Saturday, 27 September 2014

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Series: Study, Book One
Publisher: Mira
Format: Paperback
Published: 21st September 2007
Number of Pages: 416
Book: Bought
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Paranormal, Magic, Romance, Mystery, Suspense, Action-Adventure, YA
Recommended Age: 13+
Contains: Violence, Death, Alcohol and Sexual Assault/Torture References
No Drug References
Author's Site: Maria V. Snyder

Blurb from Goodreads:
A quick death
Or slow poison...
Yelena has a choice – be executed for murder, or become food taster to the Commander of Ixia. She leaps at the chance for survival, but her relief may be short-lived.
Life in the palace is full of hazards and secrets. Wily and smart, Yelena must learn to identify poisons before they kill her, recognise whom she can trust and how to spy on those she can’t. And who is the mysterious Southern sorceress who can reach into her head?
When Yelena realises she has extraordinary powers of her own, she faces a whole new problem, for using magic in Ixia is punishable by death...

"To Yelena, our newest food tester.  May you last longer than your predecessor…"
Ixia is a military state, run by the Commander.  It is split into eight Military Districts, each ruled by a General.  This is Yelena's world.
Yelena is in prison, awaiting her hanging.  She's there because she killed the son of one of Ixia's Generals.  A life for a life.  Her death is imminent - any day now.
And then she's summoned.  At first she thinks they've scheduled the hanging.  
She's wrong.
She's called in by Valek, one of the Commander's most loyal advisors, person security chief and leader of the intelligence network of Ixia.  And she's offered a chance.  A chance to live.  
She can either become the Commander's food taster and risk her life every day, or she can die right now.
Yelena is no fool.  She would rather live in fear of poison than die from the hangman's noose.
But the poison might not kill her.  She's trapped in a whole new world, one where she doesn't know who to trust, who will try to kill her next, and one where a powerful southern magician is after her.  When Yelena discovers her own hidden gifts, life becomes even more dangerous than it ever was.  Every way she looks, every possible path she could take, seems to end in death.
What do you choose when the only choice is to die...?
I adore Maria V. Synder.  The woman is a freaking legend.  Literally everything she writes is pure gold.  Her fantasies are some of the best I've ever come across.  And her Yelena Zaltana series is one of my favourites.  Partly due to the world.  Partly due to the characters.  A large part due to the amazing Yelena.  And partly - ok, mostly - because of Valek.  I have a minor crush on Valek...  But seriously.  This is my second read of Poison Study and I still love it just as much – was still just as hooked!  It is one hell of a book – with one hell of a book boyfriend living within!
God, all of Snyder's characters rock.  They are all just so very real and awesome and complex and hard to judge!  And I love or hate them to absolute pieces.  As in, I either want to hug-slash-marry them or cut them in half!
Yelena is everything you could possibly want in your leading gal: tough, strong, smart, resourceful and damaged in a way that makes her even more vulnerable and hard at the same time.  She was really kind of ruthless – so dangerous – and yet she was also one of the sweetest people ever.
And then Valek.  Oh, Valek.  You are so wonderfully complex and so completely irresistible.  I loved trying to figure him out - and seeing that sweeter side of him!  And an artist too... a damaged, bad-boy assassin-artist.  Excuse me while I swoon!
