Interview and International Contest! CLOSED

27 December 2009

Maria V. Snyder, author of the Study books and Glass books, has accepted my invitation for an interview! My first author interview!

1. What was your inspiration for Poison Study?
A: I was reading Orson Scott Card’s book, How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy. In chapter 3, Card tells the writer to consider some questions before choosing the main character. He wrote, “Too often—particularly in medieval fantasy—writers think their story must be about rulers. Kings and queens, dukes and duchesses—they can be extravagantly powerful, yes, but too often they aren’t free at all. If you understand the workings of power in human societies, you’ll know that the greatest freedom to act in unpredictable ways is usually found away from the centers of power.”

This comment led me to think about a person who was close enough to the center of power to witness important events, yet not be the Prince or Princess. I thought about a food taster and a scene jumped into my mind. I saw a woman tasting food that was most likely poisoned through the eyes of the King. He watched her with heartbreaking horror because he had fallen in love with her. That led me to wonder about this woman. Who was she? Why was she there? Why would a King fall in love with her? And Poison Study was born.
Then the Commander came along and assassinated the King and set up a military dictatorship - but that's why writing is fun :)

2. You have experience with fighting and food tasting (your husband), how did that help you in your writing?
A: For a writer, all experiences are fodder for our imagination. Hands on research is my favorite - it helps me to translate an experience--the sights, smells, feelings, and how things taste or what they feel like--for the reader. If I experience it myself, then I can draw a better picture for the reader.

3. Who was your favorite character in the Study books?
A: This is like asking a mother who her favorite child is! ;> But I do have my favorites and I'm torn between Valek and Janco.

4. To anyone who hasn’t read Poison Study, how would you describe it to them?
A: The book is about Yelena. She starts out in a dungeon waiting to be executed for murder and is offered a reprieve...sort of :) She becomes the Commander's new poison taster and must learn how to taste his food and drink. It's a dangerous job and she's stuck, but Yelena is smart and resourceful and just can't give up hope. She learns to trust others and follow her heart, transforming from a victim to a person whose takes control of her life. Yelena learns how to defend herself, how to pick locks and lots of fun stuff :)
I tell readers it's fantasy lite :) I don't have elves and dragons or all the details and strange languages of a Tolkien novel, I have characters you can root for, and a fast paced plot. It's not a romance, but there is a romantic subplot. I also have mystery and suspense elements. Something for everyone :) And I mean everyone - I've had emails from readers aged 9 to 81!

5. What was the hardest part to write in the Study books?
A: [Warning - this answer has spoilers for the Study books] There are two good characters who die in the three books and both those scene were very difficult to write. They had become a part of my family and it's upsetting, but bad things happen to good characters.

6. If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
A: Joss Whedon - he created Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly and now Dollhouse (which I haven't had time to see yet). They're all television shows, but the characters change in some way in each episode, the writing was sharp with touches of humor and I was occasionally surprised by twists in the plot (hard to do since, as a writer, I'm pretty good at picking out those subtle clues :). I would love to just sit down and talk books and writing with him for an hour :)

7. Besides your own books, what are some of your favorite books?
A: The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, Ill Wind, and Glass Houses by Rachel Caine, Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy, Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready, His Majesty's Dragon, by Naomi Novik, Jaran, by Kate Elliott (science fiction but great adventure/romance - other really good SF novels with great characters are Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, The Gate to Women's Country, by Sheri S. Tepper, and The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis - in fact, I recommend anything by Connie Wills - she has a wonderful sense of humor.) The Time of the Dark,The Walls of Air, The Armies of Daylight, The Ladies of Mandrigyn all by Barbara Hambly - in fact any book by Barbara is great :) For just plain mystery/suspense with dashes of humor - I've been enjoying Harlan Coben's books - all of them. Other authors I enjoy - Lynn Flewelling (fantasy), Dick Francis (mystery), and Sebastian Junger (creative non-fiction - the Perfect Storm guy, but he's a wonderful writer).

8. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
A: I called myself a writer when I started making money from my writing. Before then, it was more a hobby.

9. How did you come up with the title, Poison Study?
A: It was really hard. I wanted Poison in the title because of Yelena's job, but I couldn't find a second word that fit. I thought of Education, Learning, or Educating Yelena (like that movie Educating Rita). Finally I thought of Study and I didn't really like it at first, but I decided if I ever sold the book, my editor and publisher would change the title anyway (and most do). But they didn't and when they wanted a second book, I thought of Magic Study right away - that one was easy. Fire Study was another difficult one. I wanted Soul Study, but my editor thought it sounded too 70s and too inspirational (I liked it for a number of reasons, but I thought, Poison, Magic, Soul would be a funny inside joke for PMS ;). We had it named Death Study for the contract, but as soon as I wrote the scene with the Fire Warper stepping from the fire, I knew Fire Study would be perfect!

