Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ashley's #CBR4 Review #3: Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder

Magic Study is the sequel to Poison Study and it once again places you in the world of Yelena.  This time she is trying to learn how to control her newly discovered magical powers and trying to figure out how to fit into a brand new life and brand new family (not all of which are glad she has returned) in the land of Sitia since her execution has been ordered in Ixia once it was discovered that she possessed magical abilities.  The order has placed her far away from her love Valek and reunites her with her family that she was kidnapped from many many years ago when she was just a child.

I didn't really enjoy the second novel in the series a much. I found it harder to get through this one for some reason.  The writing is similar, there are a lot of the same characters but it just feels like to little plot is stretched out over as many pages as possible causing the novel to drag A LOT.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Mira; Original edition (December 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778327124
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ashley's #CBR4 Review #2: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Yelena has committed murder and for that she has been sentenced to death.  She has sat in prison for over a year and when two men come to remove her from her cell she is convinced the date of her hanging has arrived.  But instead of death she is offered a choice.  She can become the Commander's food taster.  It's a dangerous job and chances are that she will be poisoned eventually since assassination attempts on the Commander's life are not rare.  Yelena considers the option and decide it's better to live and she hopes that she will be able to find a way to escape.

Poison Study was a great fast read and you really do being enthralled with the details of how Yelena came to be in prison and he attempts to escape so she can lead a normal life again.

I would write more but I'm 35 book reviews behind :)

Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Mira; Original edition (December 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778327116
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Monday, January 23, 2012

Ashley's #CBR4 Review #1: Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari

This time last year I had over 20 books read and reviewed, but I am in the middle of starting up my own event planning company and time has been tight.  If anyone is in the Triad, NC area please check out Social Conceptions, LLC!  ::shameless self promotion over:: I'm also getting married this year and that has added to the super craziness.  Please forgive me for being so lame this year :)

A plaque has wiped out most of the human population.  For some reason it appears that children under 20 and adults over the age of 60 had the highest immunity rate.  Lucy is a 16 year old girl who has lost her entire family and is struggling to get by.  She has been surviving by reading survivalist novels and eating wild squirrels, turtles, and plants.

The novel begins detailing Lucy's struggle to survive and it's haunting story.  Lucy then meets Aidan who has banned together with other survivors and Lucy joins him at their camp and then we are treated to all the different ways these survivors have started to build a home.

Then we get to the big antagonist.  A group of people called sweepers who abduct survivosr.  The survivors are then never seen again.  If this had just been a dystopian novel that dealt with how Lucy and the other people managed to survive I think I would have enjoyed it a bit more.  The "sweepers" were this big bad enemy, but all they did was stun people and take them away.  I'm fairly certain in New York city the survivors could have gathered together some guns to protect themselves.  The reason survivors were being abducted seemed ridiculous and If the world has ended I seriously doubt the few survivors remaining would be kidnapping each other unless they wanted their provisions.  I would probably suggest skipping this entry in YA dystopian fiction.

Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 12 and up
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (June 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
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Saturday, December 31, 2011

CBR III Review #156: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

CBR III Review #156: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern 

I wish I could simply review this novel with two words: "simply magical".  No two other words I think could better define the story that surrounds The Night Circus.  I'll warn you that once you read it you will be extremely sad that The Night Circus is not real.  Summit Entertainment has bought the rights to the movie and if they can bring this film to life I'll be ecstatic.

Le Cirque des RĂªves arrives without warning and is only open from dawn to twilight.  The whole circus revolves around a black and white theme but the acts, talents, and tents bring all the color that is needed. Imagine a tent filled with what looks like clouds that allows one to bounce to and from them. Or a tent with mirrors upon mirrors but each one shows a different scene. Or a tent with magicians so phenomenal that they make you want to believe in magic.


Unbeknownst to circus goers and to the majority of the circus performers the circus has a more sinister origin.  It was created so that two magicians could compete against one another in a deadly magical battle.  Celia and Marco have entered this deadly battle where neither one of them fully understood the consequences. It is unknown what will happen to the circus and everyone they love that performs within it once one the magicians lose.  Celia and Marco decide to try and find a way to fight for themselves and the circus.

