July 31, 2009

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

My Rating: 3 ½

In a world where people born with an extreme skill—called a Grace—are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him

When she first meets Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away…a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

In Graceling, Kristin Cashore created some interesting characters—including our strong heroin, Katsa. Katsa discovered her Grace at a young age when she accidently killed her first victim. Since then, she’s been exploited by her unscrupulous uncle. In an effort to right many of the wrongs she has been ordered to do, Katsa forms a secret benevolence council. On one of these secret missions, Katsa meets Prince Po and she is immediately drawn to him.

I admit that I finally grabbed this book because of the many comparisons to The Hunger Games. While I didn’t find it nearly as good as The Hunger Games, I still enjoyed Graceling. I really liked the adventure, the political intrigue, and learning about Katsa and Po as they learn more about themselves. Graceling is a great debut novel about doing the right thing, even when we don’t think we have it in us to do so (at least, that is what I took away from this novel). Even though I didn’t always agree with Katsa’s ideals, I do like that she never once sacrifices them.

The first half of this book was really slow for me, but the second half really picks up. Cashore’s writing is flowing and descriptive as she takes the reader into a vivid, imaginative world where people are not always what they seem to be.

The sequel to GracelingFire—releases October 5, 2009!

July 29, 2009

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

Soul Screamers: The last thing you hear before you die.

After sneaking into a dance club with her best friend, Kaylee runs into Nash Hudson—quickly stealing his attention. Nash is a jock, he’s gorgeous, and he’s smiling at her—and her alone. Kaylee is enjoying his attention, until her own is caught by a beautiful strawberry blond on the other end of the dance floor. Suddenly, melancholic feelings overwhelm her and they all seem connected to that one person.

Kaylee Cavanaugh might seem like just an average teenager at first glance, but she’s anything but normal. She can sense when someone near her is going to die. When that happens, terror and dread wash over her; a blood curdling scream builds up in her throat, desperate to be released. Kaylee doesn’t know why she has these “panic attacks.” However, she does know that death soon follows.

When classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who will be next.

MY SOUL TO TAKE starts off the Soul Screamers series and starts it well. Rachel Vincent’s latest novel cleverly entwines folklore, romance, suspense, and mystery in just the right doses to make this book difficult to put down. Rachel Vincent did a very good job with this one—writing in such a way that kept the pages turning themselves and being descriptive without being verbose. I literally carried this book with me wherever I went, just so that I could sneak in a page or two of reading whenever I got the chance. This book kept me awake until I’d read every word of it.

If you’re into paranormal novels, I would suggest you add this one to your wishlist soon.

My rating: 4

Nervous sweat gathered on my palms, and for once I was glad I couldn’t talk. I swallowed, my throat clenching around the scream scalding me from the inside. The gray haze was darker now, though no thicker. I could see through it easily, yet it tainted everything my terrified gaze landed on—as if the entire gym had been draped in a translucent cloud of smog. And still things moved on the edge of my vision, drawing my eye in first one direction, then another. –Page 215
Thank you Harlequin Teen for sending me a copy for review!

July 28, 2009

Evermore by Alyson Noel

I was so happy when I finally had the chance to start this book… Ever Bloom sounds like such an interesting character—“she can see people’s auras, hear their thoughts, and know someone’s entire life story by touching them.”
When her whole family is in a car accident, Ever is the only survivor. It is then that she notices her special abilities. In an effort to suppress those abilities, Ever resorts to hoodies and headphones. Moreover, she goes out of her way to avoid human contact. These are all factors that contribute to her “freak” status at her new high school.

When I first picked this book up, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Something that quickly made itself known: this book mirrors Twilight in so many ways. However, I was so drawn in with the first few chapters that I decided to overlook those similarities. Then, as I progressed through this novel, those similarities grew painful.

Also, the writing was patchy—Noel jumped around a lot and short conversations lasted the entire day. Additionally, the character development is weak, at best. Apart from Riley, I didn’t gain an ounce of emotional attachment to any of the characters—I honestly didn’t care what happened to them. Also, I found it really hard to believe that LOVE is what Ever and Damen shared. Although, towards the end I gained a little more understanding of why he loved her; but still, I wasn’t convinced.

