Mistwood & Nightspell: reviews & giveaway

Note to readers: The following reviews are quite frankly the most jumbled I have ever written (and that, my friends, is a feat). See. I enjoyed reading the following books, despite what I humbly view as a few epic failings. These are great stories with (again in my humble opinion) serious plot issues. Not to mention, they have no clear resolution in my mind and were at times extremely vague and yet I lapped them up like a kid with candy. Please… don’t ask me to explain. I don’t understand myself… It just is what it is. The end.

Mistwood

by Leah Cypess (blog, twitter)
Published April 27th, 2010
amazon, Barnes & Noble 
synopsis from goodreads
The Shifter is an immortal creature bound by an ancient spell to protect the kings of Samorna. When the realm is peaceful, she retreats to the Mistwood. But when she is needed she always comes.

Isabel remembers nothing. Nothing before the prince rode into her forest to take her back to the castle. Nothing about who she is supposed to be, or the powers she is supposed to have.

Prince Rokan needs Isabel to be his Shifter. He needs her ability to shift to animal form, to wind, to mist. He needs her lethal speed and superhuman strength. And he needs her loyalty—because without it, she may be his greatest threat.

Isabel knows that her prince is lying to her, but she can’t help wanting to protect him from the dangers and intrigues of the court . . . until a deadly truth shatters the bond between them.

Now Isabel faces a choice that threatens her loyalty, her heart . . . and everything she thought she knew.

some cutie thoughts:
There were some fundamental plot line issues with Mistwood (more on plot later, taters). It was almost as if the author had a bag of plot twists and would randomly pull one out at will adding it to her story. Toward the end of the novel, as things finally sorta started to take shape, I just stopped trying to figure out what the heck was going on and embraced the fact that nothing was going to make sense. Revelations were made, huge plot reveals explored, and yet, I just couldn’t find a rhyme or reason to them.

Isabel (the Shifter and main protagonist) was an extremely unstable character and I could never truly put my finger on who she was. I know her character was in turmoil, but there was just far too much “shifting” in her character traits. The only consistent personality trait was her conceit, which is eventually her undoing. This quality was both annoying and yet interesting to see play out. I think my main issue with Isabel was her lack of taking control of her life and standing up for what was right. Or maybe I just wanted her to learn to embrace her emotions even if they were human and messy. I got tired of her using the excuse that she had no choice in serving the king because at times it seemed she could have easily turned from him. I was never convinced she couldn’t do as she pleased or that she would be worthless without her ties to protecting the royal line. Also, the love story that was unfolding throughout the course of the novel was hastily thrown together within the final pages of the novel… at least… I think they were.

All the negative aside, the story is truly beautifully written and the setting is both unique and interesting. I just couldn’t put this novel down no matter how many times I rolled my eyes or just didn’t connect with the characters. Ms. Cypess is a fantastic writer. Her voice is strong. Her imagination is epic. And her characters are diverse and interesting, if not a little one-dimensional.

I think my main complaint was how without substance the reveals were and how at times the characters would have these “eureka moments” of understanding what was going on in the story, and yet I felt confused and left in the dark.

My Bewitched Rating:
In spite of it all, Ms. Cypess won me over with her beautiful voice and style.
Nightspell
by Leah Cypess (blog, twitter)
Published May 31st, 2011
received from HarperTeen for a fair review
synopsis from goodreads

A stand-alone companion novel to the much-acclaimed MISTWOOD. When Darri rides into Ghostland, a country where the living walk with the dead, she has only one goal: to rescue her younger sister Callie, who was sent to Ghostland as a hostage four years ago. But Callie has changed in those four years, and now has secrets of her own. In her quest to save her sister from herself, Darri will be forced to outmaneuver a handsome ghost prince, an ancient sorcerer, and a manipulative tribal warrior (who happens to be her brother). When Darri discovers the source of the spell that has kept the dead in Ghostland chained to this earth, she faces a decision that will force her to reexamine beliefs she has never before questioned – and lead her into the heart of a conspiracy that threatens the very balance of power between the living and the dead.

Let’s indulge cutie for a moment whilst she explains the obvious.
So, a story line is the A to B to C which eventually will get us to Z of a story. It’s everything that happens and then some, whilst a plot is the twists and turns that are thrown into the story which manipulate it or in other words, it’s all the drama and dum.dum.dum moments. The plot gives the story substance, meaning, a reason. It makes the story interesting and helps drive it toward point Z. See, college ain’t a complete waste of time.*rolls eyes at self*


cutie now gives ya her thoughts:
If Mistwood’s plot was confusing, Nightspell’s was nonexistent. There was a story, that’s for sure. It’s setting was mysterious and beautiful, however, I have no clue how it was the same setting as Mistwood (??). It’s back history was interesting if not muddy. And it’s characters were plentiful, powerful, and yet they really didn’t do anything. I think there were a few love stories… but I’m not sure. I think the world was made better…. but I’m not sure. I think…. I’m beyond confused.

