Friday, May 31, 2013

Piper LeVine and a Gypsy's Truth Book Review


Piper LeVine and a Gypsy's Truth by Eris Kelli is the first book in the Piper Levine series. Seventeen-year-old Piper is the Senator's daughter and the focus of much negative media attention that strains her relationship with her parents. But as we find out in the first chapter, the strain may be deeper than teenage angst. The Senator's wife is not Piper's mother, and Piper never knew.

After many revelations and tears are shed, Piper goes to the only place she feels loved and safe, her Grandma Sidney's house, an animal sanctuary. But it may not be so safe when a strange man and then a werewolf show up outside her bedroom window.

I didn't know what to make of this book. The first several chapters I was asking myself, Where is this book going? Several times I just wanted to stop reading. Piper's first person account of events is sometimes disjointed. Sometimes I didn't know where she was and what she was doing, nor did I care. Even with the werewolf present it just seemed too mysterious.

Piper was not getting any answers and was getting frustrated. So was I. The only reason other more knowledgeable characters weren't cluing her in was because they didn't think she was ready. That was not a good enough reason for me, especially in light of how strong a character Piper has. I think a lot of foolishness could have been avoided if certain information was revealed. I don't think it would have taken away from the mysteriousness of the plot at all.

Piper is not a very likable girl. No one seems to like her except her grandma and a bunch of hormonal young men. I got really tired of hearing all the time how beautiful and amazing Piper is. However, it is not until much, much later in the book that the reader finds out that this attention is related to a plot device.

Still, Piper is rude and stubborn and funny. I got really exasperated with her behavior. She just seems to dig herself deeper and deeper into holes that could have been avoided. But the holes move the plot along and she stays true to herself. That's one thing I like about her character, she doesn't get all gushy and lose her sense of self over the several love interests put on platters before her.

The love interests are weird for a lack of a better word. I didn't know what to make of them. Who is telling the truth and who isn't? Truth is relative in this book. Who knows what the real truth is after reading this installment. I started rooting for one love interest over the other. But I'm not sure if it was the right one. Then their personalities took on new characteristics and I was like, What? It seemed like everyone has a secret to hide from Piper. If she hadn't been as strong as she was, she would not have made it too the end of the book.

The settings were mostly her bedroom on the sanctuary and her bedroom in the gypsy house. Everything that happened always lead her back these two places and the characters came to her. Other locations came and went quickly.

Much of the action was quick but grabbed my attention enough to keep me reading. The climax was a mixture of surprise, disbelief and predictable. I'm not sure where this story is going now, but I'm interested in seeing what's next for Piper.

I'm hovering between a 3 and 4 out of 5. I just don't know what to think of it. I haven't read about gypsies before and that was fresh. The feisty and stubborn heroine gives it enough boost to keep me interested. I recommend readers 16 and over give it a try. There is a lot of "lusty" thoughts throughout that I wouldn't recommend for younger readers.

Read more reviews by Cherese Vines at www.cheresevinescharmingwords.wordpress.com

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Postponed Blogaversary

As many of my fabulous followers are aware, the Blogaversary of PrincessReviews is mid-May. Unfortunately, due to AP tests and finals, I have not been as active with PrincessReviews as I would have liked to have been. Fortunately, Cherese Vines has continued her much-valued contributions to this blog, and for that I thank her.
Since we did not have a grand celebration in May for the Blogaversary, I have decided we will have a spectacular mid-Summer celebration. This shall take place mid-July, and I would like it to be huge. Any donations would gladly be accepted.
Donations do not have to be things for giveaways or contests, although those will be useful as well. Donations can be as simple as a guest post, or an interview or book review, anything you are willing to allow us to post here on PrincessReviews will be appreciated. Thank you very much for your consideration.
And Thank You for your understanding!
Keep being the royalty you were born to be!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Now, Voyager Book Review


Rating: 5/5

Now, Voyager is the third installment in the Vale family saga written by Prouty in the 1930s and 1940s. This book is about Charlotte Vale, the spinster aunt and her incredible transformation.

