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VINE VOICEon March 1, 2011
Persia left her drug-addicted parents to join a traveling theater troupe. There is something special about this theater troupe though. They use faerie magic! Soon troubles from the past begin to resurface, and everyone Persia cares about could be in jeopardy. They decide to hide in Faerie, but quickly discover they can't run from their problems.

I have mixed feelings about this one. I liked the idea of a traveling theater troupe that used Faerie magic to animate puppets, but the characters didn't leave a lasting impression on me. I know I can't end every book feeling like I have a new BFF, but with this one they all felt like strangers. This should not be the case after spending 300+ pages together. The cast was quite large, but Persia is the main focus. We see things through her eyes. The characters had the potential to be fantastic, but they just weren't developed enough for my liking. The world also wasn't explained well enough to really pull me in. Really a great concept, but with the lack of development in the characters and world, it just didn't win me over.

The ending seemed open for a sequel. I'd definitely pick up the next book and give the author, Persia, and her friends a second chance if this does turn out to be a series.

Cover thoughts: Gorgeous and a perfect fit for the story it accompanies. It does an excellent job of making me think faeries and magic are a big part of the book.
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on April 4, 2015
This is a fun story that mixes mortal worlds and Faeries. I would not have read this if it wasn't for my daughter and I am glad she introduced me to this genre. I like how the group stands together and cares so much for each other they will do anything to help one another.
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VINE VOICEon August 9, 2011
In Blood And Flowers by Penny Blubaugh, there exists a world in which the realm of humans and the realm of fairies exist side by side. Persia, a mortal girl, has left the house of her druggie parents years ago, and joins a puppet troupe known as the Outlaws which is run by fey and humans. Life is peachy with the outlaws - Persia feels she belongs and even has a crush on fellow Outlaw Nicholas.

Yet, her happiness is threatened when an old enemy spreads false rumors and accusations about the Outlaws, which may cause them to have to do jail time. So, the puppet troupe must retreat to fairyland and navigate a whole new society.

Blood And Flowers is an imaginative story about human-fey relations. It shows how humans blame the fey for drugging, and yet the fey do not trust humans either and there is definite tension as the two worlds collide. It also showcases how although satire can be dangerous, it can be incredibly important and meaningful. I also quite liked the magic used in the puppet show and also for a store that is in a rotating location.

Penny Blubaugh's novel is a quick young adult read. However, I never got a true connection to the characters because it went by so fast. Blood And Flowers is definitely more plot driven, which is fine but not for me. I also was disappointed that it was not as romantic as I was lead to believe it would be.

I recommend Blood And Flowers by Penny Blubaugh for fairy fans and people who love a quick read.
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on January 11, 2015
Persia is a member of the Outlaws, a renegade puppet theater group that contains both human and fairy members. They put on productions that make people think, staying in a place for a short time before moving on. When they are threatened by legal action against one of their members, the troop has nowhere to go but Fairie. While magical, there are great dangers here as well, particularly for Floss as her family has ruled this particular section of the land for a long time and both her brother and her mother would like nothing more than to see her banished forever. The troop must work together to make the performance of their lives in order to try and save themselves from peril. The book has wonderful imagery and a quirky cast of characters and scenes, including a Welsh-Mexican fusion restaurant, a general store that appears when needed but stays only fleetingly, and some standard magical beings including a rather nasty troll as well as some unpleasant human beings.
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on August 1, 2013
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.

Quick & Dirty: This was a YA fantasy filled with mysterious characters, an intriguing setting, and a unique idea. Some of the aspects fell a little short, but overall it was a very enjoyable read.

Opening Sentence: "In case you don't know, you use a thin paste of the flour water to stick the poster down."

The Review:

Persia ran away from home to live with a traveling group of theater performers. They are considered outlaw's because the plays they perform are very controversial and full of fairy magic which is illegal. Persia grew up with parents that were drug addicts so she never felt like she was safe, so once she discovered the outlaw group they became her family and her home. She loved being a part of it and loved all of its members. They all contribute to the performances in different ways, but they are all treated equal.