A hundred pages into the story I had no clue where it was going, what the main goal of the characters were, nor did I understand why I was reading this tale. And by the end of the story I felt no resolution nor was I any closer to understanding who the antagonist was or what the premise of this story was.

Nightspell is told from the prospective of at least three characters who are all siblings: Varis (a know-it-all warrior who was constantly being taken by surprise), Callie (the youngest sibling who had been sent to Ghostland to marry the prince), and Darri (an extremely head-strong and stubborn character who wants to save her sister). Outside of Callie who grows somewhat, all the characters remained steadfast in both their convictions and prejudices. I didn’t feel there was any resolution to this story nor to their relationship issues. Added to this, each of the characters seemed to have love interests: Varis’ never made sense, Darri was muddy at best and I was sad it wasn’t more flushed out, and Callie’s assumed main squeeze was tossed away without acknowledgment.

But mostly, I’m just unsure what was going on. There were moments when characters would suddenly just get it but I never did. For example, Varis at one point confronts a secondary character Clarssie about her past and her family, but I’m still not sure what it all meant, it was so vague and without substance or explanation, and yet it was this huge moment in which they connected….  And the sudden ending, with so many loose ends left unexplained, just left me on edge.

However, despite all of this, the story was enjoyable (I know, right? I’m not sure how), if for no other reason then I was completely drawn into the setting and found the writer’s style both beautiful and enchanting. I have never felt so conflicted whilst reading a book. A part of me was completely in love with the story line, the potential for epic greatness, while the other part of me wanted to call up the author and ask her what the hell was going on!

My Bewitched Rating:
I was confused. I was charmed.
I was taken in without my consent.
But I’m still not sure what happened.
Sharing is caring, my friends!
Annnd sooooo
LET’S HAVE  A GIVEAWAY!!!
Because I have webernet fail,
Danny’s here to hold my hand and help set this all up.
Take it away, my love.

Danny: Of course we do a giveaway!
We have 2 awesome shiny hardcover copies for you to grab!
Please fill out the form below and get an extra entry 
for leaving some comment love for cutie 
on this post… 


Contest is open internationally and ends Friday 1st of July! 

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Latest posts by admin (see all)

Diana 6/16/2011

I've heard both good and bad things about this series…. but I'm never to quick to judge…. I want to try them out for myself! Thanks so much for having this giveaway, please count me in :)

Diana
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April X 6/16/2011

Great reviews, I've heard mixed things about this book but I've been wanting to read it for a while :) Thanks for the giveaway :)

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Mocha 6/16/2011

Wonderful review! I'm looking forward to Nightspell.
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Rachel Leigh 6/17/2011

Great review! I cant wait to read these!

Rachel Leigh

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Ambur 6/16/2011

It sucks that they had you so confused, but it still sounds like you had a good time reading them. Thanks for sharing your thoughts cutie. :) I haven't heard too much about this series, but I have been wanting to read them, so thanks for the chance to win copies of Mistwood and Nightspell. :)
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@VLSimplicity 6/17/2011

Nice reviews, even though you didn't enjoy the plots and such! I also LOVE the layout! Its so pretty! :-)
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cutie 6/17/2011

If you enjoy YA paranormal, you should definitely give it a go. The premise is interesting, the story is very imaginative, and they are beautiful written (tone, voice, and style wise). I just want to put out there that I am completely conflicted, I would hate for someone to dislike these books (and probably rightfully so) and then be upset at me! Ya know?!

GOOD LUCK!!!!

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cutie 6/17/2011

Yeah, I had seen mixed reviews as well. I checked out a bunch after I had finished reading the books and realized I hadn't gone crazy (well… gone crazier! har har har. I'z funny.).

GOOD LUCK!!!

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cutie 6/17/2011

Thank you. *blushes*
Good luck!

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cutie 6/17/2011

YAY!! GOOD LUCK!!

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cutie 6/17/2011

I am still not sure if I had fun reading them!? *headdesk* Honestly, I am very confused. And I hate to admit that, cause it just makes me sound so silly, but that's where I'm at.

However, I think they are worth checking out, just due to the authors writing style and imagination.

GOOD LUCK!

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cutie 6/17/2011

I was just never sure what these stories were driving toward, and being that I'm fresh out of a few writing classes, it just grated on me. I have the pretentious. *winks*

GOOD LUCK!