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
A: Yes - First Hello and thanks for stopping by :) And thanks to Kirthi for hosting me today!
And if you enjoy the Study Series, I would encourage you to try the Glass Series. The first book, Storm Glass is about Opal Cowan. You first meet Opal in Magic Study (she's Tula's younger sister) and she has a bigger role in Fire Study. Storm Glass starts about 5 years after Fire Study and Opal is exploring her glass magic. Many characters from the Study books are in the story, like Leif, Yelena, Irys, Zitora etc.. Sea Glass is the second book and it's available now, but the third book, Spy Glass isn't due out until September 2010.
Also - I have the first chapter of all my books online (except Spy Glass) and a few free short stories you can read on my website. Here's the url:
Any aspiring writers are also welcome to check out my writing advice page as well.

Contest! International!
I enjoyed interviewing you Mrs. Snyder! She generously offered to give away a signed copy of Poison Study on my blog (thank you so much!), so comment with your name and e-mail so I can contact you if you win. Here are some extra entries!
+1 for telling me what you found interesting about this interview!
+3 is you're a follower
+5 for a blog post or sidebar (please provide the link)
+2 for commenting on my review of Poison Study
+2 for commenting on my review on Magic and Fire Study
+1 for adding up all your entries!

This contest will be closed on January 27, 2010! So spread the word!

Contests and Giveaways to enter!

Natalie from Mindful Musings is hosting a 400 followers Giveaway! Win one of many books!

Tynga from Tynga's Urban Fantasy is giving away The Morganville Vampires 2 in 1 edition!

Bookworm from Bookworm Readers is giving away a copy of I So Don't Do Spooky, AND is hosting a Tri-book Holiday Contest, so hurry up and enter!

Jessica from Shut Up! I'm Reading is hosting a 200 follower giveaway with great books!

The Bookologist is having a great 3-box giveaway! Go ahead end enter to win a load of books!

April from Good Books and Wine is hosting a Tis the Season Contest that ends January 1st!

Casey from A Passion For Books is celebrating 200 Followers and is hosting a giveaway. The prize: 3 books on your wish list! This ends December 31st!

Emilee from Penultimate Page is giving away a copy of Raised by Wolves!

Maire from Monster of Books is giving away a copy of The Silver Blade, the sequel to The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner! She is also giving away a copy of Shiver!

Sara from The Hiding Spot is giving away Magic Under Glass swag!

Faye from Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm is giving away a copy of Dirty Little Secrets!

Peace Love and Pat Book Reviews is having a 175 Followers Contest! (I'm her 190th follower :D)

Lori from Pure Imagination is giving away a copy of The Dark Divine! It ends January 6th!

Katie from Katie's Book Blog is giving away a signed copy of Taken by Storm, ends January 1st!

Jessica from Shut Up I'm Reading is celebrating 200 followers with a contest!

Isa from Mixtures: Books is giving away a load of books from New Years!

Rachel from The Book Wars is giving away a $15 credit to Book Depositary! (please mention that you were referred by me)

The Hiding Spot is giving away an ARC of The Dark Divine!

Kristen from Bookworming in the 21st Century is having a (late) 600 follower contest!

A Bookshelf Monstrosity is giving away 2 books: Alphabetical Life and The Glimmer Palace!

Jen from Books at Midnight is having a 200 Follower Contest!

Frenetic Reader is giving away some Dark Divine swag!

Win the Body Finder swag Giveaway at The Sweet Bonjour!

Book Crazy is giving away an ARC of The River!

KatieDoll from Sophistikatied Reviews is giving away ARC's of Brightly Woven and The Dark Divine!

Dark Faerie Tales is having a Holiday Book Blowout!

A Good Addiction is having a Things That Fly Away Giveaway!

Book Whisperer is giving away Captivate and Hearts At Stake!

Hooked on YA Books is having a 150 Followers and Holiday Giveaway!

Hooked on YA Books is having a New Years Contest!

Sherry from Flipping Pages for All Ages is hosting a new years contest!

Win Scones and Sensibility at The Book Butterfly!

Cleverly Inked is having a Scentful Giveaway, so go ahead and enter!

Win Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist at Bites!

Page Turners Blog is giving away a The Mark and some book marks! Ends January 20th!

Book Blather
is having a one year blog anniversary giveaway!

Lori from Pure Imagination is giving away of Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood.

The Hiding Spot is giving away a copy of Bleeding Violet!

