Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Day in the Life of Bookishqueen

Ok, I am actually going to tell you what I have been up to for the past month, but A Day in the Life sounded like a better title, so please forgive me.

Late last month, by Grandma and my Aunt came for a visit and we all went to Gatlinburg TN, Tail of the Dragon NC, and then a dam in NC that I can not remember the name to. We shopped and had a lot of fun (well, other than the name, I am not much of a fan of The Tail of the Dragon, a road with some 300 curves in 11 miles) but the rest of my family loved it. Here are some pictures:

Gatlinburg has a strip mall called The Village. There, I found and rode this majestic horse. :)

Got my Mom (left) and Aunt (right) to join in.

Even played in the river with my brother and sister.

Then we stopped at the Aquarium and got to take a picture with one of the divers there. I know it is a little had to see, but I am the short one.

On the way to the Tail of the Dragon, we saw this view. Ok, so I really climbed out on a cliff to take that, but we were still going to the dragon.

Speaking of which, a the Dragon, I found this sign. Love it.

Then we stopped at the dam, where I found a lot of story inspiration if I ever want to write a dystopian.

What about you? What had all my readers been up to? I would love to know. And later this week, I will share more of the past month.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rise and Shine- Sandra D. Bricker

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: Shannon Malone thought she'd found her happy ending when she married Edmund Ridgeway, but a diving accident on their honeymoon left her in a coma. Waking up to the news that she's thirty years old would have been daunting enough . . . but she also learns that Edmund has lost his interim battle with cancer and the world has marched on without her. Her gorgeous doctor, Daniel Petros, seems to know everything about her and becomes Shannon's tour guide into a whole new world of madness where reality television has taken over the planet and everyone's life appears to revolve around a tiny screen on their cell phones!

As Shannon struggles to navigate through the changes-both in the world and in her-she also must discern real memories from imagined ones. Did she really ever wear capris pants and entertain in her living room, or was that Laura Petrie from her favorite classic TV show? And where is her beloved dog, Freeway? Oh, wait! That was Jonathan and Jennifer Hart's dog, not hers.

Shannon's three elderly aunts flit through her life in true Sleeping Beauty style with her well-being always a priority. And Edmund's sister Millicent descends like the Evil Queen she is, trying to extract Shannon from any claim on the Ridgeway family fortune. When a tornado moves through town and Shannon is knocked unconscious, will Daniel's kiss awaken her once and for all?

My Thoughts: I have only ever read one other Sleeping Beauty retelling and must say that I like this one better. Coming up with a reason for someone to be asleep for a long time is difficult, and I believe that Sandra came up with a good reason. It is also terribly sad, with everything Shannon must then wake up to.

I found the way Sandra handled someone waking up after ten years in a coma to be realistic in the changes one would face, while also bringing a touch of humor. Imagining what someone's reaction to different technological devises would be if they had never seen them had me laughing and realizing just how much I rely on my smartphone.

Overall, Rise and Shine is a very sweet romance that had a bittersweet beginning. I hope to see more fairy tale retellings from Sandra Bricker soon.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Moment in Time- Tracie Peterson

My Rating: 2 Stars

Description: Alice Chesterfield is a woman pursued. Having survived an attack that left her scarred and her father dead, she is never free from the fear and memories of the man who is responsible.

Texas seems to be an answer to Alice's prayers, and when she has the opportunity to relocate to a ranch near Dallas, Robert Barnett captures her attention. Unlike any man Alice has ever known, Robert doesn't worry about the obstacles that stand in their way--and he hardly seems to notice the scar she bears.

But there are storm clouds gathering; devastating information about her family comes to light, threatening Alice's peaceful sanctuary. Disillusioned, Alice must learn to place her trust in God as she seeks a measure of peace for her future...and for her heart

My Thoughts:  I have read other books by Tracie Peterson and really liked them, but this just was not one of those. I think that the first issue was that I simply did not care about what happened to the characters. Alice seemed a little too excepting of things that happened to her and unwilling to fight back or get what she wanted, while Marty was horribly selfish.

I had also thought that the story was going to be about Alice and Robert. Yet by almost a fourth of the way through, Robert had only been in one scene and Marty had been the main character so far. At that point, I simply could not keep reading and skipped to the last fourth of the book and read that.

Now the end was pretty sweet. Robert seemed like a great guy and he deserved to find happiness with Alice. But reading the end still gave me no desire to go back and read the middle half of the story. I felt like most of the conflict was summed up well enough at the end that I didn't miss anything.

