Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Secret Life of Prince Charming

Hello yall. So I realized that it's been a while since I've done a book review. I've been really super busy the past couple of weeks. I started writing a one-act and I'm writing a book too and poetry, so keeping up reading and book reviews is lacking; it's tough. I get a book I want to read, then when I have it, I don't want to read it. Most weekends I sleep. I'm trying to snap out of it, though, so here we go with some reviews.

The Secret Life of Prince Charming The Secret Life of Prince Charming is by Deb Caletti. She is also the author of Honey Baby Sweetheart, and The Fortunes of Indigo Sky, as well as some other novels, such as Stay and The Queen of Everything that I want to read. 

In this one, Quinn and her sister, Sprout/Charlotte live with their mother, their aunt Annie,and their grandmother. Every other weekend or so, they go up to see her father and his wife, Brie, with her son Malcolm. So when Brie isn't there, and their father says she's moved out, and they're getting a divorced Quinn and Sprout are devastated. Their father has a room with some rather odd objects--a bust of a woman's head made out of clay (Abigail Renfrew), a tall brightly colored mask (Jane, age 6), a red tribal mask (Olivia Thornton), a mantel clock (Elizabeth), a large and heavy painting (Joelle Giofranco)...and then a black square glass statute (Jenkins--Brie Jenkins). 

This is how Quinn discovers that her father, Barry, takes his lovers' most precious items from them. And Quinn decides that this wrong, and that she must return the items. Enlisting the help of her half-sister Frances Lee Giofranco, her crazy, carefree, wild older half-sister, and her thoughtful and brave younger sister Sprout, they go a car ride of a teenager's lifetime, their karmic quest to return the objects to their rightful owners. Along for the ride is Jake, Frances Lee's boyfriend's brother. The four of them get the stories of their father from the perspective of the women who loved him and who he hurt. Through them, Quinn is able to make her own conclusions and judgments of her father. 

I LOVED this book. It's incredibly hilarious and deep at the same time. It's hard to find a book that does that. I loved the characters--they were all equally portrayed, and we see the real depth of them. Each of the women Quinn visits, pass on wisdom to her, which we also get from journal entries and switches in perspective. Quinn gets to know all the stuff about her father--but also about Frances Lee, and her mother/mother's family. Oh, and there's Jake, but yall have to read the book to find out where that's going. The first thing that attracted me to this book was the cover, which I love, even if it really doesn't fit the book. Quinn is such a unique character; she's been hurt by her dad, yet still wants to love him and for him to love her. In the end, however, Quinn discovers a different type of family, a family of women, who have much to teach her, and fulfill who she is as a person. Learning the truth about Barry is hard, but Quinn deals with it gracefully, knowing that a person's life is so easily altered. 

Summary from Good Reads: 

"Maybe it was wrong, or maybe impossible, but I wanted the truth to be one thing. One solid thing."
Quinn is surrounded by women who have had their hearts broken. Between her mother, her aunt, and her grandmother, Quinn hears nothing but cautionary tales. She tries to be an optimist -- after all, she's the dependable one, the girl who never makes foolish choices. But when she is abruptly and unceremoniously dumped, Quinn starts to think maybe there really are no good men.
It doesn't help that she's gingerly handling a renewed relationship with her formerly absent father. He's a little bit of a lot of things: charming, selfish, eccentric, lazy...but he's her dad, and Quinn's just happy to have him around again. Until she realizes how horribly he's treated the many women in his life, how he's stolen more than just their hearts. Determined to, for once, take action in her life, Quinn joins forces with the half sister she's never met and the little sister she'll do anything to protect. Together, they set out to right her father's wrongs...and in doing so, begin to uncover what they're really looking for: the truth.
Once again, Deb Caletti has created a motley crew of lovably flawed characters who bond over the shared experiences of fear, love, pain, and joy -- in other words, real life.

For Quotes/Wisdom go here:

"Fathers, be good to your daughters, Daughters will love like you do, Girls become lovers who turn into mothers, So mothers be good to your daughters, too. --John Mayer

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Interview with J.E. Lowder, author of Tears of Min Brock, book 1, War of Whispers series

Dear J.E,
I've finished reading your novel and a review will be up on my blog and Good Reads shortly. If you are willing to do a guest interview/post I have several questions for you. They are below, and are not necessarily in order as the book goes along. Thanks, Rachel

Thanks for the questions!  Answers are below.  Some I could not answer as they will spoil Book II, III, & IV (which are finished!), but I did what I could!  Let me know if you need anything else.