The Bookette is having a 150 Follower Contest, so win some ARC's

A Haunt of Ancient Peace is having a ginourmous!!!! New Years contest!

Win a copy of Captivate at The Hiding Spot!

Win a copy of The Secret Year at The Book Cellar!

Win a cool collector coin and a copy of Cleopatra's Daughter at Mixtures: Books

Win Firespell and Firespell swag!

3 books to review!

26 December 2009

I haven't been posting recently because I've been spending time with my family in Missouri! It's actually SNOWING! Soft, real, flaky snowflakes! Unlike the hard, chunky muddy 'snow' that rarely falls in Georgia. I read these three books on my road trip and at my Uncle and Aunt's house. Hope you all had a happy holiday!


Title: Hush, Hush
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Stars: 5+
Review by Kirthi
Summary by Book Flap




Romance was not part of Nora Grey's plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.
But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trsy. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those who have falled--and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life.

My thoughts:
Everyone's been raving about this book, and I thought it might be another Twilight, but was I wrong! Patch and Nora make a great couple, and somehow, this isn't quite a mystery or paranormal romance, it's a mix. Patch is dangerous and hot, with a load of secrets. Nora is booky and nerdy, completly un-boy-crazy. Two comeplete opposties that attract. I couldn't put this book down, I was glued to it! The mystery and wonderful forbidden romance egged me on to finish it. The cover is the most beautiful cover of any book I've read this year, so that's a bonus!

Hush, Hush is a must read!


Title: Strange Angels
Author: Lili St. Crow
Stars: 3.5
Review by Kirthi
Summary by the back of the book

Dad? Zombie

Mom? Long Gone.

Me? Well, that's the scary part.

The Real World is a frightening place. Just ask sixteen-year-old orphan Dru Anderson, a tough girl who has taken down her fair share of bad guys. She's armed, dangerous, and ready to kill first and ask questions later. So t's gonna take her a while to figure out who she can trust...
Dru Anderson has been "strange" for as long as she can remember. traveling from town to town with her father to hunt the things that go bump in the night. It's a weird life, but a good one--until it all explodes in an icy, broken-down Dakota town, when a hungry zombie busts through her kitchen door. Alone, terrified, and trapped, Dru's going to need every inch of her wit and training to stay alive. The monsters have decided to hunt back--and this time, Dur's on their menu. Chances of survival? Slim to none.
If she can't last until sunup, it's game over...

My thoughts:

I started off with a boring, long first few pages. The plot wasn't clear until I got near the end, where I understood all the messy events that had occured. Dru was....a good heroine, but not the best, tough ones I like. I loved, however, a few chapters and only one of the characters (Blue-eyes boy). It's not a "must read", but a book you can read in your spare-time, when you have nothing else to read.

Title: Nefertiti
Author: Michelle Moran
Stars: 4
Review by Kirthi
Summary by Book Flap



Nefertiti and her younger sister, Mutnodjmet, have been raised in a powerful family that has provided wives to the rulers of Egypt for centuries. Ambitious, charismatic, and beautiful, Nefertiti is destined to marry Amunhotep, an unstable young pharaoh. Iti s hoped that by all that her strong personality will temper the young Amunhotep's heretical desire to forsake Egypt's ancient gods, overthrow the priests of Amun, and introduce a new sun god for all to worship.

From the moment of her arrival in Thebes, Nefertiti is beloved by the people. Her charisma is matches only by her husband's preceived generosity: Amunhotep showers his subjects with lofty promises. The love of the commoners will not be enough, however, if the royal couple is not able to produce an heir, and as Nefertiti turns her attention to producing a son, she fails to see that the powerful priests, along with the military, are plotting against her husband's rule. The only person wise enough to recognize the shift in political winds--and brave enough to tell the queen--is her younger sister, Mutnodjmet.

Observant and contemplative, Mutnodjmet has never shared her sister's desire for power. She yearns for a quiet existence away from family duty and the intrigues of court. Her greatest hope is to share her life with the general who has won her heart. But as Nefertiti learns of the precariousness of her reign, she declares that her sister must remain at court and marry for political gain, not love. To acheive her independence, Mutnodjmet must defy her sister, the most powerful woman in Egypt--while also remaining loyal to the needs of her family.
Love, betrayal, political unrest, and religious conflict--Nefertiti brings ancient Egypty to life in vivid detail. Fast-paced and historically accurate, it is the dramatic story of two unforgettable women living through a remarkable period in history.

