Review: The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo

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A brief synopsis:

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

 

Goodreads rating: ✮✮✮✮ (4.53 stars)

My rating: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5 stars)

 

I loved reading this collection of short stories, and this has made me want to get back into the Grishaverse and finally start the Six of Crows duology, which has been staring at me from my TBR for much longer than I would care to admit.

This collection highlights the different worlds that Bardugo creates, and these stories are filled with creepiness and intrigue. There is everything that you can possibly want in this collection, from clever animals, to in-love puppets, to lesbian mermaids, among other things. My favourite story was The Witch of Duva, as I felt like this story intrigued me the most, and one that I felt was far too short! The other stories are just as good though!

This is a rather short review, because you just need to read and imagine the stories in this book for yourself.

 

Review: Night of Cake and Puppets – Laini Taylor

 

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A brief synopsis

In this stand-alone companion to the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone series comes the story of Mik and Zuzana’s fantastical first date—as a gorgeously illustrated gift edition with bonus content included.

Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her “rabid fairy,” her “voodoo eyes” are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or “Violin Boy,” her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to make the first move, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. It’s a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter’s night before leading him to the treasure: herself! Violin Boy is not going to know what hit him.

 

Goodreads rating: ✮✮✮✮ (4.35 stars)

My rating: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5 stars)

 

Two nights it took me to read this book, namely because I kept getting distracted by looking at all the gorgeous artwork by the talented Jim Di Bartolo. I loved reading about the Daughter of Smoke and bone trilogy, initially by mistake because I thought I was going to be reading about the Darkling (Shadow and bone trilogy). I am so glad that there is a physical copy of this book out! The book itself is gorgeous and just everything inside is perfection (even if I was secretly hoping it would be a 300+ page novel as a surprise from Laini…).

There is a lot of controversy online lately regarding novellas, as a popular author is saying that readers should buy one of her already published books if they want to read about a 11k word novella. Then saying that if people cannot afford it, then go to a library, as she claims to have received a message from a reader saying they pirated her books and read them that way online. This author is problematic (despite me being completely invested in the Raven Cycle Quartet, I mean hey, nobody’s perfect?) and this isn’t really something I want to go into further. Just that Laini has done the right thing here, and publishing it in hardback with artwork from your talented husband? major props.

Right, let’s finally get down to this book. Zuzana and Mik. I love Zuzana so much and I was glad to see her published, as well as have sneak peaks into her artwork, as well as Karou’s sketch book. Zuzana is fierce and decides to go after the guy she wants, not wanting to mope around any longer. Mik also ends up playing Zuzana at her own game and they are just perfect together.

This book made me miss the dosab series and I am just glad that my bby Zuzana got her own book. The art work is just something else. Laini and Jim are like the most creative power couple ever and honestly she could write her name on a tissue and I would still pay to read it.

I don’t know how else to describe my feelings without crying all over you. This book was romantic and beautiful inside and out, and made me feel very nostalgic for this series. Laini has outdone herself yet again and I just have no words for how happy reading this book has made me.

 

Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

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A brief synopsis:

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There’s only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.

Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

Goodreads rating: ✮✮✮✮ (3.78 stars)

My rating: ✮✮✮✮✮ (4.5 stars)

 

I read this book over a week (I think) and I loved it so much! The only downside was the fact that I wanted it to be so much longer, because I just couldn’t get enough of it. The book was a different take on the fairy genre of stories, and it was nice to read about a different fae.

Characters

Isobel: Isobel is a fierce female protagonist and it was such a relief to have a female character that remained independent and had morals she wanted to stick with. Isobel knows what she wants, and won’t sacrifice it for anything. The only thing that would make me like her more was if she was a Fae-hating Lesbian.

Rook: Rook is hilarious. I laughed more in the scenes with Rook than I did with any other character. The fact he is the Autumn Prince and believes he can do what he wants is also a contributing giggle factor. It is nice and refreshing to see a male character who thinks he can do what he wants, and actually be told that he can’t. All that aside, I love Rook and he is my ideal cinammon roll.

March and May: These two. They aren’t really main characters, but I have such a soft spot for them. They are evil and horrid creatures and I just love them so much.

Gadfly: A main/side character depending on the part of the book. Gadfly seems really nice but he is a bastard. Don’t believe the false niceties, and just think of him as Fae – crafty and manipulative. I want to slap this arsehole so much.

 

The language

This book is filled with the most beautiful writing I have read in a long while. The descriptions are on point, and really make you feel like you are really there alongside the characters. All the posts and quotes online about how the autumn is crisp and golden etc have nothing on this book. I feel like Margaret Rogerson writes how everyone wants to write, but can’t.

