#WWW Wednesday – 14 June 2017

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

Sorry I wasn’t around last week! Life was too crazy for blogging, and I had barely been reading anyway. Life is back to normal now, though, so I should be around regularly for a while.

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What have you recently finished reading?

I finished Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder, which I felt was about on par with the first book in the series. My review will go up on Friday.

Before that, I finished reading The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie and reviewed it here. It was very cute and I recommend it.

Last but not least, I read The Betrayal of Bindy MacKenzie by Jaclyn Moriarty. This is the 4th book by her that I have read this year and it was a strange one… Bindy Mackenzie read like a Jane Austen heroine, but the book is a YA Contemporary… so it took some getting used to but in the end, I was hooked enough to see it through. It was still weird, though.

What are you currently reading?

Dracula by Bram Stoker and Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice on audio  are still ongoing. I have knocked off another couple of hours of Interview, but haven’t had an opportunity to continue with Dracula.

While I was sure that I had until December to read it, it turns out that Ensnared by Rita Stradling was published at the end of May, so I have started my ARC today. It’s a futuristic Beauty and the Beast retelling so I have high hopes, though the reviews are mixed.

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

I will probably start Fire Study, the third book in the Study series by Maria V. Snyder. General consensus seems to be that the quality goes down as the series goes on, so we’ll see how it goes.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ Emily

 

 

P.S. If you’ve come here looking for WIPpet Wednesday, head on over to my writing blog, Letting the Voices Out.

#WWW Wednesday – 31 May 2017

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

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What have you recently finished reading?

I finished Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder and enjoyed it quite a lot. I posted my review here. It’s a bit of a different take on usual high fantasy and I enjoyed that a lot.

I also posted my review of Stephen King’s On Writing. Click the title to read it. As I said last week, I wasn’t the biggest fan, and I went into a bit more detail why in the review.

What are you currently reading?

Dracula by Bram Stoker and Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice on audio  are still ongoing. Haven’t really made much progress on either of those this week. Not sure when I’ll have time for more Dracula, but South Pacific opens this Friday and I have a few occasions where my car pool buddy won’t be with me, so I’ll be driving to and from the theatre on my own. I should be able to knock off a few hours then (though driving home at midnight, I often blast show tunes to keep myself awake, so taht might eat into it a bit).

I have also started Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder, and I’m far enough through it I’m ticking if off for May on my April – June TBR. I’m enjoying it so far but the general consensus on this series seems to be that the follow-ups weren’t as good as the first book. So I’m approaching with caution. I think the fact that I wasn’t a fan of the romance aspect of Poison Study, and Valek and Yelena are separated in this one, is helping.

Finally (I know, I have way too  many books on the go at the moment), I am also reading The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie and it is ADORABLE! I worried that the perspective of the cat would be annoying or just plain weird to read, but it’s not at all. And the aspects of Buddhist teachings are woven in so well that you barely even realise you’re learning about a tenet of Buddhism as you go.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I will hopefully want to read Fire Study next, though I did find that I didn’t want to start Magic Study immediately after Poison Study, and that a couple of days’ break between them was good. I might try to find a standalone to go inbetween. There are a few things on my current TBR that would work.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ Emily

P.S. If you’ve come here looking for WIPpet Wednesday, head on over to my new writing blog, Letting the Voices Out. Today’s WIPpet is up! 🙂

“To Yelena, our newest food taster. May you last longer than your predecessor.” // Review of “Poison Study” by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Poison Study (Study #1)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Date Read: 23/05/2017 – 26/03/2017
Rating: ★★★☆

Review:

A 3.5 rating belies how quickly I read this book and how much I wanted to return to it whenever I wasn’t reading. It does sum up my overall impression when I reached the end of the book, though.

On the eve of her execution for murder, Yelena is presented with a choice: face the noose or become the Commander’s new food taster. She chooses the latter, but testing food for poison is only one of several challenges she has to face: there’s the father of the man she murdered, burgeoning feelings for her captor and mentor, not to mention the latent magical power she seems to possess in a country where magic is outlawed.

Yelena is a really strong character; she has a horrible past that we learn of bit by bit, but she also learns fast and is a quick thinker. The other characters are all well-constructed. Valek, Yelena’s trainer and eventual ally, is an interesting study in contradictions. Commander Ambrose provides several surprises to both Yelena and the reader in the way he runs the country he overtook. Other side characters such as Ari and Janco, soldiers who agree to train Yelena in self-defence after she unwittingly gets them  promoted; Irys, a master-magician from  the south, and the various Generals and other members of the Commander’s staff provide a really great ensemble.

