Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Review: Spelled

SpelledTitle: Spelled
Author: Betsy Schow
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Published: June 2, 2015
Format: E-ARC
Pages: 352
Dates Read: June 6-8
Source: Recieved via Netgalley
in exchange for an honest review
Add on Goodreads
My Rating: 3 Stars
Snippet That Stuck With Me: N/A 

Fairy Tale Survival Rule #32: If you find yourself at the mercy of a wicked witch, sing a romantic ballad and wait for your Prince Charming to save the day.

Yeah, no thanks. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks—like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the brooding prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.

Talk about unhappily ever after. 

Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving the kingdom in chaos and her parents stuck in some place called "Kansas." Now it's up to Dorthea and her pixed off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse...before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.

Melissa's Musings

The first thing that drew me to this book was the cover. I was browsing Netgalley, and came across Spelled, saw the cover and thought "Hmm, that looks interesting."

I'm not all that big on retellings and don't read them all that often, but when I read the sysnopsis for this, it seemed like it would be fun.

And it is.

 From the very beginning the story is full of curiosity, action and adventure. Dorothea is looking for a way to escape her boring palace life, where she is literally trapped by a curse. Fire is banished from the palace and she isn't even allowed outside beyond the courtyard, not even for a little while.

Little does she know that one tiny wish can have a huge impact on her life and the lives of those around her. 

The first thing that I liked, as I read were all the interesting plays on words and puns. There are a ton of them so I'll only give one example, UPS = United Pegasus Service. This one actually made me laugh out loud just because it was the slightest bit out there and Dorothea was so annoyed at the time, so the juxtaposition of the two made me giggle. There are also cute little plays on words like some of the substitute swear words, ie "pixed" and "glammed."

Plus, there are guidelines and quotes from other famous fairytale characters at the beginning of each chapter. These are a fun way to modernize the fairy tales.

There are also countless references to every possible fairy tale you can imagine. It's like a serious mashup of every fairy tale ever written interspersed within this story. And while these references, and the language and quotes are a lot of fun at first, I do have to say I did eventually grow bored of these, about halfway through. They just started to get tired, and eventually lost their sparkle.

As for the characters, I'd have to say my least favorite is probably a toss up between Rexi and Dorothea. Rexi lives up to her description and by the other characters and is rude and has a charred exterior. Dorothea fits the spoiled princess role a little too well. I was disappointed not to see more growth from her throughout the story. And while most of the time the main character is what keeps you reading, for me it was all the other characters that kept me going. I felt like they were more interesting.

Especially Hydra. With her large collection of ever changing heads and constant personality switches to go along with them , I feel like she brings a lot of life and fun to the story.

There is a lot of action and adventure. Plus there's the emphasis on fashion, beauty and just the idea of being a princess, so it makes the story equally relatable to both guys and girls. The ending is left open for a sequel, so I imagine there will be one. 

And I'm definitely willing to read it. As much as the quotes, quips and references do get a bit old  they've left me curious to see what will happen to this cast of crazy characters. I just hope that in the next part of the story Dorthea really starts to grow into her own a lot more and mature as a character.

Have you read Spelled? Did you enjoy it? Are there any other versions of retellings you'd recommend that I read?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Spotlight: Spelled by Betsy Schow Feature + Giveaway


By Betsy Schow

Sourcebooks Fire

June 2, 2015

Advance Praise for Spelled:

A cute adventure with romance set in a world full of fairy-tale mash-ups. Readers will love Dorthea’s evolution from spoiled princess to strong, confident heroine… For Oz fans, this work is a great clean-read alternative to Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die.” -School Library Journal

“This wickedly funny, fast-paced adventure has it all: brains, courage, and heart. (Plus a kickin’ pair of heels.) .” --Jen Calonita, author of The Secrets of My Hollywood Life and Fairy Tale Reform School series

“Fairy tale survival rule #1, do NOT read this book late at night. You will wake up your entire family with loud laughter. Fairy tale survival rule #2, if you love the Wizard of Oz, clever fairy tale mash-ups, and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing what will happen until the very end, you MUST read Spelled.” --J Scott Savage, award winning author of Farworld, Case File 13, and the Mysteries of Cove series.