My thoughts:

The last parargraph pretty much summed up my thoughts. I don't know why, but the "sequel" to this book, The Heretic Queen, somehow was much better. Nefertiti is the introduction, the base, the start. I liked how the book was narrated from Mutnojment's point of view, where Nefertiti was portrayed as both the pro/antagonist character (but in my P.O.V. Nefertiti is an antagonist) I enjoy learning history in a fun, literal way, like historical fiction. Michelle Moran writes in qoute "vivid detail" in a way only she can write in. I de-starred it because I didn't love it as much as The Heretic Queen, but if not for that, it would have 5 stars!

Fire: A review and Super Short break and a Happy Holiday!

23 December 2009

Title: Fire
Author: Kristin Cashore
Stars: 4.0
Review by Kirthi
Summary by Book Flap

It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men.
This is where Fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she has the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.
Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City. The royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there's more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.
If only she weren't afraid of becoming the monster her father was.

My thoughts:
I love this prequel! It was delicious, but at some parts the plot got confusing, and that's coming from a girl who hates politics. Fire is another strong heroine that goes through so much more than the average person. Great book recommended to everyone!

Thanks to A Bookshelf Monstrosity for allowing me to leave Blogger for any amount of time I want: A month, a year, an hour, a day, a week, anything! Since I'm going to be leaving to Missouri tomorrow, I'll be unplugged for A DAY and maybe more (starting tomorrow), so I'll wish you all Happy Holidays! Enjoy, stuff yourself, and lose yourself in presents! g

The Secret Garden: Movie review!

21 December 2009

Title: The Secret Garden
Director: Agnieszka Holland
Actors include:
Mary Lennox- Kate Maberly, Colin (Heydon Prowse), Dickon (Andrew Knott)
Book by Frances Hodgson Burnett

"If you look the right way, you can see the whole world is a garden"
Summary: It's a special garden where friendship blossoms, ilnesses fade away and sorrows flee. There troubled orphan Mary, her spolied, sickly cousin Colin, and a kindly boy Dickon, discover that a world earing can make a world of difference.
Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic story blooms anew in this enchanting new version lovingly adapted tby Caroline Thompson (Black Beauty) and directed by Agnieska Holland (Europa Europa). Maggie Smith and John Lynch also star.

My thoughts:
As old as this movie is, it's a quote, "Timeless tale of a special place where magic, hope and love grow" I love Colin's relationship with Mary, cousin and cousin connection. Mary brings hope to the dull, dreary life of Collin at the castle! The ending was absolutly touching, and when Colin first saw the garden, the light in his eyes just made me laugh. Andrew and Heydon were great characters, but at times, Kate got stiff and in-expressive. John Lynch (below), the man who played Master Craven, Colin's father, was the best! Next to Colin of course. He actually looked devastated and sad, and can ACT! Go Heydon and John!

Twilight haters and or lovers?

20 December 2009

After browsing through Goodreads, I found a book (no duh!) that sounded hilarious! The cover was PERFECT! (see above). And I try not to do two posts in one day, but this book is special! Click here to view the excerpts of the book, which made me crack up at the first paragraph :)

Books read in the past 2 days!

Reading has been more and more of a problem lately. I've become addicted! Even when I feel so sleepy that I might pass out, I HAVE to finish reading the book! It can be seen as a good or bad thing, I don't know yet...Anyway! Enjoy the reviews :)
Title: The Sisters Grimm: The Everafter War (7th book)
Author: Michael Buckey
Stars: 4.2
Review by: Kirthi
Summary by: the back of the book

Face-to-Face with the Master!
After two years trapped in enchanted sleep, Daphne and Sabrina's parents are finally free. Unfortunately, they've awoken to chaos in Ferryport Landing. Prince Charming and his band of rebels are in hiding, plotting war against the Master and his henchmen. At first, Sabrina is thrilled to have her family back. But after taking care of herself and Daphne for so long, she has forgotten how different--and challenging--life with parents can be. Meanwhile, the Master has dark plans for the Grimms. Finally, the family will come face-to-face with their tormentor, and a betrayal so deep that it will change their world forever!

My thoughts:
Yay! Finally the Grimm parents have woken up! And of course, there's Puck, the Trickster King, in action (my favorite character!). In this book, Michael Buckley:
  1. Finally reveals the Master
  2. Shows actual change in the relationship between Sabrina and ___(grins)___
  3. Finally awakes Sabrina and Daphne's parents
  4. Finally has the war everyone's been waiting for
  5. Finally reveals the Master's plans
That's a lot of good meat packed in one book! But this is the 7th book, so I'd start reading from the beginning (if you're one of those people who must start at the first book in a series) or you can go ahead and read this, but trust me, it won't make sense if you don't read the first book!
Title: Beastly
Author: Alex Flinn
Stars: 3.4
Review by Kirthi
Summary by Book Flap.

