Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland...

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
By Catherynne M. Valente

Published May 10th 2011 by Feiwel & Friends

Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday. With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when the author first posted it online. For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful.
I knew from the moment The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making that this was a book I could love, and I think to anyone who knows me it's pretty obvious why!  I had really high hopes, and I think that's why I've only just finished reading it.  I just didn't want my expectations to outshine this one.  If I had known that I was depriving myself of such a treat, I'd have read this little gem a loooong time ago and saved myself the torture! 

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making tells the story of 12 year old September who up until now has led an ordinary (boring) life and wants nothing more than to have an adventure.  That is, until the mysterious Green Wind (a mysterious man dressed in all-green) and his Leopard show up and invite September to Fairyland and even goes so far as to suggest Fairyland may need her help.  September can't resist as she soon finds herself smack in the middle of Fairyland, meeting witches, a book loving dragon (!!!) and a strange blue boy named Saturday.  But all is really not well in Fairyland and soon it becomes clear that the cunning Marquess is responsible for the state of things...and soon it becomes clear that an adventure is just what is in store for September and her friends - that and so much more!

If I had to describe The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland... in a few words, I would go with literary fairytale.  The writing, the flow of it is simply wonderful.  It's exactly what a perfect fairytale should be and more than once, I found myself wishing this book had been around when I was growing up! It's filled with achingly beautiful quotes like this:

“It is well known that reading quickens the growth of a heart like nothing else.”
And this:
 “She sounds like someone who spends a lot of time in libraries, which are the best sorts of people.”
One more for the road:
“When one is traveling, everything looks brighter and lovelier. That does not mean it IS brighter and lovelier; it just means that sweet, kindly home suffers in comparison to tarted-up foreign places with all their jewels on.”
 I could go on and on with more of those - in fact, I spent some time liking my favorites on Goodreads right after I finished reading :)  Author Catherynne M. Valente has a stunning way with words that are able to tug at your heartstrings and appeal to your sense of wonder all at the same time.  This chick not only knows her fairytales, she lives them.  The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, despite all it's whimsy and oddities always felt true and genuine.

And sweeter still, every new chapter has wonderful images to kick them of, like these:

Beyond that though, there are SO many things to love about this book. Fairyland itself offers a very fresh take on the idea of 'crossing over into a magical world.  The lore is rich and diverse, it holds together seamlessly like it's been around for hundreds of years but at the same time, it felt like nothing else I've ever read before.  If I had to compare it to other stories, I'd go with Alice in Wonderland with a little bit of the Wizard of Oz - but to me The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland...goes above and beyond those stories into something even more satisfying!

The main reason for this being the characters.  September for one is an absolute dear.  She is brave but not unrealistically so, she's determined, she's kind and a true friend and she loves books but she doesn't think she's anything special.  The supporting characters are just as wonderful though: A through L, the book loving dragon with a tender heart, Saturday shy and strong, the Leopard of Little Breezes, the Panther of Rough Storms (Yes, not one but 2 big magical felines ♥), The Green Wind...and a host of more quirky and entertaining characters; some nice ones and others, not so much but you could always be sure to be in for a surprise or a secret or two with every new face!

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making was sheer delight to me.  Despite it's small size, it's not a book I felt I could plow through but one I wanted to savor and take my time with.  I'd highly recommend it to fans of fairytales, and well-writen middle grade reads that easily appeal to the adult crown with a penchant for the enchanted (like me)!  Fans of Alice, Dorothy and Wendy will likely fall in love with September just as I did.  Bottom line though, if you're looking for a 'feel-good read', something filled with happiness, whimsy & courage, that will stir your imagination and put a smile on your face? The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is all of that and more!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday *29*

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly  hump-day  feature hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where us book bloggers get together & spotlight an upcoming release we're especially looking forward to!

Here's my pick for this week:

Born of Illusion 

Release Date: June 11th 2013

Author: Teri Brown

Anna Van Housen is thirteen the first time she breaks her mother out of jail. By sixteen she’s street smart and savvy, assisting her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, and easily navigating the underground world of magicians, mediums and mentalists in 1920’s New York City. Handcuffs and sleight of hand illusions have never been much of a challenge for Anna. The real trick is keeping her true gifts secret from her opportunistic mother, who will stop at nothing to gain her ambition of becoming the most famous medium who ever lived. But when a strange, serious young man moves into the flat downstairs, introducing her to a secret society that studies people with gifts like hers, he threatens to reveal the secrets Anna has fought so hard to keep, forcing her to face the truth about her past. Could the stories her mother has told her really be true? Could she really be the illegitimate daughter of the greatest magician of all?
I'm just going to come out and say it: I love every single detail about this book and I am REALLY hoping what's inside will compare!  The title is awesome - I just love that...Born of sounds so promising!  The cover is pretty darn stunning too but then that synopsis is where it really gets juicy for me: New York in the 1920's seems like the perfect setting to explore an underworld of mediums, magicians and mentalists (m,m,m...) where a resourceful young girl works séances and navigates secret societies  - am I drooling?-   all while covering up a mysterious 'special gift' or power.  Gah, can I have this in my!  Please!?