I absolutely adored Janco and Ari – they killed me!  They had to be two of my favourites in the book, barring Yelena and my dear Valek.  They were just so funny!  Then again, I did have a wee bit of a soft spot for Rand – he was sweet, though I wasn't so keen on his moodiness and emotional instability.  Then again, it was all understandable really...  I also liked Maren: she was totally fierce!  And the Commander...  For the longest time, I didn't know what to do with him.  But he was so so much more than meets the eye – his secret was genius and made me so proud of him, he was just so strong and so brave.  
But I hated Reyad so so much.  I was slightly put off by the fact that Yelena had killed someone for a reason no one seemed to know.  And then, slowly, we found out why.  And I hated Reyad's guts.  I could literally murder him dead dead dead.  He was horrible – the devil.  I could have strangled him!  How could he do that to Yelena?  How could anyone do that to another person?!  Wasn't so keen about the surviving baddies either: Grr...
The relationships were brilliant.  I especially loved the romantic one between Valek and Yelena.  It wasn't instalove.  It wasn't instahate.  The relationship was slow and sweet, with each earning the other's trust little by little as their bond bloomed and grew.  I loved every single moment they spend together and am just aching for more Yelena-and-Valek moments!  I also, however, loved Yelena's friendship with Janco and Ari – it was so funny!  I wish I had big brothers like them! 
Maria's world building is literally second to none.  Each and every one of her worlds are incredible, intricate, complex and beautifully created.  They honestly take my breath away.  Study's world could not be more real if Maria V. Snyder wrote a million-page book just on this very world (which I would still read, by the way).  And I loved how she described it – much like Bardugo's writing, this world wasn't heavy.  There wasn't infuriating over-description: more than enough details for technocolour but not enough that my head began to hurt.  
And there was literally always something going on in this book – there wasn't a single dull moment anywhere!  There was always a conspiracy or a mystery or spying or fighting or bone-melting romantic suspense scenes.  Many of the events in the plot I just did not see coming.  I loved every single twist: absolutely loved them all.  And I liked that people died.  That sounds so twisted, but I always find a death or two is more realistic...  Man, I need help...
Sometimes you just need to read the first few pages of a book to know that it's special.  In my opinion, Poison Study is that book: I knew by the second chapter that it would be a five star read – and it only got better from there!  It may be a book about magic but it has a magic of its very own.  It completely bewitched me, having me up until three in the morning to finish and then immediately ordering the next book.  If only I hadn't had exams when I first read it: I could have read the entire series three times over by now – and still wouldn't've had enough of it all and of Valek!
A book full of magic, spies, treachery, murder, friendship, passion and a bit more magic, Poison Study is something The Book Addicted Girl recommends one-hundred-percent with all of her heart, be you a high fantasy lover or a contemp queen.  Read it.  You'll love it.  Trust me.  But Valek's mine, so back off...!
Ok.  When does Magic Study get here?  If it's longer than two days I'm reordering the book on my Kindle.  I can't wait much longer to finally get my hands on Book Two...