I still plan to read more of Tracie's books, just not this series.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Writing Tip- Reading Up on Writing

Goodnight, Sleep Tight by Yosia82
Today I have been doing a little research on writing as a craft. (Really I have been reading articles I found links to on pinterest. But there was the same result.) While doing that, I found this awesome blog dedicated to fantasy fiction. There are articles on battle techniques, characterization, world building, and so many more (even one on fantasy food). The website is Fantasy Faction, and you should check it out.

What about you? Are there any blogs or websites dedicated to writing that you love? If so, share them below!

And for those of you starting school soon (like me), God bless and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Jupiter Winds- C. J. Darlington

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: In 2160, a teenager becomes the bait to capture her missing revolutionary parents she thinks are long dead.

Grey Alexander has one goal—to keep herself and her younger sister Orinda alive. Not an easy feat living unconnected in the North American Wildlife Preserve, where they survive by smuggling contraband into the Mazdaar government's city zones. If the invisible electric border fence doesn't kill them, a human-like patrol drone could.

When her worst fear comes true, Grey questions everything she thought she knew about life, her missing parents, and God. Could another planet, whose sky swirls with orange vapors and where extinct-on-Earth creatures roam free, hold the key to reuniting her family?

My Thoughts: I must admit that I had begun reading this, believing it was a dystopian, though I was pleasantly surprised to realize it was actually a sci-fi.The technology and world building Darlington creates is fascinating and I was drawn into the landscape African landscape that was now in North America. I would have been happy for the whole story to take place in the Preserve.

Yet the story continues else where as well. First in Mazdaar and then on Jupiter. The settings were each unique from each other, and still managed to remain connected. I do wish that some of Jupiter's flora and fauna had been given a little more scientific background (like what made the dirt rainbow), but liked that it was not the exact same as Earth.

This was a well crafted story with a Christian view point that I loved. In the future, I hope to see more like it by Darlington.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Butterfly and the Violin- Kristy Cambron

My Rating: 5 Stars

Description: And then came war . . .

"Today." Sera James spends most of her time arranging auctions for the art world's elite clientele. When her search to uncover an original portrait of an unknown Holocaust victim leads her to William Hanover III, they learn that this painting is much more than it seems.

"Vienna, 1942." Adele Von Bron has always known what was expected of her. As a prodigy of Vienna's vast musical heritage, this concert violinist intends to carry on her family's tradition and play with the Vienna Philharmonic. But when the Nazis learn that she helped smuggle Jews out of the city, Adele is taken from her promising future and thrust into the horrifying world of Auschwitz.

The veil of innocence is lifted to expose a shuddering presence of evil, and Adele realizes that her God-given gift is her only advantage; she must play. Becoming a member of the Women's Orchestra of Auschwitz, she fights for survival. Adele's barbed-wire walls begin to kill her hope as the months drag into nearly two years in the camp. With surprising courage against the backdrop of murder and despair, Adele finally confronts a question that has been tugging at her heart: Even in the midst of evil, can she find hope in worshipping God with her gift?

As Sera and William learn more about the subject of the mysterious portrait--Adele--they are reminded that whatever horrors one might face, God's faithfulness never falters.

My Thoughts: I have always had a soft spot for Holocaust stories, maybe because of the great tragedy that managed to also birth light on some places. The Butterfly and the Violin perfectly captured that concept for me, with a woman who faces such hardship, yet plays beautiful music.

Often times, I find it difficult to go from on perspective to another when the characters live in different time periods. However, Kristy managed to describe each period with details that kept them distinct in my mind. The change between war torn Austria and modern California pulled me right in.

There is not much I can say that I did not like. Perhaps when Vladamir, an other wise suave gentleman, referred to his heart as a "ticker". All in all, I really enjoyed seeing the Holocaust threw the eyes of Sera and Adele. and hope to read more by Kristy Cambron.

I received this book through Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/zhXo3

About the author: Kristy Cambron has been fascinated with the WWII era since hearing her grandfather's stories of the war. She holds an art history degree from Indiana University and received the Outstanding Art History Student Award. Kristy writes WWII and Regency era fiction and has placed first in the 2013 NTRWA Great Expectations and 2012 FCRW Beacon contests, and is a 2013 Laurie finalist. Kristy makes her home in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons.

Find Kristy online: website, Facebook, Twitter

Friday, July 18, 2014

Writing Tip- Short Story Opportunity


While at Realm Makers, I learned a bit about Splickety Magazine. They publish short stories, 500-1,000 words, and pay a "small stipend" for these stories, holding the rights for six months. Splickety publishes short stories in all genres, but have two imprints as well. Havok publishes speculative fiction and Splickety Love does romance.

You can look at the submission guidelines by clicking the image above. From there you can check out the rest of the magazines webpage.