PS- I seem to be on some kind of a Paranormal/Historical/Steampunk kick huh??  I just can't seem to stay away, but I am going switch it up next week  ;)

So what do you guys think of my pick this week?
And link me up, I want to see what everyone else picked!! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Obsessing On...*2* - Fever

Obsessing a new Lunar Rainbows' feature that I've decided to launch.  Every month I will spotlight one of my many fan-girl obsessions ranging from bookish themes to television & movies! One month I may showcase a book-boyfriend obsession, the next I could feature a classic television series I like to geek out on. I've added a linky-link below if anyone wants to whip up a post, all I ask is that you link back to this post somehow!

Since I just found out a few weeks ago that Hollywood is developing Darkfever - (check out the entry on IMDb here) book one of the Fever Series, I've been thinking about it all non-stop so this week, I am obsessing on...The Fever Series.

Alright, so for those unfamiliar with the series, here's the 411: The Fever Series is an Adult Paranormal Fantasy series, and there's a BIG emphasis on all those three words guys! The story revolves around Mackayla 'Mac' Lane, a typical 'prom-queen' type: beautiful, shallow & frivolous. Her perfect world is turned completely upside down though, when her sister and pretty much favorite person in the world is murdered while studying abroad in Ireland. To top things off, before her sister was found dead, she'd left Mac a frantic and admittedly cryptic voice mail. Determined to get to the bottom of things, Mac travels to Dublin...and that's when things get really weird. Weird like being able to see beyond our world and into the realm of the Fae - a realm that few humans will ever witness. As Mac comes to grips with who she really is, she's soon in over her head, with the Fay, that dark and mysterious Jerricho Barrons AND an all powerful evil book that could destroy both the realm of the Fae...along with our own world!
I'm the first to admit that it took me the first few books to really get into this series, my main gripes were how incredibly 'barbie' the MC Mackayla 'Mac' Lane starts out being.  With multiple cute outfit descriptions, mentions of how hot she is and whatnot, it had me rolling my eyes more than once. the same time, I knew I was hooked even then.  I inhaled the first book, Darkfever in about 2 sittings and the second I was done I wanted to drive 30 minutes to the nearest bookstore just to have the sequel in my possession!  That entire process was then repeated with book 2 Bloodfever, until I just caved and bought the rest of the series.  Books 3-5 were BRILLIANT - they were SO freaking good guys, I can't even...I remember re-reading certain passages of books 4 and 5 like three or four times before finally moving on.  When I finished, I had a HUGE book hangover and I knew I'd be re-reading this series many times to come!

So what's so great about the Fever Series?? Check it out: 
  • The setting - Dublin Ireland ♥ - I'd never read a book set in Ireland before and I was instantly immersed in such a rich and lavish world that I found myself dreaming of this place could you not?!
    Dublin at Night
  • The Fae, both the Seelie & Unseelie courts and all the mythology and Fae
  • The Intrigue - this series is very mysterious,with breakneck twist and turns that will simply floor you - they did for me anyways!!
  • The Book Store - Barons Books & BaublesAfter meeting the douchy Barrons, Mac ends up with a job at his INCREDIBLE book store, which looks something like this:
    Are we drooling yet??

