Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wondrous Strange: Book Review + Giveaway!

Author: Lesley Livingston
Publisher: HarperCollins
Series: Wondrous Strange #1
Release Date: September 22, 2009
Pages: 336
Read it in: 3 days
Source: The library

Summary: 17 year-old Kelley Winslow doesn’t believe in Faeries. Not unless they’re the kind that you find in a theatre, spouting Shakespeare—the kind that Kelley so desperately wishes she could be: onstage, under lights, with a pair of sparkly wings strapped to her shoulders. But as the understudy in a two-bit, hopelessly off-off-Broadway production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, wishing is probably the closest she’s going to get to becoming a Faerie Queen. At least, that’s what she thinks... In this fun, urban fantasy, Kelley's off-stage life suddenly becomes as complicated as one of Shakespeare’s plot twists when a nighttime trip to Central Park holds more than meets the mortal eye.

LC's Take:

OK, can we pretty please first take about 5 minutes to sit and stare at this gorgeous book cover?? **sigh**

Alrighty, moving on!

Wondrous Strange had all the elements of an awesome book-- interesting and likable characters, action-packed plot line, creative world-building,  heart-melting romance and quirky humor. This is the kind of book that I thoroughly enjoy reading, and I've already gone out and picked up the sequel!

Kelly Winslow is a 17-year old aspiring actress, trying to make it big in NYC. As an understudy in a (very) small off-broadway production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, she is struggling just to get by. But after the lead for the part of Queen Titania is injured, Kelly finally has her chance to be in the spotlight-- until a very strange night in Central Park changes her life forever. First, she meets a mysterious boy named Sonny Flannery, who happens to be a changeling from the world of fae who works for King Auboron of the Unseelie Court as a Janus Guard. Then she manages to save a kelpie (which resembles a gigantic horse) from a pond-- only to have the horse-creature reappear in her apartment! As Kelly becomes more and more entangled in the faery world, she learns a long-kept secret about herself and her true identity-- while becoming closer and closer to the changeling boy trying to protect her.

First of all, Kelly was a wonderful, believable main character. She had a head on her shoulders and didn't let anyone lead her around or tell her what to do, which was a welcome change from some of the other ditzy and clueless Mary Sues out there in other YA books. At first she downright refuses to believe in the idea that faeries are actually real and she thinks Sonny is absolutely crazy when he tells her-- probably the reaction we would all have, right?! Her "I'll believe it when I see it" attitude totally won me over, because it seriously annoys me when the main character finds out something completely unbelievable and then unquestioningly accepts it in about 2 minutes. Kelly actually takes awhile before she's convinced, and when she does learn about faeries and how she is a major part of the faery realm, she doesn't flake out, but takes charge of her own destiny. LOVED Kelly!!

Sonny was such a wonderful male character, and I hesitate to call him a "love interest," because he was so much more than that. Genuinely sweet, romantic, and kind-hearted, Sonny was the epitome of dreamy and stood out from many other guys I've read about in YA books. I hate, hate, hate when the male love-interest acts all aloof-- or even worse-- treats the female protagonist badly, while all she does is fawn dotingly over someone who is emotionally abusive (See my rants about the Fallen series for more on that). Sonny and Kelly are thankfully different and also teenage angst-free. Their growing relationship was not only believable, but had me unable to put this book down. And trust me when I say, you will totally fall in love with Sonny like I did!

Wondrous Strange had a really good balance of both urban and fantasy story elements-- the faery and fantasy parts weren't so overdone that people not so into this genre won't like to read it. While the plot centers around faeries, there is not a lot of travel to the faery world, like you would see in a book like The Iron King, and almost everything happens in NYC and Central Park. I thought that there was a perfect blend of being both realistic and whimsical, and this book could definitely be read be many different kinds of readers! Finally, the duel narratives told from both Kelly and Sonny's POVs mixed things up a bit and added a unique twist. Overall, I really loved this book-- if you've had this one sitting on your shelf for awhile, go, go, go and read it!

LC's Rating: 
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If you like books about faeries, Wondrous Strange is perfect for you!  More light-hearted than dark, this book was fun to read from beginning to end. You will love Kelly and Sonny, and be caught up in a whimsical story with beautiful world-building. Make sure this one is on your To-Be-Read list!!


Want to win a copy of Wondrous Strange? Enter below!!
  • ONE lucky winner will receive their own copy of Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
  • Contest ends on October 15, 2011
  • Open internationally to wherever The Book Depository ships!




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72 comments:

  1. love the cover! Sounds very interesting!