 

Overall thoughts

I loved this book and the language and imagery and everything else, but the immediate romance put me off that half a star, and my asexual butt couldn’t get past this, which is why I voted the 4.5.

Review: Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Brief synopsis

The Nomeolvides women (grandmothers, mothers, and daughters) are able to grow flowers from their fingertips and make the men they love disappear. All of this changes when a boy appears from the ground, and a member of the Briar family arrives with no warning. The story is full of magic and women and mystery and is a book I want to live in. 

Characters

The characters are amazing. The grandmothers (Flor, Magnolia, Liria, Lila, and Mimosa), the aunts (Hortensia, Iris, Jacinta, and Azucena) and daughters (Estrella, Gloria, Dalia, Calla, and Azalea) are strong women who have kept the Nomeolvides family strong and I am just glad to see a matriarchal family in a book as it is something rare to see. The family may be a family, but McLemore has made each and every character individual which gives me future hope for female characters. I especially like how they all produce different flowers depending on their names and it just adds even more mystery to La Pradera. 

Bay. My little queer bean. This book oozes queer representation. Both lesbian, gay, bisexual and pansexual and I am ready for more books like this. To me, Bay is an androgynous (maybe trans?) female who looks badass in a dress and in a suit. I adore her so much and I need a friend like Bay in my life. Bay handles everything so well, especially when she nearly lost it all due to the mystery family member. I just want a book entirely of Bay. 

Fel. I have so many feelings about Fel that I don’t really know how to write about them coherently. Fel is deep and brave and strong and just everything I look for in a male character. But he isn’t one of the major characters (at least to me) and I thought it was quite special, as a queer female, to see the characters who represent me being the main characters. 

Representation

Oh god, what doesn’t this book represent? It screams Mexican/Spanish representation. And black representation (highlighting racial issues regarding white people treating black people like s**t but I’d like to know what people of colour think?). And class issues and the differences in how rich and poor people view clothes and food. And I want to scream from the trees about the LGBTQIIAP+ rep. Lesbian kisses. Young lesbians. Old lesbians. A gay brother. Old and young bisexuals and pansexuals. Androgynous females. This book has everything queer. (Well almost but it’s a good step in the right direction)!!!
There is just so much more I want to say but can’t write it coherently and in a good way, so this review is probably shocking so I apologise in advance. 

This book is out October 2017 and I recommend it to everyone. I received this book from netgalley in return for an honest review (which I’m sorry about the state of it).

A Flame in the mist – Renee Ahdieh

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn, comes a sweeping, action-packed YA adventure set against the backdrop of Feudal Japan where Mulan meets Tamora Pierce.

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.
Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

Goodreads rating: ✮✮✮✮ (4.27 stars)

My rating: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5 stars)

I received this e-galley in return for an honest review.

I thoroughly reading this book, bursting out with laughter on more than one occassion! This book is meant to be a retelling of Mulan, but where I could see the links, I thought it was rather different in terms of Mariko’s social position and back story.

This book focuses on Mariko, who was travelling to visit her future husband, when her travelling party was attacked and murdered. Mariko learns who she thinks tried to kill her, and sets about infiltrating their group by disguising herself as a man. She learns how to fend for herself, taught by those she intends to seek her revenge on. However, she soon starts to realise that the failed murder attempt could be down to someone else.

I loved all the characters in this book (well, ok, not all of them, but most of them).

Mariko –> I loved her quick ability to adapt to being a man, and how she knew that it was the only way she would survive. She doesn’t let her social position of her being a woman affect what she does. She is soon to realise that society is not what it appears at first, and is willing to change it to make it more equal. I am looking forward to reading more about her.

Okami –> He is a complete ass and I will fight anyone who disagrees that he is bisexual. We need more bisexual characters in books. I think he is an interesting character with a unique back-story, and he needs protecting, my pure bby<3

Ranmaru –> I love him so much. I think his bravery and protectiveness of those in his clan, is something to be admired. Even when he knew that Mariko wasn’t really a boy, he still accepted her as one of his clan members. He has a soft spot in my heart.

Yoshi –> I loved how he was the first one to welcome Mariko properly, when she first appeared as a boy, and I like how he didn’t want her to assume that cooking was the job for a female. He didn’t let his prostetic leg harbour his day to day life, showing that amputees can live a normal life.

I would have loved to read more into the magical side of the book, as I felt it was different than other books I have previously read. I am interesting to see where the story goes, especially as I want to continue my journey with these characters.

