Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Countdown -- 13 days to go!

Countdown Christmas is an event at A Bookalicious Story to celebrate the coming of Christmas in 2 weeks time. There'll be fun interviews, Christmassy excerpts and giveaways just brimming with bookish-goodness ranging from YA Fantasies to New Adult Contemporary Romances to Adult Historical Romances. I hope y'all will join in this celebration! The more the merrier, aye? ;)

13 days to Christmas, what are y'all planning to do on this lovely wintery day? :) Today, I'll be featuring Livia Blackburne's self-published novella, POISON DANCE, prequel to MIDNIGHT THIEF which will be published next year July by Disney-Hyperion.

Publication Date: September 24th, 2013
Finished Date: December 3rd, 2013
Publisher: Livia Blackburne (self-published)
Format: eBook
Series: Midnight Thief #0.5
My Rating:

Blurb from Goodreads

James is skilled, efficient, and deadly, a hired blade navigating the shifting alliances of a deteriorating Assassin’s Guild. Then he meets Thalia, an alluring but troubled dancing girl who offers him a way out—if he’ll help her kill a powerful nobleman. With the Guild falling apart, it just might be worth the risk. But when you live, breathe, and love in a world that’s forever flirting with death, the slightest misstep can be poison.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Author's Website

 Livia Blackburne
About Livia

Livia Blackburne started writing her debut novel MIDNIGHT THIEF while conducting research on the neuroscience of reading at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Since then, she’s switched to full time writing, which also involves getting into peoples’ heads but without the help of a three tesla MRI scanner. She still blogs about the intersection of psychology, neuroscience, and writing.

My Review

POISON DANCE is a fast-paced little read that neatly introduces us to a fantasy world of mercenary assassins and powerful noblemen called wallhuggers. The Guild's leader has recently passed away and the higher-ups are keeping it hush hush. James is a gifted assassin who doesn't necessarily like what he does and the new leader of the guild, but he's good in his trade and his new leader has this preconceived notion that James covets the title of top-dog.

In the midst of all these politicking and the daily bustles of Forge, there lives a dancing girl in a tavern called the Scorned Maiden. Thalia wasn't always a dancing girl, but she's here now with a mission - to kill a wallhugger. That's nigh impossible, what with all the Red Shields perpetually at their beck. She's a resourceful woman however, and she has chosen her mentor by eavesdropping on the tavern's many patrons' conversations - James. It's suicide to even think of assassinating a wallhugger, even if you're just an accomplice. James is a rational man, but Thalia's got outside connections and resources that might just be what James and his pals need to escape this stifling city. So therein begins an innocent woman's lessons in becoming a femme fatale and the (inevitable) romance between her and her enigmatic tutor.

Being a novella with an approximate word count of 14,000, there were parts of the story that were skimmed over perhaps a tad too much. Especially the ending, but we'll get to that.

The plot was engaging, though, and I grew to love the characters. They each have their distinctive characteristics, and I loved the development between James and Thalia. Though the "climax" in their romantic development wasn't all that fantastic, I was still rooting for them all the way. There was another subplot going on but it never got confusing.

I wasn't happy with the ending though! GAHHH, but that's because I'm a very one-track reader. I don't want to spoiler it too much, so you'll understand my frustration when you get there. That, and the ending was the part that was skimmed over the most. Blackburne's writing style was engrossing, up until a particular point and everything was tell instead of show. It was like all the details suddenly up and hid somewhere while everything was conveniently summed up without the hows.

That said, POISON DANCE shows much, much promise and I cannot wait to see what happens in MIDNIGHT THIEF, which sounds reminiscent of GRACELING by Kristin Cashore and all kinds of Fantasy goodness. I'm hoping to explore Blackburne's world in more depth and definitely to see more of James! ;) POISON DANCE reads more like a cross between YA and adult Fantasy, so younger readers should take note.

*An ecopy was provided by Livia in exchange for an honest review.*

Livia is giving away one (1) ecopy of POISON DANCE. This giveaway is international and will end two weeks after the last giveaway of the Christmas Countdown, Jan 8, 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thanks for visiting! Be sure to come back tomorrow to see what bookish goodness is in store. ;) You can refer to Day 1's post for all the days of the countdown.


  1. Nothing to say except Poison Dance sounds interesting! I'm always on the hunt for good fantasy.

  2. Poison Dance's cover is really cool!!! It sounds so interesting as well. Thanks for the giveaway!!!


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Cyp's Abbreviation Dictionary

DNF = Did Not Finish
HEA = Happily Ever After
PNR = Paranormal Romance
UF = Urban Fantasy
YA = Young Adult

Erotica Reference

BDSM = Bondage/Discipline, Dominant/Submissive, Sadism/Masochism
f/f = female/female
m/f = male/female
m/m = male/male


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