Blog Tour- Illusionary Review

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I am thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Illusionary by Desiree Williams.

Illusionary

How did I get it?:
I received a copy from the author for the blog tour.

Synopsis:

Dorothy got sucked into a tornado.
Alice fell down a hole.
Wendy flew to Neverland.
Kamryn? She tripped down the stairs.
Now, Kamryn Kensington finds herself in a strange new world. Within minutes of her arrival, she dodges an archer’s arrow and avoids getting sliced up by a cosplay reject holding a dagger to her throat. And that’s before the storyteller’s breath brings stories to life.
Home is the mission—to return to her family and pursue her life’s dream of art and travel. Yet the longer she’s in the Land of Ur, the harder it is not to feel for the people she meets. Even her artistic side can’t help but breathe in the beautiful wonder and magic of this new world. So when the Oracle hands her a different quest, she takes it on the condition he sends her home afterward.
No one thought to warn her of a jealous queen and her dragon minions. Or that, by helping her, the cute storyteller would go crazy. Or that her heart would rip in two when she left. Those would’ve been great facts to know ahead of time.
Considering that nothing in Ur is what it seems, the mission proves to be more than she ever imagined. But more than her own future will be in jeopardy if Kamryn doesn’t succeed.
  

Thoughts:

I was asked if I’d be interesting in joining the blog tour for this book. As soon as I read the synopsis, I knew that I wanted to read this book. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know that I absolutely adore fairy tales and all things magical realism. Illusionary certainly fits that bill.

Kamryn is our main character. She’s an adult, but she’s struggling with adapting to all things adult. Don’t we all? Kamryn’s dreams are taking her in different directions which makes her older sister despair. Her older sister wants the best for Kamryn but Kamryn wants to pursue her passion. Kamryn and her sister fight resulting in Kamryn tripping and finding herself at the bottom of the stairs. When Kamryn comes around, she’s in the land of Ur. She has some questions to ask but answers are not given. She is given a mission to carry out with Reese, a storyteller in Ur. They’re hoping to rescue the Maker of Ur so he can send her home. Of course, it’s not as easy as Kamryn wants and they end up everywhere…

I enjoyed reading this story, which didn’t take long for me to read! I was intrigued by the adventure. I really enjoyed reading the nods to other famous books e.g. The Wizard Of Oz. It’s a bookworm’s dream to read such a bookish story. I also enjoyed the romance in this story. It wasn’t cheesy or overdone. It was just right.

The only reason I didn’t rate this book any higher was because I didn’t enjoy the character of the evil queen as much as I wanted to. I would have enjoyed it more if the character was more fleshed out, but that’s my personal opinion and I think many people would still enjoy the character!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Desiree is kindly offering a giveaway for this blog tour. email): a “Make everyday an adventure” pillow, “Don’t Grow Up! It’s a Trap!” metal sign, book cozy, signed paperback of Illusionary, notebook with pens, sketch book with colored pencils, and a “Eat Cake for Breakfast” travel cup. 

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Briar Rose

Briar Rose

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

For Briar Rose, life is anything but a fairy tale. She’s stuck in a small town in deepest Georgia with parents who won’t let her out of their sight, a bunch of small-minded, gossiping neighbours and an evil ex who’s spreading nasty rumours about what she may or may not have done in the back of his car. She’s tired of it all, so when, on her sixteenth birthday, her parents tell her that she is cursed and will go to sleep for a hundred years when the clock strikes midnight, she’s actually kind of glad to leave it all behind. She says her goodbyes, lies down, and closes her eyes . . . And then she wakes up. Cold, alone and in the middle of the darkest, most twisted fairy tale she could ever have dreamed of. Now Briar must fight her way out of the story that has been created for her, but she can’t do it alone. She never believed in handsome princes, but now she’s met one her only chance is to put her life in his hands, or there will be no happy ever after and no waking up.

Thoughts:

I love fairy tale retellings or reimaginings. However, I think it’s quite hard to get it right. So many people are quite precious about the fairy tales that they know so well.  Sleeping Beauty is definitely a classic fairy tale. It’s one of the most popular fairy tales as well. I think it’s hard to not copy a fairy tale in a reimagining. As a reader, I don’t want to see a fairy tale copied but at the same time I want a glimmer of the fairy tale. I want to see how it links up.

Briar Rose combined several of the Sleeping Beauty elements (Aurora was in the story!) but at the same time I felt like it had some original concepts which I really appreciated. I thought it was a really engaging read although parts of it did seem to drag a little. I could also see where the story was going, there weren’t many surprises along the way.  It was however, a very subtly funny book. I appreciated the humour, that’s for sure!