The author did an excellent job at putting me at the edge of my seat a time or two, with questions just burning to be answered. Especially the question of what Damen Auguste really is. But even before the author decides to reveal to the reader what he is, it is evident that he’s perfect—too perfect—and he knows it! Apart from being able to do everything so well, there’s really nothing else to him. He has no depth whatsoever; no tortured soul (unless his ex counts as a tormenter)—nothing to sustain him. I found him to be selfish, arrogant, and… well, let’s just say he’s an unlikeable character and his actions were confusing. I could go on, but for those of you who haven't read this book, I'll stop there.

I can’t help but wonder if my rating for this book would be a little higher if I hadn’t read Twilight first; but now I’ll never know.

Let me leave you with this: if you must read this book, borrow it from the library. I will be listing my copy on BookMooch (where I got it from). I do not feel compelled to read the rest of this series.

My rating: 1 ½

If you've read this book, feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment. I'd really like to know whether you felt the same or the complete opposite.
If you reviewed this book, leave your link and I'll add it to the post.

July 27, 2009

Review: The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny

Synopsis from B&N

Chaos is coming, old son.

With those words the peace of Three Pines is shattered. As families prepare to head back to the city and children say goodbye to summer, a stranger is found murdered in the village bistro and antiques store. Once again, Chief Inspector Gamache and his team are called in to strip back layers of lies, exposing both treasures and rancid secrets buried in the wilderness. No one admits to knowing the murdered man, but as secrets are revealed, chaos begins to close in on the beloved bistro owner, Olivier. How did he make such a spectacular success of his business? What past did he leave behind and why has he buried himself in this tiny village? And why does every lead in the investigation find its way back to him?

As Olivier grows more frantic, a trail of clues and treasures— from first editions of Charlotte’s Web and Jane Eyre to a spider web with the word “WOE” woven in it—lead the Chief Inspector deep into the woods and across the continent in search of the truth, and finally back to Three Pines as the little village braces for the truth and the final, brutal telling.

The previous four books in Louis Penny’s Armand Gamache mystery series raked up some awards along the way—including the Agatha Award for best novel.

Inspector Armand Gamache is a strong, likable character and he’s back in The Brutal Telling. When Olivier and Gabri get a phone call in the middle of the night, they get some terrifying news: there is a body in their bistro. They head down to check for themselves and, sure enough, there is a dead man lying on the floor with his head bashed in. No one claims to know who he is; enter Chief Inspector Gamache, and his team, to investigate.

Penny has such strong characterization in her novels and that continues in The Brutal Telling. She has created a wonderful mystery—her observations about people and situations are extremely well done. She puts together a 'whodunit' so brilliantly—with fingers pointing in every direction. I really liked how the clues were all there to be found, but the puzzle wasn’t put together until the end.

I felt like this book could have been shorter as there was a lot of description that could have been left out. However, those extra descriptions could be what made this book quirky and memorable to me.

If you would like to read this book, I would suggest you start with the first book, “A Still Life.”

My Rating: 3 ½

Thank you Tara, from Minotaur Books, for sending me a copy for review!

July 23, 2009

Book to Look Out For - Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse

Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse
a debut novel by 20-year-old blogger and “Twilight Guy” Kaleb Nation

From Amazon:
In a bustling metropolis where magic is outlawed, a six-year-old child is found inside a locked bank vault. A scrap of paper reveals his name: Bran Hambric. The child remembers nothing of his life before the vault. Only magic could have done this. But why would any mage risk breaking the law to place a child in a bank vault?

Eight years later the City of Dunce has forgotten about Bran. Even his foster parents don't seem to know he exists. But there are those who have been watching, biding their time, waiting to strike, people who know where Bran came from and why he was sent away. And they will do anything to get Bran back, dead or alive…

Welcome to a world unlike any other where the adventure of a lifetime is just beginning.
You can read an excerpt here.

July 22, 2009

He Who Sings Last by Lisa Laird DiRosso

Just how far will one fan go to prove her loyalty?