Their group has started a new production and it is their most popular play yet. They are getting rave reviews and have sold out performances. Then an old enemy of the group's leader makes an appearance and he will stop at nothing to bring the group down. They are being accused of far more illegal things than just using a little fairy magic and the law is not on their side. To try and protect themselves the group decides to leave and go into fairyland. They start over and get ready to wow the people in fairyland with their unique skills, but soon they realize that running away is never the answer. When you have a problem you need to stick up for yourself and take care of it.

There is a large cast of characters in the group and they all have a vital role. Max is the protective one, Tonio is the leader and director, Floss makes the costumes and adds the magic, Lucia is the vulnerable shy one, Nicholas is the smart charismatic one, and Persia is thoughtful observant one. Persia is the main focus in the book, you get to see it all through her eyes. I really enjoyed the characters but they fell a little flat for me. This book was so character driven that I felt like I needed more from them and I just didn't get it. I'm not saying I didn't like the characters, I just wish they would have been fleshed out better so they could have made a stronger impression.

The setting and idea behind the book was very intriguing but I would have liked a little more description about the world. I wasn't quite sure if it was a modern day setting or not which was confusing at times. The pacing was a little slow, but I really enjoyed the writing. It had a sort of lyrical feel to it which worked really well. The characters were really interesting and very unique, I just needed more to connect with them the way I wanted to. There was a little bit of romance that was sweet, but I would have liked there to have been a few more romantic scenes. I think the story could have used it. I feel that this review has sounded negative, but I actually did enjoy this book. It had a lot of flaws, but overall it was a beautifully written book that I liked. I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys a good mysterious group of characters and likes faeries.

FTC Advisory: Harper Collins provided me with a copy of Blood & Flowers. No goody bags, sponsorships, "material connections," or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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on October 2, 2011
What first drew me to Blood and Flowers by Penny Blubaugh was its beautiful cover, but what kept me reading was the unique concept and great story. Oh, and faeries. I'd forgotten how much I loved faeries, but was thankfully reminded how much I love them by Blood and Flowers!

Blood and Flowers takes place in a world where everyone knows about Fey. Where everyone blames the Fey for everything; crime, drug abuse, etc. Where everyone is afraid of the Fey's magic. Persia and her friends, one who's in fact a faerie, are all apart of a travelling theatre troupe and they always use faerie magic in their shows to give it a little somthing extra. When an enemy of the group uses the groups use of magic against them and begins spreading rumours about the group dealing illigal faerie "drugs" (pixie dust, coloured drinks), they are forced to flee into the land of Faerie in order to escape the possibilty of being thrown in prision for crimes that they didn't commit. Once they reach Faerie, they realize that not everything is perfect like they hoped it would be and that Faerie may be even more dangerous than their world.

The central character, Persia, was a great character. Although I don't think she realized it herself, I found her to be a strong character, pretty much the rock of the whole group. If it hadn't been for her, I don't think that the troupe would have made it through everything that they did. At the beginning of the book, she seemed to like to just be in the background, but as the book progressed I could tell that she realized just what she could do if she took charge and I really liked that.

I also really loved the diversity of the people in the threatre group. There is Tonio, the sort of leader of the Outlaws (that's the name of their troupe) who is gay and rather flamboyant, there is Max, Tonio's ex-boxer boyfriend, then there is Floss, the fierce and artistic and talented faerie, Lucia, a sweet and fragile girl, and lastly Nicolas, a law student. I really loved how all of these people who were so different from one another could come together and from their very own tight-knit family.

The idea behind Blood and Flowers was rather original, I thought, and I really liked that. I though thought that Penny Blubaugh's writing was great and just like the book, I felt that it had a special uniquness to it. Although the book wasn't focused mainly on romance, I really liked the little sprinkle that was incorperated into the story!