Star Rating:
5 Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Throne Of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Grisha Series by Leigh Barduho
Gracling by Kristen Cashore
Touch/Glass by Maria V. Snyder

Happy Reading


Thursday, 25 September 2014

A Game Of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Series: A Song Of Ice And Fire, Book One
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Format: Paperback
Published: 1st January 1996
Number of Pages: 8o6
Book: Bought
Genre: Epic Fantasy, Fantasy, Action-Adventure, Thriller Suspense, Mythical, Adult Fiction, YA-Adult Crossover
Recommended Age: 15+
Contains: Violence, Death, Swearing, Blood, Gore, Sexual and Alcohol References
No Drug References
Author's Site: George R. R. Martin

Kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars, lords and honest men.
All will play the Game of Throne.
Summers span decades.  Winter can last a lifetime.  And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.  It will stretch from the south, where heat breeds plot, lusts and intrigues’ to the vast frozen north, where a 700-foot wall of ice protects the kingdom from the dark forces that lie beyond.
The Game of Throne.
You win, or you die.
Book One of A Song of Ice and Fire begins the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age.

"When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die..."
In a land that is dangerous and unpredictable, the Iron Throne is coveted by all.
In a land where no one can be trusted and allegiances change in a heartbeat, to play the Game of Thrones could mean death.
But none of them have a choice: the game has already begun and each already have their part to play....
Ok, so since I mostly review YA and children’s books on this site, I'll -needlessly, I'm sure - point out that A Song Of Ice And Fire is NOT a children’s series.  Hell, at times, I wondered if I was old enough to read it!  But yeah.  Just thought I'd state that for any of my younger readers...  
Moving on...  I've been meaning to read and then watch the Game of Thrones series for ages.  Finally, after my exams, I thought: What the hell?  So I picked up my - very substantial - copy.  It took me a few chapters to really get into the book - and about three times that long to get all the family names straight in my head!  But pretty damn soon, I was completely hooked.  I don't really know what it is about this book, but it is freaking additive.  
However, I don't know if my heart was made for books like this.  I have a habit of getting attached to characters: a habit I'm sure will kill me if I continue it with the Song Of Ice And Fire series.  I just couldn't help it: I could feel myself getting attached to these characters and I just knew I'd most likely be crushed sooner or layer - probably sooner, given Martin's notorious reputation of character-killing...  And so I was crushed.  Just as I'd start to really love a character, bam!  Bye bye.  Dead.  Gone.  But I didn't learn - I don't think I'll ever learn!  
And so, because I'm a glutton to punishment, I did have favourites.  Arya was obviously one of them: that kid is badass.  I loved Eddard: he was the most noble person in the whole damn book.  Jon, his illegitimate son, was brilliant too - as was his middle son, Bran, who was so brave.  I really liked Dany as well: she was a sweet girl with a git of a brother.  Tyrion may have been my favourite: that guy is awesome and so snarky!  I don't care for Lannisters, but I'll make an exception for Tyrion!  However, I have this dreadful, ominous, and most likely totally correct given the events of this first book, feeling that all the characters I love will die, and all the ones I hate will live...  Le sigh...  And I also fear for my favourite shippings: the two I loved quickly perished.  Sigh.  Not looking good for my heart, is it...?
Now, I've heard some badish things about Martin's writing: that's it's mediocre.  I actually rather liked it.  Sure, it wasn't the most lyrical I've come across but it fit in perfectly with this world and these people.  Plus, I'm all for any epic fantasy that doesn't read like J.R.R. Tolkien's dry and long books.  I mean, all the gore and fighting and world building... it was phenomenal.  Seriously.  And so much easier and more fun to read than the likes of Lord Of The Rings
The plot... I was a little confused for a while.  In fact, about half way in I wondered where this plot was going.  I mean, sure, fights for the throne and all that, but...  Let's just say, s*#t got real pretty soon.  And people died.  Like a lot.  The slogan for Game Of Thrones should be: “No one was safe.  No life was certain.”   So yes, the plot was wonderfully complex yet also totally intriguing.  I really enjoyed it.
Oh, I've got to mention the world, because I adored it!  The history was so rich and vivid it’s untrue.  The extent of the story that Martin has created is incredible!  I mean, I thought the epic fantasies I’d read were amazing, but A Song of Ice And Fire
However, I wasn't so keen about the incest, sexism and misogynist views that were so present throughout the whole book.  Saying this, though, given the kind of alternate-world time period the series is set in, I guess it was to be expected.  I mean, look at all the stuff that went on during the War of the Roses: illegitimate kids, kings having orgies, people marrying their first cousins, etc. etc...  I'm sure you get my drift.  What I'm trying to say is that you can be annoyed about an aspect of the time period without it clouding your enjoyment of the book.  And trust me when I say that it really didn't – ok, I may have rolled my eyes a little about how many times the word 'whore' was used throughout the story, but other than that, no real complaints.  I mean, there were some kickass women in this book and they pretty much made up for it.
So now we reach the end of my review.  My feels for this book are so very hard to put into words.  I really, really enjoyed A Game Of Thrones.  It was… phenomenal.  Totally just…  I really don’t have the words!  It was an amazing book and I can see why everyone is so obsessed.  I’m totally obsessed now, too!  I needed the next book the very moment I put A Game Of Thrones down!  It is… epic.  I have no better words than truly and utterly epic
So I’ll leave you all on that epic note and go and read A Clash Of Kings

Star Rating:
5 Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Cousins Series by Philippa Gregory
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Study Series by Maria V. Snyder
The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Happy Reading


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The Faceless Ones by Derek Landy

