A Pick Me Up for Broken Things – How Snyder’s Healer Series Healed my Soul

The Healer Series has healed my fantasy deprived soul. I used to read so much fantasy and lately I was mostly unhappy with what I read and I missed stories, worlds, and characters that would captivate me. I felt as if something in me was broken. The joy I usually deprived from fantasy books was gone – maybe even lost. But then the Healer Series by Maria V. Snyder came along. This trilogy – Touch of Power, Scent of Magic, and Taste of Darkness – fed three ravenous beasts within me: the thirst for action, believable friendships and world building.

I Need To Catch My Breath – Action Packed Storylines That Don’t Slow Down

Just as her Study Trilogy the action was fast paced. I enjoyed the setting and the world building, but the incredible fast pace, the lack of narrative breaks and therefore the amount of running, hunting, being hunted and fighting the protagonists had to go through, captured me from the first to the last page. There was barely a break for the poor guys to catch a breath.

Cross My Heart And Swear To Die – Friendships Save The World

Alongside the action, the friendships make up the core of the story – at least for me. They are believable, withstand opposition and hardship, are comical and endearing, and longstanding. Once I close the book, I start to miss them, as I felt like a member of that circle. The sidekicks are usually the most lovable characters in the book. Until this day I am always happy to see them again – in other stories or when rereading the old ones.

Take Me Away From Here – Building A World Where I’d Rather Be

Within a short time I am fully immersed in the world and often the magical, political, and social system that is new to me. I can see it, feel it, and I am familiar with it, still I discover even more throughout the entirety of the trilogy. Yet I believe, if those are continued I would learn so much more and still am surprised by it.

So far I have enjoyed Maria V. Snyder’s Study Trilogy and Healer Series. I have to admit that I am not as thrilled with the Glass Series (that is set in the same world as the Study Trilogy), but I will surely finish that as I want to continue my adventures in Ixia. If you need something to pick you up that you can’t put down – have a go.

Merken

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My Reading Months April and May

It has been quiet on this channel lately. I wish I could just name a good reason or explanation or excuse for it, but none feels good enough. Plain fact: I just didn’t manage to put up content regularly. Life was hectic (but no more than usual), so was work (maybe a little more than usual but it had worse before), but when I had some time off I was relieved that I did not have to look at a computer. There is no excuse, no explanation: I didn’t manage it and I didn’t force myself to do so. Why? I really can’t say.

As I am trying to better myself, I am also trying to get out of some sort of reading slump. Not sure whether this is really a slump or if I don’t have the time. If I won’t to read I don’t have the time to read, but if I have the time I don’t want to. It’s quite the vicious cycle.

Since the reading hasn’t been good in April I decided to wait until May is over in order to get a little bit more content together.

  • Books: 4
  • Audiobook: 4
  • Pages (only books): 1282
  • Pages (incl. Audiobooks): 3186
  • Minutes listened: 1543 min. (over 25,5 hours)

Books:

Katharina M. Mylius – Ein Fehler mit Vergangenheit (Ein Oxford Krimi)

This is a wonderful and entertaining crime novel that is set in Oxford. The two inspectors investigate a death which occurred during a polo match. Though it looked like an accident it was of course murder. But the deceased was threatened by a woman who has disappeared many years ago and was never found. I really enjoyed the story and the intermingling of the cases. The inspectors were likeable and no depressed or gloomy or heavy drinkers – whoop whoop.

Kalaharin Typing School For Men Ein Fehler mit Vergangenheit

Alexander McCall Smith – The Kalahari Typing School for Men (#4)

I thoroughly enjoy the books in The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series though I don’t necessarily feel that a lot of detecting is happening really. But the lovely thing is that not a lot of action like things are happening. The characters are keen observers that make the story slow-moving and thus relaxing and enjoyable. It surely is not something for everyone and you have to be in the mood for this.