When Elabea, Galadin, and Il-Lilliad first meet the storyteller tells Elabea "You can no more not be than you can decide to be." Please explain what you mean by this.

Simply that to become a storyteller is not only her destiny (the birthmark) but it's who she is as a person (her heart.)  A more contemporary way of putting it is this: "she's wired to be a storyteller."  She may try to act like she's not one, she may even choose to rebel and not be one, but nevertheless, she is still a storyteller, although perhaps not a very active one!

The novel is called The Tears of Min Brock. Explain why you called it this and why it is significant.

Ha!  Some of this is my publisher's doing.  Originally, the book was called, War of Whispers, but my publisher wanted to use this for the series.  So I chose Tears of Min Brock because the tragedy at the citadel (Min Brock) not only resulted in tears for Elabea and Galadin, but their family, Condin, not to mention Lassiter, Il-Lilliad and Draemel (which will be disclosed in the following books.)  I'm actually glad we changed it to Tears; it provides an overlapping brand for the series.

Many characters' names change as they themselves change. Galadin becomes Romlin, moving from "boy warrior" to "man warrior." Elabea's name, however, does not change. You said that it means "dreamer of days." How does this name fulfill Elabea's destiny of becoming a storyteller? Does Elabea's name not change, because she does not change? Or is it that ultimate who she is stays the same despite her journey?

Very observant!  All your questions will be answered in Book II, so I really can't share too much now.  I can tell you that I purposefully left her name unchanged in Book I because she wrestles more with her faith than Galadin/Romlin.  Even though I don't delve into this with an introspective look on Elabea's part, I wanted the reader to feel the ache and anxiety that she does, yet at the same time, hope there is a great change coming.  After all, she is our heroine! 

Linwith only appears once as he travels. The Bal-Malin appear to him and help him. Why is he significant or is that something we will find out in the next book?

Bingo!  Yep, he appears a LOT more in the following books and has a very key role. Think about it: how is he to get enough weapons for a war with only (1) wagon full of produce?  And even if he does barter for a large cache, how will he get it back without being discovered by his enemy?  And what's all that nonsense from the Bal-Malin about him being a "Worm Master?"

Against all odd, Elabea and Romlin make it to Claire, only to find it's not what they expected. Any hints on what Claire holds for them/what Claire is like? On the book jacket is asks "Will Claire be an ally or a greater foe?" Through out the book, Claire remains a unknown, yet desperately sought after land. What is the real truth about it? What leads people to give up their lives and journey there?

You've got great questions!  Again, most will be answered/explained in the next book.  I will tell you that I wanted to paint a word picture of what faith looked like.  Don't we all have expectations of what life and faith should look like, and yet, when we "get there," it's...different?  Plus, it makes (I think!) for a good story since you're not sure if Claire is good or evil. 

There are people who journey to Claire that Elabea and Romlin run into. They too are going to Claire to recieve treasure and have invitations. Yet, they have not heard the whispers and cast the two away, when they find that Elabea is a storyteller. Later, a man appears on the road as they get closer to Claire, and tells them that Claire does not exist, and that there is nothing there. Are the people and the stranger correlated or related?

Not really.  I wanted to create a world in which there are other "pilgrims" journeying to Claire.  After all, we find similar "pilgrims" on our own journey of life & faith who sometimes deliver negative "news" to us.  I also wanted to continue the tension of "is Claire real?"  By adding these pilgrims, who you think would rally beside our heroes, I've created a more desperate journey for them.  And remember: Elabea is to be a storyteller.  It was the storytellers that the Cauldron forbids and that many blame for the Dark War.  So to truly embrace Elabea on her journey, these pilgrims would need great faith, risk, and sacrifice.  In short, they weren't willing to pay the price.  Perhaps that's why they never heard the whisper.

How are Lassiter, Newcomb, and the ministrel tied in with Elabea and Romlin? What is the real truth about the ministrel? Why is he significant? What will happen to the three of them when the reach Claire? If they ever do?

Book II and III answer the above per Lassiter, Newcomb, DeMorley (the minstrel) and even Paradin.  Are they connected to Elabea and Romlin?  I won't be disclosing anything by telling you "no, they're not." BUT, they are HUGE in the plot lines surrounding Elabea and Romlin.  In short, although I've left a TON of unanswered questions, the following books dive into these deep pools and tie the loose ends together.

