Monday, March 2, 2015

THE STORYSPINNER by Becky Wallace; Blog Tour: Book Review & Enter To Win!

Hello & welcome to the next stop in THE STORYSPINNER blog tour, hosted by RockStar blog tours. I'm so thrilled to feature debut author, Becky Wallace's book on Mundie Moms today. After you check out more about the book, don't miss my review, and be sure you enter to win!


By: Becky Wallace
Published by: Margaret McElderberry Books (Simon & Schuster)
To Be Released on: March 3rd, 2015
Series: The Keepers' Chronicles #1
Rating: 5 Stars - I Loved It!
Source: arc from publisher, in exchange for my honest review
Purchase from: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Add it to Goodreads
Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected.

In a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. And in Johanna Von Arlo’s case, it can be fatal. Expelled from her troupe after her father’s death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don’t get along. But while Johanna’s father’s death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren’t so sure.

The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess—the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. But they aren’t the only ones looking for her. And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up—girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.

With dukes, Keepers, and a killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything.

A enchanting debut! Becky Wallace has proven she is just as talented of a storyteller, as her main character Johanna. THE STORYSPINNER is an addicting fantasy where magic, and danger lurk around every twist and turn. Secrets are guarded, but come at a deadly price. Romance is destined to happen, and not everything is quite as it seems. This is one fantasy I thoroughly enjoyed, and I really wish the rest of this series was already out. I want more!

The story itself is told from multiple points of views. At first I was a little annoyed there were so many points of views. But, as the story gets set up, I realized that the different points of views really give the reader the two different sides from the story. It didn't take me long to get into the grove of reading from the various points of views. I honestly don't think the story could have been told any different. The multiple points of view give readers the rich details, and in-depth history of both sides of the story, as well as really allow readers to get to know the various characters. I loved how the two different sides of the story come together at the end. One side tells the story of the Keepers, the guardian's of the magic, and a few other things that I won't mention, since I'd like to keep my review spoiler free. The other side is of the human point of view, which features our main character Johanna, and her love interest Rafi, as well as Rafi's brother.

I really enjoyed getting to know Johanna. I love how independent, feisty, and at times, stubborn she is. She isn't afraid to stand up for herself. Johanna has a talent for storytelling, and much like her father, has the gift for captivating her audience. She'll soon learn there is more to the stories and history she is telling, then she ever thought possible. It's hard to accept a story that's been told over and over again, especially when it's one filled with truth and shocking secrets. Johanna will do whatever it takes to protect her family, especially her younger brothers. I also liked the relationship she has with her brothers, both the older on, and the two younger ones. I feel like her relationships with her brothers helped shape her into the bold character she is. One of the things I loved about her, is she is as bold as she is loyal. She isn't afraid to say no or stand her ground, even if it's to nobility. She definitely knows how to handle herself, and boy does she know how to play her part in getting under Rafi's skin. haha It is fabulous! 

Rafi, also known as Lord Rafael DeSilva has met his match with Johanna. Though the two meet under, should I say an unusual circumstances, their lives are forever entangled by the turn of events that led them to one another. While I didn't hit it right off with Rafi, I ended up loving him, and all that he stands for. He's a complex character that needed some get to knowing. I'm glad Becky didn't allow me to like him immediately, because he is a layered character that has a lot going on, and a lot at stake. The more I got to know the bits and pieces of Rafi and his story, the more I liked him. The more I got to him, the more I ended up loving hims character. Like Johanna, I liked how he was able to get under her skin as well. These two know how to push each other's buttons, and it's fabulous.

 I love that Becky gave me the story from both Johanna and Rafi's points of views. I love a romance that involves snark, and two characters who can irk each other, while at the same time drive each other mad with the way they feel about each other. Even if it takes them both awhile to admit it. Their romance is one that wasn't immediate, and I LOVED that! Johanna and Rafi's relationship is one that naturally developed and grew into something more. I really liked seeing how the other characters in this story interacted with these two. Some of my favorites are Dom, Rafi's brother, and Johanna's younger brothers. I loved the sibling relationships through out the story. 