You can find this book on goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31393403-flame-in-the-mist

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Lost Souls – Kelley Armstrong

The disappearing hitchhiker is one of the hoariest urban legends, and no one knows that better than Gabriel Walsh, a lawyer who grew up on folklore and myth. When author of books on the supernatural Patrick brings Gabriel a case of a hitchhiking woman in white who vanished on a country road after accepting a ride from a businessman, Gabriel knows the Cainsville elder is just trying to wheedle into his good graces. But Gabriel is a man in need of a mystery, one that will get him back into someone else’s good graces. His investigator, Olivia Taylor-Jones, has blown town supposedly on a simple vacation. But when she left there was a rift between them and…he misses her.

Gabriel is well aware the only thing Olivia loves more than a good mystery is a weird one, and this hitchhiker case more than fits the bill. As Gabriel digs into the story, he’s forced to face ghosts of his own and admit that the woman in white isn’t the only one who has lost her way.

With Lost Souls, New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong weaves an unmissable novella-length tale connected to her fan-favorite Cainsville series.

Goodreads rating: ✮✮✮✮ (4.27 stars)

My rating: ✮✮✮ (3 stars)

I’ve been a fan of Kelley Armstrong since I was lent the first Women of the Otherworld books, and I have been obsessed with her ever since. However, I dived into this book having no knowledge of the Cainsville series, as I hadnt got round to reading them yet.

 

Despite having no knowledge of the series, however, I thought this novella was fast-paced and has made me even more interested in reading the series. The characters had depth, and even though I didn’t quite know what the terminology meant, I was intrigued. I was also disappointed in how short the book was. I knew it was a Novella, but I was hoping for something longer.

I am interested in the back story, and I would recommend this novella for anyone interested in picking up the series.

You can find this book on goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33024398-lost-souls?from_search=true

If you buy these books from Amazon using the link below, The Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary will receive a donation. It does not cost you.

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The Trail of Ted Bundy: Digging Up The Untold Stories – Kevin M Sullivan

“Despite the abundance of books available on Ted Bundy, holes remain in his story. Bundy expert Kevin Sullivan has done the painstaking work of filling some in and offering credible notions for those for which information might always be elusive. An important addition to true crime studies.”Katherine Ramsland, bestselling author of Psychopath and The Mind of a Murderer

Within the pages of THE TRAIL OF TED BUNDY:Digging Up the Untold Stories, you’ll hear the voices – many for the first time – of some of Ted Bundy’s friends, as they bring to light the secrets of what is was like to know him while he was actively involved in murder. The stories of his victims are here as well, as told by their friends, including the information and anecdotes that didn’t make it into the investigative files and are being published here for the first time. Two of the former detectives who worked with author Kevin Sullivan during the writing of his widely-acclaimed book, THE BUNDY MURDERS, return to aid readers in fully understanding Bundy’s murderous career; it’s ripple-effect impact on those who came into contact with him in one way or another, and dispelling commonly held myths.

THE TRAIL OF TED BUNDY is a journey back in time, to when Ted Bundy was killing young woman and girls in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. It’s told by those who knew him, and you’ll hear their revealing stories, many being voiced and put to print for the very first time. The friends of the victims are here as well, and they too share their insights about the victims, and some of what they tell here had been held back from the investigators, such was their commitment to their deceased friends. It’s also the story of those who hunted Bundy; those who guarded him, and those who otherwise were a part of this strange case one way or another.

From the book:

“Anyone today visiting the house where Lynda Ann Healy lived with her friends, as I did in July 2015, will find it in a very nice neighborhood that is well maintained; perhaps better maintained now than in 1974. Standing in front of the structure, there is no obvious reminder that evil once invaded this dwelling in the middle of the night. Just off to the right of the front door, on the side of the house, is the door leading to the basement. It was through this door that Bundy would carry Lynda out into the chilly night air.

As I walked up the steps my mind was riveted on that night. I thought of Bundy, and how he also had walked up these steps before slowly turning the doorknob that cold evening to see if it was unlocked. Having already written The Bundy Murders, I was well aware of what transpired there, and, at such a moment, it all becomes so very real. Indeed, in my view, the Lynda Healy abduction is the strangest of his career, and I don’t ever expect to hear of one more bizarre, either from the past or in the future.”

 

Goodreads rating: ✮✮✮✮ (3.53 stars)

My rating: ✮✮✮ (3 stars)

I really enjoyed reading this short book about Ted Bundy. I feel like for someone who doesn’t really know anything about him, this book is good. But I did go in reading it hoping to find out something I didn’t already know. But then again, that’s just my personal issue with the book.