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Book Passion 6/17/2011

Thanks for the great giveaway. These books sounds amazing and I can't wait to read them :) Donna

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Lieder Madchen 6/17/2011

Thank you for the giveaway! Both of these books have been on my to-read list for a while. :)
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cass_wordsonpaper 6/17/2011

Thanks for the giveaway! I've been curious about this series since I first heard of it. :)

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Carol Thompson 6/17/2011

Thanks for the giveaway and for opening it to worldwide entries.

Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

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Vivien 6/17/2011

I've been intrigued by this series for a while but haven't made the jump yet. It does have a lot of intriguing qualities.

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Britta 6/17/2011

Thanks for the reviews and giveaway! I've had these books on my to-read list for a while now, but I just haven't gotten around to buying them. So thank you for this opportunity.
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Najela 6/17/2011

That's how I felt about Mistwood. When I read it, I wasn't sure I liked fantasy as much as I said I did, but then I realized that this book is just strange. I was in love with the writing, but everything else was frankly… well, confusing, like you said.The writing was the only saving grace and it seems like it would be the same case for the other.

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@semisweetblog 6/17/2011

Great giveaway, thanks! I haven't read these but I'd like to. : )

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Dani Nguyen 6/17/2011

I really liked Mistwood but haven't read Nightspell yet. Thanks for the giveaway!

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Small Review 6/17/2011

Nice reviews! I get what you mean, at least about Mistwood (I haven't read Nightspell yet). I had a really hard time connecting with Isabel, too, but I was totally sucked in by all of the court intrigue. I never knew who to trust.

Thank you for the awesome giveaway!
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Victoria Zumbrum 6/17/2011

Thanks for the great giveaway. Tore923@aol.com

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Margaret 6/17/2011

These look really good! I've been wanting to read them for a while! Thanks!

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Dee Bibb 6/17/2011

I really enjoyed hearing that someone else can really not connect with a story but continue to read because they enjoy the strength of the writer or setting.

I haven't read either of these and really appreciate the opportunity to enter to win.

Thank you!!!!

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Danya 6/17/2011

I really enjoyed Mistwood, although I did find the beginning confusing, especially as Isabel is somewhat of an 'unreliable narrator' at first. I'd love to have my own copy though (and Nightspell, which I haven't read yet!), thanks for the giveaway! :D

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Candace 6/17/2011

I have heard a lot of people say that they were confused and stuff and I think this is one series I'll skip (there are just too many books out there!) but I appreciate your awesome reviews and stating your honest opinions!
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Robin K 6/17/2011

Fantastic! Thank you for the post and contest.
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Kymberlee 6/17/2011

I haven't read these books yet but after all the buzz I am looking forward to it! I love your reviews:)<3

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ruby95660 6/17/2011

Great review! I havn't read these books yet but now I really want to :D

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Tasnim Sheikh 6/17/2011

great review!!!! thanks so much for making the contest international!! x
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cutie 6/17/2011

THANK YOU for sharing that! Truly, I thought I was losing my flippin' mind! She really is a great writer but her skills of a plotter and reveal-er do so suffer.

GOOD LUCK!

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cutie 6/17/2011

GOOD LUCK!

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cutie 6/17/2011

But of course! GOOD LUCK!

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cutie 6/17/2011

Intriguing is a great word for it. Plus, the premises are so creative!

GOOD LUCK!

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cutie 6/17/2011

NP! GOOD LUCK!

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cutie 6/17/2011

Nightspell is even more confusing and yet the setting and "court intrigue" is even more epic. If you enjoyed Mistwood even slightly, definitely pick it up! Oh and GOOD LUCK!

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Maria 6/17/2011

Thanks for the giveaway and great review! This has been on my wishlst for a while now.
tirachii@yahoo.com

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cutie 6/17/2011

YAY!! GOOD LUCK!

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cutie 6/17/2011

And I appreciated your honesty! Truly, in all honesty, I'm not sure I would have read Nightspell if this review/giveaway had been in the works. Unfortunately, with so many books out there, one must be sorta cut throat about the selection process. I'm not sure I'll be picking up another Cypess book in the future, I definitely won't be buying one, but I am glad I read these just to get a taste of her writing. blah blah blah. Rambling over and out!

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cutie 6/17/2011

Why thank you!! And GOOD LUCK!

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cutie 6/17/2011

But of course!! And GOOD LUCK!

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cutie 6/17/2011

But of course!! GOOD LUCK!

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cutie 6/17/2011

I love me a good writer. And in this case, Cypess's writing was what truly made me love this novel. GOOD LUCK!