A beast. Not quite wolf, or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright--a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.
You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever--ruined--unless I can break the spell.
Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you that I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly...beastly.

My thoughts:
I de-starred this because I thought that near the end, the story became a little too fast paced. And before you know it, it's been 2 years (in the book)! I can't say I love Kyle, he's snobby, but I did enjoy his thoughts. Parts of the book are written like a Chat room, with other victims of spells, like a mermaid (similar to The Little Mermaid) and a frog (Yup, you guessed it, The Frog Prince) and a bear (From Rose Red and Snow White (not THAT Snow White) ) and a human, the guy trying the "help" them all. The Chat conversations are fun to read, and I really liked how the story all fit together in the end. Reccomend it to all readers!
Title: Max: A Maximum Ride novel
Author: James Patterson
Stars: 5 (as always)
Review by Kirthi
Summary by Book Cover

Max and the flock have trader Antarctica's sub-zero temperatures for sunny Los Angeles, where they're taking over the skies with their hair-raising air show. But far below, a deadly assassin watches their every move, waiting for the perfect moment to send them plummeting to earth.
Suddenly the flock learns that millions of fish are dying off Hawaii's coast and that someone--or something--is destroying hundreds of shops. When they are confronted with the most frightening ecological catastrophe yet, they have no choice but to go deep into the murky waters. Now, nowhere is safe.
While Max and her team comb the depths of the ocean, a powerful enemy tracks them. He has his own plans for the flock and will stop at nothing tinil they're under his control. Can the flock protect themselves from the approaching army--and save the world from utter destruction?

My thoughts:
As all Maximum Ride novels, this is just as good! I'm glad that the relationship between Max and ___(giggles)__ is becoming more stable, and it's great to see the characters evolve. One of my favorite chapters were where Max and the Flock finish U.S. Navy training in one day, astounding the officials. Recommended to all!

The Heretic Queen: A Review

17 December 2009

Title: The Heretic Queen: Heiress of Misfortune, Pharaoh's Beloved
Author: Michelle Moran
Stars: 5
Review by Kirthi
Summary by Book Flap

"The Heretic Queen is a real page-turner! A heady, ancient Egyptian brew of magic and mystery; history, murder, and palace intrigue as well as romance. I read this entralling novel in one sitting"
-Susan Fraser King


The winds of change are blowing through Thebes. A devastating palace fire has killed the Eighteenth Dynasty's royal family-all with the exception of Nefertari, the niece of the reviled former queen, Nefertiti. The girl's deceased family has been branded as heretical, and no one in Egypt will speak thier names. A relic of a previous reign, Nefertari is pushed aside, an unimportant princess left to run wild in the palace. But this changed when she is taken under the wing of the Pharaoh's aunt, then brought to the Temple of Hathor, where she is educated in a manner befitting a future queen.
Soon Nefertari catches the eye of the Crown Prince, and despite her family history, they fall in love and wish to marry. Yet all of Egypt opposed this union between the rising star of a new dynasty and the fading star of an old, heretical one. While political adversity sets the country on edge, Nefertari becomes the wife of Ramesses the Great. Destined to be the most powerful Pharaoh of Egypt, he is also the man who must confront the most famous exodus in history.

My thoughts:
Written in careful, intricate detail, this book taught be much of Ancient Egypt. The characters are real, and I felt like I was Nefertari! Being one of the best historical fiction book I've read all year, I recommend this to everyone, but I also have to warn you people under 18, there are some parts that are "inappropriate" so watch out!
If there are any other historical fiction books that you think I might like, please tell me!

Maximum Ride books 3 & 4

15 December 2009

Title: Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Spots
Author: James Patterson
Stars: 4.5
Review by Kirthi
Summary by Book Flap

But I promise that you'll fly higher than ever before in this wild adventure, witness battles worthly of multiplex movie screens, and laugh until your sides hurt.
Believe it or not, there's even a little romance.

But all good things-and even terrible, unspeakable ones-must come to an end. This is that moment in time, I'm afraid.
Either we save the world, or we crash and burn. And I mean all of us-even you, faithful reader, because you play a very big part in this story

My thoughts:
I love the romance in here, it's a typical teen "confused love" type of romance. The flock is as funny as ever, I've been learning snazzy comebacks and heavy doses of hilarious sarcasm. They're constantly on their feet (and wings) and constantly getting in trouble. Love it!