The Night Circus has a structure that takes a bit of getting use to.  The point of view jumps between several characters and between several time periods, but once you become immersed in the story line it no longer matters.  It wouldn't make sense for the book to be laid out on a liner time line, I think it would have detracted from the over all sense of magic that the book alludes.  I highly recommend The Night Circus.

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Friday, December 30, 2011

CBR III Review #155: Catch me by Lisa Gardner

CBR III Review #155: Catch me by Lisa Gardner

This title will be released on February 7, 2012.

I absolutely love it when a book I was going to read anyways shows up in my netgalley. Now I don't have to wait for it to show up on overdrive! 


If you have read Lisa Gardner you know what to expect by now and her formula doesn't change much with her latest addition.  I did however, love all the call backs to her past book characters as D. D. Warren tried to solve the latest and greatest mystery.

Charlene Rosalind Carter Grant is convinced she is going to be murdered in four days.  In the last two years her best friends were murdered on the same day, at the same time, in different locations, and via the same method.  Her first childhood friend was killed two years ago, her second childhood friend last year, and now Charlene is the last person that made up their childhood trio. However, as D.D. starts to investigate Charlie becomes the number one suspect for a vigilante who is shooting pedophiles.  Is Charlene really in danger or is she a much bigger threat? 

I really enjoy the D.D. Warren series and this is no exception.  I do think it may be time for Gardner to retire the series and come up with a batch of new characters. Warren doesn't have much more room to go personally or professionally and even though I'm still enjoying the cases I think I'm ready for a new heroine, but if  you enjoy Lisa Garnder books this novel follows the same formula with all the twist and turns you can learn to expect.

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

CBR III Review #154: New Girl by Paige Harbison

CBR III Review #154: New Girl by Paige Harbison

This title will be released on January 31, 2012.

Callie is the new student at Manderley.  Manderley is a boarding school and Becca is entering it during her senior year.  Her parents took her requests about wanting to go to a school like Hogwarts a little too seriously.  They didn't seem to notice that she exited her boarding school phase a few years back. Too make matters worse Callie was only accepted into Manderly because the poplar Becca Normandy disappeared without a trace near the end of the last school year.  Now Callie is living in her room, hanging out with her friends, and involved in the same love triangle that Becca was last year.  Slowly the student body, especially Becca's good friend and old roommate starts to accuse Callie of stealing Becca's life.


After a few Jessica Warman novels I got really into the boarding school setting, but I was hoping that New Girl was more of a murder mystery.  Or at least a search into the whereabouts of Becca Normanday, but that wasn't really the case.  The book felt a little rushed and it never felt it had a true cohesive plot line, with the exception of "I'm Callie, I'm the new girl but everyone only cares about Becca."  I'm sure that is a lot of plot  for some people but it didn't really work for me.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin; Original edition (January 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373210426
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373210428
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 7.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.3 ounces
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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

CBR III Review #153: 13 Days until Midnight by Patrick Carmen

CBR III Review #153: 13 Days until Midnight by Patrick Carmen

Now that was a strange ending.

Jacob Fielding survived a car accident that killed his foster father.  Jacob isn't sure how he survived and how he managed to walk away with no injuries.  Right before the accident Mr. Fielding tells him he is indestructible. Jacob writes the same phrase on one of his friends cast and right after he writes the phrase she gets into a horrible accident, but is able to walk away without a scratch.  Jacob and his friends appeared to have received the gift of immortality. But will they stretch it's limits while they try to test it? And if you repeatedly deify nature what can happen?  Only one of them can possess the power at once so what happens if their is a miscommunication about who currently holds the power.

The novel reminded me a lot of that show that went off the air "No Ordinary Family". What happens when normal people suddenly discover they have a super power?  I wasn't expecting too much out of this novel but I really enjoyed the first half where the kids are testing the limit to being indestructible and their search for the powers origin. Then it went downhill. I didn't really enjoy how it ended and I disliked the "origin story" that they discovered.   I also don't see why YA novels like to have their main characters betray their best friends for their first love.  It just makes the main character come across as a douche.  It was a nice change of pace to have the guy be conflicted, but apparently no one ever taught the poor kid bros before hoes (kidding).

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