Image Map

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder Audiobook {4.5 Stars}

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder is just as delightful a read as everyone promised it would be! I listened to Poison Study on audiobook and highly recommend it if you have been wanting to try an audio fantasy. I found myself making excuses to listen to more, including doing more cleaning :D. Yelena’s predicament and resulting adventure were refreshingly unique for this long time fantasy reader and I’m excited to see more of this magic in subsequent books!

Note: I listened to an audio version of Poison Study. This very much influences my reading experience.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder Audiobook {4.5 Stars}

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Narrated by Gabra Zackman
(Study #1)
Published by Harlequin MIRA on March 1st, 2007
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 416 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

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...

4.5 Stars

Strengths:
[Read more…]

Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder eARC {3.5 Stars}

Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder is the conclusion to the Healer trilogy. It concludes the story of Avry and Kerrick and their fight to bring peace to their continent after the devastating plague destroyed the fabric of society. Taste of Darkness, and the Healer series in general, struggled a bit with trying to tell too long and epic of a story in three moderately-sized books. I ended up frequently feeling rushed, but also excited about everything that was happening. That being said, I found Taste of Darkness to be a very satisfying end to this fun and creative fantasy trilogy.

Note: I received Taste of Darkness through Netgalley for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder eARC {3.5 Stars}

Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder (Healer #3)
Published by Harlequin MIRA on Dec 31st, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 400 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

She's fought death and won. But how can she fight her fears?

Avry knows hardship and trouble. She fought the plague and survived. She took on King Tohon and defeated him. But now her heart-mate, Kerrick, is missing, and Avry fears he's gone forever.

But there's a more immediate threat. The Skeleton King plots to claim the Fifteen Realms for his own. With armies in disarray and the dead not staying down, Avry's healing powers are needed now more than ever.Torn between love and loyalty, Avry must choose her path carefully. For the future of her world depends on her decision.

3.5 Stars

Strengths:

  • Taste of Darkness continues the POV switching between Avry and Kerrick, which worked really well. It gave Taste of Darkness a chance to tell a complete story about the things going on in the world, since again Kerrick and Avry spend a significant time apart. It’s also fun to see what they think of each other *swoon*.
  • Gah! The bad guys get creepier if that’s possible! There is a new villain (pseudo-king) on the scene and he makes Tohon look like a sadistic kitten…. Tohon is still making trouble of course though, leading to all the shenanigans!
  • I enjoyed the intricate plot twists and turns that Taste of Darkness contained. You definitely need to be paying attention, let me tell you!
  • Taste of Darkness had quite a satisfying ending. I wasn’t in love with all the choices made, but I think people will be happy with how things turn out :).
  • We get to find out more about the plague and it was awesome! Avry is so clever and used fairly accurate (if you consider magic is involved) medical know-how, woot!

Weaknesses:

  •  OMG why won’t people just stay dead???? You know how someone dies in the first book but then… yeah that continues A LOT. I won’t tell you who or when of course, but after the third time someone tragically dies, but then really isn’t dead in this series, I get annoyed.
  • Some of the gang of secondary characters conveniently changed personalities and discovered a savant ability when it was obviously really convenient. Ugh.
  • Maybe I was just too tired while reading Taste of Darkness at times, but wow did I get confused at times. Especially in my eARC, there weren’t chapter divisions between Avry and Kerrick’s switches, making it all the more tricky to figure out who is narrating and what is going on.
  • Due to the sheer number of events that are stuffed in to Taste of Darkness, I felt that I got disconnected from Avry. Where is that spunky character that I wanted to be BFFs with in the first book? She’s off doing something and being tough, which is all well and good, but she lost a bit of her human element.

Summary:

Taste of Darkness is definitely a finale that most people will enjoy. If you’ve read this far in the trilogy, you might as well finish right! Plus, there are so many cool things we finally find out about in Taste of Darkness, so I really do recommend it if you’ve enjoyed the first two books. This trilogy in general made me constantly wish it had been stretched into about five books so that we could spend more time with the characters and not rush through events as much, but it is what it is. If that hasn’t bothered you yet, no reason for it to bother you now ;-).