Through the Keepers' storyline we learn more of the history Johanna's world, and the danger some of the characters are in. In the midst of both storylines, is a traitor. It's up to the Keepers to find out who that traitor is before one of their own betrayers them all, and destroys the one thing the Keepers are tasked at protecting. I liked getting to know each of the characters within the Keepers' group. I liked the history their side of the story brought to the over all story arc. There's so much going on, and both sides keep the over all story evolving. I admit, if I didn't get to know some of the Keepers' and didn't have their storyline, I don't think I would have liked them every much. I'm still not a fan of some of the ways they go about doing things, but at least I understand the why. 

One of the things I LOVE about fantasy, is a rich story to along with the unforgettable characters. THE STORYSPINNER does just that. To compliment it's rich story telling, is a rich, captivating world I easily envisioned. The world building is beautiful, and enticing. Becky Wallace created a world full of magic, lore, and gave it a rich history with plenty of danger, and secrets. I liked that the entire story is developed in an orderly fashion, and the way the two storylines come together. It was beautifully done. The story itself is beautifully told, and easily hooked me. 

With a book this size, I never once found myself bored with the story. In fact, I wanted more of the story when it came to an end. Each of the characters, whether it be a main character or a supporting one, are all fabulously in-depth characters I really enjoyed reading about, and getting to know. THE STORYSPINNER is one of those books I had no problems jumping right into. The story is so well crafted. I really like that while Becky answered some of my questions through out the story, she didn't give me all the answers I wanted. I want more, and I can not wait to read more for this series! I look forward to reading more of Becky's books. 

About The Author 

In second grade, Becky Wallace had to sit in the corner because she refused to write anything except princess stories and fairy tales (and because she talked too much). 
Her time in isolation gave her plenty of opportunities to dream up the fantasy worlds she’s been dabbling with ever since. She was lucky enough to find her own real-life Prince Charming. They have four munchkins and live in happy little town near Houston, Texas.
Find Becky via: Website | Blog |Twitter | Facebook |Pinterest | Goodreads

Enter to Win
5 personalized copies of THE STORYSPINNER! US/Canada Only.

The Mortal Instruments T.V. Series Plans for a Limited Series #TMITVSeries

Happy Mundane Monday Shadowhutners! I found some exciting news earlier this morning (late last night for many of you, as I'm currently over seas), that I wanted to share with you about the #TMITVSeries. Check out this tweet below, which I took a picture of after I RT'ed. 

There has been no official word on plans for the TMI series yet. Meaning I've not heard anything from the studio. However, I like that there are plans for the series and that it's being discussed, and that it's being mentioned on Twitter. I know many of us fans are extremely anxious to know more about the TMI T.V. Series. 

To clarify what Limited Series means. I know some fans were concerned about the "limited" series. My understanding is that this means there is a predetermined end date when they have a limited series for TV. For all we know that might be a couple years from now, or it might be a few months. They have a lot of storyline to go with, and I'm curious to see how long the series will run for. I'm hoping it's for awhile. I have no worries about the amount of story they can cover in a few seasons. 

Shooting wise, I like that they're hoping to shoot in Toronto, which is the same city the TMI Movie was shot in. Hopefully that means we'll see a lot of the same or similar places we saw in the movie, in the T.V. series. 

Once I hear more news about the TMI T.V. series, I'll post it here. In the mean time, what are your thoughts about the possibility of having a limited TMI series for TV? 

Mundane Monday #235

James Corsairs by Puffin's Art

Puffin's Art posted this last week on their tumblr. And well, you guys know how very Team Jem I am (don't worry Team Will-ers, Katie will be back this weekend and the balance will shift back):

Happy New Year (Chinese version)! It’s the year of the ram, so I decided to try draw a ram and then I started thinking that I’d draw all 12 animals and then I thought I’d try personify each one and then I decided to just draw a character I think I’d associate with the basic personality of the animal.
And let's see a quote from Jem to start off our week:
Jem knotted his fingers in the material of Will's sleeve. "You are my parabatai," he said, "You said once I could ask anything of you.”
Ah, THAT moment. Happy Monday, MMs!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The 15 Most Anticipated YA Books Publishing In March 2015

The lovelies over at Epic Reads have done it again. They've created a fabulous list of the The 15 Most Anticipated YA Books Publishing in March 2015.  Check out their list below: 