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  2. LOVED the series so I would really like my own copy :)

    Vivian M

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  3. I really liked this one as well. I need to read the second book in the series. I'm very proud that she's a Canadian author.

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  4. That is a pretty cover! I'm sure I'd like this book, since Midsummer Night's Dream is my favorite Shakespeare.

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  5. I've heard a lot of really good things about this book, plus the cover is amazing and I'm a total cover slut :) I'll definitely have to check it out! Great review :)

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  6. I haven't heard of this one, but it sounds like it's one I would enjoy.

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  7. Oh and my favorite fairy book is a toss up between the Need series (I can share these with my students) and the Wicked Lovely series (can't share with my students).

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  8. I havnt had the chance yet to read an books to do with faries but I do have the Need series in my TBR pile.

    This book sounds amazing at I cant wait to read it

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  9. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

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  10. I love a good fairy book. Thanks for the giveaway :)

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  11. I like the Wings series by Aprilynne Pike in YA and Radiant Desire by Inara Scott for Adults :)

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  12. oooo I have this book sitting at home on my shelf, so I'm not gonna enter the giveaway,but I'll share it, but seriously such an awesome review hun! I'm looking forward to reading this more now (:

    oh and yes...such a gorgeous cover the girl is insanely pretty! (:

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  13. Great review and the cover is truly gorgeous! You've got me excited for this one:) Thanks for the giveaway:)

    The last fairy novel I read was the best thus far because it had my favourite fairy in it- Puck!

    Yes, you guessed right- it's The Iron King by Julie Kagawa. *sigh* I'm looking forward to the rest of this series.

    Sarah Bibi Setar

    sarahDOTsetarATgmailDOTcom

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  14. Hi! Thank you so much for the give away, when I heard that this book has A midsummer's night dream in it, I was like ok, I have to get this book! Ever since The Iron Fey Series, I've been wanting to know more about the shakespeare play, which comes to my favorite fairy books which are The Iron Fey Series. The Series is almost over so I'm really sad about that, but there will be a spin off so hopefully it'll live up to the original series! (:

    vampyreprincess109(at)gmail(dot)com

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  15. This book sounds really good. My favorite faerie book as of right now is The Iron King by Julia Kagawa. I need to read the others but that book was so captivating.

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  16. I never had a chance to read this I really want to

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  17. Hi, thanks for the international giveaway. I haven't read any faeries books so I'm really interested in this one.

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  18. Hi, thanks for the international giveaway. I haven't read any faeries books so I'm really interested in this one.

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  19. This sounds like a great read. Fairies are a very unique creature to read about. I really like the fact that A Mid Summer Night's Dream is used in the book. Its a really good play and the main character actually wants to be a fairy. This definitely sounds like a great read.

    Sthrnsweetie115@AOL.com

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  20. Oh and my fave fairy book is the Wicked Lovely series but I also love the fairies in Paranormalcy.

    Sthrnsweetie115@AOL.com

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  21. I'm sooooo glad you read and loved this book Lea! It's one of my favorites. It doesn't really get enough attention in my opinion - most people think of Iron Fey when they think faeries, but I loved Wondrous Strange as much as I loved The Iron Daughter. Thanks for the awesome giveaway, I would LOVE to have this book on my shelf! :-)

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  22. My favorite faerie book? as in I can only pick one???? lol.

    I have a lot of favorites, Wicked Lovely series, Iron Fey series, Faery Rebels series, Lament, and I could go on but I'll keep it brief lol.

    Thanks so much for the awesome giveaway, I've been wanting to read this!

    <3
    Taylor

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  23. i would really like to read this book. i've heard great things about it, so hopefully it doesnt disappoint. :)

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  24. Thank you for the giveaway! i really enjoyed the 'Wings' series by Aprilynne Pike and the 'Iron Fey' series by Julie Kagawa! They were pretty awesome!

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  25. My favorite faerie series are the Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa and the Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr. I also really loved Holly Black's Tithe series, and Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner (though I haven't read all of that one yet, only book one). Haha. I loooovee faerie books if you couldn't tell. :P This one is on my TBR list also. Glad to hear you enjoyed it! :)

    Great review and awesome giveaway!

    <3
    Pixie

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  26. That cover really is gorgeous! I definitely need to read this series, sounds great. While I haven't finished the whole series yet, I really like Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely books. Love their fairies! :-D

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  27. I love Lesley Livingston! And I am so excited for this book. Thanks for making the contest open to everyone!

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  28. Thanks for the giveaway! I've always wanted to read this book :D

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  29. I really want to read this book, have done for a while. Nice review!
    Put your button on my blog.