3.5 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder

Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder {3 Stars}

Scent of Magic is the second book in the Healer series by Maria V. Snyder. It is full of epic fantasy world-building, magic and scheming in addition to our favorite love birds ;-). This time around we get a POV from Avry and Kerrick since they spend most of the book off doing separate things. While I really enjoyed finding out more about all the magic powers, the world, and who doesn’t love a good fantasy war, I found that Scent of Magic felt like too much in one book and only hit the surface of a lot of the events I was supposed to care about.

Note: I purchased Scent of Magic and all opinions are my own.

Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder {3 Stars}

Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder (Healer #2)
Published by Harlequin MIRA on Dec. 18th, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 414 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Hunted, Killed—Survived?

As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of her friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomanical King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confident, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.

Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon’s opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon’s most horrible creations yet; an army of the walking dead—human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.

War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible ... again.

3 Stars

Strengths:

  • We get so much world-building and magic in Scent of Magic (appropriate title I guess then!) and I loved it. We find out and VISIT the northern tribes (very unexpected) and see the developing continent-wide war first hand. Scent of Magic did a wonderful job making me really believe in these different countries and factions in the war to come.
  • I love it when fantasy stories set up stereotypes about the “barbarian tribes” and then tear those stereotypes down. It was so refreshing that Scent of Magic showed us that all the stories about the tribes aren’t necessarily true and that *gasp* cultures change and develop over time!
  • There are several big plot twists in Scent of Magic and while I wasn’t really surprised by them (mostly because I hadn’t been motivated to think much about them), I did enjoy the reveals. They made sense and clicked aspects into place, which is always good for a storyline ;-).
  • Normally I don’t enjoy when a series switches to a dual POV, but it helped the plot develop much more smoothly. While some suspense was lost (we know Kerrick isn’t dead since we know what’s going on with him), I really enjoyed the adventure that Kerrick went on on his own.
  • Scent of Magic is really about the friendships and alliances that Avry forms. Kerrick isn’t around much, so there is minimal romance, and it turns out Avry is a fully capable human being without the boy around, woot!

Weaknesses:

  •  Scent of Magic had the odd habit of describing dialogue that was taking place without the actual dialogue happening. So instead of Avry said “Hi!”, it was Avry greeted everyone and then they discussed some stuff. It made me feel very separated from the characters since I was being told after the fact a summary of what happened instead of watching it happen myself, ya know?
  • While there is little romance, there is a lot of pining. Avry and Kerrick are separated and so must declare how much they miss each other every chapter; it’s a requirement ya know.
  • Scent of Magic really feels like it should have been two books. It’s pretty long for YA as it is and there was just such a rushed and summarizing feel in order to get through all the events. I just didn’t feel connected to anything happening because I was reading a report on what happened instead of being drawn in.

Summary:

Scent of Magic does a wonderful job of developing this awesome world and magic system that we were introduced to in Touch of Power. However, it tries to fit so much in that it ended up feeling a bit rushed and cursory fairly often. I enjoyed aspects such as Avry’s friendships and Kerrick’s exploration a lot, but I just wish that I could have been shown what was happening instead of told.

3 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder ARC {4 Stars}

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder is the first book in the Healer series which I have been meaning to read FOREVER! I love healers (I was totally a heals druid in WoW and now want to go start raiding again, must resist!), I’ve heard such amazing things about Snyder’s writing and stories, and the cover is sooooo pretty! Oh and I’ve had a copy for months since I grabbed it when my friend was clearing out old ARCs ;-). Fortunately, Touch of Power completely lived up to my expectations and I’m freaking pumped to keep reading this series. That’s the benefit of most of the books already being out right??

Note: I received borrowed an ARC of Touch of Power. Some things might have changed in the final version.