With this being the first book I have read by Kevin Sullivan, I did feel like he was plugging his previous book too much, and therefore maybe missing parts out of this book to encourage the reader to purchase his other book.

However, I requested this book to review on NetGalley, and mostly because true crime is a sort of guilty pleasure, and I did enjoy reading it.

You can find this book on goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29405838-the-trail-of-ted-bundy

If you buy these books from Amazon using the link below, The Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary will receive a donation. It does not cost you.

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When Dimple met Rishi – Sandhya Menon

I received this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The date this book will be published is May 30th 2017

A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

Goodreads rating: ✮✮✮✮ (4.32 stars)

My rating: ✮✮✮✮ (4.5 stars)

 

I loved this book so much, and is the most diverse book I have read this year so far. Dimple and Rishi are the cutest pair, and I have been wanting to review this book even before I had finished.

Dimple is going to study coding at Stanford, and wants to take part in the SFSU coding programme over the summer before she starts University. She is such a fierce character, and has to deal with her parents’ expectations as well as societal expectations for a young Indian girl. Dimple doesn’t let anything get in her way, and she decides to do whatever it takes to get her into her dream career. Dimple believes that she doesn’t belong living in India or America.

Rishi is the complete opposite to Dimple. Rishi wants to do everything he can do to make his parents proud. He wants to be the ideal Indian son, even if it means sacrificing his dreams to please his parents. Rishi does whatever he can to please Dimple and win her heart, and he acts like a true gentleman when it comes to them taking their relationship further. Rishi realises though, that he can accomplish his dream and please his parents, like Dimple when she decides she can have her dream career and a relationship that her parents would approve of.

Celia is BISEXUAL. There was Bollywood dancing. There was Southern Indian language, without translations at times. Jenny Lindt acknowledges her privelege and wants to do whatever she can to make sure everything becomes more diverse.

I just loved this book so much. It was incredibly diverse and has made me much more aware of other cultures. Plus I would love to go to San Francisco and go to that book and bar place.

THIS IS A MUST READ. EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ THIS BOOK

You can find this book on goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28458598-when-dimple-met-rishi?ac=1&from_search=true

If you buy these books from Amazon using the link below, The Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary will receive a donation. It does not cost you.

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(SPOILERS) Dawn Study – Maria V Snyder

Despite the odds, Yelena and Valek have forged an irrevocable bond and a family that transcends borders. Now, when their two homelands stand on the brink of war, they must fight with magic and cunning to thwart an Ixian plot to invade Sitia.

Yelena seeks to break the hold of the insidious Theobroma that destroys a person’s resistance to magical persuasion. But the Cartel is determined to keep influential citizens and Sitian diplomats in thrall and Yelena at bay. With every bounty hunter after her, Yelena is forced to make a dangerous deal.

With might and magic, Valek peels back the layers of betrayal surrounding the Commander. At its rotten core lies a powerful magician and his latest discovery. The fate of all rests upon two unlikely weapons. One may turn the tide. The other could spell the end of everything.

Goodreads rating: ✮✮✮✮ (4.22 stars)

My rating: ✮✮✮✮ (4.5 stars)

I have been on this journey with Valek and Yelena since she was the Poison taster for the Commander, and I am, one of the many Snyder fans, who are sad to be coming to the end of the series. It took me a while to read this book, mostly because I didn’t want the series to end, but also wanting to find out how it does end. Basically I was in a lose-lose battle with my emotions.

This book concludes the fight between Ixia and Sitia, and whether or not Owen Moon succeeds with his big bad plan to take over the world, with Bruns and the Commander mere pawns in his fight. Also, will Yelena get her magic back? Is it all down to the baby, or has the Cartel created a substance to remove a magicians magic? I hope this review will answer the questions all of us Snyder fans have.

To start, the book carries on with the character chapters, and we learn about the battle from the perspective of Yelena, Valek, Janco, Leif, Heli, and probably other characters that I can’t remember. I am, however, disappointed that there wasn’t more of Kade, but glad that all of the previous characters were included in the grande finale. Nevertheless, Snyder deserves props for keeping all the individual personalities shining through.

There are, however, a number of positive and (slightly) negative issues I had when reading this book.

Yelena continues to remain the strong female character, and this book makes me love her so so much, and want to somehow protect her. Yelena has grown into such a strong and independent character, and I am glad that Snyder didn’t change her so much, especially regarding the pregnancy. Yelena handles everything so well, from her belief that Cahil would change sides due to not being influenced by Theobroma, to the constant travelling when pregnant.

