Night Study by Maria V. Snyder

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Night Study (Soulfinders, #2)

Synopsis

Ever since being kidnapped from the Illiais Jungle as a child, Yelena Zaltana's has been fraught with peril. But the recent loss of her Soulfinding abilities has endangered her more than ever before. As she desperately searches for a way to reclaim her magic, her enemies are closing in, and neither Ixia nor Sitia are safe for her anymore. Especially since the growing discord between the two countries and the possibility of a war threatens everything Yelena holds dear. 


Valek is determined to protect Yelena, but he's quickly running out of options. The Commander suspects that his loyalties are divided, and he's been keeping secrets from Valek...secrets that put him, Yelena and all their friends in terrible danger. As they uncover the various layers of the Commander's mysterious plans, they realize it's far more sinister that they could have ever imagined. 

Review

First off, I really love the cover of this book - it's gorgeous! I haven't read Soulfinders #1, but I thought it wouldn't matter because Maria always explains what happens in the previous book in a few simple sentences to give readers like me an overview of what happened. 

This book, as usual, is full of twists and turns, surprises everywhere. I especially liked how Valek and Yelena's relationship becomes stronger, and how the party discover the plot that was behind certain things from both Ixia and Sitia. However, the book proceeds at a rather slow pace (which I'm assuming is due to the pre-war set up which requires much explanation to get things clear). And the book ended with a cliffhanger (which I assume is to ensure a smooth transition towards the 3rd book, like a new chapter).

Not the best, but still good enough to score a 4 stars from me.  And did I say I love how the little Valek/Yelena's prospect excites me?

Rating: 4.000

If I Run by Terri Blackstock

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If I Run (If I Run #1)

Review
If I Run is an engaging read, keeping my eyes glued to the pages as I follow Casey's story. It was plausible why Casey would run away when she found her best friend Brent dead even if she was not the killer, because of self-defense instinct. However, it was later revealed that the truth is much darker than what I thought. 

The literal prose is very good - words flows smoothly, good transitions from one point to another and overall very fast-paced and filled with twists which are revealed over time. The characters are well-developed, each with his/her own feelings, emotions and secret fears. 

However, the ending was a little abrupt and took me by surprise as I was expecting a new chapter of Casey's escape from the evil that haunts her. I later found out on Goodreads that this was supposed to be the first book of a new series. That made me feel better, because the story is going to continue.

Even though this is published under Christian-related literature, it is not an overly-religious/preachy type of book. It seemed to me that Casey is portrayed as someone who had lost faith in God but finds it for a short moment towards the end of the book. If I Run is definitely worth reading.

Rating
4.000


Giveaway
I'm giving away one (1) copy of this book. You can come pick up at Heritage Center SLC or pay for the shipping and I will mail it out to you. Contact me at aikychien@yahoo.com to arrange the pickup/delivery. First person who emails me gets it. If you are claiming, please leave a comment below so that others know that the book is claimed.

My Mom's Last Letter

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My Mom's Last Letter by Chrissy Washburn

Commentary:

This short story shows how love can make live worth living up until the time of one's death. It's a heartwarming story of a mother who was kind, caring and full of positive energy, and how she faced death with extraordinary valor and peacefulness. The fact that Chrissy's mom left the world in the most serene manner reflected how she was a blessed soul, She left a legacy of love and kindness that everybody should emulate.

You may request a free copy of the book HERE

Giveaway:
I'm giving away my copy, courtesy of the author. If you're living in SLC, UT, and would like to read the book, please contact me at aikychien@yahoo.com. You can come pick up the book later.