Maria V. Snyder – Scent of Magic (Healer Trilogy #2)

The Ixia Chronicles are one of my favorite series (at least the first three books in the series, I haven’t made up my mind about the others yet) and I was a little careful to dive into another world, but I did and I loved the first book, so of course I had to continue with the series quite quickly. I loved this one too. The author is capable of creating characters that you can’t help to love. The basic scheme is similar to that of the Ixia chronicles, the action is fast-paced from the start to the very end, I laughed and cried with the characters and I was giddy when I encountered them again.

Maria V. Synder Scent of Magic Maria V. Snyder Taste of Darkness

Maria V. Snyder – Taste of Darkness (Healer Trilogy #3)

After the second book, I had to read the third book right away and I was drawn in from the first page onwards. Again, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, yet it did feel a little more erratic at times, quite jumpy between all the different places and settings and a little rushed. But those things were just slightly nagging feelings yet I could not shut them out.

Audiobooks:

Philip Kerr – Winterpferde/ The Winter Horses

Kalinka has lost everything once the Nazi overrun her town. She manages to flee and hide with the caretaker of a wildlife reserve who has to learn to live with the Nazis who have overrun the reserve. But soon Kalinka is on the run with two rare horses and is desperate to save them and herself from extermination. This is beautiful story about sacrifice, the loyalty of animals and the endurance of the a girl.

Ulrike Schweikert – Das Kreidekreuz

In the Middle Ages Anna marries a councilman to secure her future and shut her family up, yet when the peasant’s revolt comes to her town, so does her childhood sweetheart. Now she is caught between the two sides of the revolt as friends and family make their individual stands and between the two men in her life. This story was interesting, yet as some other stories by the author it could not captivate me. It dragged along and I needed a few breaks in between.

Petra Durst-Benning – Solang die Welt noch schläft

The story about 3 young girlfriends at the turn of the 20th century who all walk different paths in their lives, yet manage to maintain their friendship. I listened to the second book in this series before I even knew it was a series, which I figured out by accident. I really enjoyed the story as it gave an interesting inside into the time and the changing role of women. I also find it quite fascinating that a character that I actually liked in a later story, is incredibly annoying and arrogant in this one. All in all, very entertaining.

Rebecca Martin – Das goldenen Haus

I enjoyed this historical novel which was entertaining, yet the big secret was less big and shocking as I would have anticipated. The novel centers around the family Wessling who opens one of the largest ware houses in Frankfurt. However, the success of the family is build upon betrayal and secrets. Each slowly eats away at the three brothers, who are at the heart of the story, each of them dealing with their past differently. But when Bettina (the oldest brother’s wife) discovers that her marriage is based on a lie this family moves towards an abyss fast.

My Reading Month March

March was a solid reading month. I have a little bit of reading groove back. It increased slowly, but at least it does. I hope the next months might be better.

  • Books: 4
  • Audiobook: 6
  • Pages (only books): 698
  • Pages (incl. Audiobooks): 1857
  • Minutes listened: 1490 min. (over 24 hours)

Books:

Charlaine Harris – Three Bedrooms and One Corpse (Aurora Teagarden #3)

The third novel in the series was finally a little more crime fiction than the ones before. I enjoyed the story, the mystery, and even the characters – Aurora wasn’t as annoying as in the last installments. A good cozy mystery.

Kate Clary – The Monster that Moved in

A lovely children’s tale about a family who invited a monster to move in with them. Only to discover annoying habits that seems to drive them crazy. Yet they are not aware that they might have annoying habits, too.

Andreas H. Schmachtl – Weltbeste Freunde für Immer

A short book about friendship and love. Really adorable.

Maria V. Snyder – Touch of Power (Avry of Kazan #1)

It took me a while to start another book by Maria V. Snyder. I loved her Poison Study series, but wasn’t so thrilled with the first book in the glass series. This time I get to know a whole new world full of magic and healers, who are hunted down – a little like a witch hunt. This whole story just sets up the story for the continuing books and is leaves an interesting premise for the future. I was captivated, enjoyed the characters, and loved the side kicks. Snyder has a fantastic way to create loveable characters and keep a fast and thrilling narrative pace. I loved it.