  • The mythology -  the Fae lore is incredibly detailed and quite fascinating how it's built around every bit of this world Moning created.  I'd never read any Fae books back then and I was completely captivated.
  • BARRONS!!  Yes, that douche I mentioned earlier.  He's dark, dangerous, direct and kinda scary but his well-hidden heart is what got me in the end...I mean, besides the tall, dark & dreamy bit ;)
    More or less how I imagine Barrons
  • Intensity  - this entire series is filled to the brim with action, battles, sex-appeal, suspense, lust, emotions (both good & bad) and enough twists to give you whiplash.
  • Cliffhangers - sometimes I hate cliffhangers but usually that's because I'm hugely obsessive and can't stand waiting.  Done right, cliffhangers can leave you salivating for more.  Believe me when I tell you that every single Fever book ends in a deliciously torturous cliffhanger.  The worst offenders here being book 3 Faefever and book 4 Dreamfever. I recommend having the follow up(s) handy at all times ;)
  • V'lane - So if Barrons doesn't float your boat, V'lane is a satisfying alternative.  This Fae is not above being naughty, but he's always entertaining (to say the very least!)
  • Kick-Butt Heroine  - though it may not seem that way initially, Mac has an EPIC character evolution.  I mean despite being a bit too plastic for me at first, she's snarky, has tons of attitude, she's determined and her confidence can't help but be admired.  As the series progresses though, she becomes fierce and tough, her cleverness and quick-thinking meshing together with her gifts and abilities and make one amazing chick!
    Mackayla 'Mac' Lane
  • SEXY time - this series is very adult.  So fair warning for those who aren't into those kinds of reads.  The Fay's powers pretty much revolve around their ability to seduce women.  There are 'good' Fay & really very bad ones and combining those two types of ideas might make some readers uncomfortable.  Honestly though,  it was my first time with a series like this and I have to say the adult spin on an urban fantasy was surprisingly enjoyable to me. 
  • Bottom line - there is a really compelling and thrilling story to be experienced, one that will have you on the edge of your seat from the first book and only gets better and better from there!
Fellow Fever Series Fans: Did I miss any of your favorite things about the series?!
Let me know below but be warned: Although I own Iced I haven't gotten to it yet so:
To those who haven't read the series yet, I ask you this: why not?    Do you want to? Have you heard of it before or have your friends read it??  Let me know :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday *28*

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where book bloggers get together and spotlight an upcoming release we're especially excited about!

Here's my pick for this week:

The Beautiful and the Cursed 

Release Date: May 14th 2013

Author: Page Morgan

After a bizarre accident, Ingrid Waverly is forced to leave London with her mother and younger sister, Gabby, trading a world full of fancy dresses and society events for the unfamiliar city of Paris.

In Paris there are no grand balls or glittering parties, and, disturbingly, the house Ingrid’s twin brother, Grayson, found for them isn’t a house at all. It’s an abandoned abbey, its roof lined with stone gargoyles that could almost be mistaken for living, breathing creatures.

And Grayson has gone missing.

No one seems to know of his whereabouts but Luc, a devastatingly handsome servant at their new home.

Ingrid is sure her twin isn’t dead—she can feel it deep in her soul—but she knows he’s in grave danger. It will be up to her and Gabby to navigate the twisted path to Grayson, a path that will lead Ingrid on a discovery of dark secrets and otherworldly truths. And she’ll learn that once they are uncovered, they can never again be buried.
So, the Beautiful and the Cursed is a YA historical paranormal read with gothic & fantasy could I possibly resist all that?!  Well, I'll tell you - I could NOT.    I'm really liking the whole London AND Paris settings, it's kind of like a win-win for me.  And an Abbey?!  Sign me up :D  I'm also really intrigued about the mention of Gargoyles which I think will have a big role in the intrigue, and gargoyles aren't something I've come across in my readings before.   That cover is just fabulous too - I love the colours and the sort of watercolour-ish effect!

Thoughts?!  Don't forget to link me up so I can check out your WoW pick
Happy hump day dolls ♥ 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

ARC Review: Fyre by Angie Sage

Fyre by Angie Sage

Septimus Heap Series Book #7
Published: April 16th 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books

Now that Septimus, Jenna, and Beetle are fourteen years old, they have assumed larger roles in their Magykal world. Beetle has become the Chief Hermetic Scribe of the Manuscriptorium and Jenna is waiting to be crowned Queen, but Septimus is still battling the remnants of the Dark Domaine, which will remain until the power of the evil Two-Faced Ring is destroyed forever. To accomplish that, the ancient Alchemie Fyre must be relit—a task that sends Septimus to the very origins of Magyk and Physik, testing both his skills, and his loyalties to ExtraOrdinary Wizard, Marcia Overstrand, and Alchemist Marcellus Pye.