Title: Maximum Ride: The Final Warning
Author: James Patterson
Stars: 4
Review by Kirthi
Summary by Book Flap

"Three cheers! Max is one of the smartest, strongest, funniest heroines around."
- Diane Garrett

In this breathtaking new story from the astonishing imagination of James PAtterson, a girl has to save herself from an army assembled just to capture her-and maybe save the planet while she's at it.
Maximum Ride is a perfectly normal teenager who just happens to be able to fly. the result of an out-of-control genetic expeirement . Max and the other members of the flock--five kids who share her remarkable ability--have been asked to aid a group of environmental scientists studying the effects of global warming. The expedition seems like a perfect combination of adventure, activism--and escape from the government foreces that are watching the flock all the time.
But even in Antarctica, enduring the harshest weather on our planet, Maximum Ride is an irresistible target in constant danger. For whoever controls her powers could also control the world...

My thoughts:
1. I, being a super global warming fanatic (I'm a Greenpeace supporter, recycle at home, installed fluorescent light bulbs in my entire house, do laundry at the coolest time of day, sent my letter in to Copenhagen and got good results etc...) loved this book and the message it was trying to send out to readers around the world in a lovable action-packed, humorous book.

2. Noo! Fang's being "unfaithful" to the girl he loves (hope that wasn't too much of a spoiler..) The TINY bit of romance (okay, maybe medium bit) is an ingredient to a 'perfect' book.
MY RECIPE FOR A (ALMOST)PERFECT BOOK Lots of action + strong, independent hero/heroine + dash of romance + thick, rich plot + amazing storyline + lovable characters + great dialouge = (almost) Perfect book!

3. The ending left me hanging for more, and I'll soon get my hands on the sequel! The series is like...a giant, large story chopped up to make separate books. Recommended to everyone!

'Tis the Season of Giving!

13 December 2009

No, I haven't received these blog awards, I've just plucked them off of websites and blogs and splattered it on this post! AND now! For the Cleverly Written award to:

1. Maya Ganesan from allegro
2. Erin from Miss Erin
3. Danielle from Sesquipedalian
4. Sweetest in the Gale
5. Rose from Sincerely From, Rose Cunningham

The Gorgeous Blogger Award goes to:

1. Jaime and Tamiasmom from Revenge of the Book Nerds
2. Kate from The Neverending Shelf
3. Tena from Crazy Book Slut
4. Chioma from Black and Blue Ink
5. Casey from A Passion for Books

ALSO, thanks Milli for the "Not Strange but Unique" award!

I usually only give away awards to book blogs and writing blogs, I guess it's just because I don't really explore blogs outside those categories. I really hope to diversify my reading over time :D Thanks to everyone for their blogs, and their comments, and just for existing. Happy Holidays! Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas!

The Cities

12 December 2009

Title: City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments Book Two)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Stars: 4.5
Review by Kirthi
Summary by Book Flap

"A tale edged by lighting, driven by power and love"
-Tamora Pierce

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go--especially her handsome, infuriating, new found brother Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down a rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insance, certainly evil--and also her father.
To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings--and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor comes to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to her their father?

My thoughts:
Cassandra Clare brings a whole new meaning to "forbidden love" in a way unimaginably horrible! The love triangle is intruiging, and drives me to read more, and so does the enchanting story line. I was left hanging after finishing the City of Bones, and I was left hanging after this too.

Title: City of Glass
Author: Cassandra Clare
Stars: 5+
Review by Kirthi
Summary by Book Flap

"The Mortal Instruments series is a story world that I would love to live in. Beautiful!"
-Stephanie Meyer

To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters--never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.
As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Class City-whatever the cost?

My thoughts:
By far one of the best books in the series, City of Glass answers all the questions and mysteries started in the previous two books, in other words: A big juicy hamburger (A big juicy veggie burger or a big juicy soy burger). The relationships between Clary and Simon and Jace get tense, and more serious. I won't give any spoilers except for "falling in love with a sibling isn't cool"

Cybele's Secret and a dash of Wildwood Dancing

11 December 2009

Title: Cybele's Secret
Author: Juliet Marillier
Stars: 3.99
Review by Kirthi
Summary by Book Flap

An ancient artifact A perilous quest a trail of magical signs a startling love triangle

One young woman must venture into the forbidden corners of a mysterious city and the realm of the enchanted Other Kingdom. But can she endure inconceivable tests of bravery, wisdom, and true ways?

My thoughts:
I loved the first book to this sequel, Wildwood Dancing. Wildwood Dancing was a story of a sister, Jena, and her quest. This book is the story of a younger sister, Paula the scholar, and her quest, along with her sister Tati. The setting was in Istanbul during the reign of the Ottoman Empire, a fascinating subject. I was kind of confused with this book, the events were mixed and it was kind of hard to comprehend, so sadly, I had to cross a few stars out. This cover deserves 5 stars however, because of its amazing detail. Chunks of the storyline, and characters, were hidden and splattered beautifully across the cover in the most intricate drawn pictures.