After a nervous breakdown, Charlotte is sent to Cascade to recover. It is a forward-thinking, psychiatric facility in the early 1940s. Her doctor, Dr. Jaquith, then sends Charlotte on a cruise alone to try out the coping skills she learned. Charlotte has never been anywhere without her domineering mother and so this is an extraordinary new experience for her. At first she is shy and self-depreciating, but then she meets J.D. Durrance and her entire perspective changes about life and especially about love.

I really enjoyed this book. I saw about 3/4 of the movie a while ago and just loved Betty Davis as Charlotte. I love old black and white movies. But the book gave me so much more. I thought Charlotte's character gained so much strength and self-worth as the story progressed. At first she was resistant because of the way she had been treated all her life, but as she found that she was worthy of love and respect, she really found her footing.

The romance is heart-breaking and beautiful as she falls for Durrance, a married man. This is how a romance should be written. The heroine is enhanced by the hero, but not defined by him or his love. I don't want to give away too much for those who haven't seen the movie or read this book. But it is great, great, great!

The settings are so appropriate. The first half of the book is set on the cruise ship and the various beautiful locations near the Mediterranean. It is almost a fairy tale setting that stands in stark contrast to the life Charlotte returns to in the second half of the book.

The ideas of individual freedoms and expression and responsibility are interwoven without seeming preachy. It is interesting to think of these ideas being so radical, especially by today's standards.

This is such a wonderful romance and I highly recommend it. The movie is great too.

I had a hard time finding this book at the library, but I finally did. It is the most popular of the Vale books. The other books in the series are most likely out of print, but I'm still looking. Now, Voyager hints at the other Vale family members and their various trials. I'm eager to get into their lives as well.

Read more reviews by Cherese Vines at www.cheresevinescharmingwords.wordpress.com

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Third Wish by Deby Adair Book Review


The Third Wish by Deby Adair is the final book in the Wish series. It follows Rielle and (now) Willful James and their unicorn friends as they finally come face-to-face with the Sorcerer of Great Contempt in a fight for the future of their lands.

I as always enjoyed the underlying warmth of the characters, the forest and the land of Wish. However, this book has the hard edge of deparation interwoven in it. Rielle and Will must face their fears and be pushed to their limits to succeed. It had a darker quality to it. There is much introspection and self-doubt among the main characters including the Imperial Guard Snails and the Sorcerer of Great Contempt. This leaves the book feeling less adventurous than the other books, which I missed. I did enjoy the fast-paced sections, but they were slowed by cutting to less exciting goings on.

I was also surprised by Will taking up more time in the book when the series began with Rielle. It took a turn in a different, unexpected direction. This is evidenced by Rielle's encounter with her "watcher" and the revelation of her dream. I did not see any of this coming. It confused me.

The Third Wish still has its light humor, great description and endearing characters. However, the ending, although satisfying, did leave off in a completely different turn of events than I would've expected.

I recommend this series.

Rating: 3.5/5

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sticks, Stones and Dragon Bones II Book Review


Sticks, Stones and Dragon Bones II by Evelyn Ink

Paige, Bean, Dorrit and Hayde, the Darlington sisters, find themselves on a pirate ship on the Sylock River. They are following the cryptic prophesy cited in book one and headed into the dangerous territory of Abraxis, the almost king, in search of their sister Audra.

The second book of the Sticks, Stones and Dragon Bones series is just as adventurous. However, you must read the first book to fully grasp this one. Although this book does have excitement, I didn't find it as thrilling as the first book. But this being the middle of the story, I expected the slight lull.

I can't wait for the exciting ending to the Darlington sisters' tale. Great series.

Rating 4/5

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Heather Gray Guest Post!