Series: Skulduggery Pleasant, Book Three
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Hardcover
Published: 6th December 2008
Number of Pages: 395
Book: Bought
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Comedy, Urban Fantasy, Thriller, Suspense, Horror, Action-Adventure, Mystery, Children's, YA, Children's-YA Crossover
Recommended Age: 10+
Contains: Violence, Death – Lots And Lots Of Violence And Death! – And Mild Swearing
No Alcohol or Drug References
Skulduggery Pleasant Site: Skulduggery Pleasant


“Valkyrie screamed, sprinting towards Skulduggery.  He looked up and reached out to her, but it was too late…”
You’ve seen it all before: some bad guy wants to bring about the end of the world, and Skulduggery and Valkyrie fight valiantly to stop it happening.  A few people get hurt, sure, but everything’s all right in the end.
Well, not this time.

"There's a prediction about me, you know.  I die and the world ends..."
Honestly, you save the world not once, but twice, and then another guy pops up, wanting to start the tango all over again.  We all know how it goes.  Skulduggery and Valkyrie (a living skeleton sorcerer detective and his teenage trainee-sorcerer-sidekick) get involved to stop the end of the world.  Things get sticky.  Someone probably gets kidnapped.  Or injured.  Or turned to stone.  Or killed.  But they always win – always.  They always save the world by the skin of their teeth and fix everything last minute.
This time, though, it's different.  You know the Faceless Ones?  They’re the evil, homicidal gods who were exiled eons ago.  The gods who want to kill all humans.  And crush all the goodness on earth.  And are just, plain and simple, evil.  
Well, someone's found a way to get them back.  To bring them back from their exile and into our world – you know, the place they want to destroy.  Yeah, it's safe to say that if they come back, things are gonna get very very bad very very fast.
Which is why Skulduggery and Valkyrie have to act quickly.  Someone's been killing Teleporters – Teleporters who are the key ingredient to opening the gates between the Faceless Ones and us.  And Skulduggery needs to find out what the killer’s angle is before it's too late.  
Can they stop the Faceless Ones returning?  What will be the cost...?  Will their full forces be enough this time?  
Will anything be enough..?
Have I mentioned yet how much I love this series?  No?  Really?  Man, we've got through like twenty lines without me saying I love Skulduggery Pleasant?  That's gotta be a new record!  But I'm about to ruin my streak.  I freaking love this series.  It is one of my very favourite series in the history of the world.  And, at the risk of totally repeating what I've said in like every review of the Skulduggery series so far, it's so much fun!  You can just completely forget about the world, food, water and sleep when you pick up a Skulduggery book.  And I do.  They're too freaking good!
And good God do I love the characters.  Like all of them.  Well, apart from the evil ones.  Who likes evil characters?  That's just weird.
But as always, my favourite is the Skeleton Detective.  Skulduggery, I don't care what they say: I love you.  You are funny and kickass and hilarious!  I can literally never read a scene with him in without laughing my head off.  He's just... awesome.  And soooo funny.  And I just love him.  Team Skulduggery!
