Sunday, August 31, 2014

All for a Sister- Allison Pittman

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Description: In Hollywood during the Roaring Twenties, Celeste DuFrane has it all. Her father's work with color movie film opens doors that lead to the stardom she's always aspired to. But after losing her mother, she discovers that half the estate has been left to a woman accused of killing Celeste's baby sister before Celeste was even born. Dana Lundgren arrives on the steps of the DuFrane mansion having spent most of her life imprisoned for a crime that never happened. After accusing her of murder so many years ago, why did Marguerite DuFrane leave her a sizeable inheritance? As Celeste and Dana learn each other's stories, they come up with more questions than answers. Then a surprising discovery begins to fill in the missing pieces: Marguerite DuFrane's written confession, penned shortly before her death. Uncovering the treachery and deceit that changed the course of countless lives--most of all, their own--the two women find more than they ever dreamed of.

My Thoughts: All for a Sister beautifully depicts life in the twenties, complete with hairstyles and attitudes. Celeste behaved much the way I imagine the actresses in older movies behaving behind the set and as many women did in old clips I remember watching in high school. Pittman definitely did her research to make this time period come alive.

Even though I liked the portrayal of Celeste from Dana's point of view, I was not really able to connect with Celeste herself. She seemed a bit disconnected from the world around her, even this new woman who has come to live with her, a woman how she was raised believing had killed her sister. Even if I had learned that such was not true, I think I still would have been wary of a someone who had been hurt by my family in such a way.

I also found it difficult to follow the shifts in time. Though the dates were given at the head of each chapter, it still took me a little while to figure out who was speaking and at what time. I did notice a certain movie like quality to this (where time frames shift) and liked it from an artistic point of view, but found that it pulled me from an otherwise interesting story.

This is the first book I have read by Pittman, and so I do not know if she uses these time shifts in her other novels. If not, I am certain that I will love to read them and plan to find more of her novels as she has a beautiful way with history and layers of conflict.

I received this book from Tyndale publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Merlin's Nightmare- Robert Treskillard

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Haunted by the past, chased by the present.

Arthur is now eighteen, and Merlin, tired of hiding and running from his enemies, wants nothing more than to spend his days with his family and train Arthur for his rightful place as king. But when Arthur goes missing, a desperate Merlin must abandon all other quests to find him before a shadowy pursuer catches Arthur first.

Having everything to fight for, and almost nothing to fight with, Merlin and Arthur must rally Britain’s warriors against three overwhelming enemies: Saxenow hordes in the south, Picti raiders in the north, and a chilling new enemy that has arisen in the west.

At the same time, Mórgana brings Merlin’s deepest fear to life and sets a horde of werewolves loose to destroy Britain. But when the secret purpose of this nightmare is finally revealed, will Merlin and Arthur find a way to survive—without unleashing an even greater evil?

My Thoughts:Merlin's Nightmare continues sixteen years after Merlin's Shadow. Arthur has grown up and Merlin is married to Natalyena, which I thought was great. Being a fan or King Arthur, I liked to see him actually taking part in the adventures, rather than being more along for the ride as a baby. The story held my interest far better than Merlin's Shadow because I was able to see how the story played into Arthur's future as King.

I know that Treskillard has an accompanying series in the works and can not wait to read it. The Arthurian legends have always fascinated me, and I can not wait to see what life Treskillard breaths into them.

If you enjoyed the first two novels in the Merlin's Spiral trilogy, you will love this one and its host of characters. Get ready, because the true battle for Britain has just begun.

I received this novel through CSFF in exchange for an honest review.

Robert Treskillard's website 
Buy the book

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.