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Kristen H. 6/17/2011

Definitely looking forward to reading these. Thanks for the review.
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@natcleary 6/17/2011

Thanks so much for the chance. I have these on my wishlist!

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hrose2931 6/17/2011

Cutie-
The cover of Nightspell looks like something out of Arabian Nights and I so wanted to read it. But hmm. I love your line "I wanted to call up the author and ask her what the hell was going on!" Made me laugh! Maybe you could have her on the blog to explain things??? Might be awkward. Might need to be a private conversation. I loved your super honest review. I think you did a great job of explaining exactly how you felt!

Heather
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Bookish in a Box 6/17/2011

This sounds very hit or miss, but I'd love to give them a chance. The stories sound so beautiful!
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Denise Z 6/17/2011

I understand just what you mean by saying there were obvious flaws, but in spite of this you really enjoyed it. I have read a few of those myself :) Enjoyment of fiction is so subjective that sometimes expressing yourself is just difficult. Thank you for sharing today and for the lovely giveaway opportunity. I have been following these books and really would like to read them.

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Lindsi 6/17/2011

Thanks so much for the giveaway! I cannot wait to read these books :)
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Despite the problems in the book, I'm still very curious abou these books. Still sounds like a read nice enough for summer. Thanks for the giveaway!
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natalie 6/17/2011

Awesome reviews, they look like great books I would love to read, I will have to add to my wish list. Thanks for making it international :)
nataliej0209@yahoo.ca
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Patricia 6/17/2011

The cover's are kind of weird oô Dunno, the blurbs sound good, though. xDD I love how you have internationally giveaways! *_* :)
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Elizabeth Morgan 6/17/2011

Those books sound really good!

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Aleetha 6/17/2011

I have seen Nightspell with its review almost everywhere. But I rarely see the Mistwood.
I hope I get the chance to read them all

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LadyVampire 6/17/2011

These books look and sound awesome. I enjoyed your review of them and would really like to read the books myself. I did a tweet about this giveaway here: http://twitter.com/#!/LadyVampire2u/status/819274… . Thanks for the giveaway!!

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The Muggle 6/18/2011

Thanks so much for the giveaway!

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Michaela Cini 6/18/2011

thx for the giveaway and for making it international :)) can't wait to read these books :)
email : michaela_cini(AT)rocketmail(DOT)com

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Giada M. 6/18/2011

Great reviews! :D Mistwood is an awesome book and I can't wait to read Nightspell.
Thank you for making the giveaway international! :D

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hootowl1978 6/18/2011

I can't wait to read this book. thank you for the review.

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Kara 6/18/2011

I have both of these on my TBR list. They've been there awhile. Thanks for the great giveaway!

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jwitt33 6/19/2011

I've felt the same way before when reading a book: I feel compelled to keep reading even when I am confused and have a lot of questions! I'm glad you liked it, and I would love to read it, too:)
Thanks for the great giveaway!

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Andrea 6/20/2011

Thanks for the honest reviews. I appreciate that you gave an actual reason for your POV.

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Andrea 6/20/2011

Thanks for the honest reviews. I appreciate that you gave an actual reason for your POV.

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Sharli 6/20/2011

Great reviews! i haven't read this books yet but I've read so many great things about them, I can't help being intrigued :P Thank you so much for the giveaway!
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Bonnie 6/22/2011

I've honestly not heard much about these books so your review is all that I'm really going on. Its really too bad that the plot lines were so confusing, I still think that I would like to read them to see for myself what is going on! Thanks for hosting a giveaway!

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vancie917 6/23/2011

I came here because I have a library copy of Nightspell and wondered if I could read this one not having read the first. Its seems that's a yes and your review of these two books had me laughing. I believe I'll give it a shot and I'll definitely be back for more fun with your blog.

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Emma 6/23/2011

Thanks for the great giveaway! You guys are wonderful :) Also, your blog is adorable!

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Diana 6/27/2011

This series sounds great. I love the covers. Thanks for the giveaway!

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Aydrea 6/29/2011

Thanks for the awesome giveaway! I have read Mistwood, so I can't wait to read Nightspell!

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Leanne 6/29/2011

Mistwood has been on my to read list for a while. And here's some hugs :-)

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aloveforbooks 6/30/2011

Thanks for the review! Your rating makes me kind of cautious though! But who doesn't want a giveaway? I sure do want giveaways, especially international ones! Thanks!

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[...] was bemused, bewildered but ultimately charmed by Mistwood and Nightspell by Leah Cypess. Come see why and while you’re there, enter to win a copy of each! OPEN [...]

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