  1. Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver, 2/10/25, Harper Teen
  2. Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman, 3/10/15, Random House
  3. The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows, 3/10/15, Harper Teen
  4. The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski, 3/3/15, Macmillan
  5. The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige, 3/31/15, Harper Teen
  6. Half Wild by Sally Green, 3/24/15, Penguin 
  7. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord, 3/31/15, Bloomsbury
  8. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma, 3/24/15, Algonquin Young Readers
  9. We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach, 3/24/15, Simon & Schuster
  10. Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes, 3/24/15, Harper Teen
  11. Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay, 3/17/15, Harper Teen
  12. Burning Kingdoms by Lauren DeStefano, 3/10/15, Simon & Schuster
  13. Death Marked by Leah Cypress, 3/3/15, Harper 
  14. The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne, 3/17/15, Dial
  15. Mosquitoland by David Arnold, 3/3/15, Penguin
Additional Favorites:

There are a ton of exciting titles hitting shelves this month. What are some of your more anticipated March releases? 

Now That You're Here by Amy K. Nichols, Book Review

By: Amy K. Nichols
Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released on: 2/16/15
Series: Duplexity #1
Source: netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | books-a-million | IndieBound
Now That You're Here (Duplexity #1)

Rating: 4 stars -- I really enjoyed it.

In a parallel universe, the classic bad boy falls for the class science geek.

One minute Danny was running from the cops, and the next, he jolted awake in an unfamiliar body - his own, but different. Somehow, he's crossed into a parallel universe. Now his friends are his enemies, his parents are long dead, and studious Eevee is not the mysterious femme fatale he once kissed back home. Then again, this Eevee - a girl who'd rather land an internship at NASA than a date to the prom--may be his only hope of getting home.

Eevee tells herself she's only helping him in the name of quantum physics, but there's something undeniably fascinating about this boy from another dimension... a boy who makes her question who she is, and who she might be in another place and time.

I think most of you know that I love a time travel story when it's well written and the time travel science is logical (but not overly detailed because let's remember that I cried through most of my AP Physics class). My other requirement is for characters who are truly believable because let's face it, if you end up in a time travel situation, there are some logical reactions you should experience.

Now That You're Here swaps characters in two parallel universes and presents it with dual points-of-view. That's what I liked the best, the two povs. I immediately understood geeky Eevee, but it was Danny who proved trickier to understand. I think I truly saw him through Eevee's eyes and therefore had trouble reconciling the slacker in one world with the rebellious tagger from the other world. But none of that mattered, because what I ultimately fell in love with was their chemistry, and I found myself hoping that somehow their relationship will find a way to work out.

A story like this depends on solid world-building and Amy delivers that and more. The oppressive world that Danny comes from forms a nice contrast to Eevee's world. The expected complication of Danny figuring out the world he's landed in and Eevee trying to use all the scientific answers she knows to explain why Danny is so different made the pace quick. Once all the pieces were in place, I had that can't-stop-reading-now feeling and plowed through the story in one sitting.

Without giving away any spoilers, I will say that lucky for all of us readers, there will be a Duplexity #2 (While You Were Gone) which will be released this August. Time travel buffs will zoom through this story and want to travel to parallel universes for that sequel.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Lost Herondale Audiobook Narrator is Jack Falahee

Jack Falahee

I'm catching up on more Cassie news this week and in case you missed it, Jack Falahee has been announced as the narrator of Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy: The Lost Herondale.

Here's what Cassie had to say about his casting:
Continuing in our tradition of Cute Brown-Haired Boys Read You Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy, Jack Falahee has signed on to record the audiobook of THE LOST HERONDALE. Jack stars as Connor Walsh in the show HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER. Team TFTSA loves Jack and loves Connor and is totally thrilled! We’re also excited for the next two installments, since they’ll likely have British readers. Anyone you want to see particularly? :)
You guys know we're huge fans of the audiobook narrators and I think Jack will be perfect for this story. What are your thoughts on his casting?

Cassie Talks About Lady Midnight's Release Date

Lady Midnight by CassandraJean
On her tumblr, Cassie answered a couple of questions regarding the release date of Lady Midnight last week.