Briar Rose had some great characters who really made the story for me. I loved Briar Rose and thought she was a fantastic character to follow. I also appreciated how the characters were flawed. No one is perfect and I like to see that, especially in a fairy tale.

I really enjoyed the concepts of Briar Rose. I loved the creatures and the magic. I was captivated throughout the story. I really enjoyed Jana Oliver’s writing style. I’d certainly be intrigued to read more from her in the future.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

An imaginative fairy tale reimagining! I highly enjoyed it.

Top Ten FREEBIE: Favourite Grimm Fairy Tales

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s list is a freebie, which means we are free to pick our topic! I’ve decided to pick my favourite fairy tales that I’ve read so far out of this book:

Every Friday, I read and review a fairy tale. I’m loving exploring them so far! I’ve linked to my review so you can check out my thoughts if you like.

Oh and here I am as a fairy! How cute?!

Thanks to Luna, for making Fairy Chrissi (click on image to get to her blog!)

In no particular order

  1. The Singing Bone– A great but brutual fairy tale with a supernatural element. It involves siblings and murder!
  2. Little Red Riding Hood– I think most people know this story. I loved reading the Grimm version, it’s not too different to the ones I’ve read in the past!
  3. The Mouse, The Bird and The Sausage– Random title, but great story with a moral about being grateful for what you have.
  4. The Riddle– This fairy tale has a crafty Prince. You’ve got to love a crafty Prince!
  5. Hansel and Gretel- Another well known one, but I can’t help it. I adore Hansel and Gretel.
  6. The Three Little Men In The Woods– One of my favourites. It involves wicked stepfamily and a supernatural element. I loved it!
  7. Rapunzel– Another well known one, but you won’t find the Grimm version to be like Tangled. It’s much darker.
  8. The Twelve Brothers– An intriguing tale involving an awful King!
  9. The Cat and The Mouse Set Up House– I absolutely love the cat in this fairy tale. A very conniving cat…
  10. The Frog King– This tale was familiar to me, but I know I didn’t read the Grimm version. It’s much more brutal which I’ve come to expect.

I’m really enjoying exploring Grimm’s Fairy Tales!

What did you do for your freebie this week? Please feel free to leave your links and I’ll stop by. I love a freebie week!

I Wish For You

I Wish for You

How did I get it?:
I was sent a copy by Camilla Isley, in exchange for an honest review (which does not affect my opinion of the book!) Thanks to Camilla!

Synopsis:

A year ago when the love of her life dumped her for no apparent reason, Ally thought she had hit rock bottom. But now that she has seen him with another woman, and one she knows only too well, her life seems to have reached a whole new level of low.

Yet, when she stumbles across an ancient object infused with magical powers and a stranger with a dark past appears out of nowhere promising to grant all her wishes, she finds herself hoping again.
Suddenly Ally’s life is turned upside down; she has a mystery to solve, a rival to beat, a millenarian curse to break, and well, she wants to have some fun playing with her new “gifts”…

But can she wish her way to happily ever after?

Thoughts:

I Wish For You is one of those books with a cover which completely sums up what it is about. The cover screams romance to me. Certainly, chick lit used to be my favourite genre to read, and it still has a place in my reading life! I just read more widely now than I used to. I do like to dip my toes into chick lit every now and again, and when I was approached to read and review a copy of I Wish For You, I decided to snap up a copy. These kind of books are brilliant for when I want a lighter read and I Wish For You certainly fit that mould.

I Wish For You is Camilla Isley’s debut novel. It tells the story of Ally, who is still pining after her ex boyfriend James. It has been a year since they broke up, but Ally is still hopeful that they’d get back together one day. One day Ally is shopping with her mum at a flea market. Ally comes across a little box. A woman tries to give Ally the box, but Ally refuses. She is surprised to find it in her handbag later. Ally notices a dial which she turns and ends up releasing a genie who offers to grant her wishes. The genie is called Arthur and is not used to living life in the 21st Century. Ally and Arthur’s journey is interesting as Ally chooses her wishes and Arthur adapts to a very different way of living.

I Wish For You is such a fairy tale-esque story, so with my love of fairy tales, you can see why I really enjoyed reading it. I did think it was a little predictable in places and I wouldn’t say it’s a story that completely stands out in the genre, but it’s still a completely engrossing story and it certainly didn’t take long to read.

Ally is a good character, she means well but at the same time she’ll do anything to get James back. She was quite brutal in the way she wanted to ruin James’ new girlfriend. Ally is likeable, but I felt sorry for her. She was totally living in the past and was unable to move on. This will be relatable to so many people. I thought Arthur was an adorable character, he was certainly a favourite of mine.