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  30. I would love to win a copy. I've been dying to read this book for ages and winning would give me the perfect excuse!

    bookchick313@hotmail.com

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  31. I can't wait to read this! Great review and great giveaway, you're awesome :]

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  32. My favorite, so far, is Glimmerglass by Jenna Black. I haven't read a lot of Fairy books yet.


    truebloodfan AT rock DOT com

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  33. Well the popular answer would be The Iron Fey series! love that series :)

    Entered via Jayjay Atanacio
    fallendream03 AT gmail DOT com

    Thank you for the chance of winning this book!

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  34. The Iron Fey Series!!! I read it recently, and I loved it!! =D

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway!! =)

    Jolainne

    jdesouza1310@gmail.com

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  35. I love books about the fae! One of my favorites would probably be Tithe by Holly Black, Thanks for the chance to win!!

    Donna @ The Happy Booker
    ahappybooker at gmail dot com

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  36. Oh thanks for the giveaway I've been hearing a lot of good things about this series. My fav. faerie book would have to be the Fever series my Karen Marie Moning. It's an adult series but it's amazing!!

    Giselle
    Xpresso Reads

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  37. I don't have a favorite fairy book. I need to read more of them obviously.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  38. That cover IS gorgeous! I've never read a faerie book, I would love to make this my first! :)

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  39. You are right the cover is beautiful and it sounds like a fantastic book! Thanks so much for the giveaway!

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  40. This cover seriously has to be one of the best of the year. I totally love it! I've had this on my shelves for a bit, and I kind of needed encouragement to start, but now I think I will :D Thanks for the review!

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  41. Hi! New Followers! Your blog is awesome, I love all the pic you choose! My favorite Fairy book would be the Fever series from KMM but I like The Iron King series by JK too! I love your review! Great giveaway :)

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  42. Wicked Lovely :)

    deathangel_vampires[at]homtail[dot]com

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  43. This book looks so good ! thank you for this awesome giveaway !

    starlight023(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  44. My favorite fairy book is Wicked Lovely.

    Janhvi
    justjanhvi at gmail dot com

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  45. This book sounds so good, and so fun!! I have definitely added it to my must-read list! My favorite fairy series is the Iron Fey series :)

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  46. well it's not really a fairy book, but i haven't read another book, where fairies are involved: peter pan - one of my alltime favourite books.

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  47. hi, thanks for the giveaway, until now my favorite fairy book are Lament and Balad by Maggie St

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  48. Thanks you for this international giveaway

    i guess my favourite book with faeries is faerie ring by kiki hamilton

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  49. thank you for the contest! i'm a new follower!

    i liked the tithe series by holly black.

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  50. I haven't read many fairy stuff. However I have read 'Ash' but it was a long time ago. I did enjoy it, but nothing really sticks out in my mind about what I enjoyed... I might have to read it again...

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  51. My favorite Fairy book is The Wings series by Aprilynne Pike:) Thanks for the Giveaway!

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  52. The cover looks very mysterious. I love the books by Terry Pratchett, not your typical fairy book but lot's of unusual creatures paired with his humor

    Thank you for hosting this giveaway

    Louis
    pumuckler {at} gmail {dot} com

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  53. Awesome review! Have you checked out the Iron Fey series? Tjose are awesome farie books too!

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  54. Beautiful cover! Thanks for having a giveaway :)

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  55. My fav faerie book is Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr.

    lesly7ch(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  56. I love Tithe by Holly Black.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  57. Thank you for doing this great giveaway! Fantastic review, too.

    Got my fingers crossed! :D

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  58. I don't normally read fairy books - but this sounds really interesting. :)
    Thanks for the giveaway.

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  59. Love the cover too! My favorite Fairy books are The Iron Fey series.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  60. I haven't read many fey books, but my favorite would be The Iron King.

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  61. Hi, current follower. I haven't read more than one book about fairies, but maybe THIS will be my favorite!

    Thanks,
    Teresa

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  62. My favorite would be the Iron Fey series.

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  63. My favorite would be The Mortal Instruments series of Cassandra Clare. Jace is really swoon *sigh* ;)
    Thanks for this giveaway!

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  64. The whole sookie stachouse series!

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  65. It sounds really good! And the cover looks simply amazing <3

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  66. Thanks for another fantastic giveaway :D Going to put this in my ever-growing TBR list.

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  67. Your opinion of how Kelly's reaction to learning about faerie's was really interesting and made me wonder what you would think of The Gathering's by Kelley Armstrong, Maya's reaction to her own super natural awakening would be.

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Your comments make me happy :)

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