Book Review: Another Cinderella by Victoria Bastedo

Another Cinderella by Victoria Bastedo

A Fairy Tale Adaptation published by Amazon Digital Services Inc. (08/11/2017)

Summary:

Cinderella marries Prince Charming and gets her happily ever after. But what of her stepsisters and stepmother? Alexandria and Atlantia are left without their free laborer and while pockets grow emptier, the three women grow hungrier. It isn’t proper for any young lady of merit to work in the household, but Atlantia is too hungry to care. A pan of eggs turns into washing the windows and sweeping the floors. Too soon, Atlantia will feel like the new Cinderella. But she’s too stubborn to let her mother or sister boss her around!

Keywords:

True Self, Self-Journey, Brat, Privilege, Money, Wealth, Power, Kingdom, Cinderella, Stepsister, Orphans, God, Chores, Servants

My Review:

God is very present in this novel, as well as the journey toward Him, but religion is not the focus, nor is it ever really talked about in this book. It is refreshing to see God present without religion. Is it true that a transformation of soul and personality can take place without God or without a belief in God? I like to think that many other factors helped in Atlantia’s complete transformation and that anyone in her situation could have been transformed, but only with God could she endure. Those with true and sometimes blind faith in Him are able to stay calm in the face of chaos and kind in the face of evil and endure in the face of unending torture. This is an interesting explanation for how Cinderella endured so many years as the servant to her stepmother and stepsisters and endured their cruelty for so long. This is also an explanation as to how she was able to forgive them and wish them no ill will once she’d been taken out of that situation.

I absolutely love the bad guy’s perspective and especially love seeing the complete transformation of a character that is realistic. I wish all bad guys in real life or even people who make bad decisions or used to be mean can about-face and become good people. I like to believe we all have the potential to be good people and that we all want to be good people deep down. Bastedo’s book is a thought-provoking discovery into how a good person can bloom out of a spiteful and mean person.

I enjoyed the changing POV’s – from Frey to Atlantia to Theo and getting multiple little stories along the way. It was interesting to view Cinderella’s story from afar, through the eyes of those around her, especially as this story takes place after her well-known tale.

I absolutely adore fairy tales and fairy tale adaptations and this book was no exception. It was enjoyable to read, fast-paced, and fulfilling. It was exciting to watch the characters, especially Atalantia, grow and change and to get an up close and personal view of their thoughts and feelings.

I received an ARC from the author. This is my honest opinion.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services Inc. 08/11/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.50

 

Links for more information:

On the web

Victoria Bastedo blog

Book Review: Spilt Milk: A Collection of Stories by D.K. Cassidy

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Spilt Milk: A Collection of Stories by D.K. Cassidy

A Short Story Collection published by Pluvio Press (08/15/14)

Summary:

This short collection of flash fiction contains 12 pieces with a variety of characters, some of them appearing in each other’s lives.

Keywords:

Magical Realism, Fantasy, Short Stories, Anthology, Children, Different POV, Different Characters, Twisted

My Review:

I prefer longer form reading material, but I very much enjoyed the writing style of these short fictional pieces. My favorite part of this collection was the minimalist sentence structure that contained beautiful descriptive language that resonated out loud. I would have liked even more connections between the characters and situations of all the stories, but I enjoyed the clever connections that were there. I really liked the diversity of the characters and their thoughts.

This novel was published by Pluvio Press on August 15th, 2014 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.50

Links for more information:

D.K Cassidy’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: Final Life (The Transhuman Chronicles Book 1) by Rose Garcia

Final Life (The Transhuman Chronicles Book 1) by Rose Garcia

A Young Adult Paranormal Novel published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (05/15/12)

Summary:

Dominique is the new girl in town. She thought having to move across the country during her last year of high school was bad enough, but lately she’s been having visions of a red desert accompanied by a bad feeling. The visions become more frequent and the feeling of foreboding gets worse. Is there something going on or is she just crazy?