From Amazon: In her novel He Who Sings Last, Lisa Laird DiRosso expertly knits a blanket of obsession laced with suspicion and murder in a suspenseful crime novel centered on has-been celebrity Jimmy Covelli. He leads a quiet, post-fame existence until some ghosts from his past come back to haunt him after nineteen years, when an unsolved murder case is reopened by a zealous New York detective. Covelli charms and harms wherever he goes, and in his destructive path, he leaves behind a host of resentful family members and brokenhearted fans. Will the detective catch him and be able to prove his guilt? Find out in He Who Sings Last.

He Who Sings Last has such an interesting premise. I particularly liked the idea of a star-struck fan obsessing over a celebrity for so many years. This makes for an interesting plot and, while it seems a bit far-fetched, is plausible. In her debut novel, Lisa Laird DiRosso shows promise as she weaves together this story of deception, obsession, and murder. However, I didn’t feel much of the excitement or suspense that usually comes with this type of novel. There were many characters and they all seemed shallow—I definitely would’ve liked for them to be more rounded. I couldn’t relate to any of the characters; but worse than that, I didn’t find any of them memorable. I walked away from this novel trying to remember a moment of depth and substance; I honestly couldn’t think of one. This crime novel left much to be desired. It’s like I remained on the surface of the story, never truly getting INTO it. Finally, this book had a few plot points that seemed abrupt and unfamiliar. Perhaps this was the author’s way of creating surprise and suspense. I, however, felt robbed of the mystery.

On the other hand, I did appreciate the author’s faithfulness in giving information as it was needed and offering descriptions of all her characters (as short as they may be). Moreover, DiRosso’s writing style flows nicely and is very readable. On a side note, DiRosso steers clear of profanity which is something that I found myself appreciating.

Bottom line: I really wanted to like this one, but I have come to terms that this book just wasn’t for me. Who knows, you might find that you enjoy it. One thing is certain: many readers will find themselves questioning the character of their favorite idol.

Would I read any future books from this author? Sure – she has some interesting ideas. I’d like to see how she progresses as an author.

Thank you, Tate Publishing, for sending me a copy for review!

July 21, 2009

Volturi Spin-Off?

Here’s a new interview with Justine Wachsberger, who will play human secretary Gianna of the Volturi in New Moon. In it, she reveals her first thoughts on landing the role–

“I actually liked the books but I wasn’t a crazy fan of Twilight when I got the role of Gianna,” explained Wachsberger. “I just knew though that I would be lucky to be part of such a huge franchise because I know what these stories mean to the fans.”

Wachsberger added, “Gianna was a really interesting character to portray for me. She’s human and has a lot going for her but decides to work for the vampires. You don’t really know much about her motivations and that adds a lot of mystery to her, which I really loved.”

As far as what Justine plans to do in the future, she brings up the rumor again that there will be a spin-off from the Twilight Saga–specifically, a Volturi spin-off!

In terms of future projects, Wachsberger is just keeping her options open and looking at expanding her resume beyond genre films. However, the actress hints that she’d definitely love to return to the world of the Twilight vampires and may get the opportunity.

“I know there’s been some talk about having the Volturi spin off into its own film separate from the Twilight series and I think that would be really cool. I think Gianna definitely has her own story to tell,” Wachsberger said.

Check out the whole interview at Dread Central.
So what do you think? Would you like to see a spin-off--Volturi or otherwise?

July 16, 2009

Review: The Elegance of the Hedgehog (audiobook) by Muriel Barbery

"Literature’s mission is to make the fulfillment of our essential duties more bearable."
--Renee Michel from The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Renee Michel is an autodidact in her 50’s who “furtively devours art, philosophy, music, and Japanese culture.” However, as a concierge at a bourgeois building in a posh Parisian neighborhood, she is more than content to pose as the stereotypical uneducated concierge.

Then there’s Paloma Josse. Paloma is an extremely intelligent twelve-year-old who lives on the fifth floor. Even though Paloma has the intelligence of a senior in college, she hides behind a fa├žade of mediocrity in an effort to fit in at school. Since Paloma feels invisible and finds no point in life, she decides to end her own on the day of her thirteenth birthday.

