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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Blog Tour- POISON STUDY by Maria V. Snyder an Exclusive Excerpt and A Giveaway!

I am so excited to be hosting a spot on the POISON STUDY 10 Year Anniversary blog tour I am freaking OBSESSED with this series! I have an exclusive excerpt from Valek's POV (Chapter 1 of POISON STUDY!!!) to share with you today! And make sure to enter the giveaway to win some very rare prizes!

Haven't heard of POISON STUDY? Check it out!

Author: Maria V. Snyder
Release Date: October 1, 2005
Pages: 361
Publisher: Luna
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, audiobook
Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison...

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear... 

Other covers for the book:

Now on to chapter 1 from Valek's POV!

Chapter 1 – Valek’s POV
by: Maria V. Snyder

          The body hit the floor with a thud. After a few more convulsions, the man died with a final breathy exhale.
          Glancing up, the Commander put the file he'd been reading down onto his neat desk.  "What was wrong with this one, Valek?"
          "He'd grown sloppy and lazy. If only he'd taken his time, he wouldn't have died." Valek stood and grabbed the tray.  "I'll get you some fresh breakfast."
          "And train a new food taster. You'll have to take over the job until the next taster is ready. It's risky."
          "Only if you don't know what you're doing." Valek stepped over the body.
          "And have someone dispose of Oscar's body."
          "It's Oscove...or it was."
          "Just get it done."
          "Yes, sir."
          "And don't play around with the next guy. Train him quick."
          Valek paused at the threshold. "Her. The next person scheduled for execution is female."
          "The one who murdered General Brazell's son?" The Commander's voice held a weary indulgence. "You just can't leave that one alone. Can you?"
          "There's more going on with her and I need to find out what it is."
          "Brazell won't be happy."
          "I'm counting on that." 
          "Just make sure it doesn’t affect my meetings with him."
          "Yes, sir." Valek wove through the maze of desks and clusters of officers in the throne room. But his thoughts were on the prisoner who was going to be offered the choice—execution or become the Commander's new food taster.
          Only two people have chosen the noose since the Commander had taken over the Territory of Ixia fifteen years ago. Both had been loyal to the assassinated King of Ixia and chose death over working for the Commander. The rest had hoped to escape and, when they learned it was impossible, turned corrupt or lazy or both. Oscove had been selling secrets to their enemies, which Valek as the Chief of Security for Ixia tolerated until the risks outweighed the benefits.
          Valek brought the Commander a clean plate of eggs then he arranged for the removal of Oscove's body before sending an agent to fetch the next prisoner on death row. Returning to his office, he cleared the files off the extra chair and settled at his desk. A breeze blew from the open window behind him and mid-morning sunlight warmed his back—the one perk of wearing an all-black uniform—otherwise it was bloody hot.
          Opening a dossier, he scanned the information on the prisoner. Yelena had been in the dungeon for almost a year. She was eighteen years old when she slit Reyad's throat with a knife, killing him. Valek noted that Reyad had been found on the bed in his room. The sheets soaked with his blood. The most obvious explanation—rape didn't quite fit. For one, she admitted to the murder, but didn't say why she killed him. Not that it mattered why to the Commander. He didn't tolerate homicide from the citizens of Ixia. Self-defense, accident, or pre-meditated—they all resulted in the same sentence. Death.
          But it irked Valek. He wanted...no he needed an explanation. She had been one of Brazell's orphans. Raised with others who lost their parents, educated and doted on—if he believed the snide comments from the other Ixian generals. Why would she repay his kindness and generosity by murdering his only son? Something strange was going on with Reyad and perhaps Brazell as well. Valek hoped to find out.
          Before Yelena arrived, Valek decided to downplay his interest in the circumstances surrounding her incarceration—act as if he didn't care as long as she performed her job.
          A light tap on his door announced the arrival of two dungeon guards, escorting the prisoner. They approached his desk. As Yelena scanned his office, Valek studied the sorry sight in front of him. Coated with muck, bleeding from various scrapes, wearing a tattered prison gown, the poor thing strained to remain upright under the weight of the chains hanging about her. The acrid dungeon stench wafting off her polluted the air. He hadn’t expected her to be so…bedraggled and pathetic. She wouldn’t survive the first test.
          Valek met her gaze. An icy calm stared back at him—almost as if challenging him.  Interesting. 
“A woman? The next prisoner to be executed is a woman?” He used his most severe tone while pretending to be surprised.
The poor thing quivered and Valek felt a pang of guilt for being so harsh. Softening his voice, he said, “I should have taken the time to reread your dossier.”  Valek discharged the guards with a wave. “You’re dismissed.” After they left, he motioned for Yelena to sit down on the chair before she fell over. 
Her chains jangled when she sat. 
He flipped open her file and feigned reading the information. “Yelena, today may be your lucky day.” Valek spotted a brief flare of anger before she bowed her head. She probably thought he referred to her impending execution. He had various reactions to that comment from the other food tasters. Most raged at him, thinking they had nothing left to lose. A couple picked up on the “may be” and allowed a glimmer of hope to show through.  
“Well behaved and respectful. You’re starting to look like a good candidate,” he said, trying to goad her into a response.
Still avoiding his gaze, she studied the items on his desk instead of reacting to his comment.
He switched tactics. “You’ve been tried and found guilty of murdering General Brazell’s only son, Reyad.” Valek paused and stoked his temple as if suddenly making a realization.  “That explains why Brazell’s here this week, and why he has been unusually interested in the execution schedule.”
Finally, the woman reacted, but not quite as expected. There was fear. However her body stiffened in…determination. Would she try to plead for her life?
“I suppose you’re going to protest the conviction. Say you were framed or you killed out of self-defense.” Valek leaned back, waiting.
“No, sir.” Her voice rasped. “I killed him.”
Completely surprised, he straightened. He didn’t know whether to be impressed or disappointed she didn’t try to explain her actions. Either way, she managed to amaze him—something only a few people have done. Valek laughed. “This may work out better than I’d planned. Yelena, I’m offering you a choice. You can either be executed, or you can be Commander Ambrose’s new food taster. His last taster died recently, and we need to fill the position.”
Yelena stared at him in shock. “A fool would refuse the job.”
“Well, it’s a lifetime position. The training can be lethal. After all, how can you identify poisons in the Commander’s food if you don’t know what they taste like?” Valek paused to let the information sink in and to see if she’d jump in with questions. When she didn’t, he continued, “You’ll get a room in the castle to sleep, but most of the day you’ll be with the Commander. No days off. No husband or children. Some prisoners have chosen execution instead. At least then they know exactly when they’re going to die, rather than guessing if it’s going to come with the next bite.” He snapped his teeth together for effect.
Valek knew her thoughts were whirling by the way she trembled.
“Who tastes the Commander’s food now?” she asked.
Interesting question. Was she still stunned or was she smarter than he thought? “I do. So I’m anxious to find a replacement. Also the Code of Behavior states that someone whose life is forfeit must be offered the job.”
Yelena stood as if unable to keep still. She dragged her chains with her as she explored his office. Valek wondered what she was thinking. He hoped she’d take the position.
She faced him, and he asked, “What shall I tell the executioner?”
“I am not a fool.”
No she wasn’t. Not all all. Valek suppressed a grin, getting to know her was going to be an enjoyable challenge.