Weltbeste Freunde Charlaine Harris - Teagarden 3

Audiobooks:

Andreas H. Schmachtl – Tilda Apfelkern

My first audiobook this month was German children’s book but I forgot the complete title. There are quite a few out there and I couldn’t recall which one it was. It contained stories about the white mouse Tilda and her friends who embark on some adventures.

Holly Black and Cassandra Clare – Magisterium: Der Weg ins Labyrinth/ The Iron Trial

Although the reviews state that The Iron Trial was a rip off of Harry Potter, I disagree. Yes there are some similar tropes and settings used but you can’t reinvent the wheel all the time. There is bound to be some overlapping. I really enjoyed the story, I did not see the ending or the twists coming. Really good.

Nina Müller – Kuschelflosse und die blubberbunte Weltmeisterschaft

The second adventure of the fish cuddly and his friends is equally fun and adorable. The participate in the world championship of bubbles, trying to create the most and unique bubbles with a machine. Lovely story.

George R.R. Martin – Das Lied des Eisdrachen/ The Ice Dragon

Also lovely and entertaining was this short fairy tale. The Ice Dragon is a short, yet interesting narration that would have made a wonderful fantasy novel: Adara and the ice dragon are friends, yet when her town is run over by war, Adara has to make a choice that will cost her.

Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson: Im Bann des Zyklopen/ Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters

I love Percy Jackson. I already read all the books and I now listen to the audiobooks in German. Granted, I do think the originals are better because I was laughing a lot more when I read them, but I also enjoy the narrated German version. They are still as captivating as the written word.

M.C. Beaton – Agatha Raisin: Hiss and Hers

My first M.C. Beaton mystery and I am unsure what and how to feel. The mystery was very good and interesting. It kept my on my toes. Yet I did not warm up to the main character or any other character really. They were annoying, behaved like children, and drove me plain crazy. Thus, I think I have to read one before I form a final opinion. Some books are better when I read them then have them narrated to me. Maybe it will be the same with Beaton’s novels.

Maria V. Snyder – Storm Glass

Storm Glass

eBook
publisher: Harlequin MIRA
published: 2013
pages: 432

Blurb:

As a glassmaker and a magician-in-training, Opal Cowan understands trial by fire. Someone has sabotaged the Stormdancer clan’s glass orbs, killing their most powerful magicians. The Stormdancers—particularly the mysterious and mercurial Kade—require Opal’s unique talents to prevent it from happening again. But when the mission goes awry, Opal must tap into a new kind of magic. Yet the further she delves into the intrigue behind the glass and magic, the more distorted things appear. With lives hanging in the balance—including her own—Opal must control her powers…powers that could lead to disaster beyond anything she’s ever known. (Amazon)

In (Very) Short:

+ the first book of the second trilogy set in Ixia and Sitia
+ meeting old friends from previous books
+ witty dialogues
+ sadly a main character who is too much damsel in distress but who has the opportunity to develop in the next installments

My Opinion:

Storm Glass is the start of a new trilogy by Maria V. Snyder that takes place in the same world as the Study Trilogy featuring Yelena and Valek: Ixia and Sitia. Opal Cowan appeared in Fire Study and helped the heroine Yelena. In Storm Glass she becomes the new heroine.

Opal is called to the Stormdancers, who capture storms and imprison them in orbs. Those orbs, however, are faulty and explode. Thus, the clan asks the Magician for help and they decide to send Opal since she understands the glassmaking process. Opal, who feels useless since her magical abilities do not develop and she is treated by her fellow students as unworthy of her education, is able to help the Stormdancers, yet she slowly unravels a bigger conspiracy that will reunite her with old friends and enemies alike.