To the left is the ever so bewitching cover of Cybele's Secret with Paula as the woman in the middle.
Underneath to the right is the cover of the first book, Wildwood Dancing. Jena is my favorite out of all the sisters :D


09 December 2009

Hi everyone! I have a question!
How do I receive ARC books? Do I qualify as a reviewer? How do I contact publishers and authors? ARC was brought to my attention from other lovely book blogs, and I was just curious!


Maximum Ride books 1 & 2

08 December 2009

Title: Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
Author: James Patterson
Stars: 4.9
Review by Kirthi
Summary by Book Flap

Do not put this book down, I'm dead serious--
your life could depend on it.
I'm risking everything my telling you--
but you need to know.

STRAP YOURSELF IN for the thrill ride you'll want to take again and again. From Death Valley, Calafornia, to the bowels of New York City subway system, you're abot to take off on a heart-stopping adventure that will blow you away....
YOUR FAITHFUL COMPANIONS: Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, the Gasman, and Angel. Six kids who are pretty normal in most ways- except that they're 98 percent human, 2 percent bird. They grew up in a lab, living like rats in cages, but now they're free. Aside, of course, from the fact that they're prime prey for the Erasers--wicked, wolf like creatures with a taste for flying humans.
THE MISSIONS: Rescue Angel from the malicious mutants. Infiltrate a secret facility to track down the flock's missing parents. Scavenge for sustenance. Get revenge on an evil traitor. And save the world. IF there's time.

My thoughts:
I'm not really into thrillers, but this changed my point of view forever (technically, Daniel X did, but James Patterson is the guy behind it all). It was a little confusing at the beggening, and I kind of wanted to put it down, but for some reason, Max's warning ("Do not put this book down") sounded and I continued to read. The I got deeper into the story, the more I loved it. Dialogue is one of my favourite parts of books, and James Patterson really had a lot of that!
The story plot was fast and thrilling, and made me feel "thrilled" (haha, get it?)
The characters were well developed, and I enjoyed reading about their unique personalities. This is a book that definitely has to go on your shelf!

Title: School's Out--Forever
Author: James Patterson
Stars: 5
Review by Kirthi
Summary by Book Flap

Meet Max, Fang, Iggy, Gasman, Nudge, and Angel, six absolutly unforgettable kids. With some major problems. THEY'RE BEING HUNTED BY KILLERS. BUT WHO?
It's even worse than that. Max is sure that a microchip has been inserted under her skin--leading freakish forces of evil to ambush them any moment...AND WORSE
She and the others are supposed to save the world. BUT FROM WHAT? WHEN? AND HOW?
Max will stop at nothing to find the answers. One thing she does know; it's got something to do with an astonishing ability they have that no others can claim. THEY CAN FLY.

My thoughts:
This sequel was as good as the first, taking you on the "maximum ride" (haha)

My favorite Series in the entire World

05 December 2009

Yes, you heard me. The Poison Study series are now my most favorite, better than the Series of Unfortunate Events and even better than Twilight, and equal to Harry Potter. I'm sorry, Daniel X, make room for a new all-time favorite. Oh yes, and COVER LOVE to these amazing covers!

Title: Magic Study (Book 2 in the series)
Author: Maria V. Snyder (Thank you for writing this!)
Stars: 10 (never rated about 5+!!! 10 is a rare honor)
Review by Kirthi (I'm so lucky to review this!)
Summary by Book Flap (of the best book)
Rated- 13 years or older!

With her greatest enemy dead, and on her way home to be reunited with the family she'd been stolen from long ago, Yelena should be pleased. But though she has gained her freedom, she can't help feeling isolated in Sitia. Her Ixian background has changed her in many ways--and her newfound friends and relatives don't think it's for the better...

Despite the turmoil, she's eager to start her magic training--especially as she's been given one year to harness her power or be put to death. But her plans take a radical turn when she becomes involved with a plot to reclaim Ixia's throne for a lost prince--and gets entangled in powerful rivalries with her fellow magicians.
If it isn't bad enough, it appears her brother would love to see her dead. Luckily Yelena has some old friends to help with all her new enemies.

My thoughts (on Magic Study)
I love this book with my soul. This is by far the most, exciting book I've ever read. As you must know from my reviewing, I crave thrilling books with romance, and this book quenched my thirst (for now). Yelena's tendency to make people angry and attract enemies like a light bulb to a fly is just amazing. Valek (my new favorite DANGER man! (Trumps Edward, Cedric, and Robien all put together) is more dangerous than ever, and more feared. Together they make a team, a powerful magician and warrior plus a man immune to magic and with deadly fighting skills. I love Valek, even his NAME sounds evil. Sitia is much more different than Ixia, and I love comparing the two opposite countries, good and evil mixed in both. Magic Study is far more jucier than Poison Study, but Poison Study will always have a place in my heart as the introduction to a new era of fiction. Maria V. Snyder, I compliment you!