HELI IS A LESBIAN!!! I squealed when she came out, and especially when she said that it didn’t matter if anyone found out. I really hope that, in a not too distant future, Zohan and Heli get together, despite there being no indication to Zohan’s sexuality. I feel like Heli would really help ease Zohan’s move from Ixia to Sitia, and also help her become better adjusted to her magician powers. It was just a refreshing change having someone who was not heterosexual mentioned in the book, especially with the range of characters.

Thirdly, I am all soppy inside because I love twists and turns and a happy ending. I felt like the ending was a little anticlimactic, but seeing as how Yelena has spent the series finding herself, it only seemed right that we end the series with Valek. It was nice seeing that softer side of him, and it made the ending that much better.

Now on to the stuff I didn’t like as much.

Valek. I loved Valek so so much. I loved when he was the handsome man in his dress uniform. I loved when his assassin abilities came out, and I loved how strong he was. However, I found him to be very very childish and moan-y in this book. He seemed very un-Valek. There was something missing, and he didn’t seem to trust Yelena that much, or her abilities, and he even doubted his own abilities. Plus his magic? I don’t know. I feel like he changed too much in the soulfinder trilogy to appeal to me, and even though I have my issues with his personality changing, I know that some people like that, so I’m putting it down to my preferences.

Secondly, the sex. I’m surprised Valek and Yelena got any talking done or discussing done, because no matter what was happening when they were together, there was the constant sex. Nothing graphic, but it was completely clear that whenever they were together, there was only one thing on their mind, and it wasn’t the weather. I don’t know if it is just my asexuality coming out, but I felt like their relationship lacked substance and depth.

Lastly, I am a little disappointed with the constant action. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and the pace was okay, but I felt like there were too many storylines included in this book. It was an issue that I had with the previous book, so I will put it down to me wanting more time with the characters.

 

Despite all the positives and negatives, I really enjoyed this series, and I am really sad that it is over. It is a series that I will no doubt be returning to again and again. I am also looking forward to what Snyder has in store for her readers.

 

You can find this book on goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16130760-dawn-study

If you buy these books from Amazon using the link below, The Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary will receive a donation. It does not cost you.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/?&tag=oldfrisendogs-20&camp=216797&creative=394569&linkCode=ur1&adid=1FCJ4A34GG4TENMGK9ND&&ref-refURL=http%3A%2F%2Foldfriendsseniordogs.com%2Fhelp-our-old-friends.html

SPOILERS!!! Shadow Study – Maria V Snyder

Once, only her own life hung in the balance…

When Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. She 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, dissent is rising. And Valek’s job—and his life—are in danger.
As Yelena tries to uncover her enemies, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked.And now she must find a way to keep not only herself but all that she holds dear alive.

A CHRONICLES OF IXIA NOVEL

Goodreads rating: ✮✮✮✮ (4.09 stars)

My rating: ✮✮✮ (3 stars)

I’ve read the poison study series pretty much one after the other, and I was excited to get back to Yelena and Valek. After the break that Snyder took, and only writing more Yelena and Valek because her fans wanted her to, I felt like the characters I had known to love had somehow changed.

This book includes perspectives from Valek and Janco, as well as Yelena, and where I would normally enjoy reading from their perspectives, I felt like the characters had somehow changed. They appeared different from what they were in the Study trilogy. I don’t know if this is because I didn’t return to the Soulfinder trilogy after a break, or whether my interpretations of the characters were different, but something was a bit…off. Janco was everything I imagined him to be, however Valek had somehow lost his “I am a big bad assassin” persona, and had become more…regular. Maybe I just loved the harsher side of him than this softer side. -WINK WINK- I am interested in reading about Valek’s past, and how he became the man he is.

Let’s get down to the story, which centres on Yelena losing her magic, and Valek potentially losing his job as the Commanders assassin. This is full of lots of action, and what Snyder is all about. An event is mentioned that hasn’t been included before, which involves characters called Ben Moon and Owen Moon. However, the events which involve this pair is explained somewhat throughout the book, as well as in the second book.

I spoiled myself pretty early on in the book, as I may have accidentally flicked to the last page, checking how many pages were in the book, and found out Yelena thought she was pregnant. I am, however, glad that the idea of pregnancy and periods are brought up, as well as her thoughts about pregnancy. She wasn’t too thrilled about the idea of being pregnant and I liked how Snyder included the pros and the cons.

I am interested in how the relationship between Sitia and Ixia is going to turn out. I sense that this trilogy will have a lot of twists and turns in, and I am excited to be diving into Night Study. Will Yelena be Pregnant, or is it just stress? Stay tuned to find out!

 

You can find this book on goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16130758-shadow-study

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