Hey Cassie, I was just wondering (actually panicking more like it) if Lady Midnight is not coming out this year? I read that we’re getting new covers INSTEAD of an actual book? I dont understand. With that being said I just want to add that I understand if you need time to finish Lady Midnight and make it best it can be, but I was just so excited to meet Emma and Julian and ultimately to read more of your writing and the new covers look coool btw ♡ 

Cassie: Thanks! I’m glad you’re looking forward to meeting Emma and Julian. I’ve gotten a spate of these emails in the wake of the reveal of the new CoB cover — I guess someone started the rumor that the new covers are instead of a new book? I mean, publishers schedule things for specific times for all sorts of reasons, but nothing I have ever heard indicates that the repackages and the release date of Lady Midnight are connected. I’m reblogging a post I made a month ago about the release date of Lady Midnight. It continues to be March 2016. (NB: I originally mistyped this as 2015 - it’s definitely 2016) This is about the same amount of time there was between City of Glass and City of Fallen Angels. These are all very normal time periods to write a book (esp. considering that I’m once again writing multiple series at the same time!) I can and do write unusually fast — I’ve been publishing since 2007, eight years, and in that time I have written twelve books and co-authored two. But I don’t want to so much prioritize speed that the quality of my books suffers. I try to write in a timely fashion. I write every day, with no weekends, no vacations, and no days off. I write when I’m sick or well. I write when I’m on tour. I did the edits on City of Heavenly Fire while I was in the hospital. I have responsibilities to my publishers, to turn things in on time, but even more I know I have responsibilities to my readers to write the best books I can and work as hard on them as I can.

Lady Midnight hasn’t been pushed back. Neither has TLH. If it came down to my thinking that the only way I could give you guys the good book you deserve, I would push it back. Waiting for a book is temporary, but the book itself, once it’s out there, is permanent. I’m lucky to have fans and readers who understand that. :)

Lady Midnight publication jessthedaydreamer Has Lady Midnight been pushed back to March 2016? I was really looking forward to it. I thought it was coming out fall 2015. 

Cassie: “Fall” is publishing terminology for anything between September and December. It was originally tentatively slated for sometime in December 2015 but it’s now March 2016. This isn’t because I’m turning it in late, or anything about the writing of the book has changed. I’m still turning it in the same time. Publishers make decisions about when to publish books based on all sorts of things, including how much time they’ll have to edit the book, to market and promote the book, what other books they have coming out, how they plan to space out all the series books that come after so that they come regularly, etc. I tried to be clear that the Fall 2015 date for Lady Midnight was tentatively scheduled, and might be changed at any moment, but I really didn’t know until recently what the upshot was going to be, so I am sorry if it was confusing. I’ve also tried to be clear that The Last Hours isn’t scheduled yet and that remains true. Lady Midnight is an important book for me and for my publisher, considering that this is the first “new series” Shadowhunter book in five years — and that it will be followed by The Last Hours: Chain of Gold, which is also the first book of a new series! I am sorry for disappointment at the idea of having to wait another twelve or sixteen weeks for the book, but I think it will bring you the best book at the best time.

In the meantime, because Lady Midnight is the first book in a new series, it’ll actually have advance copies, and you’ll have a chance to win them, and there’ll be other cool stuff like that — not to mention monthly installments of Shadowhunter Academy starting in February— that will hopefully make the wait less painful. (As for news about the TV show, which I’ve been being asked about, I am not currently involved in the TV show. If that changes, I’ll let you know, but in the meantime expect the news to come from other sources than me.).

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy: The Lost Herondale, Excerpt

Yesterday on her tumblr, Cassie posted an excerpt from the upcoming Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy story, "The Lost Herondale":

“Demons and warlocks can’t help what they are,” Balogh said darkly. “Shadowhunters are held to a higher standard. The deaths of those three men sit squarely on the shoulders of Tobias Herondale. And he would have been punished in kind, had he ever been foolish enough to show his face again. He never did, but debts need repaying. A trial was held in absentia. He was judged guilty, and punishment was carried out.”

“But I thought you said he never came back?” Julie said.
“Indeed. So the punishment was carried out on his wife, in his stead.” 
“His pregnant wife?” Marisol said, looking like she was about to be sick.