The story was similarly constructed as the previous trilogy and a similar narrative pattern unfolded in this book. Though I loved the previous books and I enjoyed this one, I had some small issues with the protagonist. Just as Yelena did, she stumbled from one misfortune and situation into the next, yet Opals were blatantly obvious. I was already rolling my eyes before she was overpowered again because I could see it coming. With Yelena it was more surprising, she was more of a fighter than Opal. Opal fitted the role of damsel in distress and she did not seem to want to shake that role.

Still, I really liked the other characters. The girl between two guys trope, however, was not my favorite, but the way this was solved was surely interesting.

I thoroughly enjoyed that characters from the previous books (including Yelena, Leif, Ari and Janko) found their way into this story, and it cheered me up a loth. The dialogues were witty and funny and the situations that they were in were comical a times. I will continue this series, maybe not right away but in the hope to meet old friends again and to see if Opal develops.

Bottom Line:

A good book and solid read with wonderful side kicks and witty bantering, yet a main protagonist who still has lots of room to develop.

Rating:

rating 3

My Reading Month June/July

Since I did not manage to write a monthly summary for June, I have combined both June and July this time and I was surprised how much I read and listened to in these months.

During the past months, I listened to more audiobooks than I read physical ones and I have to admit, that I did start to enjoy to watch an occasional TV series again – I have limited my TV watching due to my project worked which focused on TV series. But now, I spent some time with the good old Star Trek Next Gen – which I loved when I was younger and still love. Oh the good old times. But back to business.

In June, I read two books and I listened to six audiobooks – two of them being children’s stories about an hour long.

Books:

Octavia Butler – Parable of the Talents

This is the second book in a duology and it was a good and interesting read. I really enjoy Butler’s writing. I don’t want to spoil so I will refrain from summarizing and it is quite complicated to do anyway. As I said, the story was good, but I could not relate to either the protagonist nor her daughter.

Rae Carson – The Bitter Kingdom

The last book in the series was as fast-paced and exiting as the ones before. I really enjoyed the story, the characters and their developing relationships and the new characters. I did not see some of it coming and I always waiting for some twists that never came. Great conclusion.

The Bitter KingdomStorm Glass

Audiobooks:

Oliver Pötzsch – Die Hexer und die Henkerstochter

The fourth book (or audiobook) in the series. A historic crime novel centering around murder and is solved by a grumpy executioner. It was interesting, fascinating (I really enjoy all the middle age day-to-day facts), thrilling, sometimes funny, and sometimes a little sad. Great book.

Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson: Die Schlacht ums Labyrinth

I have read the books several times and I came across this audiobook in German, so I picked it up. I wanted to see if I like the story translated into German and I enjoyed it. I have to say that I like the original a little better (at least the book version) but that is maybe due to my familiarity with it. Translations are always tricky. But it was done really well.

Bibi Blocksberg wird Prinzessin

Bibi is one of my childhood friends, and the audiobooks centering around this characters are the ones that I listened to repeatedly. This time the little witch (the main character Bibi) is suddenly turned into a princess and has to find her way back to her time line. Fun and entertaining.

Sabine Martin – Die Henkerin

Another historical novel: this time a young woman witnesses the murder of her family and in order save herself she hides as a boy living with and learning to be an executioner. But than she meets the person who murdered her family and she has sworn to avenge them. It was a good read, though it was a little jumpy between different perspectives and times, it was still good to follow and interesting.

Die Zeitdetektive – Freiheit für Richard Löwenherz

The story about 3 time traveling friends who visit different times in order to learn more but then get caught up in an adventure. This is always fun and filled with interesting historical facts that I have either learned in school and long forgotten or that I really did not know. Well done and I think really great for kids.