When a tenant dies, a wealthy Japanese man, by the name of Ozu, moves in. He befriends Paloma. Moreover, he is able to see through Renee’s mask. Eventually, Paloma and Renee discover their “kindred souls.”

The Elegance of the Hedgehog is a heartbreaking and (often) philosophical novel about friendship, redemption, and the meaning of life. Renee is so cultured and Paloma is a genius, yet they keep those things hidden. Despite the many differences between Renee and Paloma, they view things very similarly. Watching as their defenses slowly unraveled made for an interesting read. I didn’t always feel like I was relating to these characters, but I still found myself appreciating them. I guess I felt like I understood where they were coming from as I have often felt safer within my own mind.

I was inspired to laugh as I progressed through this novel; I was encouraged to see things in another point of view; and intrigued by each character’s philosophy in life. Though this book is slow-moving at first, it picks up as the characters develop. Muriel Barbery frequently graced the pages with her sense of humor and it comes across very well.
This clever and profound novel translates well into audio—each voice stays true to each characters personality. The Elegance of the Hedgehog is read by Barbara Rosenblat and Cassandra Morris—each doing an excellent job at drawing out the inner lives of the characters. They draw the audience into a story—so witty and insightful—it will not soon be forgotten.

This is definitely a book for those who enjoy a challenging read as it is a book that requires some thinking (perhaps even a dictionary from time to time). There are also quite a few French words and phrases throughout the novel; I was relieved to be able to hear them rather than try to pronounce them.

Bottom line: This is no summer beach read. It may take time and commitment. Even then, you might find it to be worth it.
Thank you HighBridge for sending me this audiobook for review.

July 15, 2009

Review: Too Too Many Tutus by Suzanne Davis Marion

Christina is getting ready for ballet class. However, she has a bit of a problem—she isn’t sure which tutu to wear because she has Too Too Many Tutus. She goes to her mother with her predicament and her mother tells her to ask her father which tutu she should wear. But Christina’s tutus are too pretty and he kindly tells her she will have to choose for herself. When Christina’s brother, Max, suggests that she lay all of her tutu’s out on her bed because it would be easier to decide, Christina hurries inside to do just that. Unfortunately, all of the colors are “too too pretty” and she still can’t decide.
As she goes through her many options, each color stirs her imagination: if she wore the green tutu, she could “twirl around the bushes with their different shades of green leaves,” if she wore the blue tutu, she could “dance on the beach beside the blue sea,” if she wore her pink tutu, she could “dance among the roses.” After Christina goes through her many tutus, she makes an excellent decision. Although, I won’t tell you which color she finally chooses.

Suzanne Davis Marion does such a wonderful job at expressing Christina’s imagination in her story. Even though I am well above the age group intended for this book, I found myself smiling as Christina imagines herself dancing in each tutu. I also enjoyed the wonderful illustrations that so perfectly match each situation.

Too Too Many Tutus is a sweet and charming children’s story with prose that will spark the imagination, and illustrations that young readers will marvel at.

Reading Level (according to Amazon): ages 9-12

However, this book is sure to be enjoyed by a younger audience as well.

Big thanks to Suzanne Davis Marion for sending me a copy to read and review.

July 9, 2009

Review: Across the Pond by Barry Eva (aka Storyheart)

English-born Fred Squire is peeved when he finds out that his parents are sending him away to the US while they spend their holiday in Australia. As much as he wanted to join them on their vacation, he was given two options—visiting his grandparents in Scotland or visiting some family friends—Phil and Julie—in America. Of course, he chooses the latter. Upon his arrival in the United States, Fred is clearly unhappy about not being in route to Australia; worried about whether he’ll fit in; and nervous about meeting Phil and Julie’s daughter, Brittany.

Across the Pond begins just as Fred’s plane lands and covers his adventures in America. Storyheart offers his readers a short, but very sweet story about young love and the greatest American pastime—baseball.