Title: Fire Study
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Stars: 10+!!
Review by Kirthi
Summary by Book Flap
Rated- 13 years or older!

When word that Yelena is a Soulfinder--able to capture and release souls--spreads like wildfire, people grow uneasy. Already Yelena's unusual abilities and past have set her apart. As the Council debates Yelena's fate, she receives a disturbing message" a plot is rising against her homeland, lef by a murderous sorcerer she has defeated before...
Honor sets Yelena on the path that will test the limits of her skills, and the hope of reuniting with her love spurs her onward. Her journey is fraught with allies, enemies, lovers, and would-be assassins, each of questionable loyalty. Yelena will have but one chance to prove herself--and save the land she holds dear.

My thoughts:
Nooo! It's the last book in the trilogy! I tried to savor it, reading page by page extremely slowly, but eventually hunger won and I devoured the book, eating every word. My result: tastiest, most delicious book I've ever eaten. Yelena's enemies prove even more of a threat (if that's possible) and her role in Ixia and Sitia become clear and vital. Once again, go evil, dangerous, and awesome Valek! Valek and Yelena are the best couple. But, having read ever so carefully, I noticed that a few words, like rendezvous was used more than once, and a few words that describe Yelena and Valek's "togetherness" like "share his skin" was a repeated idea, and so were other "togetherness" moments. But all the amazing-ness of this book made up for the minor (maybe major) "mistakes". The characters become real, and I connect with them. Whenever an evil magician is named, I feel fear. Whenever Valek is named, I feel happiness. I connect with this book, and it's a must read for everyone, above the age of 13 please, some violence and romantic parts are promised so be ready (if) you plan to read them.

Check out my review of Poison Study!!

The Forest of Hands And Teeth

03 December 2009

Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Author: Carrie Ryan
Stars: 2.5
Review by Kirthi
Summary by Book Flap

In Mary's world, there are simple truths.
The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve The Unconsecrated will never relent.

And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.
But slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.
Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?

My thoughts:
I have to say I'm very disappointed with this book. I had high hopes for it, with all the talk about it, and the popularity it's received. I thought Mary wasn't a developed character, and neither were the other characters. Carrie Ryan told the reader (me) and didn't show. The danger didn't really feel REAL, and the emotions weren't powerful. I just flipped through it, reading only with sheer will to finish. I do give points, however, for the romance (very sad ending) and the plot that wrapped around it.

Daniel X, Watch the Skies

Title: Daniel X Watch the Skies
Authors: James Patterson and Ned Rust
Stars: 4.5
Review by Kirthi
Summary by Book Cover

Daniel X takes on the wildest threat the word has ever seen--someone whose craving for fame could destroy the planet!
All's quiet in the small town of Holliswood--the television sets, computers, and portable devices are aglow in every home, classroom, and store. But not all is perfect. Evil is lurking, just out of sight, behind the screen.
From the darkest depths of James Patterson's imagination flickers the most terrifying character yet: a villain with more ambition than the world can withstand, dead set on throwing a sleepy town into chaos and documenting the destruction of every person in it, including Daniel.
Daniel X is the only person who can stop this made-for-TV tyrant from wiping out the city and everyone living there. This devilish director assembles an all-star team of his own creation, and not even Daniel can imagine the enormity of his plans. Can Daniel X stop this deranged outlaw before he stages the most spectacular finale the world has ever seen? Or will Daniel find himself on the cutting-room floor?

My thoughts:
I I didn't like this book as much as the first one, probably because there's a co-author, Ned Rust. James Patterson's amazing creativity was speckled with Ned's not-so-amazing creativity. I'm satisfied though, most of what lacked in this book was made up with the most revolting, unimaginable terrors that shocked me. Daniel is a fun, easygoing, deadly killing machine, who is actually portrayed as a hero. I'd love to read an alien's point of view on Daniel, haha.
Lately I think I've been rating too nicely, giving 5 stars to nearly every book, but I guess that's because I've been reading a lot of great books from wonderful suggestions from other blogs. Go book blogs and their authors!

Much more Contests and Giveaways!

02 December 2009

Tynga from Tynga's Reviews is hosting a 300 follower contest with tons of books and 4 winners!

Win a copy of Beautiful Creatures from Dark Faerie Tales!

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