Kai Meyer – Die Wellenläufer

The last audiobook this month is a fantasy adventure about pirates and two children who can walk on water. This is again another wonderful story that is great for children and that was fast-paced and fascinating. Who does not love pirates and who wouldn’t want to walk on water. Really enjoyable.

Master of Crows Radiance

So, after a quite successful June I had an even better July. It took me a little to get into the swing of things. I did not start to read until well into the month and I managed to read most of the books within a little more than a week. A little time off is something really beautiful. Well, in July I managed to read 7 books (two of them novellas) and listened to 4 audiobooks. A great month.

Books:

Grace Draven – Radiance

I have been circling this book for a while as it had great reviews so far. I was in the mood for some fantasy and I really enjoyed the story. Two people of different species were married in order to ensure peace and trade agreements between their two courts and both think the others are extremely strange and hideous to look at. The story was nicely paced, entertaining and the characters were not flat, though not fully developed either. Towards the end it was quite sexually explicit (which surprised me a little since I did not read anything before going into this book) but it was only short and did not dominate nor hinder the stories fluidity.

Maria V. Snyder – Storm Glass

I have loved the Study trilogy with Yelena and Valek. Now this trilogy focuses on Opal a character from the first trilogy. It was a good read, though it was a lot more annoying that Opal just seemed to stumble from one incident and accident into the next. She never saw things coming and her naivety was getting onto my nerves a little. Still, it was interesting and I am curious to see how it continues.

Grace Draven – Master of Crows

After Radiance was an enjoyable read and this e-book was quite a bargain, I started to read this. The story was OK, and the premise interesting. I liked the world creation, though I would have liked some more build up. However, this one was very explicit and centered a little too much around any form of procreation. If you are still under aged: don’t.

the assassin and the pirate lord The Assassin and the Desert

Sarah J. Maas – The Assassin and the Desert

I finally continued to read some Celaena Sardothien stories. Since the stories/novellas build on each other, I will not talk about the content. It was an interesting story with a few more or less surprising twist and turns. You could see them coming, but they were not obvious. It is interesting to see how she develops after what happened with the Pirate Lord and how things slowly change.

Nina Blazon – Laqua: Der Fluch der schwarzen Gondel

I needed some children’s adventure story and I picked up this gem by a German author. Two children have to spend time at their grandmothers in Venice and strange and evil things start to happen. An old force is trying to possess the children’s aunt. Can they stop worse from happening? A fun and entertaining read that made me want to go to Venice and start reading more adventure books set in Venice, yet I did not have any with me at the time.

Richard Stark – The Handle

This is a crime novel that was recommended and gifted to me by one of the members of my committee who attended the defense of my dissertation and since that was about crime series, we started to talk about crime fiction and the Parker novels. It was an interesting read from the perspective of the criminal. It was short, quick, entertaining, a little hard-boiled-esque, and a great in between novel. If you like the hard-boiled writers, give this one a try.

Sarah J. Maas – The Assassin and the Underworld

The next novella in the Throne of Glass series was as entertaining and again build up on the ones before. It was interesting to also see the emotional and personal struggle of Celaena to come to terms with who she has become and who Aborynn really is.

The Handle Nina Blazon - Fluch der schwarzen Gondel

Audiobooks:

Bastian Bielendorfer – Mutter ruft an

This book is somewhat of an experience report about the authors unique and yet sometimes surreal mother. It was a good book, although it took me some time to warm up to him. A nice audiobook for in between.

Marliese Arold – Magic Girls: Gefangen in der Unterwelt

I have read the first books in physical form and now I have come across the third book as audiobook. The story was captivating and thrilling (even more than the previous ones), there was a lot of mystery that is not yet solved, and it is closely connected to the previous book. I only had some issues with the reading – the voices in which some of the characters were read, were quite annoying.

Iny Lorentz – Die Kastellanin

This is also a second book in a series written by a German author or better a duo. It is a historical novel focusing on adventure, political conspiracies and murder. It was beautifully read and thus captivating. Enjoyed it very much.