Explain the tulip as a symbol. Why did you chose to use it as Condin's greatest hope? Instead of another symbol?

As a writer, I love using contrasts and the tulip (I felt) best suited what I wanted to illustrate in regard to Quinn/Gundin humbling themselves as men.  I personally find tulips blooming in spring to be one of the most beautiful events to behold so I thought, "What if one blooms in winter?" and I fell in love with visualizing the crimson petals in stark contrast to Condin's winter backdrop of gray.  Another reason for the tulip (and yet another contrast) is that a flower is very vulnerable.  It only takes a misguided foot to crush it into the dirt (as Quinn proved!) And yet, because this tulip represents the goodness of Claire, it wasn't destroyed and in fact, was revitalized by the whisper.  And thankfully this was the case, because the greatest hope for Condin is that Quinn and Gundin (broken men) become "transformed men" by the scent from this fragile flower.  It's the only chance they have to save their children, their village, and their namesake.
Sincerely, J.E. Lowder

Review of Tears of Min Brock below. All my words in red. I really did like Tears of Min Brock, all though I did have a lot of questions about it. For those who read this without first reading the novel, sorry, I probably should have warned ya first. Love ya Rachel

Note: I recieved this book in exchange for an honest review. This is no way at all affected my opinions, which are my own as stated here. Thank you.

Here's the truth about me when it comes to fantasy: I'd love to write it, but I don't know how much I love reading it. I loved Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, so that's kinda what sparked it. I wasn't sure about Tears of Min Brock when I got it from the author. Naturally, it blew me away. It's the story of Elabea and Romlin as they hear the Call to go to Claire, because she is to a great storyteller, and he a great warrior. It's told in third person, but shifts from Elabea and Romlin to others. Which really made the book interesting and set it up the sequel. The plot line and characters were also so well developed. Tears of Min Brock lived up to my expectations for fantasy reads. So good work Mr. Lowder! 

My review is also here: Good Reads Review

Friday, January 13, 2012

Follow Friday--January 13, 2012

RULES To join the fun and make new book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
  2. (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers - Bad Ass Book Reviews & Book Lover Musings.
  3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say "hi" in your comments and that they are now following you.
  5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "HI"
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
  7. If you're new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
Question of the Week: Many readers/bloggers are also big music fans. Tell us about a few of your favorite bands/singers that we should listen to in 2012.

My Answer: Bein' a lovely young adult, I love Taylor Swift, of course. Just love her.  She is cute, wears unique and cute clothes, sells her own perfume (which is called Wonderstruck from her song Enchanted, which is one of my fav songs!) Taylor's latest song is called "Safe and Sound," which is a single, not part of an album yet. She's currently on the Speak Now World Tour and has been on it now for some time.
Here's some pics of her:
 File:Taylor Swift 3, 2011.jpg(cc)Marcin Wichary |Source = |Author = |Date =

File:Taylor Swift 4, 2011.jpg(cc) Marcin Wichary |Source = |Author = |Date =2011-09-01 |Permission ...
Other artists that I like are, um, um, oh right! Blake Shelton, from the voice, and Miranda Lambert his wife, Celine Dion (esp like her name), Casey Weston, Dia Frampton, Xenia and Vicci Martinez from the Voice too, I like the song "Halo" by Beyonce. Also like Laura Story, Hillsong and Casting Crowds. But TS is my fav! It's on my things-to-do-during-this-life to meet her.

Which artist/singer would you most like to meet? Please comment below. PEACE OUT. Rachel

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Teaser Tuesday--January 10, 2012

Hosted at the MizB should be reading.

These are the rules (anyone can participate):

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser: 
 Hundreds of feet below, nature conspired with the raw, unquenchable mystery of passion, in its rhythm; the sensual tempo of the waves as billions of gallons of water came in with a fury, then eased out. Wave after wave of sensation crashed over Adrienne; she was adrift in a sea of such passion that she literally felt herself being reshaped, molded to this man's touch, just as the rocks below her were molded by the ocean's relentless caress. 