Fred Squire is a very likable hero with his English charm, heart of gold, and gallantry—young girls will swoon.

Across the Pond coaxed smiles from me as I read about how Fred handled the many situations he found himself in--especially his often humorous struggle with the differences in language. I would have liked for the story to be drawn out a little more than it was (as it covers quite a bit in 114 pages), and I was having difficulty grasping how falling in love can happen so suddenly. Then again, young love often does seem to happen in an instant.
Also, there were a few grammatical errors which I found really distracting. However, despite its weaknesses, I still caught myself laughing at the humor and rooting for the hero. I absolutely love happy endings!

This book is geared towards a younger audience. I honestly think younger readers (and the young at heart) will get more out of this book than adults. Although, there are a few curse words from the antagonist of the story that parents might not appreciate.

Happy Reading!

(A huge thanks to Barry Eva for my review copy!)

July 8, 2009

Mailbox Surprise and Random Trailer

The Elegance of the Hedgehog (audiobook) by Muriel Barbery

When I checked the mail today I was completely suprised by the little package that held The Elegance of the Hedgehog audiobook. Have you read this book or listened to the audiobook? I've heard very little about this novel but the description on the back sounds very interesting. I'll be flying out to Washington tomorrow afternoon so maybe I'll get some reading (or listening) done while I'm on the plane.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week thus far!

July 7, 2009

Book To Look Out For: The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Release Date: October 6, 2009

From Amazon: When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

The Maze Runner is the first in a planned trilogy. This dystopian novel has been compared to books like The Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies.

The Maze Runner has already begun making the rounds in Hollywood.

July 6, 2009

Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Meaningless hatred: the hatred of an enemy without a face. No one knows why we fight; they only know that we will continue until we win a war it is too late to win, until we have avenged too many dead to avenge, until no one can remember peace anymore, even in songs.

Hawksong tells the story of two feuding kingdoms of shape-shifters—the Avians and the Serpiente. They have been at war for so long that neither Kingdom can really remember why. What they do remember is the constant bloodshed; and to them, that’s enough of a reason to keep fighting.

Danica Shardae, the last remaining heir to the avian throne, has seen too many people suffer and would do anything in her power to end the war. When Zane Cobriana, the soon-to-be-King of the Serpiente kingdom, sends a message of peace, it is more than difficult for the Avians to trust his sincerity. However, it is even more difficult to fathom so many more lives being lost and so Danica and her people agree to meet the Serpiente on neutral Mistari (tiger shape-shifters) land to talk face-to-face. The Mistari are known for their wisdom and many seek guidance there.

When the Mistari ruler suggests the two royal houses unite, it is more than either kingdom seems willing to give. Considering the intense bloodshed and hatred the two kingdoms have known, how can anyone expect them to suddenly turn from enemies to a pair bond? How can Danica put aside everything she (and every Avian) has learned from birth—that Serpiente are evil and untrustworthy?

My thoughts:
Hawksong starts The Kiesha’ra series and starts it well.

I was fascinated by the different cultures—the Avians and Serpiente really are opposites. Atwater-Rhodes offers such a fresh and realistic fantasy world and she does an excellent job in piecing this story together. I was especially pleased with the voice the author gave our protagonist--she's smart, strong, and open-minded, she was willing to do anything for her people and made an excellent leader even in her young age. I found myself drawn to the main characters as I watched them develop throughout the novel. Once I got into this book, I didn't want to put it down. I admit that I was sad when it ended. Though many of the characters are flat, it is my understanding that each book that continues this series is written from a different perspective.

Bottom line: Hawksong is a quick, compelling read about love and hate, about war and the importance of putting differences aside for the sake of peace. The crafting of each Kingdom’s personalities—the way they love, the way they fight, their homes and traditions--make this book so memorable.

If you enjoy fantasy and shape-shifters, you will love this book. Pick it up and you’ll be sucked into a world you won’t soon forget!

