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Friday, 3 August 2012

Voluspa ~A Magical World Review & Giveaway!!


 The 'Fountain of Youth'....A mythical place where one drinks the magical water in hopes of being eternally young and beautiful. Sounds good right? (YES!) Who's in? (Me!) Well too bad, it doesn't exist! (Damn it!)
Eternal Youth is something a lot of us (again ME) long for. We turn to creams, botox injections, plastic surgery, mini skirts, pigtails (eww!)... whatever we can do to look and feel young.
Women hit a midlife crisis and hit on young buff 20-somethings. *cough* Cougar *cough*
Men have a midlife crisis and decide they need not only a hot young tart, but a sports car that matches her lipstick. It's ridiculous.

Why is my babbling about eternal youth relevant to my next review? No, it's not because of my recent birthday (I turned 25 for the 7th time!!)...it's because I have a solution to capturing that 'Forever Young' feeling.
It's not a cream! You can't wear or inject it... and it doesn't involve throwing your back out trying to one up your kid with a hoola hoop. (I may have done that once....)

The solution is simple: If you want to feel young, just pick up a whimsical read and get lost in a story written for all ages to enjoy!

My latest read has a Harry Potter edge- Narnia vibe with a Twilight-esq twist! I'd like to welcome you all to the Magical World of Voluspa!




 Here is the book description from Amazon.com:

  "Twilight meets Harry Potter Amy, a forlorn fifteen year old girl from NYC, never thought that she would attend school on a magical mountain with wild animals as her classmates and that she would go to a prom on a flying carpet. Its love at first sight when Drake- a shape shifter rescues her from a pre-historic beast and befriends her. Little does she know that Drake’s father is the tyrannical leader who has always wanted Amy and her kind dead. In her struggle to challenge the supremacy in the magical world, she realizes her powers, confronts aspects about herself that she may not be comfortable with, makes lasting friends while excelling in her school - something which she had not been able to do in her human world. All hell breaks loose, as Drake goes missing and Voluspan mercenaries try to hunt Amy down. Amy and her friends use strategic warfare, pit adversaries among themselves and use every last drop of strength, skill and courage as they take on warriors far more ruthless and skilled than themselves. But Amy is in for a rude shock when she finally finds Drake."

 So what did I think?

I really enjoyed this novel! I'm not going to lie, initially when I started reading the first chapter, I found it a bit confusing. I did end up backtracking to re-read things due to the overwhelming amount of information and events.
There were a lot of details to take in (The clans and their powers, characters, locations, beasts, battles etc...) and things happen rather quickly in said chapter. I felt dropped into the story and wished it had eased me in  a bit more gradually.
HOWEVER.... (Here is a lesson) If you find yourself in that particular situation, just keep reading! Things did end up eventually being explained as the novel progressed. You just have to be patient. (I am very glad I kept reading!!)

 As the story continued I fell into a better rhythm and ultimately it became a page turner I couldn't put down.
 After a hard-knock life, and dealing with a recent tragedy and upheaval, Amy is now on a quest to discover her family history and beings a journey of self acceptance as she comes into her own. She embraces Voluspa and it's inhabitants wholeheartedly. With the help of the mysterious Helen, Drake and her new friends Jacek and Amilio, she eases into the Voluspian society and learns to grow her Empath powers. She excels in her exciting new school, making friends and enemies along the way.
Amy also discovers a few secrets that could destroy her if the elders in Voluspa ever found out. Secrets and information she also needs to keep from Drake.

The romance between Amy and Drake while it is similar to Bella and Edward (Twilight) in my opinion it comes off with less sexual tension and more innocence. They have some obstacles to overcome. One very large one is the fact that being from two separate clans, they are forbidden to ever marry. A tough pill to swallow for soul mates. When Drake is captured, Amy doesn't care what it will take. She is determined to save him no matter what.
Naturally we have to wait for the other books to see how their relationship progresses.