How a Book Comes to Be

Have you ever wondered where authors get their ideas?  I wonder all the time, but then, I was one of those annoying children who constantly asked their parents and everyone else within hearing, "Why?"  So, really, where is it that book ideas come from?  Believe it or not, writers don't walk up to fortune-telling machines at the fair, put a couple quarters in, and get a multi-million dollar plot in return.  Nor do they swirl fragrant tea leaves about in a bowl of warm water and try to decipher what the leaves are telling them about the next great American novel idea.  Well, maybe some do.  I can only speak for myself!
I have come up with ideas based on dreams, out of bizarre conversations I've had with people and out of the unending wealth of material my teenage son gives me.  I have created plots out of "What if?"  What if I won the lottery?  What if I found out I was the long-lost daughter of a multi-millionaire?  What if I learned that I'd been put up for adoption at birth because my parents were actually super spies, and to protect me, they had to hide me with a normal family?  What if shoes were made out of chocolate and everyone loved coffee as much as I do?  What if my dog talked and my son barked?  You know, the basic questions of life.
I read a quote by Toni Morrison, once.  "If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, you must be the one to write it."  I had already written my first novel when I came across this quote, and could I ever relate!
My first novel came about because I wanted to read a book one day and couldn't find a story that suited me.  I suppose my desire for a book was somewhat specific.  Inspirational.Historical.Romance.  Oh, and not a mail-order-bride tale.  On that particular day, though, every book I picked up was indeed a mail order bride story.  I finally gave up altogether and ended up with something contemporary, which I'm sure I enjoyed.  I don't always read historical fiction, and I don't always read inspirational.  On that particular day, though, that's exactly what I'd wanted.
All those mail order bride books got me to thinking.  There has to be an angle no one's thought of before.  That thought percolated in the back of my mind.  I couldn't quite shake it.  It was some time before I actually sat down to write the story, but by the time I did, I knew I wanted to do something with it that I'd never seen before.  Hey, I'm nothing if not original.  (Or so I like to tell myself.)
There's a huge learning curve that comes with a first book, at least in my experience.  My second book, already under contract, is a significant improvement on the first.  My third book, also under contract, is an even bigger improvement.  I hope people will enjoy my debut novel and that, with me, they will look forward to bigger and better things to come.  In the meantime, I will keep plugging away at my laptop and asking myself questions like What if elephants could fly and monkeys had webbed feet?  What if an orphaned albino Dalmatian wandered into my yard?  Why do teenagers sigh so much?  And how is it that they can convey such a wealth of emotion and opinion in that single small sound?
****
Thank you so much for stopping by!  If you'd like to read my debut novel, Mail Order Man, you can find it at any of these sites:
Amazon               Barnes& Noble                 Astraea Press                    Smashwords                      Kobo

Author Bio
Aside from her long-standing love affair with coffee, Heather’s greatest joys in life are her relationship with her Savior, her family, and writing.  Years ago, she decided it would be better to laugh than yell.  Heather carries that theme over into her writing where she strives to create characters that experience both the highs and lows of life and, through it all, find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her.

You can find me at:


Mail Order Man
Some people get a mail order bride.  She got a mail order man.
A well-meaning friend places an ad to find a mail order husband for Sarah, the proprietress of Larkspur’s stage and mail office.  Sarah, who is generally quiet and reserved, doesn’t know about the ad and has no idea what to do with all the people that are showing up in her community.  Before long, the town is overrun with men and mail alike.  Sarah is trying to avoid some men who have accosted her on the street when she stumbles into Samuel.  Through long days spent together at the stage office, some very adventurous pots of coffee and a shared faith, the two become friends.  Sarah knows that Samuel is hiding something from her, something important, but that doesn’t stop her heart from leaping wildly into love.  Lacking the confidence to trust her heart, Sarah wars with herself over the feelings she can no longer deny.  When some of the men who have come to town show their true intentions, a shootout follows.  Sarah finally gets answers to many of the questions circling through her mind.  One question remains, though.  Where will her mail order man go when the dust settles?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Rewrite Redemption Book Review


Rewrite Redemption by J.H. Walker

Autumn Jones (AJ) time travels, but she doesn't know how or why or when it will happen. She has lost her mother physically and her father emotionally because of it. The only reason she has made it to age sixteen still sane is because of her best friends Alexandra (Lex) and Ivan (Ipod) who have both taken up residence with AJ in the elaborately built treehouse in her backyard. Then Constantine moves to town and he may have the answers she needs. He might even be a time traveller like her.

