The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward ~ Review & Swoon Thursday

Today is the release day for The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward. This was a sweet YA Fantasy and I am keen to get my hands on more from this world!
Title: The Potion Diaries
Author: Amy Alward
Series: The Potion Trilogy #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: July 2nd 2015

Buy Now - Amazon USAmazon Aus

When the Princess of Nova accidentally poisons herself with a love potion meant for her crush, she falls crown-over-heels in love with her own reflection. Oops. A nationwide hunt is called to find the cure, with competitors travelling the world for the rarest ingredients, deep in magical forests and frozen tundras, facing death at every turn.

Enter Samantha Kemi - an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. Sam's family were once the most respected alchemists in the kingdom, but they've fallen on hard times, and winning the hunt would save their reputation. But can Sam really compete with the dazzling powers of the ZoroAster megapharma company? Just how close is Sam willing to get to Zain Aster, her dashing former classmate and enemy, in the meantime?

And just to add to the pressure, this quest is ALL OVER social media. And the world news.

No big deal, then.

I love a good young adult fantasy read, and when The Potion Diaries arrived on my doorstep, I just had to pick it up. It was a really good start to the series, as I was introduced to the world, characters and how important potions are in everyday life.

In the beginning I was introduced to Samantha and slowly understood the struggles that she was going through with the family business. Since synthetic potions started taking over the world, it has become extremely difficult for them to keep up business. Samantha was summoned to the castle to join the hunt to recreate a potion to save the princess, and can see a way to get the business afloat once again.

I really enjoyed going on the hunt with Samantha. She is an incredibly gifted alchemist and her natural ability gives her an edge that others don’t have. I liked watching her travelling the world using whatever methods available to her – whether it by plane, car or teleporting through mirrors (exciting but scary). Her instincts get her out of trouble where needed, but I could still see the teenage girl underneath.

There were a few characters introduced that gave great depth to the story too. Her best friend Anita and her brother Arjin believed in Samantha from the beginning and helped her whenever they could. Kirsty accompanies Samantha in the hunt and she’s a talented Finder not afraid of a challenge. Her Grandfather was amusing, had his secrets, but supported her when he could. Then there is Zane, the boy she has had a crush on who starts to take interest in her, even if he is working with the enemy. I liked seeing all these relationships grow throughout the journey and how they all handled the difficult situations.

The Potion Diaries was an exciting read with plenty of dangers along the way – the magical wildlife, other people on the hunt or the crazy aunt hell bent on revenge. I liked how the author pulled me into the world with the gentle world building and explaining the complexities of the potions. It was sweet to see the slow building romance develop too, as both characters were shy and hesitant. I cannot wait to read the next book to see what new adventure Samantha has to face next.

Complimentary copy provided by Simon & Schuster Australia in exchange for an honest review.

I can’t look at him, but the sound of the wind outside is replaced by the beating of my heart, and the beating of his heart, which seems exponentially louder.
His fingers trace the contour of my neck, until they reach the base of my ear and embed themselves in my hair. He pulls me towards him and his kiss takes on a deeper urgency.
But then his nose brushes my cheek, and it’s an icy shock. The temperature has dropped considerably. When we Pull away from the kiss, I can see his breath, warming the air between us.

Paperback Page 248

Hosted by YA Bound

Amy AlwardAmy Alward (nee McCulloch) was born in Kingston-upon-Thames, UK, and moved to Ottawa, Canada, when she was 11. She attended Immaculata High School, where she developed a love of geeky things like science fairs, yearbook, RPGs and The Lord of the Rings. After high school she started studying at the University of Toronto, where she graduated with a B.A. (Hons) in English, specializing in Old English and Medieval literature (her love for Geoffrey Chaucer will never die).

After a year out backpacking around Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South-East Asia (you can read her travel blog here), she moved back to London, UK, to find a job in publishing. After three years at HarperVoyager, where she worked on some of the top SF&F brands in publishing, she moved to Penguin Random House Children’s Books to be editorial director.

At the beginning of 2011, she signed with the amazing Juliet Mushens of The Agency Group for her debut YA fantasy-adventure duology: The Oathbreaker’s Shadow and The Shadow’s Curse.

In 2014, she signed with Simon & Schuster for Mi> Madly (US/Canada)/The Potion Diaries (UK&Comm), which is due out in Summer 2015.

She continues to be addicted to adventure, coffee and really great books.


  1. Love the swoon. It's nice in fantasy books when things develop a little slower. Those worlds can be so complex that it takes a bit to get it all straight. Glad you enjoyed.

  2. Angela ReadingCaveJuly 2, 2015 at 9:06 PM

    Now that is some kiss. I love rubbing my cold nose on the hubby's cheek- he hates it! So naturally, I do it a lot

    My Swoon

  3. I've not heard of this book! I love the slow exploration, so tender yet steamy! Fantastic swoon choice, lady!

    Have a lovely weekend :)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  4. Alchemists and YA? Imagine that! :D Sounds like should check this out :) Good instincts AND the ability to teleport ... this Samantha chick is definitely an interesting heroine!

  5. This sounds adorable!:D Im gonna see if my library has it now. I love how inventive some of these YA authors are getting!

  6. Aw this one actually sounds really cute, I love the slow burn romance. Thank you for sharing <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

  7. Alchemy, and traveling through mirrors?!!! What a fun story. I'm glad that even though Samantha had these abilities, you could still see the teenage girl within. This story sounds like it had a wonderful cast of characters! Plus, I love slow building romance, great world-building, and when an author is able to pull you in!

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

  8. Ah. I wish fantasy novels are my thing. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, though. :)

  9. Great review! I loved this book too, especially the whole process of the hunt with Samantha. I really liked her growing relationship with Zane too :)

  10. Now this sounds like it was kind of a fun YA read-almost like a fairy tale a bit? But not. Glad you enjoyed!

  11. I did enjoy it, and I look forward to seeing where the relationship goes. I am keen for more from this world!

  12. Hehe! It can't be helped, you have to do things to irritate them at times, I do it too!

  13. This was a great YA read! I really enjoyed it and loved how things developed slowly between the characters. Loved the hunt aspect!

  14. This was such a fun read Ramona! I am dying for more!

  15. I hope you do get a chance to read it! I thought it was quite a cleaver read. I loved the hunt and how determined Samantha was.

  16. It was a bit cute, but the hunt was exciting!

  17. Yes! The teenage girl felt defeated on occasion, but was able to pick herself back up. I loved that about her. I'm looking forward to continuing the journey.

  18. Yes! The hunt was so much fun, and Zane was a bit shy but did some sweet things!

  19. Thanks! It was a nice read, the author has built an exciting world!

  20. It was fun, thanks Lorna! The hunt was exciting and I liked learning about Samantha, her friends and seeing her develop other relationships.


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