There are so many aspects of this novel I feel I could review and chat about, however this could get long or possibly spoil the magic for you. So I will condense it to some highlights:

**I love the people of Voluspa and how they are divided into four separate clans. Each clan has their own unique talents and powers:   
                           Empath - Mind reading & Astral travel
                           Morphus- Shape-shifting
                           Pulchrous -Great Warriors
                           Menden - Healers
 They live in harmony, but with a rule that they are not to inter-marry. 

** I loved the imagination put into the creatures and characters in Voluspa. One of my favorites being the Garden Gnomes. Don't try picking their flowers without permission! Other creatures include Gangrels, Tyrannos, Dream Catchers, Naiad's, Witches, Griots, Sirens, Ogres.. I could go on and on...

** I liked how the authors tackled the subject of humans and Earth in the novel. In it we (Earth-bound) are in another realm, some of our myths and legends mention Voluspa, but naturally we don't pay attention. In Voluspa they are very aware of Earth and while they are more advanced, there are many similarities between the two cultures.

** This book helps illustrate that you never know what a person is going through in their life and why you shouldn't pick on people for being different. A big lesson to draw from it is that like the character Amy, just because you don't fit in with one crowd in one place, doesn't mean you don't fit in with anyone anywhere. As the mother of a child who has encountered bullies, I appreciate this theme and the strong message this book sends.

Like most books I read, I really do wish certain parts of the book had been longer. At times the scenes fast forwarded or jumped a bit when I felt they could have been longer and more descriptive. I also think this particular novel needs an index of characters and creatures or even a map of Voluspa in it's pages for reference. My oldest daughter looked up from reading it and said  'Mom, I wish it had some pictures!'(She would love a few pictures of the strange creatures that show up~ like the Gangrels)

At the end of the day, if you are thinking of botox, or buying a lipstick colored car... let me suggest the easier, more affordable solution to your anti-aging battle: Become a 15 year old again... Hang out with a Morphus Clan member in the city of Bol Holnap, make friends with a Dream Catcher or even take the challenge Herio Mountain...all of this can be accomplished by simply using your Imagination! (Okay, so you will still get old and it wont prevent wrinkles, but hey, you get to read a great and imaginative story out of the deal!) It's a book you and your kids (10+) can enjoy together!

The next installment of this series is due out in November, and I look forward to reading more!! This novel I most certainly will read again... if my daughter ever gives it back to me......

                         **Your Chance To Win A Copy After The Author's Interview!**

Watch the Book Trailer for Voluspa HERE!

Visit Voluspa's Website for more information!

*******************************************************************************
  Sometimes after reading a story, I have some questions I would love to ask the author. Ray East was kind enough to oblige!

Me, Myself and Irene: It's such an imaginative tale, where did you come up with the concept?

Ray East:  I have always wanted to write a fantasy novel. To create a believable magical world was what prompted me to write Voluspa. The concept developed further as I decided upon the major characters and themes of my story.

 Me: There is so much detail and thought put into this novel. How long did it take from the birth of the concept to having it published?

Ray East: I am really glad that you appreciate the detail and thought we put in the novel.
 It took us 7 months from the birth of the concept to getting it published.

Me: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Ray East: I derive inspiration from life - things happening around me, my family and friends, places I visit, old books or movies that I like.

Me: The topic of bullying makes an appearance at times throughout the novel. Amy has had her share of being an outcast and runs into several situations where she is put down by others. Was the anti bullying theme deliberate and do you hope that your readers (especially the younger ones) take away an anti-bullying message from Voluspa?   

Ray East: The message of anti bullying is a deliberate one.  Anybody can be a victim of bullying and it is one of the most difficult challenges faced by our youngsters today. It is important to create strong role models that will inspire the younger generation not only to stand up to bullies but also for the misguided souls who commit this act to think twice before doing it.


Me: How many books are planned for this series?

Ray East: I plan for two more books in this Voluspa series.




          **CONGRATS TO THE CONTEST WINNERS!!!**

                       SARAH S. FROM CALIFORNIA

                                            AND

                       SARAH G. FROM ONTARIO!!! **

         They each won a copy of Voluspa A Magical World! 
















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