Monday, 27 February 2012

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder


Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
Publisher: Mira
Series: #1 in the Healer series
Pages: 390
Published in: 2011

(This copy was obtained via NetGalley for review)












Summary
Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos. 
Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life.... (from Goodreads)


My thoughts

This is the second series I have read by Maria V. Snyder - the other one being the Study series - and I have to say it definitely did not dissappoint! In this story, which is also a fantasy one, we meet Avry, who is a Healer in a period of time when being a Healer is not the safest of things. Due to the fact that Healers were rumoured to have spread a deadly plague all over the world, they have been hunted down and killed. As such, Avry is one of the last ones alive and there is a price on her head. But she ends up being captured and then abducted by a group of men who are in desperate need of her skills (as opposed to the prize which accompanies her capture). And of course, just to make everything interesting, while the group are on their way to heal the plague-stricken prince mentioned in the summary, lots pretty dangerous and deadly stuff happen.


What I enjoyed the most out of this book - in all honesty - was Maria Snyder's writing. As had happened with her Study series, I found that her writing just drew me into the story; made me feel as if I was actually there, right next to the characters; sometimes that I was actually seeing everything through Avry's eyes - that I was Avry. All the descriptions of the villages, of the forest, of the trip they had to take to get to the Prince, it all felt real. 

Another thing that felt really real and logical was the way Avry could heal. It only makes sense that to heal a person, you assume their injuries and then try to fight them yourself. That they don't "just go away". That way you could really appreciate what being a Healer actually means. It means that you have to "want" to do it, because, essentially, it means fighting a lot of pain - which you might not be able to fight to the end. To me, that just made sense.

Then, there is also the small matter of the love interest. From the word go (well, not exactly, but you know what I mean), you know who the love interest is going to be. You can see all the tension, you know that eventually it is going to happen, but it keeps NOT happening. Again and again, there are those perfect moments where you think "Finally!", but then something else (usually rather dire) happens. This part did remind me somewhat of Poison Study - where it was obvious from the beginning that something was going to happen between Valek and Yelena - but it didn't really bother me at all. Seeing as it is do far away from that dreaded "insta-romance" thing.


All in all, Touch of Power was a very enjoyable read and definitely lived up to my expectations of Maria V. Snyder. I still haven't read her Glass series and her Insider series, though that is something I intend to remedy as soon as possible!






For more information about the author and her other books, check out her website.

Monday, 23 January 2012

2012 Challenges

For the better part of the last three months of 2011, things were pretty quiet around the blog. Bad, I know. But as you may have already read in my New Year post, I got into a bit of a reviewing rut, so I ended up just ignoring the reviews piling up around me. This year I have decided to start afresh and, to keep myself motivated, I have decided to participate in a few challenges.

For a while, I contemplated doing an 100+ Reading Challenge, but I decided not to in the end, as I know I will have a rather full year ahead of me with university stuff. So, I am not going to pressurise myself in any way to read a specific number of books in total. Instead, I have decided to take part in some other smaller challenges (smaller referring to the number of books I have to read so as to complete them) and all of them different to the smaller ones I did last year.

So, without any further ado, behold the challenges list!

First, we have the Tea & Books Reading Challenge, hosted by Birgit from The Book Garden.



For this challenge, the aim is to read books that are 700 pages long or more. There are 4 levels to this challenge and I am going to aim for the 2nd level, the Berry Tea Devotee, which requires 4 books to be read. That means one every three months, which should be feasible. Right now, I have only found three books that I own that also fit the description and they are:
- A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
- The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk
- The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet

Secondly, we have the Sci-Fi: Not Just for Stormtroopers Challenge, hosted by Ellie from Curiosity Killed The Bookworm.


I decided to participate in this challenge so that I could get to read some other sci-fi books. I got to read quite a lot of dystopia last year and I would like to read some of the other themes that can be found in the sci-fi genre (such as "zombie viruses, genetic engineering gone awry, time travel, steampunk, extreme weather, space exploration and, of course, aliens", as Ellie says).

I am going to aim to read 6 books (as in 1 every two months), which I think should be ok! I'm really looking forward to reading books for this challenge!

Next, we have the 2012 Harry Potter Reading Challenge, hosted by Penelope at The Reading Fever.







The aim is - rather obviously - to read all the Harry Potter books! It's been ages since I last read the 7th HP book, so I am looking forward to re-reading them this year!! Oh, Ron, how I've missed you!




