Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"Magic Study" by Maria V. Snyder

Genre: Fantasy
Series: Study #2
Publication: September 29, 2006 by Mira Books
Format: Paperback; 443 pages
Cover Rating: 3/5 Stars
Goodreads Link: Magic Study

From Goodreads: You know your life is bad when you miss your days as a poison taster...

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...

My Thoughts: Thank goodness Maria V. Snyder's Study series does NOT suffer from second book syndrome! I didn't think it was possible, but Magic Study is even better than the first novel, Poison Study (my review here)!

Yelena has left Ixia, the only home she remembers, to travel with her new magical mentor Irys. Together they make their way to what is known in Sitia as The Keep- a place where the Master Magicians of the council reside, along with other students. However, not everyone trust Yelena, as much as Irys. Accused of being a Northern Spy, Yelena feels like she faces more dangers then she ever did as being The Commanders food taster in Ixia. Longing for home, she tries her best to avoid conflict, but being Yelena that is practically impossible. Then things really start to heat up when the council discovers a missing girl who is barely alive after being brutally attacked by someone she refers to as Ferde. But she's not his only victim, or his last. In trying to help the young girl, Yelena discovers her powers are more formidable then even Irys imagined. So poweful, in fact, that Sitians are accusing her of being a dangerous SoulFinder... the last of whom they burned at the stake.

Filled with adventure this is one series you will not want to miss! Yelena is an excellent heroine, who doesn't take crap from anyone. I've said it before, but she is most definitely a complete badass. Not to mention how awesome the her friends and even enemies are! All the characters in this series are so well rounded and interesting. There's never a dull moment!

My Rating:
Photobucket PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Monday, January 28, 2013

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: Study #1
Publication: June 1, 2004 by Mira Books
Format: Paperback 405 pages
Cover Rating: 4/5 Stars
Goodreads Link: Poison Study

From Goodreads: 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 Thoughts: This was my first book by Maria V. Snyder and it will definitely not be my last! Poison Study was amazing! It was also one of my first real "High Fantasy" novels, and I have to say, I loved it! It completely sucked me in. Yelena was a kick-ass heroine and the other characters were just as intriguing (such as Valek, Ari, and Janco).

Set in a militant society, Poison Study tells the story of twenty year old, Yelena, who has been imprisoned for the past year for the murder of her foster father's (who happens to be a General in Ixia) only son. Unfortunately for Yelena, the country of Ixia has a no tolerance policy for murder during a time of peace- not even if it's in self defense. On the day of Yelena's execution  however, she is given an out: to become The Commander's food taster. Under the guidance of the Chief of Security, Valek, Yelena learns all about the different types of poisons available in her country, quickly becomming one of the commanders best food tasters to date.

However, not everyone is pleased to see Yelena alive. Constantly attacked Yelena must learn how to defend herself, and quickly if she wants to stay alive. She soon discovers though that she may have abilities far beyond what she could ever dream- abilities that include magic. Which would be really awesome... IF magicians weren't excuted on the spot per The Commander's oders.

This first novel was filled with everything a reader could want: adventure, romance, and a good curvy plot! This is one series that you will definitely wan to add to your TBR shelf!

My Rating:
Photobucket PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Happy Birthday to Poe!

If you've visited my blog at all, then you know my love for Poe is astronomical. He's my fav. So, in honor of his B-day I've decided to do a special post on all things Poe. I hope you enjoy!

Poe Related Books

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh. I absolutely LOVED this book! Creepy and romantic, it's based off Poe's on worlds. This is the first book in the Nevermore series, you can also find my review here.

Enshadowed is the second book in the Nevermore series. I haven't read it yet, but I'm dying to get my hands on it!

The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl. This has been sitting on my TBR shelf for a while, I don't know why I keep putting it off, but I will read it eventually!

You can find a whole list of other Poe related books on this Goodreads List by clicking here.

Poe Related Movies

The Raven! This movie was SO fantastic!!!! John Cusack was so so wonderful as Poe! I loved the spin on Poe's last days, as well. Overall just a great movie that any Poe fan should see!

The Crow- Okay, so not based on Poe, however it was definitely inspired by Poe's The Raven. And if you have never seen the original movie, then you need to do so right now. Brandon Lee is simply wonderful in it. Unfortunately, it was also he's last movie being that he died while making it. 

Other Recs:

Christopher Walken's reading of The Raven
Another creeptastic, but fantastic(!) dude. Who better to read Poe?

Songs inspired by the writings of Poe:

The Edgar Allan Poe Museum
Take a virtual tour by visiting the website!

So many artists have been inspired by the tragic story-teller, that you can find hundreds of songs, books, paintings, and films based on Poe himself or his writings. All you have to do is peel back the layers of today's modern world and you will find the creepy fellow. 

What about you? Have any favorite Poe renditions or inspirations?

Of course, I couldn't end my post without my all time favorite Poe poem. So without further ado... 

Annabel Lee

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea. 

© Whimsically Bookish. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.