In a journey that encapsulates the entire Septimus Heap series, Septimus will continue to discover the truth of who he is and expand upon his Magykal power and skills. Septimus Heap, Book Seven: Fyre weaves together every singular character from the entire series and incorporates many of the Magykal places from each book. Written with Angie Sage’s distinctive humor and heart, Fyre is the grand finale that celebrates the greatest Magyk of all: When the Fyre inside is kindled and when the Time is Right, anything is possible.
** An advanced copy was provided by Katherine Tegen Books via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.**

Fyre is the long-awaited 7th and final installment of the Septimus Heap Series.  I got into this series randomly back in 2011 after being attracted to the cover of book 1 - Magyk at the book store.  Of course it was labeled as one of those books to read 'after Harry Potter' and I may or may not have been fresh off of yet another HP re-read.  The cover caught my eye but then the synopsis was what really reeled me in and after finishing the first book I quickly went out & picked up the rest of the series.  Book 1 had been published in 2005 so I was able to read the first 6 books pretty much back to back and since then I've been both eager and anxious to see how author Angie Sage would wrap up Septimus Heap's tale. It's hard not to get nostalgic when you've been with a story & characters for so long and in that respect, Fyre delivers.  It's a nice trip down memory lane, linking up with moments, characters & plot points from all the previous books.  Unfortunately, for me the rest of it sort of fell flat.

**The format of this review is a bit weird since this is the 7th and last book in a series, I don't want to be spoiler-y so I won't go into the plot or fine details too too much.**

I've had my ups and downs with this series...obviously with more ups than downs (otherwise I'd have quit such a long running series ages ago).  The 6th installment in the series- Darke was easily my favorite out of the entire series.  In fact, I remember feeling that Darke more or less an ideal ending for the series.   It felt like the series had been building up to what went down in Darke.  That got me a bit worried, because: where was Fyre going to take us??  That uncertainty so far along in a series was new to me.    I was open to having it blow me away completely and end the series with a bang.  BUT, I was uneasy too you know because I felt like the big twists I'd felt the series was lining up to...had already come to pass.

So what's the verdict?  Well,it's really a mixed bag.  While I was impressed by Angie Sage's ability to tie in elements of all the previous books, giving it a nostalgic feel while refreshing the reader's memory for important details they may have forgotten.  Memorable moments were revisited but always with a fresh twist.  I enjoyed the presence of all the beloved secondary characters (Simon, Hotep-Ra, Marcellus, Julius Pike...) and seeing how they've all grown since the beginning.  I though the inclusion of Alchemy and especially the 'Fyre' was compelling and inventive - definitely a highlight for me and I would have loved to get even more details.   The magical system is still easy to understand and to get into but also vast and inventive.  The writing style had it's usual funny, airy and endearing quality.  The characters are very easy to care for, and despite their large numbers, they're quirky enough to be separate and memorable in their own right.  They're all so offbeat; even a little weird but I think that's one of the best parts. Sage's sense of humor always shines through in her stories.  And the numerous POV's (which I'd complained about in past books of this series) seemed to really work for me this time and I found the switches added to the tension & intrigue.
Yeah there's a but, or buts even.  I was disappointed by how the MC Septimus Heap seemed to take a back seat in his own story.  It seemed like it was all about Jenna, Marcellus & Marcia.  In their defense, I loved getting to know both Marcellus and certainly Marcia more.  Jenna, not so much.  I used to really like Jenna but as the series went on, I found myself liking her less and less.  In Fyre her presence was constant, more to than even Septimus - which was a bummer. The main danger or 'evil' was another aspect that didn't really work for me.  While it did a good job of tying into the evil of the ring that we've know about all along, how it developed from there felt like out of the blue.  And on a more personal note, some details in this series have always felt a bit too...familiar for me; names, details, items...and Fyre unfortunately had a few offenses as well.  I won't get into it here because it's not something that would bother everyone the same way it does me.  Like I said it's a personal thing, I'm totally anal like that. >.<

Fire also felt really long to me too, clocking in at 720 pages it's the longest one in the series so far.  The previous installement was 640 pages and I hardly noticed but I was noticing a lot in this one.  The fact that Fyre came out nearly 2 years after Darke might have something to do with that though because I wasn't in the flow of the series anymore.  Nevertheless, the book would have benefited from being a bit shorter in my opinion.

Looking back at the series as a whole, I'd say overall it was a fun, memorable series with quirky and loveable characters.  It's very much a 'questing' type of magical fantasy which I especially like.  There are many adventures to be enjoyed and although a few of these fell flat for me, it was worth it overall.  I'm even thinking I may re-read them eventually  now that they're all out and I can plow straight through I might find I enjoy Fyre a bit better.  I think fans of the series will be satisfied with how everything wrapped up.  I'd recommend the entire series for younger readers and fans of MG/YA  questing type fantasy. 
My rating : 3 out of 5 stars ★★★☆☆

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday *27*

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where book bloggers get together and spotlight an upcoming release we're especially excited about!