“Sed lex, dura lex,” Balogh said. The Latin phrase had been hammered into them from the first day at the Academy, and Simon was coming to hate the sound of it—so often was it used as an excuse for acting like monsters.
Balogh steepled his fingers and contemplated the classroom, watching in satisfaction as his message came clear. This was how the Clave treated cowardice on the battlefield; this was justice under the Covenant. “The Law is hard,” Balogh translated for the hushed students. “But it is the Law.”

Remember the release date for this next story is March 17th!

Pre-purchase links: kindle | nook | kobo

Katie B's on Vacation This Week

Image found here

You might notice a slower pace here on Mundie Moms this week. Katie is traveling in Europe this week and she will be posting pictures on MMs instagram whenever she has a chance, so be sure to check it out.

In the mean time, Shandra, Emm and I will try and hold down the fort while staying on top of all breaking Mundie news.

Where is a "get-everything-done-in-half-the-time" rune when I need it??? Here's to a fantastic week, MMs.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott; Blog Tour: Book Review & Giveaway!

Welcome to the last stop in the SALT & STONE blog tour, hosted by Rockstar blog tours. I'm so thrilled to share my review for Victoria Scott's Salt & Stone, her newest release. You can read my review for Fire & Blood, her debut, and the first book in the series here. Trust me, if you enjoyed the first book, wait until you pick up this book!

About the Book 

By: Victoria Scott
Published by: Scholastic Press
Released on: February24th, 2015
Series: Fire & Flood #2
Rating: 5 stars - I Loved It
Source: arc from publisher to review
Purchase from: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Add it to: Goodreads
What would you do to save someone you love?
In Fire & Flood, Tella Holloway faced a dangerous trek through the jungle and across the desert, all to remain a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed for a chance at obtaining the Cure for her brother. She can't quit--she has to win the race, save Cody, and then fight to make sure the race stops before it can claim any more lives. In the next legs of the race, across the ocean and over mountains, Tella will face frostbite, sharks, avalanche, and twisted new rules in the race.

But what if the danger is deeper than that? How do you know who to trust when everyone's keeping secrets? What do you do when the person you'd relied on most suddenly isn't there for support? How do you weigh one life against another?

The race is coming to an end, and Tella is running out of time, resources, and strength. At the start of the race there were one hundred twenty-two Contenders. As Tella and her remaining friends start the final part of the race, just forty-one are left--and only one can win. 

Salt and Stone is an awesome sequel! This is an action packed read. It's suspenseful, and full of dangerously and deadly twists. This book kept me on edge and had me holding my breathe till the very end. Even then, I still wanted more. There's no predicting the outcome of this book. With Fire & Flood, Victoria Scott gave her readers a taste of what's to come with Salt & Stone. 

In Fire & Flood readers were introduced to The Brimstone Bleed. A challenge that tests it's contenders with it's four eco-systems, and it's deadly challenges. Only the toughest will survive. We journeyed with Tella and the other contenders through the jungle and desert in Fire & Flood, and now readers will see how Tella and her friends are tested in the deadly ocean and, and brutal cold of the mountains. Who will survive? Not everyone will make it out of these two challenges alive. 

I swear the people running The Brimstone Bleed are insane. Just as I think they can't unleash any more crazy, they prove me wrong. They test the Contenders, the relationships with their Pandoras to the brink of pushing them over the edge. One of the things I have loved about the series, is the relationships between the Contenders and their Pandoras. Like in Fire & Flood, in this sequel we see the Pandoras in action, and what abilities they have, and how they can help their Contenders. Unlike the first book, in this book there are some twisted plot twists that will put Contender and Pandora at odds, and the outcome of some of the challenges will forever change the unwilling participants. 

I thought Tella was great in Fire & Flood, but she proved just how incredibly strong, and resistant she is in Salt & Stone. Every time I think a challenge or something that happens will break Tella, she proves me wrong. Tella is a character who takes what's going to break her, and fuels that into her drive to survive. She allows it to drive her to save those around her, even though this is a game about survival of the fittest. Even the characters learn the twisted costs of this game are much higher than they first thought. Tella is a leader, and she's someone that learns to rely on herself and her instincts. I like how that changed her relationship with Guy.