Valkyrie, you're awesome too.  I love you.  I wish I was you.  You’re strong, kickbutt, funny and brave.  I’m also jealous: I want magic and Skulduggery as a partner.  But I digress: I love Valkyrie.  She's just brilliant and the most amazing lead girl.  
Now, I found Fletcher Renn equal parts infuriating and hilarious.  When I read the series for the first time I think I was a bit too young to crush.  Or maybe I was just blinded by the other, hilarious characters.  But now...  Fletch is kinda hot.  He has that whole snarky, rebel, bad-boy thing goin' on.  And y'all know how much I like my bad-boys.  This isn't as creepy as it sounds.  Fletcher is seventeen...  And reeaallly funny.  
Ok, so I know I say this every time, but I love Tanith and Ghastly.  Tanith especially.  Why?  Cause she is kickass!  She's also awesome.  I also love China – she's so complicated and yet so straightforward.  And I love how she always always comes through. No one seems to expect her to, but she does.  And I'd kill for her powers!  Only not really.  Because that would be wrong….  Echo-Gordon was one of my faves, though.
On the other end, someone I could literally punch was Crux.  I seriously wanted someone to eat him.  Preferably vampires.  He just wound me up!  The Diablerie, AKA the Real Bad Guys, weren't very nice either.  Or at all.  And they were all really sneaky.  Sanguine makes me laugh, though.  I think it's the accent.
And man, this world just gets more and more awesome.  For example, Necromancers.  They rock.  The way the control shadows...  Legendary!  Kinda like the Darkling, though not as evil.   The Teleporters are awesome too.  Especially since Fletcher is like last-guy-standing.  Go Fletch!
The writing, as always, amazing.  Loads of awesome and funny scenes of witty banter.  Also some of the best action writing out there – lovin' those fight scenes!  Speaking of action: hot damn, there was a lot of it! This plot was literally nonstop!  And sooo wonderfully twisty.  I'm always kept on my feet with Landy's books – just another reason to love them!  Although that ending...  Oh.  My.  God.  This is my second or third read, but each time the ending hits me like a suckerpunch to the stomach.  Derek Landy, welcome to the royal hall of evil cliffhangers...
Something I really love, though, is that it's a book for everyone.  You can be old, young, a boy or a girl, and you'll still love this series.  With so many boys, if there's a main character that's a girl, they'll just roll their eyes and push the book away.  Not with Skulduggery.  For one, there's a whole bunch of other awesome characters.  And two, Val isn't a normal girl.  And even if she were, that's not what this is about.  It's about good versus evil, non-stop action, skeleton detectives and getting completely and utterly lost in a book.  And I love that.  It's perhaps the main reason I love Skulduggery Pleasant.  That everyone can enjoy it – there's no set reading group, no stereotypical audience.  And I like that.  I love that.
And I need more.  Now now now.  I swear to God, this series is like a freakin' drug.  And The Faceless Ones?  Just yet another kickass amazing instalment to this brilliant brilliant series.  Please, I don't care how old you are, pick up one of these books and you'll get it.  You'll love it.  You'll want more as much as I do.
Thank God I have Dark Days.  Now, where did I put it...?