I think Camilla Isley has a promising future in this genre. I Wish For You was a good debut, and I’d definitely read more from her!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

I Wish For You is light and fun. Worth reading for fans of the genre!

Entwined: Mini Review

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How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it’s taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest, but there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

Thoughts:

Can we just talk about how gorgeous this cover is? So beautiful.

I’m a big fan of fairy-tales. I just love reading a story that is so fairy-tale esque. Entwined was picked by my friend Luna from Luna’s Little Library for me to read. It’s a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, which I’m not actually that familiar with. (I may need to change that!) I guess it was a different reading experience for me going into it not knowing that much about it!

Entwined is a story of Azalea and her sisters who are suffering after their mother’s death. As the sisters are mourning their mother, they are forbidden to dance by their father. As with every fairy-tale, nothing is quite that simple. The reader is introduced to a character called the Keeper, who provides Azalea and her sisters chance to escape their everyday family life.

Entwined is a magical, fun read, although sometimes I wish it had a bit of a quicker pace! I still think it’s worth devouring if you like a well written fairy-tale read!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

A beautiful fairy-tale that is well worth reading!

Blackberry Blue

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How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Prepare to enter a world of magicians, enchanted forests, talking animals and wicked witches . . .

Here are six magical stories to thrill and enchant you. Watch Blackberry Blue rise from the bramble patch; follow Emeka the pathfinder on his mission to save a lost king; join Princess Desire as she gallops across the Milky Way on her jet-black horse.

These beautifully written and original stories will delight readers of all ages, and the stunning illustrations by Richard Collingridge will take your breath away.

Thoughts:

I picked this book out of my choice of Luna’s Picks for this month. I thought it was a stunning read, which I believe will delight many from young children, to teenagers to adults. The magical stories feel incredibly original and the beautiful illustrations just enhance the wonderful stories.

I’m not sure why this little gem hasn’t been more widely read or discussed on the blogosphere. I’m hoping that the stunning cover and intriguing synopsis will encourage more readers to give it a go! It’s something different to the usual fairy-tales out there. I can’t pinpoint a favourite story, because they were all so enjoyable. I loved the vividness of each story. I could picture it so easily in my mind.

The characters are so intriguing and much more interesting than typical fairy-tales and that’s coming from someone who loves a fairy-tale!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

It is well worth reading these beautiful fairy-tales!

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making

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How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

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.

Thoughts:

I have heard so many wonderful things about this series of books by Catherynne M. Valente. I found myself  with a lot of time to spare so I decided to finish this book off. I thought The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making was an easy, fast-paced middle grade read which didn’t take me long at all to devour. I did enjoy this book, but I’m not overly sure if I’ll continue with it-mainly because I’m trying to commit to less series and finish ones off that are pending! If, however, you’ve really enjoyed this series, please let me know and I shall continue!

I’m going to state the blatantly obvious now and say that this is a beautiful, magical trip into Fairyland. Everything about it is magical. I thought that the writing was beautiful. It’s not too descriptive, yet you can really picture what Fairyland is like. I found some of the writing utterly quotable which such wonderful sentiments.

Here are two of my favourites:

“She sounds like someone who spends a lot of time in libraries, which are the best sorts of people.” 

and

“When you are born,” the golem said softly, “your courage is new and clean. You are brave enough for anything: crawling off of staircases, saying your first words without fearing that someone will think you are foolish, putting strange things in your mouth. But as you get older, your courage attracts gunk, and crusty things, and dirt, and fear, and knowing how bad things can get and what pain feels like. By the time you’re half-grown, your courage barely moves at all, it’s so grunged up with living. So every once in awhile, you have to scrub it up and get the works going, or else you’ll never be brave again.” 

I think that with these quotes you get just a snippet of the wonderful writing. Catherynne M.Valente is truly a great writer!

I loved September, who is our main character. She’s fiesty, fun and curious. I think it was important that we saw Fairyland through a twelve year olds eyes. They’re less cynical than us adults and pick up such unique and special moments/things. All of the characters are imaginative, creative and fun. Their character names are completely strange, but very fun and, I imagine, enjoyable for children to remember.

It might sound like I should be giving this book four or five stars, but I can’t. I appreciated the beautiful writing and the wonderful, imaginative characters but something in the plot didn’t particularly grab me. I didn’t really feel as connected to the story as I would’ve liked. However, I’m really glad I gave it a try!

Would I recommend it?
Yes!

Although I didn’t feel as gripped as I wanted to, I really enjoyed this magical trip into Fairyland!