Tag: TG’s Reviews

Guest Review: Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

Posted March 29, 2016 by TG in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Shadow Study by Maria V. SnyderReviewer: TG
Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Study Series #4, Soulfinders #1
Also in this series: Night Study
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: February 24th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 416
Add It: Goodreads
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New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder wowed readers with Poison Study, the unforgettable story of poison taster Yelena. Now she's back with a new tale of intrigue.

Once, only her own life hung in the balance...

Oddly enough, when Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. But she'd survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia. Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands--and protect her relationship with Valek.

Suddenly, though, they are beset on all sides by those vying for power through politics and intrigue. Valek's job and his life are in danger. As Yelena tries to uncover the scope of these plots, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. She must keep that a secret--or her enemies will discover just how vulnerable she really is--while searching for who or what is responsible for neutralizing her powers.

Yes, the days of tasting poisons were much simpler. And certainly not as dangerous...

Okay so I want to start this off by saying that Poison Study is my favorite book of pretty much all time. So I was nervous going into Shadow Study. What if it ruins the first books for me? What if the characters suck?

They didn’t. This book didn’t do anything but make me love Poison Study even more. Now then, on to the review.

My main impression of this book was that it was setting up for the next one. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I almost felt like there was no true climax. But the conflicts in this story are definitely fresh and new, and the character development is worth the “to be continued….” Feeling.

Also Valek’s backstory. That’s all I have to say.

I’d give this a solid 4/5 for character development and writing, with points taken for the somewhat anticlimactic ending.


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Review: Night Study by Maria V. Snyder

Posted March 22, 2016 by TG in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Night Study by Maria V. SnyderReviewer: TG
Night Study by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Study Series #5, Soulfinders #2
Also in this series: Shadow Study
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: February 1st 2016
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder transports readers back to the realms of Sitia and Ixia in an exciting new Study novel full of magic, danger and intrigue. 
Ever since being kidnapped from the Illiais Jungle as a child, Yelena Zaltana's life has been fraught with peril. But the recent loss of her Soulfinding abilities has endangered her more than ever before. As she desperately searches for a way to reclaim her magic, her enemies are closing in, and neither Ixia nor Sitia is safe for her anymore. Especially since the growing discord between the two countries and the possibility of a war threatens everything Yelena holds dear.  
Valek is determined to protect Yelena, but he's quickly running out of options. The Commander suspects that his loyalties are divided, and he's been keeping secrets from Valek…secrets that put him, Yelena and all their friends in terrible danger. As they uncover the various layers of the Commander's mysterious plans, they realize it's far more sinister than they could have ever imagined.

So, I want to start off once again by saying that the first 3 books of the study series are my absolute favorite books. I talk about them all the time, and I could probably quote Poison Study line for line. When I heard new books were coming out, I had some mixed emotions. That constant fear that the sequel will ruin the prequel is very relevant, but once again the book held true to the tone of the first trilogy.

That isn’t to say however, that I was 100% satisfied with this book. The first 30 pages were hell, because I was convinced that this was where the sequels quit being cool. Thankfully Snyder knows what she’s doing (I hope lol) and redeemed the first chapters with the rest of the book. Even a true skeptic like myself could understand why the things that happened were necessary (and in character!)

Overall the developments with Valek and Yelena’s relationship soothed my shipper heart, and the new characters kept things good and spicy.

So I’d give this book an 4/5 for spice and intrigue, taking points off for the first 30 pages of hell.


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Five Books Everyone Should Read: Guest Reviewer TG

Posted June 21, 2015 by Holly in Features | 0 Comments

Five Books Everyone Should Read is a feature we’re running in 2015. We’ve asked some of our favorite authors, readers and bloggers to share five books that touched them or have stayed with them throughout the years.

5 Books Project

Today we have TG, Holly’s first-born and our sometimes guest reviewer, here to share her list of 5 Books.

Thinking back over the years, it was hard to pin down just 5 books I think everyone should read. These books have brought me considerable joy, and have stayed in my mind even when others faded. I would recommend them to anyone and everyone, so here you have them.

poison studyPoison Study by Maria V. Snyder

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 Dusté 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—.

Poison study takes an interesting perspective on the “girl learns to save herself” trope. It shows the main as multifaceted and human, while incorporating elements of fantasy that we all know and love. Magic, danger, personal and external conflict. It’s fast paced, descriptive (but not overly so), and crazy funny.

FireFire by Kristen Cashore

It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her. Exquisitely romantic, this companion to the highly praised Graceling has an entirely new cast of characters, save for one person who plays a pivotal role in both books. You don’t need to have read Graceling to love Fire. But if you haven’t, you’ll be dying to read it next.

A beautifully written YA novel focused on the struggles of a “monster” girl named Fire (after her bright hair). I can’t count how many times I’ve read this book, but I would still recommend it. It’s got tons of twists and turns, relatable characters, and an interesting original premise. It has two companion books, Graceling and Bitterblue, but it stands on its own just fine.

Good OmensGood Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett 

According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (the world’s only completelyaccurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner.

So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon—both of whom have lived amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle—are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture.