Rewrite Redemption has an intriguing premise of time travel and romance. The world building is thoughtful and interesting. The setting of Boulder, CO is intertwined and expressed well in the story. The author creatively uses 1) our interconnectedness with nature and 2) technological possibilities acknowledging and using that connection. The dialog is believable for teens although some phrases were questionable for characters of their age such as "stone cold fox." The story is in first person and works well. However, it irritated me a little when they used text speak like ROFL while speaking. But I guess there are people that go around using those phrases in regular speech and not just for texting and writing.

The foreshadowing is a bit obvious in places but still worth the journey because of last minute decisions that change the outcome. There is a lot left unsaid and not elaborated upon early on especially regarding AJ and Constantine's families. My first instinct upon facing problems I can't solve is to seek my family's help. Here, the plot conveniently cuts off any help for any of the teens by creating the most depressing backstories I have ever read. AJ thinks, and some teens feel, like there's no hope and that they're not supposed to be happy. That was a sad but true statement for many people, not just teens. But the characters don't really relay these scars. Even AJ, who thinks her mother's death is her fault is incredibly well adjusted. Her ultimate goal is just not to become a lab rat because of her "strangeness." Her thinking doesn't seem to go beyond that. Some of the story seemed far fetched but I put myself in suspension of belief mode and was able to really enjoy the story.

AJ and Constantine are the main characters and the chapters alternate between their accounts of events. Thankfully we only get a brief recap in the alternate chapter. I thought the author used the appropriate character to explain the extended version of events. AJ has a likeable voice and although she could beat up on herself sometimes, she is not depressing about it. She is more matter of fact. "That's the way it is. It sucks, but that's just how it is" attitude. She does pat herself on the back when needed and she is far from helpless. AJ cares about her friends and they care for her. I was impressed with the level of loyalty in AJ, Lex and Ipod's friendship. It is not superficial and it is deeper than family ties at times. It was nice to see real friendship. Lex's personality may have been over the top and really fictionalized, but it had some depth. But having that level of maturity and self assurance seemingly without evident flaws was a little unbelievable. Although I totally like her character! She is a "kick butt and take names" kind of girl. Ipod is a one-dimensional plot device as is AJ's father even though they are important to the plot.

Constantine is a really together young man when it comes to his Editor (time traveller) skills even in the mist of his guilt at causing his family's decline into despair. He knows how to use his resources and restore himself to balance. However, he's naive and kind of runs hot and cold to both extremes about love and relationships with AJ and his family. But he works as a pretty good love interest and hero, being both entertaining and alternately intense when needed.

Things that bothered me:

1) The total lack of parental involvement on any level. Parents are either evil or completely weak. I understand that as a YA book, the young character needs to be the hero and do the rescuing, but their independence goes on for a little too long. Fortunately, the ending finally does introduce positive parental involvement.

2) Another thing is that the book is long and takes a long time to get to other information that would be nice to have early on. Like where does AJ go when she's sucked out of the present? That is my first question. I was halfway through the book before I discovered what usually happens when she jumps through time.

3) Another thing is that as amazing as their Editor skills and abilities are, Constantine walked around for the better part of the book sounding like a functioning addict which is unsettling. There is also a strong sexual undertone pertaining to AJ and Constantine's "melding" connection which made me a little uncomfortable. I'm not saying that there aren't YA books with sex in them out there, it was just questionable if their feelings are really of love or just lust. It kind of takes away from the romance.

Things I liked:

1) I enjoyed AJ's extend time travel and the mini adventure there. It is a pleasantly unexpected turn in the story. I was waiting for something like it because it is after all a time traveling story.

2) Constantine's inner critic makes for some good humor.

3) I liked the descriptions of Colorado and the different settings. It really gives each place a distinctive vibe.

4) The storyline is pretty cool and veers away from typical paranormal romances.
Finally, I did get a bit frustrated and confused there at the end with 1) some things being solved without the heroine. I look forward to seeing the hero solve their own problem; and 2) not knowing exactly what happened on the timeline. But like another reviewer said, I did get the gist of it.
Overall a good read, entertaining, great use of setting and world building. This book is exploring some good ideas with time travel. Great cover.

3.8/5