The book: 
Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning 

Beyond the Highland Mist (Highlander, #1)

Book Summary (from Good Reads): 

An alluring laird
He was known throughout the kingdom as Hawk, legendary predator of the battlefield and the boudoir. No woman could refuse his touch, but no woman ever stirred his heart - until a vengeful fairy tumbled Adrienne de Simone out of modern-day Seattle and into medieval Scotland. Captive in a century not her own, entirely too bold, too outspoken, she was an irresistible challenge to the sixteenth-century rogue. Coerced into a marriage with Hawk, Adrienne vowed to keep him at arm's length - but his sweet seduction played havoc with her resolve.
A prisoner in time
She had a perfect "no" on her perfect lips for the notorious laird, but Hawk swore she would whisper his name with desire, begging for the passion he longed to ignite within her. Not even the barriers of time and space would keep him from winning her love. Despite her uncertainty about following the promptings of her own passionate heart, Adrienne's reservations were no match for Hawk's determination to keep her by his side....

Share your own Teaser Tuesday link below! Please comment! 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Romance Reading Challenge 2012

I KNOW I said I wasn't going to do any more challenges, but this one sounded so fun, so I just had to sign up for it. I know I'm getting in over my head, but honestly I don't mind. Don't yall, my lovely readers, enjoy that I post so much more often?

Without further ado, here are the rules:

1. The challenge runs from January 1st, 2012 through December 31st, 2012.
2. "Romance" isn't limited to steamy Harlequin novels. There is a huge selection of books in this category such as contemporary romance, historical romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance to name a few. As long as the story has romantic love between the two main characters your selection will fit this challenge. The novels do not need to have a happy ending either, there can also be unrequited love.
3. Choose at least 5 novels to read. You can change your choices at any time. Crossovers between other challenges are fine.
All kinds of books count such as eBooks, Audiobooks...etc.
If you are looking for suggested reading see
Best Romance Novels Today, Romance Novels on Wiki or Best Romance Stories.
In my opinion, you can't go wrong with Jane Austen, Nora Roberts, Nicholas Sparks and Georgette Heyer.
4. Read the books at your own pace in 2012 then post the link to your review(s). You don't need to have a blog, posting your reviews on Goodreads and LibraryThing counts as well.

I'm currently reading Wuthering Heights, and I want to read Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen sometime in the next few months. Other than that, I don't know, but I'll come up with someone.

Friendship on Fire Review

Friendship on Fire by Danielle Weiler
At 471 pages,Friendship on Fire long for a typical story. What I mean by typical is it follows the path of a lot of other love/relationship stories: Girl has best friend who is a boy and is in love with her, but does't tell her, girl meets other boy who is bad for her, but she falls in love with him anyways, best friend boy is hurt by girl's blindness and pulls away, girl gives bad boy everything, girl realizes that best friend boy is the one for her, gets her heart  broken, and her best friend boy ends up being her boyfriend and love of her life. Yall know what I'm talkin' bout. I'm just sayin it was long for such a common storyline.

It's like that for Daisy Brooks. Best Friends are Roman and Rachael. Other friends: Sarah and Shania. Boyfriend: Nate, who goes to the rival school.

I did like that it was set in Australia. I've often wanted to go there, but haven't yet. One day I will. The author uses Australian terms, so make sure you have Google around somewhere, if you aren't from there.

 The characters are well crafted, and I enjoyed their personalities. Nate and Rachael are such charismatic, charmingly deceptive villains that it is hard for the reader and for Daisy to see past their deception. It's hard not to fall for Nate! Especially when Daisy is so enamored by him. I did kind of know that he would brake Daisy's heart at some point, though. Daisy and Roman are exceptionally fun characters, struggling to deal with relationship and life. It's hard for the reader to know that Daisy loves Nate, but Roman is better for Daisy.

I think that the author is saying in this novel is that people make mistakes, but have an indomitable spirit, are strong, struggle, but eventually forgive and move on. Nothing stops the human spirit. However, it is confusing to figure out the theme. Maybe it's simply that we should tell people how we feel before it's too late, and that love never fails.

On a final note, I did enjoy reading Friendship on Fire. it is a long, but the characters make up for it. It's sad, but has happiness in it too. Daisy loses friends, but makes new ones, who care for her even more. Being a senior in year 12, I can certainly identify with Daisy, and I know that a lot of others can too.

I recieved this book in exchange for a free review from the author. This is no way affected my opinions. Thanks to Danielle Weiler for sending me the book.

Friday, January 6, 2012