As a whole, I really enjoyed Blood and Flowers and found it to be a great, quick read! The story was really unique, like nothing I've ever really read before and the characters were fun and diverse. I would definitley recommend picking a copy up if you are a fan a faeries or if you are just looking for something different to read!
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on August 31, 2011
Fly into this enchanting story of a puppet theater group, forced to hide in the land of the Faeries. Author Penny Blubaugh ties in real modern problems among her fantasy world to offer a multilayered novel with memorable characters.

Persia joined the Outlaws, a theater troupe, to escape her drug-addict parents. Each Outlaw has a special skill, and hers is making beautiful, unique program booklets to pass around during shows. Members are both mortal and fey. Faerie Floss takes quick offense at any comments that seem anti-faerie. Plenty of racism abides in the fantasy realm here with a dictatorial government and rules about magic use that seem drawn from strictures found in real-world history. The group is forced to run away into Faerie land due to a looming threat of arrest started by a rival over unfair accusations.

With nowhere else to go but into the Faerie world, Floss's estranged family becomes their guide in a sometimes dangerous new culture and world. The troupe is forced to put aside differences and decide what their future will be. The rival Major follows them, adding another layer of suspense and drama.

The real story is of the group and how they become their own family and home. Filled with fascinating details such as Faerie restaurants, trolls and more, the setting is evocative and picturesque. Blubaugh's second book (following SERENDIPITY MARKET) adds an overlay of humor --- readers will enjoy the Mexican-Faerie cuisine and the budding romance between Persia and fellow Outlaw Nicholas. The ending seems open for a sequel, but BLOOD & FLOWERS is a satisfying read all by itself.

--- Reviewed by Amy Alessio
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on September 9, 2012
I was pleasantly surprised by Blood and Flowers. It was one of those books that I have sitting on my shelf for ages. The cover scares the crap out of me so I always procrastinated picking it up, but I did love the summary.

I'm glad I got around to reading it. (Don't let the cover fool you - there's no weird frost bitten pollinated nymphs in the story. Or at least, I didn't see any.) It's a fun romp of a tale that sucks you in and doesn't let you go until the final page.

Even though the plot was fairly predictable - one day I will be surprised! - I absolutely loved the world and the characters. Every single character was well fleshed out and (in their own way) hilarious. I'd happily risk all the dangers of Faerie if it meant being able to hang out with them for a while.

And Faerie! And the human world that borders Faerie! I loved all the subtle ways the world of Faerie influenced the human world; it wasn't this in-your-face, "Oh, look, we have FAERIES on THIS earth!" kind of world. It was really well blended, so to speak.
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on April 6, 2011
Blood & Flowers was definitely an enjoyable, new spin on the faerie trend, but it wasn't what I was expecting at all. If you're like me, you'll start this book with the idea that it will be somewhat dark. It's not.

The story focuses on the Outlaws: a theater troupe of outcast misfits and one faerie, and their attempt to flee from a vindictive ex-lover of one of the Outlaws who has the power to disband and destroy them, all while they struggle to continue to do the thing that makes them most happy - theater. There's really no intensity or suspense or darkness. It's sort of lighthearted and fun, and that's not a bad thing at all. I closed this book with a smile on my face. The differing personalities and quirks and talents of each Outlaw member really came together, and the chapters where they were working on a show (which was pretty much all of them) were definitely the most entertaining.

I do wish the story was a bit more personal. The main character, Persia, narrates, and she does have a good voice. But at times I felt like she was just someone telling us what was going on, rather than a character having a firsthand part in what was going on. And I would've loved to learn more about Nicholas. I feel like he's the only character that got neglected when it came to spotlighting each Outlaw and getting a sense of their personality.

But other than that, I very much enjoyed Blood & Flowers. It's not what you'd expect, but the lightness and the fun that the book brings is definitely worth checking out!
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