And last but not least, we have the 2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge, hosted by a lot of people!




Just to keep myself on track and not be blindsided by all the new books I will get in 2012, I am going to aim for the "A Sweet Kiss" level and read 21-30 books that have been sitting on my shelf for quite some time. Though I hope to go up a level or two!


Here is all the info for this one:



Challenge Guidelines:
  • This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 - Dec 31, 2012.
  • As we would like to see quality reviews linked up to our monthly wrap-ups, only bloggers can enter. Sorry about that!
  • Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that's been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Only books released in 2011 and earlier! NO ARCs and 2012 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!
  • You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
  • When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge (You need to include the info + host list + challenge button. You can also grab the button code and add it to your sidebar!)
  • You can move up levels, but no moving down.
  • Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2012, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
  • At the end of each month one of the hosts will post a wrap-up. Every wrap-up will have it's unique theme, a mini-challenge, a giveaway and place for you to link up your reviews from this month. For each review you link up, you will get one entry in a drawing of one book of choice from Book Depository. It's open to INTERNATIONALS. For participating in the mini-challenge you'll get +1 entry in the giveaway.
  • If you miss a wrap-up post + giveaway, you can link up your reviews next month. Do not, however, try to link up one review twice - we will be checking ;)
  • December is a wrap-up for the whole year. All the book reviews you linked up January-November + the ones you'll link up in December will be entered into a HUGE giveaway - 12 books, 12 winners, INTERNATIONAL.
  • You don't have to follow all the hosts to join the challenge, but you do have to follow all of us to be entered in giveaways!  
Levels
1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss (This one is the one I'm going for - for starters!)
31-40 - Love At First Sight 
41-50 - Married With Children


Hosts:
Evie from Bookish - @SeoEvie
Nicole from All I Ever Read @Nicoleabouttown
Bonnie from Hands and Home @HandsHomeBlog
Donna from Book Passion for Life - @BookPforLife
Caitlin from Watch YA Reading - @Caitlingss
Rie from Mission To Read @Missiontoread
Vicky from Books, Biscuits & Tea - @alouetteuette
Christa from Hooked on Books - @ChristasBooks
Jenna from Fans of Fiction - @fansoffiction
Angel from Mermaids Vision - @mermaidvisions
Schedule:
January - Donna (Theme: Let It Snow + Book Cover Challenge)
February - Nicole (Theme: Un-requited Love/Love Gone Wrong + Advice Column Challenge)
March - Rie (Theme: Green or Pinched + Green Cover Challenge)
April - Bonnie (Theme: Easter + Mini Challenge)
May - Christa (Theme: MayDay - Disaster Books! + Cover Disaster Challenge)
June - Jenna (Theme: Camping + Sentence Challenge)
July - Rie (Theme: International Day + Cover Comparison Challenge)
August - Angel (Theme: Summer Memories + Send Your Fav Character On Vacation Challenge)
September - Nicole (Theme: Life Changing Books + Mini Challenge)
October - Caitlin (Theme: Thanksgiving Theme + Share-A-Book Challenge)
November - Vicky (Theme: Spooky Halloween + Book Puzzle Challenge)
December - Evie (Theme: Xmas Bliss + Book Bachelor Challenge)


And I do believe that sums it all up! New challenges this year! Hope they all end up being fun to complete! I will be keeping track of my progress in the form of a page this time around, as it will be much easier to update than this post (plus, it will always be easy to find!). You can find the page here!


Sunday, 22 January 2012

In My Mailbox (19)


Hello everyone! In My Mailbox is a meme that is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren, so we get the chance to share our new books for the week (bought, borrowed or won) with all the lovely bloggers out there!

I finally got round to filming an IMM video with all the books I got over the holidays! There are quite a few, but after some heavy editing, I managed to cut the video down quite a bit, so you won't have to listen to me ramble on for too long!

And for those of you who don't like watching videos, there is a list of the books I got just underneath!

Let me know what you got in your mailboxes this week! Or if you've read any of the ones I got!


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (UK children's edition)
Lirael by Garth Nix
Abhorsen by Garth Nix
Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Prized by Caragh O'Brien
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Only Human by Tom Holt
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Green Mile by Stephen King
Everything is Illuminated by Johnathan Safran Foer
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
Who's That Girl? by Alexandra Potter
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami


Thursday, 5 January 2012

2011 Challenges - How did I do??

I spent the better part of the day today trying to update all my challenge lists from last year, as well as trying to look through all of the new challenges available for this year and deciding which ones to go for. For now, I will just focus on last year's challenges.