About Maria:
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 research 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 Belize, 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:maria@mariavsnyder.com.

Where you can find Maria:

Giveaway Details:

10 winners to match 10 years!

Grand Prize is a signed hardcover first edition of Poison Study and Magic Study (both books).

First Place a signed hardcover first edition of Poison Study
5 winners will get a signed cover flat of the original cover of Poison Study
3 winners will get a signed original bookmark for Poison Study

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the Tour Schedule!

Week One:
9/28/2015-Magical Urban Fantasy ReadsScavenger Hunt
9/29/2015- a GREAT readScavenger Hunt
9/30/2015- Seeing Double In NeverlandScavenger Hunt
10/1/2015- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post
10/2/2015- Alice MarvelsScavenger Hunt

Week Two:
10/5/2015- FiktshunScavenger Hunt
10/6/2015- Read Now Sleep LaterScavenger Hunt
10/7/2015- Mundie MomsGuest Post
10/8/2015- Tales of the Ravenous ReaderScavenger Hunt

10/9/2015- ParajunkeeScavenger Hunt


  1. Loved that! Valek was such a suprise to me in the book .I assumed a lot abiut him that turbed out to be false ;)

  2. Wow! This is certainly a treat!!

  3. Thanks for being a part of Poison Study's Anniversary tour! And for organizing the whole thing!! You're the best Jaime <3

  4. I love this series and others in the realm. This as fun to read.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Brilliant! I loved reading the first chapter from Valek's POV :D

  7. I'm so excited for this! I can't wait to read more

  8. Oh my, this is excellent! I was already looking forward to reading Poison Study again, but to get Valek's point of view... I am beyond thrilled!!!! Loved it!!!!!

  9. Really interesting reading the same scene from another point of view specially Valek's...*______*
    I'm really exciting for the upcoming chapters...
    Thanks a lot...^__-

  10. This is amazing! I love the insight into Valek's mind!

  11. Can't wait for all these behind the scenes, I see we're getting a treat instead of a trick for Halloween this year =)

  12. I love everything from Valek's POV. This should have been in the book! Valek has my heart!

  13. Very good to read that. It is always interesint to learn what is going on in the mind.

  14. Loved this chapter. I hope we get more Valek!

  15. Woow... so awesome, I loved Valek's POV and obviously i love Valek

  16. I love the Study series. Wish there was a whole book written from Valek's POV, though at least we're getting more Valek with Shadow Study!

  17. That was amazing. Loved reading Valek's POV. Thanks for sharing.

  18. OMG! This was so good!!!!! :D I can hardly wait for more! Yay Maria! U rock!! :)

  19. Loved that chapter! We get insights into Valek's mind. Eagerly awaiting more!

  20. Love this. Can't wait for more

  21. I am so excited for this month now!!!!!

  22. I am so excited for this month now!!!!!

  23. This is the first book I ever added to my TBR shelf on goodreads and I still haven't read it! How is that possible? I am so excited for this tour!!

  24. I adore this series! I've read the whole series multiple times! I'm thinking I need to pull it out again! My favorite book is Poison Study!

  25. A few of my friends have raved about this series! After reading that, it's easy to see why!

  26. LOVE this! And OMG now I want the entire book from Valek's POV! And yes it totally changes things. :)

  27. I've heard nothing but amazing things about this book!

  28. I loved the chance to get some inside information on the chapters. It was really good. Once this book was in my hands I couldn't put it down. Such an amazing read. I love it!

  29. I love this series so much the second I finished reading the first book I recommended it to all of my friends

  30. This comment has been removed by the author.


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