mean, Webster had a shot at two women and his ex-wife was muddled into things with constant appearances and I’m not really sure how I felt about her. The romance was unconventional and ultimately it just highlighted a futility to John’s life because of how it didn’t seem to work and it never truly evolved, but it played an interesting aspect to the novel.

Sometimes I think reading is great for escapism, but sometimes to contrast this delving into the darkest pits of reality and really uncovering something that potentially exists and we are ignorant to is so horrific that it’s thrilling is something  this novel gives you.

Webster focuses a lot on his past and he’s certainly messed up individual from his time as a journalist in Afghanistan. Harris really does a brilliant job of showing the horror and psychological impact of it all and its not nice to read, but it’s engrossing in a horrible kind of way.

“Suddenly the boy burst into flames. He dropped to his knees, writhing in pain, unable to extinguish the fire. And John was still unable to move, unable to help the boy. The only thing he could do was watch as the boy burned to death.”

I think my only issue was at the start when I didn’t know John Weber very well was converting from Weber to John to describe him as the protagonist and this confused me because I thought they were two different people and the consistency of one title could have been done with to start with, especially when I didn’t realise his full name.

‘A Thousand Bayonets’ for me is hard to summarise because on the most basic level it’s a brutal novel about the destructive nature of mankind and how cruel people can be when sinking to gain personally and manipulation and deceit that occurs in the world. Ultimately it becomes an intricately told novel with different threads weaving through it about characters motives, police corruption, relationships, family and the mystery and suspense that are built from this is definitely superb. A cracking novel.

So you don’t miss your chance to read this novel, enter HERE to win a chance of getting 1 of 10 signed copies of ‘A Thousand Bayonets’ from the author and open internationally because I promise you it won’t let you down! I’m hosting this giveaway along with Matt from Genius Book Reviews who introduced me to Joel, so I have to give him a big shout out and suggest you hop over to check out his world of fantastic, fantasy reviews!

4 books

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Filed under 2011 Publication, 4 Books, Adult, E-book, iuniverse, Joel Mark Harris, Mystery, Thriller

Top Ten Tuesday (8)

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an weekly meme created and hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week it’s Top Ten Books I’d want on a Deserted Island.

desert-island1

Hmmmm… Maybe I’ll just skip the books and sunbathe and swim. I mean, after all that just looks beautiful. I suppose if I have to pick some books…

Branded By Firelover-eternalnakedindeathOn Dublin Street Cover Art - CopypushingthelimitsHarry_Potter_and_the_Half-Blood_Prince

immortal ruleskatya's worldpoison-study-young-adult-front-cover2rebecca

I thought I’d need a mix of books to keep me entertained on a deserted island.

Romance:

Branded by Fire (GR) – I adored this romance, it was sizzling, saucy and just downright hot from start to finish and one of the best shifter romances I’ve read. It’s from a cracking series.

Lover Eternal (GR) – I’ve fallen madly in love with Rhage, and you’ll have probably heard me say it a thousand times.

On Dublin Street (GR) – Contemporary romances aren’t usually my thing, but this was emotional, entertaining and a “rainy day read” so I think it would occupy me on a deserted island.

Pushing the Limits (GR) – Contemporary YA is always my thing either, but I fell in love with this novel and the characters and everything about it. One of my favourite YA books of the year.

Classic:

Rebecca (GR) – I actually haven’t finished this book yet, but it’s really, really good. So I’d want to take it with me to finish and I’m getting a little bit of a thing for Gothic genre and this falls into that category so I think this book would be something I’d read again when I finish it.

Fantasy:

Katya’s World (GR) – I finished this one recently and I haven’t put my review up yet, but it’ll be coming shortly along with an author interview which I’m incredibly excited about. However the novel was brilliant. It was entirely unpredictable so I think I’d like to take it with me and try and read and see where I may have missed things.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (GR) – I thought I’d have to pack one of the heftier Harry Potter books and a lot of things happen in this novel so I’m fairly sure it would entertain me if I couldn’t bring my whole set of Harry Potter books.

Poison Study (GR) – Another recent read which I really enjoyed and I adored the heroine and the love interest who I didn’t expect at first. Definitely a book I could reread.

The Immortal Rules (GR) – My first and only Kagawa book to date, but certainly a stunner of a book to enter into. Kanin is a fictional character that has ruined all others. I’d probably just sit and read about him all day and dream about.

Crime:

Naked in Death (GR) – I simply adore Eve and Roarke. I never tire of them, their relationship, Robb’s writing and I my memory is so atrocious that I’ve probably forgotten who did the murder so it would be equally entertaining to read and I’d like to pick apart all the little details of the murder.

I think I covered most of the genres I love except historical novels, but hopefully these 10 books would be sufficient to keep me happy for a short while on a deserted island. Otherwise I would have to hope somewhere that I could locate a kindle with internet access and get tonnes more because realistically I don’t think I’d survive with only 10 books on a deserted island.

What’s your TTT?