So, in 2011, I signed up for 6 challenges:
- 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011 (hosted by Book Chick City)
- British Books Challenge 2011 (hosted by The Bookette)
- Dystopia Challenge (hosted by Bookish Ardour)
- Victorian Literature Challenge (hosted by Subtle Melodrama)
- 1st In A Series Challenge 2011 (hosted by A Few More Pages)
- 2nds Challenge 2011 (hosted by A Few More Pages)

(The links above lead to my sign-up/keeping-track posts for those particular challenges.)

As you will be able to see if you click on the above links, I didn't do too badly! I managed to complete 5 out of the 6 challenges!! Yay me!

For the 100 Books In A Year Challenge: I actually ended up reading 124 books last year. Which I have no idea how I am going to top. Because I know I have a busy year ahead of me, I set my Goodreads Challenge to 100 books again, which I might increase if I see that I am doing better than I thought I would be!
Challenge completed! 


For the British Books Challenge: Another success here! The aim was to read 12 books by British authors and I managed to get my total up to 31!!!!! I know that some bloggers out there who also participated in this challenge managed to read more than 50 books by British authors, but I am seriously happy about my own accomplishment!
Challenge completed!

For the Dystopia Challenge: This one is actually one challenge that I thought I would do better... I aimed to read 15 books during the year and I only just completed it, by reading 16 dystopian books in total. I'm still happy I managed to complete it though!
Challenge completed!

For the Victorian Literature Challenge: This is the one I failed miserably at.... I went for one of the lowest levels (I can't remember if it was actually the lowest one there was), and the aim was to read 5-8 books published during the years of the reign of Queen Victoria. I managed to finish 3 (The Scarlet Letter, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and The Picture of Dorian Gray) and tried starting The Moonstone (which I just gave up on), so I failed. But it's still an accomplishment, isn't it? I don't know if I would have read those particular books this year if it hadn't been for this challenge! So, I suppose it's plus! But still...
Challenge failed.

For the 1st in a Series Challenge: Another one I did pretty well on! I aimed for 12 books, but actually got round to reading 32(!!!) books that were first in a series!
Challenge completed!

For the 2nds Challenge: This one I really only just completed! I aimed to read 12 books and I read 12 books. So, success!
Challenge completed!


All in all, I didn't do too badly, did I?? You can click on the links to get to my lists of books or you can just click on my Reviews A-Z page to see all the books I have read since I started blogging!

The post with the signups for the challenges I have decided to participate in this year will probably go up sometime tomorrow, so keep an eye out for that!

Did you take part in any challenges last year? How did you do?

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Happy New Year!


(source)

I know I have been a terrible blogger as of late, but this year I am going to change a few things. To be fair, I have always been lax as to when I post stuff on the blog, apart from the odd meme or two, but I got into a big reviewing slump last year. At some point around October, I realised I had such a backlog of reviews to write that I couldn't remember half of what I wanted to write in the first place. So, for this year, I have decided that I am not going to struggle to review each and every one of the books that I read. I did read 120 odd books this year, which would have meant 120 odd reviews. I'm pretty sure I wrote about 100 of them, but I got to a point where it was a struggle to say anything interesting about some of the books that I read.

So, for 2012, I am going to start afresh, and will start posting reviews of the book I read this year. Occasionally, when I happen to be in a reading slump or something similar, I will post reviews of the books I read last year but ended up not posting a review of.

The main reason I have decided to do this is because I love blogging and I love being part of the blogging community, but it just got to be a little too much. It felt like homework. So, now, I am taking the pressure off my shoulders! After all, I am doing an MSc! I do not need the added pressure!

I would like to thank everyone who stuck with me through this! Thank you for being patient and not unsubscribing! You don't know how much it means to me! And now, to thank you for that, I promise to start posting regularly again! I will post again in a couple of days when I figure out which challenges I am going to participate in for this year, as well as to see how I did with last year's challenges!

Also, to end this post, I would like to invite you to visit a new collab blog I'm doing with two friends I met through book blogging! Anne, Kate and I will be blogging over at The PAKt every week, so please come and check it out!
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