Mundie Moms

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Shadow Study (Soul Finders #1) by Maria V. Snyder; Blog Tour: Book Review & Giveaway!

Hello & welcome to today's stop in the SHADOW STUDY blog tour! I am so thrilled that one of my all time favorite authors, Maria V. Snyder has a new book out, featuring some of my all time favorite characters. If you have not yet met Valek and Yelena from Maria's Study Series, you are seriously missing out. 

Today, I'm excited to share my review for Maria's newest release, Shadow Study, the first book in her Soul Finders series, which features my favorite characters from her Study Series. 

Published: Mira
Released on: February 24, 2015
Series: Soul Finders #1
Rating: 5 Stars - I Loved It!
Source: ebook to review from publisher for an upcoming blog tour
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Read the 1st Chapter HERE

New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder wowed readers with Poison Study, the unforgettable story of poison taster Yelena. Now she's back with a new tale of intrigue. 

Once, only her own life hung in the balance…

Oddly enough, when Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. But she'd survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia. Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands—and protect her relationship with Valek.

Suddenly, though, they are beset on all sides by those vying for power through politics and intrigue. Valek's job—and his life—are in danger. As Yelena tries to uncover the scope of these plots, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. She must keep that a secret—or her enemies will discover just how vulnerable she really is—while searching for who or what is responsible for neutralizing her powers. 

Valek and Yelena are back! I have spent a long time waiting for these two to be back, and it was totally worth the wait. I stayed up past 2 am reading this book, it is that good. I have so much I want to say about this book, but for the sake of spoilers I'm keeping my review spoiler free. Let me just say, fans of Maria's Study series will LOVE being back in this world. They'll love seeing what their favorite characters have been up to. Trust me, this is a book worth picking up.

Reading Shadow Study was like reconnecting with an old friend. Things picked up right were they had previously left off, and I enjoyed every moment I spent reading this book. 

My love for Valek and Yelena dates back to before there was a Mundie Moms, and before there was an Edward and Bella. Velak and Yelena are the first YA couple that I fell in love with. I love that though it's been a few years since I first met them, all those same feelings I had when I first read Poison Study, I felt with Shadow Study. I LOVED being back in their world. In reading Shadow Study, I felt like I never left their world. To me, that's a feat that Maria V. Snyder accomplished. This book felt like it picked up right where things left off with them and their friends. 

A lot has happened since I first met Valek and Yelena. I have loved watching their story unfold. I'll admit, I both love and hate the distance these two often share. I want them to be together all the time, but understand why that's impossible. Both characters have obligations they have to honor. While I love their stolen moments together, I also like that even though they can't both physically be in every scene together, they are both very much apart of the story, and each other's lives. It's evident how much they love each other. 
Fans will be happy to see a few of the surprises that happen with these two in this book. Can I just say, can we have a book titled Valek and Yelena's wedding?! I'm just saying.... I would buy that book in a heart beat. 

One of the things I have always loved about Valek and Yelena, is that these two, at least in my opinion, are both equally as strong, and in different ways. Since I first read about Yelena & Valek's story, there have been other series that have been apart of this enchanting world of magic, secrecy, danger, romance, and action. With this book, magic, power and politics are very much at play, and Yelena's blocked magic puts her in a very vulnerable position. While she's trying to protect Valek, he's secretly trying to protect her. Two of my favorite Study series characters are back! Janco and Ari!!! They're back and team up with Yelena and Valek to figure out what's going on. 

I loved seeing many of my favorite characters from Maria's series back together again in Shadow Study. If they're not physically in the story, they are at least mentioned. 

Maria has always done a fabulous job at introducing her readers to new characters. These new character keep readers on their toes, as they have you wondering through out most of the book, if they're good or bad. Maria gives you just enough to "know" the character, without giving much away about their true motive in all that is going on around them. Like the rest of her Maria's series, the characters who are the most dangerous ones, are the less obvious ones to me. Maria writes everything in such a way that everyone is a suspect, and the person behind all that's going on, is always someone who surprises me. As soon it's revealed who they are, I feel like they should have been more obvious to me from the get go. I love that about her books. 

I love the unpredictable plot twists, and not being able to figure out what will happen next. There is so much that happens in this book. True to Maria's writing, it is impossible to predict the story's outcome and how it will end. Nothing is ever as it seems. One of the things I learned when I first read Poison Study, is that you can never put your guard down. The same goes with this book. I like feeling like I'm figuring things out right along side the characters. Noting in this book is predictable. 

The three different points of view in this book are AWESOME! As in this is how you write three different points of views. Readers get to see more of the story unravel, and see how three different parts of the story come together in the end. Each point of view not only keeps the story flowing, but it adds another side to the overall story. Readers are able to see what the various characters are dealing with, and it's not until the alternating points of views come together, do you see how they all interconnect. It's brilliant! I love it when I get so wrapped up into story, I don't have time to try and connect the dots, until they're are already connected, so to speak.

Why did this book have to end?! THAT ENDING!! Oh my word, that was an ending! I was not excepting that, and it was so good! I need the next book asap. Thank you Maria V. Snyder for continuing on with Valek & Yelena's story. This is a must read! 

I would HIGHLY recommend picking up other series before reading this one, as characters, and things that have happened previously, will make more sense when they are introduced, and discussed in this book. Trust me, you'll enjoy the other series. Maria is a master story teller and the way she ties each of her books, and her individual series together is brilliantly done. You'll be happy to have read the previous series. If you've read the previous series, there is just enough of a brief history of what happened previously, that you don't need to re-read the series to remember who people are or what happened. 

About Maria V. Snyder

Maria V. Snyder changed from being a meteorologist to a novelist in 1995, when she began writing to keep her sanity while raising two children. Since then, she has published numerous freelance articles in magazines and newspapers, and teaches fiction-writing classes at the local college and area libraries. The classes give her the wonderful opportunity to encourage fellow writers, and to keep improving her craft.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria always had a fascination with big storms. Dreaming of chasing tornados, Maria earned a bachelors of science degree in meteorology at Penn State University. But she discovered, much to her chagrin, that forecasting the weather wasn't one of her skills. In order to chase tornados you had to predict where they might form. Creating fantasy worlds where she has complete control of the weather was more agreeable to her.
Maria's  on food-tasting methods with an expert chocolate taster, her husband, turned out to be a delicious bonus while writing Poison Study.
Maria has a brown belt in Isshinryu Karate, and enjoys playing volleyball and the cello. Traveling in general and via cruise ship in particular are her biggest distractions from writing. Maria has traveled to researchBelize, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and through the Panama Canal.
Maria lives with her husband, son, daughter and yellow lab, Hazelnut, in Pennsylvania where she is at work on more LUNA novels. She is also pursuing a master's degree in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University.
Readers are welcome to contact Maria at the following email address:
Find Maria via: Website/Blog/Facebook/Goodreads

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