Friday, August 24, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Witch: A Summerland Mystery by Fiona Horne

Author: Fiona Horne
Release Date: 27th August 2012
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Add it: Goodreads
Thanks to: Allen & Unwin for the review copy!
When Vania moves from Australia to Summerland, California, the last thing she expects to feel is that she's come home. Maybe it's Summerland's unusual history - Vania is drawn to stories about magic and witchcraft and, as she discovers, the pretty coastal town was settled by Spiritualists.

And Vania's not the only teenager in town interested in magic. There are a few others including good-looking class president Bryce. Together they form their own club - a coven - but when they use their powers to investigate what happened to the mysterious woman of Queen's Cross, something goes wrong.

Vania knows that the coven's power is good but there is evil out there too. Something or someone is determined to hunt them down. What does this force want with the coven. What price will Vania have to pay for the truth?

Vania was always a bit of a loner growing up in Australia - strange things often happened around her - so when her parents decide to move the family to California, she wasn't expecting to fit in with the cool kids. But neither was she expecting to be treated like crap within her first two weeks of school. One of the popular girls, Cassidy, seems to have it in for Vania, so it doesn't help when Cassidy's boyfriend decides he's sick of her attitude and starts hanging out with Vania. Drawn together by a mutual interest in magic, Vania, Bryce, psychic twins Amelia and Alyssa, and new boy Dean, decide to form a coven and get swept up in a town mystery that may reveal more than just a murderer.

At first it seemed like the coven come together a little too conveniently. Vania's the new kid in school and suddenly the popular boy is opening up to her about his Spiritualist side and the twins proclaim they share a psychic bond. But I think perhaps that was the point; that these kind of people are drawn to one another. Like attracts like; that magical calling in them all was like a magnetic pull. They each found a place alongside each other where they finally fit in. With the added perk of practicing magic, of course!

Bryce is the class president, one of the most popular boys in the year and all-around nice guy. I was expecting his situation to be a bit messier; he seemed to break away from his girlfriend and the whole popular group a little too easily. I would have liked to have seen more struggle with escaping the clutches of popularity to hang out with those considered 'outcasts'. Regardless, he proved to be a really genuine guy and found his calling far better in the coven than as mean girl Cassidy's boyfriend. Vania was oblivious to his feelings for her. She was totally crushing on him, she wanted him to like her, but she wasn't picking up on the signs he was giving - a quality many of us have shared, despite our age!

The villain was easy to predict, although I wasn't dead certain on the motives. I began to form a vague idea, but a few of the details remained a little fuzzy. In terms of mystery and unfolding plot, there weren't any unique surprises when compared to the many other witchy novels on the market, but Fiona Horne's own life experience with witchcraft really shone through, making the magic appear all the more authentic. There's attention to detail in the spells, ingredients, the properties of different herbs and crystals, and the power of positive thinking. She also touches on spiritualist/medium elements, which was interesting.

I feel like Witch is better suited to a younger YA audience, as opposed to those who enjoy more mature themed YA. I found it to be a quick read; entertaining and compelling enough to keep you turning those pages, but not exactly one that will linger on your mind in the following days. So if you're looking for something fun, not necessarily world-changing, but a story that you can easily breeze through in a single sitting, then definitely crack open a copy of Witch! Perhaps it will surprise you :)

2.5/5 Golden Apples!
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GIVEAWAY!

Want to discover the magic for yourself? Thanks to the incredible Allen & Unwin, I have FIVE (count 'em, FIVE!!) copies of Witch: A Summerland Mystery to give away!

Sorry international readers, this is open to Australian residents only. Aussies, just fill out the form below and you're in with a chance! Good luck!


16 comments:

  1. Aw, Brodie, BOO! I'm sorry it wasn't as magnificent-wonderful-tastic as we could hope, but it sounds INTERESTING.

    Reminding me a LOT of The Craft, except... seriously, I'm liking the idea and setup, but... yeah. It sounds a like... simple? Flat? BUT SHE'S AUSTRALIAN! EEEEEEEE! I LIKE THIS!

    AND I LOVE THE COVER *traces flowy lines with finger*

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  2. sad it was not to your liking .gr8 review

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  3. BRODIE~!! I LOVED how you looked at both sides of the fast opening when all those characters were drawn together! Poor Vania with her crushing...-sniff- you're right, that's 100% the Vivi-Style as well T_T I really do find this premise to be interesting enough, and this sounds like a fun, breezy read! Thanks for sharing your lovely review with us!! <333333 -muah~

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  4. Great review, Brodie! It's a shame that it was a bit predictable but the premise sounds interesting and I think the cover is gorgeous! Maybe it would suit younger readers?

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  5. Witches and Witchcraft always fascinate me. Yes please!!

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  6. Aww, I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this one as much as you would have liked, Brodie! I find that so many novels these days contain predictability and convenience, which often just ruins the story for me. I haven't heard of this novel before, but I think I'll just skip it. Thanks for the helpful and wonderfully written review, Brodie! :D

    ~Keertana
    Ivy Book Bindings

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  7. :) Wonderful review!!!!!!! I felt as i was reading the summary that this book does sounds like it was predicatable. I like the sound of a coven, but i would like a little more to the story. I know, its so hard to know if someone you like likes you at my age. :) at every age, most likely.

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  8. This one sounds perfectly... ALRIGHT. Like, easy and fun and all that great stuff but maybe just a little too boring and predictable to really stand out amidst all the other amazing YA novels that are being published lately. Hopefully a younger audience will find this one and fall in love! I think I'll be giving this one a pass :) Thanks for the amaaaazing review as usual though!

    Sonia

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  9. Based on the cover alone, I can certainly see why this book would be considered by you as "young". I like less "Y" of Young Adult and more "A", haha. :) Hence, I'll pass on this one, even if it may be entertaining and fun! Stunning review, Brodie. :) And random side note- I LOVE the golden apples. :) So original. :)

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  10. Hmm, it sounded interesting, and then I saw that it's probably more suitable for younger readers. I think I'll give it a pass, seeing as I prefer more mrature books. Witchcraft doesn't completely do it for me, anyway. :P I like the idea of the characters all coming together, though I'd probably have to agree with you about Bryce moving to a different clique, as it were. Sorry you didn't like it, though I love how you've still managed to keep positive! Lovely review, Brodie. :)

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  11. Definitely not my sort of book, but thank you for the helpful review! It does sound like it would be better suited to a younger audience, so I won't attempt to read it. I'm sorry it didn't blow you away, Brodie. Perhaps your next read will be better for you. :)

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  12. Aw, sorry you didn't like this one much. I think you're right in saying it'd be better for a younger audience - I don't think I'll be reading this one, but thanks for the review! I do like the cover though :).

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  13. Glad it was a quick read even if it won't stick with you.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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  14. Awesome review, Brodie! I KNOW OF FIONA HORNE AS A WITCH! I saw who it was by and got all "OOOOH, is it her?!" I have an interest in all things... well, weird, so I've come across Fiona's site and witchy books before. Cool to see she's written a novel. Sucks you didn't enjoy it as much as you could have, but I am so intrigued! I'll have to keep an eye out for this. Thanks for the great review!

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  15. You know what I love about you? How you always manage to write a negative review in such a fantastic way! I've never actually heard of this before but I don't think I'll give it a go, it sounds like it might make me a bit angry haha! I LOVE how you look at so many sides of an aspect you didn't necessarily enjoy in a novel :) Amazing review :D

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  16. It sounds interesting, although it's too bad it was a bit predictable.

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