Tuesday, May 25, 2010

GiveAway: Confessions of a Shopaholic

Who doesn't love free stuff?  Or more specifically - free books.  That's right, you heard it folks, this is ElishaReads' first giveaway. I would make inappropriate innuendos regarding my giveaway virginity, but as the Bare Naked Ladies' song goes, it's all been dooooone before.

So I'll simply get down to business. The deets:

You can win these two lovely books by Sophie Kinsella - Confessions of a Shopaholic & Shopaholic Takes Manhattan.

All you have to do is a leave a comment below answering this question:

What is one of the best can-not-live-without-it fiction novels that you've read? 

Please leave a way for me to contact you (email address, link to your blog, etc.).

Good Luck!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Magic Study & Fire Study, by Maria V. Snyder

I'm sad to say that this series declines as it continues. The first book, Poison Study, was a perfectly delightful read that left me literally obsessing for the these sequels. Unfortunately, with such an emotional anticipation, the books disappointed.

My feelings are mostly due to the lack of frequent interaction between Yelena and the chief of security in Ixia/super assassin/the love of Yelena's life, Valek. I can't even fathom why Ms. Snyder thought the series would be any good if she took Valek out of the majority of the book. I am, rightly, annoyed at his absence and would be much happier with the series if their romance had continued in a similar fashion as in the first book.

No matter, the series is still enjoyable and I'm glad I mustered my way through these subsequent books because somewhere in the second book, we're introduced to Opal, who is the fascinating star in Maria Snyder's newest series - Sea Glass and Storm Glass - which I am happy to report only gets better as the series progresses.

My rating of Magic Study & Fire Study: 6 - Good. Solidly good.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Poison Study, by Maria V. Snyder

Sometimes there is someone who can just say it better. I read the below review on Science Fiction Reader and since reading it, I've been writing and deleting and writing and deleting my review, finding that each time I am simply trying to write exactly what this reviewer put on his/her blog, in different words.

Of course, my unique review would have been witty and amusing, full of funny anecdotes and suspenseful details [does such a thing as suspenseful details even exist?]. Unfortunately, my seven devoted followers the world, will have to content themselves without my enlightened opinion of Poison Study. While I am confidant that there will be mourning regarding the withholding of my treasured jewels of wisdom, I sincerely hope that you will be able to find delight in the words of another.

[Okay, I'm puking a little in my mouth with my own ostentatiousness. Go ahead and puke in yours too. We can be puking buddies.]

Onto the review by Science Fiction Reader:

This enjoyable fantasy – like all of the better quality books in any genre – possesses all the ingredients that make speculative fiction fans look for more of the same, but also gives a new spin on the premise. So you have your intrepid, but severely victimised heroine; a satisfyingly nasty and dangerous villain and a plethora of awkward and potentially lethal choices confronting your plucky protagonist…

And the difference? Already convicted for murder, Yelena is under the death sentence when the book opens and 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. The Commander’s food tasters don’t have much life expectancy – and small wonder. Life in the palace is full of hazards and secrets. 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?

I liked the fact that Snyder opted not to give us a blow-by-blow account of Yelena’s grim history of coercion, torture and rape – but started the book at the point when she is offered a way out. Told in first person POV, the story whips along at a suitably cracking pace as Yelena struggles to survive in this hostile environment. Snyder gives us a reasonably rounded protagonist and the supporting cast are well drawn and interesting. Although I found the main male character just a little too much in command of everything going on around him. If he’d floundered a little bit more, there could have been a greater sense of danger during the main crisis point of the plot.

However, this is a relatively picky point in a well-written and slickly crafted story that zips along with plenty of action and character development. When I finished the book, I immediately reached for Magic Study, the second book in the series. And when I finish it tonight, I’m going to dive straight into the third book.

My Review: 7- Great. This book is worth reading AND recommending.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spirit Bound, by Richelle Mead

Eeekk!! I just started the next installment of the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead.

I'm only a little excited about this - just a teeny-tiny-itsy-bitsy excited.

I am definitely not in love with Dimitri and I definitely don't want to be a bad-arse strigoi killing damphir. Definitely not. And I definitely am not excited about the new twist with Adrian. I could pretty much care less. I mean, seriously, who likes vampire novels anyway? I certainly don't.

::jumps up and down in an extremely young adult fashion::

[This isn't the cover for the book, but I like it better, so I'm posting it instead]

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, by Annie Barrows & Mary Ann Schaffer

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society is a mouthful of a name and every time I inform the uninformed about this book, I get some variation of "The what??"

However, while the name may fill your mouth with a handful of unintelligible babble, the book is one of the most captivating and interesting books I've read in a quite a while. I "read" this book on audio and I have to highly recommend this reading format. The audio version gives each character their own voice and makes the novel come alive in a way that transports you into Juliet's world. I believe I might have fallen in love with Guernsey more than Juliet did, and I've seriously looked at my suitcase hanging in my closet with a longing to travel to Guernsey to meet these imaginary friends that Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Schaffer have created in my mind.

It's a beautiful story and I can hardly believe that it is fiction. Or perhaps its place in the fiction world makes it all the more beautiful for creating a life and a story that feels so real.

If you only read one book this year, read this one. The book is so delicious that you'll find yourself wishing to devour it all over again.

My rating: 9- Top 100 - this books tops the charts of my favorite books!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Fill in the Blank Friday

My lovely friend, Lauren [who has an awesome blog at http://thelittlethingswedo.blogspot.com/], does these fun "Fill in the Blank Friday" posts every - you guessed it - Friday

I haven't posted one of these before, but since it is about my absolute favorite subject (well, right after how wonderful my husband is), I figured I might as well play along.

So here we go:

1. My favorite book growing up was: The Mark of the Lion series, by Francine Rivers. It is probably the only book I've read more than twice. Actually, I'm pretty sure I read it every other week throughout my entire adolescence.

2. The funniest book I've ever read was: I haven't really read that many "funny" books, but the Anne of Green Gables series completely captivated me and etched a perma-smile on my face whenever I read it. I found myself frequently finding a long-suffering family member and holding them prisoner while I shared amusing quotes and sections from the books.

3. The one book that has truly changed my life is: Obviously, the Bible. However, if I choose another book I think I would choose Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge or Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers.

4. If you're looking for a real "tear jerker" you should probably read: My Sister's Keeper, by Jodi Picoult. I bawled. Snotty yucky bawling.

5. If I could meet any author living or dead I would want to meet: LM Montgomery - Her writing makes me feel like we're soul-sisters.

6. The next book on my "to read" list is: The Iron King, by Julie Kagawa

7. If I was snowed into remote cabin in the woods and could only choose three books to bring with me I'd bring: Eeek! I can't pick just three... Maybe three series??? Or three hundred?? Okay, I'll try to narrow it down. The Anne of Green Gables series, Redeeming Love, & Ella Enchanted. Ugh. I'm literally forcing myself not to make a ridiculous long list of all the books that I would stack around this imaginary cabin.

If you'd like to play along, just fill in the blanks on your own blog (or in the comment section!) and then link back here using by leaving a comment.