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Poison Study

Poison Study

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young-Adult

Series: Study #1

Publication: March 1st 2007 by Mira Books

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…

My Review:

This is what good fantasy should be and this is clearly why I adore the fantasy genre. A quick witted, tenacious and determined heroine and an undeniably exciting, engaging and intricate plot. I think the only thing that could have made this novel better is for it to have been an adult book rather than young-adult. I felt that the market Snyder was aiming this book at slipped from being an adult into being a young-adult only in the relationship of Yelena and Valek. Despite this, I still fell in love with this book.

“He probably held a couple of poisons in reserve just in case he decided to replace the taster. Glancing over my shoulder, I imagined Valek coming into the kitchen to poison my breakfast. I couldn’t even enjoy talking with a chatty cook without being reminded that tasting potentially poisoned food wasn’t the only danger of my new job. “

The novel drew me in from the very first moment and kept me on my toes from start to finish. I found I was always waiting for a new turn, a new development and this really excited me. I like the uniqueness of the idea that Snyder created. The position of food taster is such an old tradition for positions of power and Snyder really moulds it into her own and entwines it with the fantastic world she creates with so many different elements that all build up. The particular strength of the novel being the poison and whilst this isn’t a strong “fantasy” element on it’s own, the world that Snyder creates around and the use of the poisons and then the magic and the power it holds all entwine to connect so many strands of a plot that interweave so perfectly. 

Valek is a character I liked from the first moment I met him. He didn’t have this astounding physical presence of a love interest to fall madly in love with him, but his character was that which drew me in. Snyder did seem to focus more of the personality than the aesthetics which pleased me because sometimes I feel too much time is spent on the descriptions of features and the romance was very subtle. I didn’t feel like there was any insta-love and it really didn’t evolve at the centre of the novel. It was hidden deep and it bloomed slowly until it was just there and unveiled and it really worked. Valek is one of my favourite love interests and I can’t wait to see him in the next novel.

“You look stunning,” I blurted.

Mortified, I blushed as a rush of heat spread through my body. I must have swallowed more brandy than I’d realized.

Yelena was a fantastic character. She was stubborn and hard-working and I valued her all the more for learning to stand up for herself and trying really hard. At first she seemed a little wet and easily pushed over, but actually she matured and grew as a character as she began to settle into the castle more and acquaint herself with the other characters. The fact that she was smart and intuitive only added to my liking of her character as well as the physical ability to defend herself and not be afraid of herself whilst not being emotionless. Snyder crafted a well thought out heroine and made her likeable. Not only was Yelena a strong, likeable character, but she didn’t attempt to struggle through on her own and shun other people. I feel sometimes heroines have to have this dependency that mean other people are not needed, but Yelena sought help to aid her growth when she needed it, but that didn’t mean she was incapable of solving problems all on her own.

“We owe you one. Anytime you need help, just let us know.” Ari said. His words gave me a bold idea. Brazell might be gone, but he was still a threat. I thought fast, searching for reasons why my plan wouldn’t be to my benefit.

“I need help,” I said.”

Ari and Janco really added to my enjoyment. I find that there always has to be two happy go lucky lads there to mess around and be serious enough to be there is a crisis. They kind of reminded me of Fred and George from Harry Potter because they were incredibly loyal, but at the same time willing to have a joke and tease with Yelena. Synder created a dynamic that I hope to see in the next two novels even though Yelena will be moving in a different directio, the loss of their characters would be a real shame for me. It also goes to show that Synder could build up a real background of secondary characters that added to the story enjoyment and I think every character had an individuality and story that came across to me as a reader which drew me into the world of poisons and food tasting.

To balance out all the action and excitement, Synder had some really touching and emotional moments built from the friendship bonds that Yelena made with the other characters and this really rounded the story to touch on elements of sadness, pain and sorrow with the light heartedness really touched me and made me keep turning the pages to see the character development. I also think the pain and anguish in the novel which sometimes led to anger and vengeance made the characters realistically human and relatable.

“Everyone makes choices in life. Some bad, some good. It’s called living, and if you want to bow out, then go right ahead. But don’t do it halfway. Don’t linger in whiner’s limbo.”

Synder also built up a good world and there were lots of levels to the world. I think a little more description of the surroundings would have helped me visualise the setting a little more, but I think that Synder didn’t overload us with the information. She also had lots of poisons to learn and seem to have spent time and thought into working out the names which made the whole novel more realistic.

Overall, ‘Poison Study’ has to be one of my favourite fantasy novels of this year. It’s a shame I haven’t read it sooner, but I intend to read the next couple of books soon. And I heard there are plans to write three more after the ones, so there is even more to come. Yelena is everything a heroine should be, Synder has a world that is the basic foundations for fantasy and a plot that whilst might have elements of predictability is ultimately something contrived in uniqueness and only leaving me wanting more!

5 books

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Filed under 2007 Publication, 5 Books, Fantasy, Maria V. Snyder, Mira Books, Paperback, Romance, Young Adult