The romance in this book is great. I loved what conspired between Guy and Tella in the first book, and how it changed and grew in this book. While these two have two stolen moments together that I loved, the romance part is not as great as it was in Fire & Flood, though it's still every much apart of this story. Like any relationship, when characters are growing, and evolving, so does their feelings for each other. I won't spoil anything, but I liked what is happening with these two, and how Tella is forcing Guy to get out of his comfort zone so to speak. I liked that I didn't need the romantic scenes to know the romance is very much alive in this story. With the way it's written, it's obvious that it is something that gives Tella and Guy both hope. While Guy has very much been a leader previously, it's Tella who's the driving force to keep them all going.

The secondary characters in this book are so well written. I love that I got to see how much they have all grown, and evolved as characters since I first met them. I like that they're not just one dimensional characters who need to fill up space on a page. They're characters who have stories, and personalities. They all have a purpose for being in Tella's story. They're all characters I've come to care for, well for the most part at least. There are a couple new characters, who bring to the story new pandoras, and I liked finding out what their abilities are. The new characters are interesting. There's a fabulous plot twist with one of them that I didn't see coming! I should say, I didn't predict what / who was at all. That was so awesome! I'm eager to see what he does next. 

Reading Salt & Stone is like watching a crazy action packed movie, with incredible and deadly plot twists that you didn't see coming. Even though you know something bad is about to happen, you can't stop watching it. Once I started reading Salt & Stone, there was no stopping. There is so much that happens in this book. I don't think I have ever held my breath as often as I did while reading Salt & Stone. I loved Fire & Flood, and I wasn't sure I would love this book as much. Victoria Scott proved me wrong yet again. This book is just as awesome! 

I NEED the next book already! If you love Fire & Flood, go pick up this book!! Trust me, you'll want to read it. 

About Victoria

Victoria Scott is a teen fiction writer represented by Sara Crowe of the Harvey-Klinger Literary Agency. She’s the author of the FIRE & FLOOD series published by Scholastic, and the DANTE WALKER trilogy published by Entangled Teen. Her books have been bought and translated in eleven foreign markets including the UK, Turkey, China, Poland, Israel, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Taiwan, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.
Victoria lives in Dallas with her husband and hearts cotton candy something fierce.
Find Victoria via: Website/Blog/Twitter/Facebook/Goodreads

Giveaway Details:
5 finished copies of FIRE & FLOOD US Only

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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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale; Blog Tour: Author Interview & Enter To WIN

I have always been a huge fan of Shannon Hale's. I adore her children's, middle grade, and young adult books. Each of her books, no matter what age group it is written for, always has an important message for it's readers. Another thing I love is that Shannon's books are ones that both boys and girls  alike, can enjoy. In celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Princess Academy, and to celebrate this week's release of the third book in that series, The Forgotten Sisters, I am so thrilled to have one of my favorite authors on the blog today, SHANNON HALE!!

Hello Shannon! Welcome back to Mundie Moms. Congratulations on the 10 year anniversary of Princes Academy, and also, a huge congratulations to the release of The Forgotten Sister. To keep with your Princess Academy theme, I have a few Princessy questions for you. 

* If you were a Princess for a day, what is one thing you'd want to do?
Sleep in.

* If you were Princess, what is one food you'd ban from your kingdom and what is one food you'd require your kitchen staff have on hand? 
Oh I’m not so prescriptive! And I’m not a picky eater. Honestly I’ll eat about anything. Not a fan of raw onions or gristle, but that’s about it. But the idea of a kitchen staff is intriguing! Um...fondue. I love dipping food into other food and fondue just sounds so fancy. And it’s something I’d never make myself. Don’t you need a special pot or something?

* A Princess has to have a some kind of pet. I'd love to have a pet dragon, but I hear baby dragons can catch things on fire. What kind of pet would you have if you were a Princess? 
My dream as a child was a pet lion. A pet lion who loved me and growled at anyone who was mean to me. And hopefully wouldn’t accidentally eat me.

* A Princess has to have some kind of transportation. Princess Jasmine from Disney's Aladdin has a flying carpet, which would be awesome. Princess Sofia from Sofia the first has a flying horse and carriage. What mode of transportation would Princess Shannon have? 
Besides my minivan with the Wonder Woman symbol on the front hood? Let’s go with Wonder Woman’s invisible jet. I bet she has that thing pimped out.