The romance felt a bit rushed towards the end. While I knew it was coming, I think the fact that the book is in first person from Yelena’s point of view meant that Valek’s feelings were never really clear until he declared them outright (a couple of characters did say things like “I think he m ight be sweet on you” but Yelena firmly denied it). And an outpouring of feelings didn’t really feel right for Valek’s character, so it felt a bit weird.

I did love the world-building. The history of the Commander’s takeover of Ixia was nicely woven through the narrative, and it was nice to read a fantasy not set in a kingdom. The national traditions were also really fun to read.

While I have heard that the next two books in the series don’t live up to this one,  I am keen to hear more about these characters, so I will be checking them out. (also I own them, so I might as well). WIsh me luck!


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#WWW Wednesday – 24 May 2017

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished On Writing by Stephen King, though I wasn’t really that into it, to be honest. Long story short, I’m not really a King fan or a craft book fan and so I was destined to never really like this one. My review will go up on Friday with more detail.

I have posted two reviews this week, Heart of Brass by Felicity Banks, and The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias. Both were 3* reads for me.

What are you currently reading?

“I don’t like vampires,” she says, then proceeds to read Dracula by Bram Stoker (which continues to be enjoyable, unlike most classics I try to read) and listen to Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice on audio concurrently. The guy who narrates this has the most soothing voice! It’s kind of long but I’m at about 20% going to have a few solitary car trips over the next couple of weeks so I should get through it then.

I have just today started Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. I’ve been really looking forward to starting this series, but as often happens with books I own, I kept putting it aside for library books, ARCs, etc. If nothing else, the covers on these editions are really stunning, but I’ve flown through the first quarter with no trouble today and plan on reading more before bed.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I still have The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie from the library, so I should probably pick that up before too long. But at the same time, if I want to continue the Study series straight away, I’ll do that.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ Emily

P.S. If you’ve come here looking for WIPpet Wednesday, head on over to my new writing blog, Letting the Voices Out. Today’s WIPpet isn’t up yet, but you can pass some time reading my other posts for the Story a Day in May challenge.

#WWW Wednesday – 03 May, 2017

Hello everyone! Apologies for my absence over the last couple of weeks. I had a 4000 word paper due a couple of days ago, which pretty much consumed my life for the time I was writing it. It turned out to be harder than I expected to write, but I got there in the end. It wasn’t my best work, but I’m reasonably confident I won’t fail the course, since I have done reasonably okay on the assignments worth the other 50% of my grade. And if I do fail, I will be disappointed for a bit, then shrug it off and do the course again next time it is offered (it’s a core one for my specialisation, so I do need to tick it off somewhere).

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You may notice that this post only features WWW Wednesday. That’s because I’ve set up a new blog for my writing. You may have already seen the post I wrote on Monday announcing this, or you may have seen my Facebook post. If not, you can read my first WIPpet Wednesday post in the new digs here.

So now it’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished The Asp of Ascension by B. R. Meyers and posted my review here. I enjoyed the mystery and felt it had a lot of potential, but there were a few too many things that didn’t work for me, so it only got three stars.

After that, I read The Abyss Surrounds Us and its sequel, The Edge of the Abyss, both by Emily Skrutskie. My review of the first one is here, and the second one will go up this Friday.

I finally got back to the Series of Unfortunate Events for a while and read The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket. It was nice to see the Baudelaires hanging out with some kids their own age, even if it didn’t last very long.

Last but not least, my review of The Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil was also posted since my last WWW post; you may remember me gushing about it. Click here to read the review.

What are you currently reading?

After seeing a really incredible stage production of it last week, and after discovering that I hadn’t donated my copy, I am trying to read  Dracula by Bram Stoker. Mostly to compare it with the performance, because I’m intrigued as to how much of the eroticism and repressed sexuality that seems to be in every adaptation was actually in the original text.

I know I’ve said in the past that I was swearing off vampires but Dracula doesn’t count. It’s modern vampires that I don’t like. The ones with ~feelings~ and who are all angsty about their nature. Unapologetically evil vampires I am still okay with.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I think I will try Poison Study by Maria  V. Snyder next. I own three of the books in this series and the four of them are on my April – June TBR. It’ll be good to knock a few off there, as well as being able to count them towards my Beat the Backlist challenge. Also everyone I know who has read these books has really loved them. And the covers are really stunning.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ Emily