Star Rating:
5 Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan
The Spooks' Apprentice by Joseph Delaney
Department 19 by Will Hill

Happy Reading


Sunday, 21 September 2014

Say Her Name by James Dawson

Publisher: HotKey
Format: Paperback
Published: 5th June 2014
Number of Pages: 240
Book: For Review*
Genre: Paranormal, Supernatural, Urban Fiction, Horror, Thriller, Suspense, Action Adventure, YA, YA-Adult Crossover
Recommended Age: 14+
Contains: Horror, Death, Swearing, Drug, Cigarette and Alcohol References
Author's Site: James Dawson 

The truth is more terrifying than the legend
When Bobbie and her best friend Naya are dared by their schoolmates to summon the legendary ghost of Bloody Mary, neither really believes that anything will happen.
So they complete the ritual, and chant Mary’s name five times in front of a candlelit mirror…
Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary…
And something is called forth that night.
Something dark, terrifying, and out of control.
She will be there, just out of sight, in the corner of your eye.
She will lurk in your nightmares.
She will hide in the shadows of your bedroom.
She will b waiting in every mirror that you see.
She is everywhere.  And she wants revenge.

“Five days.  Five days to die.  Five days to find her before it was too late...”
It was only meant to be a game - a stupid, childish game, played to freak them all out on Halloween at midnight.
Bobbie was sure it was all crazy: that it couldn't be real.
She was wrong.
From the moment Bobbie, her best friend Naya and town-boy Caine stood in front of the mirror and candles at midnight and chanted 'Bloody Mary' five times, they set something loose – something that can't be stopped.
To begin with, the signs are small and easily dismissed.  The words 'Five Days' are scrawled on the mirror one day.  One of the girls present while they chanted Mary's name falls ill.  The three who said the name get nosebleeds at the same time...
But it's not a coincidence – none of it is.  Because Mary is real and she wants revenge.
She cannot be stopped.  She will not be stopped.  She will haunt them, torment them and torture them until she has her revenge – and they are dead.
And Bobbie, Naya and Caine have only five days to figure out how to stop her...
Drip, drip, drip...
A little BookAddictedFanGirl picture!
I always love a good horror – be it in book or movie form.  And James Dawson is a master of horror writing (as well as being Queen of Teen 2014) – something truly displayed in Say Her Name.  Right from the start of this book, I was absolutely hooked.  I loved how it was such a suspenseful read: the suspense was wracked up slowly, slowly, messing with my mind the whole time.  I'm going to admit this: I really, really wish I hadn't read Say Her Name in the middle of the night...  Not my brightest move because this book was freaking terrifying!  I seriously recommend reading it in the middle of the day in a room flooded with natural sunlight – and with all the mirrors covered up.  Because otherwise: nightmares alert!  Not for me, of course...  I'm totally immune and definitely didn't throw a towel over my bathroom mirror, keeping it covered for days... 
Bobbie: well, I always love a fellow writer (aspiring one, anyway) as a character.  I liked that Bobbie was kind of odd: she wasn't your typical paranormal heroine – she was smart, funny, a little awkward and unsure of herself.  I found that refreshing.  She was also (justifiably) scared but was just as brave, too.  I think most girls can relate to her – ghosts aside, of course...
I really loved Naya, Bobbie's best friend: she was brilliant!  I loved how snarky and mouthy she was, and also how she showed her vulnerable side.  Gotta love the sassy ones!
And then there was Caine: I really liked Caine.  He wasn't what you first expected and I loved that.  He was more than just some boy from town – he was strong and sweet and just... the perfect hero-ish boy.  And I really liked how the relationship between him and Bobbie developed: it was sweet and real – again, ghosts aside...
The rest of the cast was brilliantly real.  There was no denying that, although loads of them were complete cows...  Mary I found absolutely intriguing, however, right from the start.  
But the writing...  I swear, it felt like I was there – like I was Bobbie, being stalked by a crazy, terrifying ghost.  And Good God, it was scary as hell!  The suspense James managed to build... I was on the edge of my seat for every single word on every single page.  And, as mentioned before, I was scared witless – yes, to the point of covering all mirrors... Hey, it's like Jaws!  It takes you a while to get back into the water, so to speak.  And trust me: if you read this, if you live this terror, you'd be a little... nervous, too.  However, James did manage to get these funny moments in: that did help my terror a little.  Even so, I was always just waiting for the other shoe to drop: for the scary to come crashing back as Mary made another deadly move...
And as for the story: terrifying.  Honest-to-God terrifying.  I mean, the way James just wrenched up the suspense, the horror, the fear...  I've never read anything like it.  In fact, I've been a little scarred by it!  Hence covering the mirrors…
Oh, and I have to mention the Bloody Mary legend – it was by far the most interesting Mary myth I've come across.  I mean, totally terrifying but brilliantly intriguing.
To sum it up, I recommend Say Her Name to literally everyone who wants to be hooked start to finish, perched right on the edge of your seat.  However, if you scare easy, stay the hell away!  This book is terrifying!  For all horror movie lovers, on the other hand, dump your Paranormal Activities DVDs and pick this up.  It's much better, much more intense, and much better for your brain (not your nerves, though...).  So what are you waiting for?!
But something to end with that scares the pants off of me: When James signed my book he wrote 'I dare you to say her name'.  I can definitely, bluntly and honestly say that I will never, ever, ever say her name.  Like, ever.  I'm logic-less: I'm not suicidally stupid.  But if you want to try it, go ahead.  But be prepared to be terrified, tortured and killed.
Look, don't say I didn't warn you...
Oh, wait...  I've said her name more than five times in my notes on my tablet...  Does that count as saying her name?!  DOES IT?!  
Good God, I'm dead...

Star Rating:
4 Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Hollow Pike by James Dawson
Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

Happy Reading