Happy Reading!
Thank you Ashley for the recommendation (and for sending me your copy to read)! :)

July 2, 2009

Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World by N.D. Wilson

This world is beautiful but badly broken. I love it as it is, because it is a story, and it isn’t stuck in one place. It is full of conflict and darkness like every good story, a world of surprises and questions to explore. And there’s someone behind it…
Welcome to His poem. His play. His novel. Let the pages flick your thumbs.

Nate Wilson takes us on a journey of “wide-eyed wonder” as he attempts to explain the world we live in and the One who created it. This world is a tilt-a-whirl (with its spinning laps) and life is a carnival; ergo, we are all carnies. Wilson's premise: the universe is a work of art--our Creator's masterpiece. Wilson does a very good job at using his words as paint, spreading them on a canvas... writing to the body and to the senses as well as the mind.

Nate Wilson’s short clean sentences are appealing as he takes a stab at explaining the answers to the Who, What, Why, and How of this world we reside—written in such a way that neutral observers (who might not find this world to be believable) would understand. Wilson offers a capricious, yet interesting, look into nature’s absurdities, evolution, hell, God’s purposes behind tragedy, quantum physics, etc. all while adding his quirky humor along the way. As I read this book, I was reminded of two other books: 1) A Short History of Nearly Everything, and 2) Blue Like Jazz. I couldn’t help but get the impression that Nate Wilson was trying too hard to be the next Donald Miller. I actually enjoyed Blue Like Jazz. I couldn’t, however, get into Notes (as much as I tried). While Wilson’s writing is poetic and thoughtful, he just seemed to carry those thoughts too far—good points were often lost behind further (and further) explanation, causing my head to spin and, as a result, lose track of what the author was trying to get at in the first place.

I have come to terms with the fact that I may not be the target audience intended for this book. I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to.
Since this book is mostly in keeping with what seems to be its purpose, I'm giving it a 3/5 rating.
A big thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending me a review copy.

Did you enjoy this book? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

July 1, 2009

Review: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

My rating: 4/5 – great read!

Locked in a coffin-like darkness, there is nothing to distract me from my memories of killing Reyad. He deserved to die—but according to the law, so do I. Here in Ixia, the punishment for murder is death. And now I wait for the hangman’s noose.

But the same law that condemns me may also save me. Ixia’s food taster—chosen to ensure that the Commander’s food is not poisoned—has died. And by law, the next prisoner who is scheduled to be executed—me—must be offered the position.

Yelena has been tried and found guilty of murder. Just as she is about to be executed, she is offered a choice—to be executed, or to be Commander Ambrose’s new food taster.

“A fool would refuse the job.”

The thing about being the Commander’s food taster is this: (all possible threats on his life aside) it’s a lifetime position and the training alone can be lethal. As the title would suggest, Yelena chooses to be the food taster and thus begins her crash course in poison detection. In an effort to keep the (formerly on death row) food tasters from escaping, Valek, the Commander’s personal security chief, gives them a poison that requires a daily antidote to stay alive.

Despite her inability to escape, Yelena is given a small measure of freedom and is able to settle into her new life and even make friends. However, she must avoid Brazell—the father of the man she murdered. Brazell is so desperate to have her killed; he will stop at nothing to see her dead.
As the novel progresses, we see pieces of Yelena’s memories and the demons that haunt her. We come to understand her character—her complicated past and why she was awaiting execution in the first place. Snyder’s writing flows so naturally and so beautifully that it makes this book a pleasure to read. Throw in some fun, likeable characters, a little magic and mayhem and you have yourself a book that (not only will you want to clear your schedule to read) will stay with you long after you’ve read the final page!

Even though I found the plot to be somewhat predictable, I was too engaged in the story to care. This book kept a good pace, what with the political intrigue, danger, magic, suspense, and subtle romance.

Maria V. Snyder starts the series (and her career) off on the right foot with her debut novel, Poison Study. Her elegant descriptions really make the pages come alive—I could almost smell the food, taste the poison, and feel Yelena’s turmoil.

I was absolutely fascinated with this story and its characters; especially the strong and witty heroine!

If you haven’t already read this book, I would suggest you try it out.

FYI, This story continues with Magic Study and Fire Study.

Happy Reading!