Here's my pick for this week:

Spirit and Dust 

Release Date: May 14th 2013

Author: Rosemary Clement Moore

Daisy Goodnight can speak to the dead. It’s not the result of a head injury or some near-death experience. She was just born that way. And she’s really good at it. Good enough to help the police solve the occasional homicide.

But helping the local authorities clear cold cases is one thing. Being whisked out of chemistry class by the FBI and flown to the scene of a murder/kidnapping in Minnesota? That’s the real deal.

Before the promotion can go to Daisy’s head, she’s up to her neck in trouble. The spirits are talking, and they’re terrified. There’s a real living girl in danger. And when Daisy is kidnapped by a crime boss with no scruples about using magic—and Daisy—to get what he wants, it looks like hers is the next soul on the line.
Even though I'm a self-professed scardy-cat, I do enjoy a good ghost story...especially of the YA variety that tends to be of the more mild variety ;)  I love the added element of the MC helping the police department solve crimes - kind of like a YA Charley Davidson.  The ending of the synopsis just sweetened the whole package for me by tossing in magic & crime boss!  How awesome does that all sound?!

What do you guys think of my pick this week?
Don't forget to link me up to your WoW post!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday *26*

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we spotlight an upcoming book release we're especially looking forward to!

Here's my pick this week:

The Rithmatist by  Brandon Sanderson

Release Date: May 14th 2013

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson: his debut novel for the young adult audience:

More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings—merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.
As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students study the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever.
Bestselling author Brandon Sanderson brings his unique brand of epic storytelling to the teen audience with an engrossing tale of danger and suspense—the first of a series. With his trademark skills in world-building, Sanderson has created a magic system that is so inventive and detailed that that readers who appreciate games of strategy and tactics just may want to bring Rithmatics to life in our world.
As you all know I am a HUGE Brandon Sanderson fan, so it should comes as no surprise that I am featuring his first ever YA novel!  I am really curious to Sanderson's take on the genre.  Especially that this is being described as steampunk fantasy with sci-fi elements!  I don't know about you guys, but those Wild Chalkings creatures sound terrifying...especially with students disappearing and leaving only bloody trails behind!  You can be sure the world building & story-telling will be something memorable & evocative as only Mr. Sanderson knows the only question remaining is when can I get my hands on a copy?!?

So what do you think?  Are you interested in The Rithmatist? Or Sanderson?

And what are you waiting on?  Link me up below!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Review: Poison by Bridget Zinn

Poison by Bridget Zinn

Published March 12th 2013 by Disney Hyperion

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend. But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses. Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her? Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.
Poison was a light, enchanting and delightful story that really fits in perfectly with the Disney line.  It has a thoroughly fairytale-esque feel to it with a more modern take on a female protagonist.  While I was instantly invested in the story right from the beginning, Poison was a bit lighter than I would have wanted in some respects.  Nevertheless, I got used to it quickly and overall I really appreciated the fresh take on magic, potions & assassins!

The story begins similarly to how the synopsis lays everything out, with Kyra smack dab in the middle of running for her life while she recalls & replays bits and pieces of how everything went terribly wrong for her.  As she remembers her life before & plans for her future, we begin to piece together what drove Kyra to attempt to kill the princess- her ex-best friend.  With the entire king's army on her tail and Kyra trying to figure out what to do next, she has a chance encounter with an adorably useful pink pig and an equally adorable traveler named Fred.  Not long after, Kyra comes up with a plan for redemption that she must all costs.

I had a lot of fun with this book.  From the first few pages I was sucked in to the Potion-making & the magical lore created by author Bridget Zinn.  I laughed out loud more than once, which was surprising considering how short the book is  and the fact that I'm not one to burst out laughing multiple times for no good reason - once or twice maybe, but this was more than that!  Poison made me wish it had been around when I was a little girl, in love with fairytales & princesses. Why?  Because Kyra is the type of heroine I would have really needed, and loved!  She's no moony damsel-in-distress waiting for her prince.  No, she's a master potioner and assassin with a good head on her shoulders, quick reflexes & quicker thinking in a tight spot.  I liked Kyra right away and even though I wanted to shake her a couple of times for not spotting the obvious, I still had more fun getting to know her than anything else!