* If one of your subjects was to write a book about Princess Shannon, what would the title of the book be?
I’m Not Sure What’s For Dinner: The Shannon Hale Story

* Who is one of your favorite fictional princesses? What is one thing you admire about them?
Well, you know, Wonder Woman is a princess. And I admire how she can kick booty. But only if the person really, really deserves it.

Thanks, Mundie Moms! I love you guys!

You're welcome! We love you too!


By: Shannon Hale
Published by: Bloomsbury Kids
Released on: 2/24/15
Series: Princess Academy #3
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Add it to Goodreads

After a year at the king’s palace, Miri has learned all about being a proper princess. But the tables turn when the student must become the teacher!

Instead of returning to her beloved Mount Eskel, Miri is ordered to journey to a distant swamp and start a princess academy for three sisters, cousins of the royal family. Unfortunately, Astrid, Felissa, and Sus are more interested in hunting and fishing than becoming princesses.

As Miri spends more time with the sisters, she realizes the king and queen’s interest in them hides a long-buried secret. She must rely on her own strength and intelligence to unravel the mystery, protect the girls, complete her assignment, and finally make her way home.

Published by: Bloomsbury Kids
Released on: April 17th, 2007; released with a new design on 2/2015
Series: Princess Academy #1
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes&Noble
Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king's priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year's time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king's ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.
Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.

This is a fantastic story with a powerful message of believing in yourself, and following your heart. One of the things I enjoyed about this story was that it was rich in family relationships and friendships. This is not your normal fluffy, fairytale story. It's true the story is based on a fairytale, and has a magical quality and feel to it, but the Princess Academy is a story all it's own. One of the things I love about Shannon Hale's writing is how empowering it is.

Read my full review here.

Published by: Bloomsbury Kids
Released on: August 21st, 2012; released with a new design on 2/2015
Series: Princess Academy #2
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Coming down from the mountain to a new life in the city seems a thrill beyond imagining. 

When Miri and her friends from Mount Eskel set off to help the future princess Britta prepare for her royal wedding, she is happy about her chance to attend school in the capital city. There, Miri befriends students who seem so sophisticated and exciting . . . until she learns that they have some frightening plans. They think that Miri will help them, that she "should "help them. Soon Miri finds herself torn between loyalty to the princess and her new friends' ideas, between an old love and a new crush, and between her small mountain home and the bustling city. 

Picking up where "Princess Academy "left off, this incredible stand-alone story celebrates the joys of friendship, the delight of romance, and the fate of a beloved fairy tale kingdom.

Shannon Hale does a fabulous at creating a whole new story line for her Princess Academy books. She re-introduces readers to characters I fell in love with, with Princess Academy, and introduces them to a whole new set of characters, dangers, and adventures. I really enjoyed jumping back into Miri's world. Though it has been awhile since I have read Princess Academy, I didn't feel lost at all with all that was happening, and who each of the older characters were. I felt like the each of the characters grew up a bit more in this book. There's a sweet, innocent romance, shocking secrets, betrayal, and the Kingdom of Ashland is facing a revolution. A lot of things happen in this book and I enjoyed every moment of it!

Read my full review here

About The Author

Shannon Hale is the Newbery Honor–winning and New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Academy series; Book of a Thousand Days; The Books of Bayern; Dangerous; and the graphic novels Rapunzel’s Revenge and Calamity Jack. She also wrote three novels for adults, including Austenland, now a major motion picture starring Keri Russell. She and her husband, the author Dean Hale, have four children and live near Salt Lake City, Utah. Visit Shannon online at and on Twitter at @HaleShannon.

The Giveaway
Enter to win a Princess Academy trilogy set with the newest covers! *US residents only
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Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters Blog Tour Schedule
February 23rdI Am A Reader
February 24thFiction Freak
February 25thMundie Moms
February 26thLili’s Reflections
February 27thIcey Books
March 2ndMary Had A Little Book Blog
March 3rdAlexa Loves Books
March 4thPages Unbound
March 5thAgeless Pages Reviews
March 6thGood Books and Good Wine