A hilarious and snarky reimagining of the world of Oz, along with many other fairy tales injected throughout, "Spelled" is one fabulous read…Kick off those silver slippers and tuck in with this wonderful tale!” —Senator Sipes, Lil Book Bug (Palmdale, CA)

Book Info:

Talk about unhappily ever after. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks—like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the not-so-charming prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.
Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving Dorthea with hair made up of emerald flames and the kingdom in chaos. Her parents and everyone she loves are stuck in some place called “Kansas.” Now it’s up to Dorthea and her pixed-off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse…before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.
Amazon | B&N | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound | Kindle |  Nook
Betsy Schow:

Betsy Schow is the author of the memoir Finished Being Fat, and has been featured on The Today Show and in The Wall Street Journal. She lives in Utah, but travels the country with Color Me Rad 5k, and partners with nonprofits to teach kids creative thinking and how to reach their goals.

Excerpt from Spelled:
Most of the crowd had dispersed. The final few stragglers looked at me with the all­too-common look of fear mixed with trepidation. Pix ’em. They were just servants. It wasn’t like their opinion mattered.
Only one remained, watching me with open curiosity. He looked to be in his late teens or was magically enhanced to appear so. He could have been a hundred for all I knew. I’d never seen him before in my life. He was handsome enough, for a commoner, even in his worn leather pants and cracked work boots. A foreigner, his hair was unruly and dark auburn, which complemented his tanned but dirt-smudged complexion, though the tall, dark stranger vibe was ruined by his piercing pale blue eyes.
Well, I’d had enough of being a sideshow for the day. “If you’re the new gardener, the hedges are overgrown and in need of a trim.” I pointed in the direction of my father. “While you’re there, you can help the king with the wisps.”
The young man’s expression clouded over, but he didn’t move.
I stamped my foot and pointed more forcefully. “Off with you. Courtyard’s that way. Be sure to clean those awful boots before coming back in.”
“Someone told me I’d find a princess of great worth here. One with the strength to be the hero this realm needs.” He stared at me with those unsettling blue eyes. They were cold, like ice water—made me shiver from head to toe. Then his gaze seemed to search even deeper. Finally, he looked through me, like I was nothing.
In brisk steps, he strode across the marble to the courtyard. But before crossing the threshold, he turned back to glare at me with his lip curled ever so slightly. “It seems she was mistaken.”
Just like that, I had been sifted, weighed, and found wanting.
I felt my own lip curl in response. How rude! Who the Grimm was this peasant to judge me? I was wearing a Glenda original. Original! Not some fairy-godmother knockoff worn by those servant girls turned royal. I was a crown princess, for the love of fairy, and no one dismissed me.
Before I could put the boy in his place—down in the dirt, where he belonged—a clatter came from behind, making me nearly jump out of my shoes. I checked and was relieved that Sterling had simply dropped his sword. By the time I looked back, the gardener was gone.
After stowing his blade, Sterling held up his shield, not in defense of the entrance but so he could look at his reflection. “Clearly he’s blind and doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
I didn’t ask for Sterling’s opinion, but it made me feel better.
Until he opened his mouth again.
“Worth, pffft. I mean, look around at all the jewels. Your palace has everything you could ever want. Honestly, I don’t know what you’re fussing about. Why would anyone want to leave?”
Because a cage is still a cage, no matter how big or glittering the bars are.
And I would find a way free, no matter the cost.
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**Please note this giveaway is being hosted by the publisher, NOT Melissa's Midnight Musings

Friday, May 15, 2015

Flying Away For A While

I'm getting ready to fly up to Vancouver B.C. to see my husband for the first time in about 7 months. I'll be leaving later this morning and I can't wait!

Unfortunately I will be a bit of a zombie seeing as I just finished up a stretch of working 7 days in a row.

Although it won't be a long trip, just six days,  I'm super glad to get to spend time with him for at least a little while. This whole long distance marriage thing is hard. I probably won't read a whole lot while I'm there, but I do have plenty of books on my Kindle if I do decide to take a reading break.

I have one upcoming post scheduled that includes a giveaway being hosted by the publisher so be sure to keep an eye out for that.

What are your weekend plans?