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder ARC {4 Stars}

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder (Healer #1)
Published by Harlequin MIRA on December 20th, 2011
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 390 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life....

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • I’m generally a hater on broody boys turning in to the love interest, but Touch of Power takes place over quite a bit of time and so the relationship develops slowly, believably and so adorably! I was very adamantly against this romance at first and Kerrick even won this crotchety old grouch over by the end ;-).
  • I love the classic magic systems of earth, air, life, death, etc. However, they have to be done in a new way otherwise it’s just lazy right? Fortunately, Touch of Power does a marvelous job of tweaking the classic magic system (adding moon magic for one thing :D) so I wasn’t disappointed! We only get glimpses into what powers are involved in each type of magic, so I’m really excited to find out more in the subsequent books :D.
  • I knew that the ending couldn’t be as sad as it was aiming to be since there is a sequel, but I was actually quite impressed with how Snyder ended up solving everything. I hadn’t predicted it but it made a fair amount of sense :D. It also has opened the way for some really interesting discovery and research for Avry in future books!
  • As we all know, I’m a fan of characters dying in meaningful plot points and Touch of Power doesn’t hold back from those grittier and darker aspects of life-or-death situations.

Weaknesses:

  •  Touch of Power had slow points where I found my attention drifting, so just push through if you have the patience.
  • There are a fair amount of times when Touch of Power skipped over chunks of time (days to weeks) by just saying that things continued as they were for a while. It felt a bit forced to me, though I can’t really think of a better way to handle that.
  • There is some trigger stuff regarding manipulative and forceful romantic interaction, though it doesn’t go too far.
  • Avry and the other characters would at times use words that seemed rather modern for the fantasy setting and made me pause for a second. I suppose I can’t say that characters in a fantasy world wouldn’t use slang like we do, but it pulls you out of the story ya know?

Summary:

Touch of Power really hits on some of my favorite elements of the classic magical fantasy story with healing powers, an epic quest, insane villains, and more magic to discover. I found the whole post-apocalypse element really fascinating as well, since everything is happening a few years after a plague has decimated the world. There is so much left to discover about the plague, Avry’s magic, and Avry and Kerrick’s feelings for each other that I think I might have to start Scent of Magic pretty darn soon >.>

4 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Four Stars: Mark of the Witch by Maggie Shayne

Read and Review HopA witch and a priest must team up to defeat a demon, at least that’s what some crazy prophecy claims. But Indy decided she wasn’t into that whole Wicca thing anymore, and Tomas isn’t sure that the priesthood is for him… but other than that the prophecy is totally, 100% accurate… right?? Mark of the Witch brings the urban back to urban fantasy with a world that is nearly our own, but nothing is what it seems, and you won’t believe where they end up.

Thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin MIRA for providing me with a review copy of Mark of the Witch :D. I have to say that the beginning of this book was not what I expected, and I didn’t much like it, but then the end was even more not what I expected and I totally loved it! So my major advice is even if you aren’t thrilled with where things start, keep going because they get freaking awesome!
Mark of the Witch by Maggie Shayne Goodreads Amazon
Title:
Mark of the Witch
Author: Maggie Shayne
Pages: 394 paperback
Genre-ish: Urban fantasy, emphasis on the urban
Rating★★★★ – shaky start, strong finish

A lapsed Wiccan, Indira Simon doesn’t believe in magic anymore. But when strange dreams of being sacrificed to an ancient Babylonian god have her waking up with real rope burns on her wrists, she’s forced to acknowledge that she may have been too hasty in her rejection of the unknown. Then she meets mysterious and handsome Father Tomas. Emerging from the secrecy of an obscure Gnostic sect, he arrives with stories of a demon, a trio of warrior witches-and Indira’s sacred calling. Yet there’s something even Tomas doesn’t know, an inescapable truth that will force him to choose between saving the life of the woman he’s come to love-and saving the world. — Goodreads

[Read more…]