Kyra isn't the only character worth your time in this Poison though.  Fred, the charming traveler made Kyra's sticky situation seem lighter, and offered up a few laughs himself.  If he isn't cute enough for you, then Rosie the pink pig certainly will!  I just l♥ved Rosie :D  Ariana, the princess & ex-best friend was an interesting addition and fun to discover in her own right!  The rest of the villains & allies all felt well-rounded, intriguing and even though the intentions of some were more obvious than others, it still was so enjoyable to get to meet all of them.

Asides from the characters though, my favorite part was easily the potions & magical-lore!  Being that Poison is quite a short book, I found myself wishing for more potions, more poisons, more everything!  I could have read pages & pages more about the different kinds of potions, their colors, their uses...  The take on magical lore left me feeling similarly - though initially the familiar archetypes (Witches, Vilains, Gypsies) come off as familiar, we soon find out that nothing is quite as it seems.  I really appreciate when authors can take well-known character-types but build & expand on them - make them their own, something I think Bridget Zinn has done very successfully.

All things considered, I really enjoyed Poison!  I read it in about 2 sittings and for such a short book, I was surprised how quickly it sucked me in, not to mention the fun I had laughing or taking in all the charm it displays!  It's definitely on the youthful end of the YA spectrum, and would probably fit in with MG fantasy reads as well.  If you're looking for a light fantasy read, or you're a fan of fairytales....or even books like how something like the Percy Jackson series reads- you should definitely check out Poison!  Sadly author Bridget Zinn passed away before she could see her book published, but at least it did get published so her story can live on...

My rating : 4 out of 5 stars ★★★★☆

**Again, a BIG thanks to the wonderful Kelsey @ Kelsey's Cluttered Bookshelf
for sending me Poison so I could read it!  You ROCK.**

Monday, April 1, 2013

Release Day Blitz - Timespell

Hi everyone and (hopefully?) happy Monday!   I hope anyone who celebrated Easter yesterday had a fun and sweet day :)  Today I am taking part in the Book Blitz for Timespell by Diana Paz hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.

I'd featured Timespell as my WoW pick a few weeks back - I'm looking forward to it because it's about Witches (duh right?), Time-Travel (double-duh), Paris in the 1700's & Mythology (The Fates!!)  Today, I have a excerpt from Timespell - which releases TODAY - as well as a link to a sweet rafflecopter giveaway for Timespell goodies!

Timespell  by Diana Paz

Publication date: April 1st 2013
by Rhemalda Publishing
Genre: YA Time Travel
In TIMESPELL, the brash and impulsive Julia must team up with her sweet and straight-laced best friend, Angie, and the malicious and power-hungry Kaitlyn in order to keep the witch-like powers of her inheritance. But these powers come at a cost. The girls are bound to serve the Fates, and their first mission sends them back in time to Marie Antoinette’s Paris and eventually, into the chaos and war of the French Revolution.
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Timespell Excerpt: Angie

With a flick of her wrist, Angie lit the candelabras lining the wall. She shouldn’t have gone this far into the backstage labyrinth of the opera house without Kaitlyn and Julia. Listening to them fight, hearing the loathing in Kaitlyn’s words, made up her mind. She had decided to slip away on her own. And now she couldn’t go back. Not when she sensed the magic drawing her forward. Its pull was irresistible.

She turned a corner, lifting her hand to release a shimmer of light. It trailed to where the hall opened up to reveal a stage. She had circled the entire opera house.

Despite the layers of her gown, Angie shivered. The magic grew stronger with each step she took. Her eyes slid closed as her entire body pulsed with warm energy that swelled inside her, filling her like a breath that wouldn’t end.
The music from the masked ball became louder as she neared the stage. She took another step then froze at the sight of a door. Beneath it, light shone against the gloom.

Light. And the shadow of footsteps.

Her heart buzzed behind her ribcage as she raised her hand again, opening the door with a gentle nudge of magic.
In TIMESPELL, the brash and impulsive Julia must team up with her sweet and straight-laced best friend, Angie, and the malicious and power-hungry Kaitlyn in order to keep the witch-like powers of her inheritance. But these powers come at a cost. The girls are bound to serve the Fates, and their first mission sends them back in time to Marie Antoinette’s Paris and eventually, into the chaos and war of the French Revolution.

Timespell Book Trailer 
About the author:
Diana Paz writes books about magic, adventure, and romance. She was born in Costa Rica, grew up on Miami Beach, moved to Los Angeles in high school, and went to college in San Diego. Basically, she’s a beach bum. Diana graduated from California State University, San Marcos with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts. She loves old movies, epic fantasy, all kinds of music, and heading to the beach with a good book. Preferably sipping a highly sweetened iced coffee. 

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