And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist . . .

A hilarious book about an angel and a demon and their caddywhompus relationship. The demon is the real reason to read the book. I won’t spoil anything though, just read it.

dragon's baitDragons Bait by Vivian Vande Velde
Fifteen-year-old Alys is not a witch. But that doesn’t matter–the villagers think she is and have staked her out on a hillside as a sacrifice to the local dragon.

It’s late, it’s cold, and it’s raining, and Alys can think of only one thing–revenge. But first she’s got to escape, and even if she does, how can one girl possibly take on an entire town alone?
Then the dragon arrives–a dragon that could quite possibly be the perfect ally. . . .

Short novel about a girl who is wrongly accused of practicing witchcraft. She makes a deal with a (very attractive) dragon. What more do you need to know?




thirteen reasons why13 Reasons Why by Debra Wiseman and Jay Asher.

You can’t stop the future. 
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

Sad, very sad. Still, it’s well written and highly impactful. This book is told from the perspective of a friend of a girl who commits suicide. But she leaves behind a message for each of the people that she believed pushed her over the edge.

TG is 18. She likes animals, the color purple and long walks on the beach. Well, mostly swimming in the ocean.

She’s an avid reader, sometimes knitter, often opinionated aspiring art therapist. Pardon her feminism.

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Review: Breakable by Tammara Webber

Posted May 12, 2014 by TG in Reviews | 0 Comments

breakableTG‘s review of Breakable (Contours of the Heart, Book 2) by Tammara Webber

He was lost and alone. Then he found her.
And the future seemed more fragile than ever.

As a child, Landon Lucas Maxfield believed his life was perfect and looked forward to a future filled with promise — until tragedy tore his family apart and made him doubt everything he ever believed.

All he wanted was to leave the past behind. When he met Jacqueline Wallace, his desire to be everything she needed came so easy…

As easy as it could be for a man who learned that the soul is breakable and that everything you hoped for could be ripped away in a heartbeat.

We first met Landon Lucas Maxfield in Tammara Webber’s Easy, but we didn’t really get a complete picture of him. While Easy was definitely a romance, it was also Jacqueline’s tale. This is Landon’s story. Told in alternating past and present chapters, the book details his life prior to meeting Jacqueline, as well as his point-of-view in Easy, without being repetitive. I didn’t feel like I’d just re-read Easy from Landon’s point-of-view, but more like I was reading his story with little bits of Easy woven in.

New Adult is a genre primarily dominated by first-person point-of-view. The recent trend is to write the tale from the heroine’s POV then release the same novel from the hero’s POV down the road. I don’t necessarily dislike this, but I feel like if I read the story once, I don’t need to read it again. However, Webber takes a different route through the trend, following it in a rather innovative way. Instead of just re-writing Jacqueline’s story from Landon’s point of view, stopping at familiar landmarks along the way, she told what was mostly off-page in Easy, while still incorporating the more familiar scenes. Nothing seemed tired or worn out in it, and it was refreshing to recognize my favorite scenes from Easy, along with the new material.  Overall, Tammara Webber did a great job in making sure her readers got a companion piece, instead of a recount.

That is not to say that you have to read Easy before you can read Breakable, or you won’t understand whats going on. Webber made sure that Breakable could stand alone or with Easy. Because it is a strong independent novel who doesn’t need a prequel to make it whole.

My only quarrel with the story-telling was that it seemed a little rushed during Lucas’s chapters (those retold from Easy), like she was in a hurry to get to the next Landon chapter (those from his teen years), but I didn’t want to throw it out the window or demand my money (ha!) back by the end. I did want to see a little bit more of his emotions and thoughts while interacting with Jacqueline though. I think that would have made it complete.

I’d definitely recommend this to my friends without hesitation (all of them. Muahaha).

4 out of 5

We have a copy of trade paperback copy of BREAKABLE to give away. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. US Only.

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This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Guest Review: The Girl in the Steel Corest by Kady Cross

Posted March 6, 2013 by TG in Reviews | 3 Comments

TG’s review of The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles, book 1) by Kady Cross.

In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the “thing” inside her.When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no “normal” Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch….

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she’s special, says she’s one of “them.” The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.

Griffin’s investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help–and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.

But The Machinist wants to tear Griff’s little company of strays apart, and it isn’t long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she’s on–even if it seems no one believes her.

You’ll be hooked from the very first sentence, till the very last. Kady Cross is in every way, a genius. Every last twist and turn in the roller coaster pace she set is full of surprises. Every word was entrancing, every sentence held untold promises. The villains were villainous, the heroes were heroic, and the females were charming and eccentric. With every little detail of Cross’s steam powered Victorian setting, the world in which you’re reading comes to life.

I couldn’t put it down. This book is a well written piece of literature, that every little girl who doesn’t feel like she belongs should read. It teaches a valuable lesson of self worth, trust, and pride in who you are. I wouldn’t suggest this to many boys, but I also wouldn’t discourage anyone from reading it, especially if they like romance and mystery novels. I hope that this book will be treasured for generations to come.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

This book is available from Harlequin Teen. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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