Sabine Weigand – Die Seelen im Feuer

Another historical novel that centers around the witch burning mania in the middle ages. It was interesting to see how and why they were accused and burned. Sometimes it was a little descriptive for me, but I am very sensitive. So it might not bother someone with a tougher skin or stomach 🙂

So this is or better was my very long monthly summary or summaries in this blog. I am quite happy. I hope the next one will be as successful and I hope that I finally manage to get my blog up to speed again. I am currently also working on another project and it is a lot more complicated to keep track of things.

Top 5 Favorite Trilogies

1. Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games

 

2. Maria V. Snyder – The Chronicles of Ixia/Study Trilogy

 

3. Trudi Canavan – Black Magicians Trilogy

 

4. Philip Pullman – His Dark Materials Trilogy

 

5. Cornelia Funke – Inkheart Trilogy

 

Maria V. Snyder – Fire Study (Study Trilogy #3)

CIMG0687

paperback
publisher: MIRA Books
published: 2009
pages: 441

Book on Amazon

Blurb:

THE APPRENTICESHIP IS OVER

NOW THE REAL TEST HAS BEGUN

When word that Yelena is a Soulfinder – able to capture and release souls – spreads like wildfire, people grow uneasy. Already Yelena’s unusual abilities and past have set her apart. As the Council debates Yelena’s fate, she receives a disturbing message: a plot is rising against her homeland, led by the murderous sorcerer she has defeated before.

Honour sets Yelena on a path that will test the limits of her skills, and the hope of reuniting with her beloved spurs her onward. He journey is fraught with allies and enemies. Yelena will have but one chance to prove herself – and save the land she holds dear.

In (Very) Short:

+ entertaining, funny, thrilling, fantastic
+ final installment of the trilogy
+ fast paced, sometimes a little to fast for me
+ Yelena’s final battle and a little surprise who the real bad guy is and how many there are
+ Yelena never denies that she needs help to win this battle

My Opinion:

I love this book! I love the series! I love the author! I don’t love that the trilogy is over, but I so happy and grateful I stumbled across The Chronicles of Ixia or the Study Trilogy – whatever you want to call it.

(SPOILER: If you have not read the previous books, you might not want to read on!)

Yelena stopped Ferd from completing the ritual to gain uncontrollable powers and released the souls he had captured. Thus identifying herself as a Soulfinder, a powerful Magician, who is feared in Sitia. When Yelena begins to search for the Ferd, who has fled the Keep, and discovers a plot against her former homeland Ixia as well as Sitia, she fights and struggles to save both countries while keeping those she holds close to heart alive as well. Yelena faces off with her strongest opponent yet and in order to do so, she has to accept what she really is.

Just as the books prior, this one was thrilling, funny, exiting, and fast paced. I mean really fast paced. Sometimes it was to fast for me. I do understand that plans do not necessarily have to work out the way they are planned, but it seemed they never really do with Yelena.

About every 30 pages there is a new twist and they have to plan again. There is always someone who wrecks those lovely and logical plans. It was a little frustrating and I wanted something to go right at times. I liked that although Yelena is very powerful, she is not a superhero kind of person, but still gets into sticky situations where she needs help and accepts that.

But because of this fast pace and because of the wonderful characters that I learned to like, love, and hate, I couldn’t put the book down. After I started it, I knew I had to finish it in one sitting and I did.

The characters are lovable as always. I enjoyed the sarcasm and bickering between Yelena and her brother Leif (something that was new in this book), Valek’s unfaltering trust, Yelena’s doubts, Ari’s and Janco’s arguing, Maren’s loyalty, and Rose’s bitchiness. It was definitely a great combination.

I don’t think I have to say anything about the writing anymore: it’s fluent, easy, and wonderful.

Bottom Line:

A great and satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. I’m gonna miss the characters, but I will definitely pick up other books from this author.

Rating:

rating 5