Keywords:

Survival, YA, Action, Science Fiction, Time Travel, Science Fiction, Love Triangle, Friendship, Death, Moving, School, Psychics, Ouija, Fate, Chosen One, Afterlife

My Review:

There wasn’t much I liked about this book. It was written well enough to read until the end, but was full of issues. The love triangle setup was obvious and not very well put together. The tension just wasn’t there.

The plot was abrupt and rocky. The characters were thrust into the plot of the Pures versus the non-Pures.

I didn’t/don’t know enough about main character Dominique to identify with her before mysterious things start happening to her and I don’t really care. Dominique was a weak main character who seemed to do whatever she shouldn’t. The most emotion I got from her was her being worried about dying, but then she immediately sneaks away from her protector without a second thought.

The world building rules were not well defined and confusing. Some people know about the Pures and some don’t? The info dump between Dominique and her parents to explain what was going on was not very clever. Through this info dump we find out that she is The Chosen One, which is such a tired trope and not done well in this book at all.

This book is urban fantasy parading as contemporary fantasy romance. It was short enough and grammatically accurate enough to read all the way through.

 

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on 05/15/2012 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.00

Links for more information:

Rose Garcia’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: One True Pairing by Cathy Yardley

One True Pairing by Cathy Yardley

A Romantic Comedy published by Swerve (07/25/17)

Summary:

Hailey works two jobs and then some to help make ends meet with her two sisters and their bookstore. Jake Reese is the hot TV actor who hides from his crazed fans in Hailey’s coffee shop. She doesn’t react like most fangirls, even though she loves his show. Her no-nonsense take care of problems attitude and his nature-loving sensitive sci-fi loving side go together. Jake needs to improve his social standing and Hailey needs something to boost the bookstore’s sales. It’s only natural that they pretend to date, but the attraction levels are through the roof.

Keywords:

Actor, Snoqualmie, Issaquah, Bookstore, Geeks, Convention, Fans, Romance, Family, Loyalty, Sex, TV Actor

My Review:

This is not the book to pick up late at night because you won’t be able to put it down. The storytelling is seamless and the plot is very well thought out. The second half became a little predictable, but I enjoyed every word of it. Every scene, every word, and all the descriptions were perfectly written and perfectly placed. Every detail was necessary.

The romance played out just the way I wanted it to – chance meet, mutual initial attraction, spending lots of time together to fall for each other. It was the best of the best romances.

Jake and Hailey were so detailed and their personalities full and alive. I loved being in each of the characters’ heads and watching them make mistakes and get in over their heads.

This novel was published by Swerve on July 25, 2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.00

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Cathy Yardley’s Website

Book Review: The Inventress by Mary Victoria Johnson

The Inventress by Mary Victoria Johnson

A Young Adult Steampunk Mystery Novel published by Fire & Ice Young Adult Books (07/18/17)

Summary:

Kay Ross, daughter of one of the most hated families in England, hasn’t been able to make many friends. Domino is her only friend. Domino is the genius and the inventor, but she doesn’t always tell Kay all her secrets. Her new invention is going to be the grandest of them all, but she never gets to show the world. The same day Domino lets Kay in on her new security camera invention and lets Kay take her to a society ball, she is murdered. In order to figure out who is to blame, Kay will have to find out more about her own family history and what on earth Domino was inventing.

Keywords:

Steampunk, Mystery, Death, Murder, Friendship, Loyalty, Family, Rivalry, Inventors, Socialite, England, Past, Challenges, Enemies

My Review:

Slow to start, this story soon wound me up in its intrigue. I desperately needed to know what happened to Domino. The more that Johnson expertly showed me the past friendship between Domino and Kay, the more I was sucked into the story. Domino is more than just an inventor – she puts up with Kay and her moods. She would never harm anyone and doesn’t believe in weapons. Who killed Domino? And why? Kay will stop at nothing to figure this mystery out.

I absolutely love stories that have strong friendships and interesting character details. Kay is closed off from her world, choosing to become what those around her think she is – the same power-hungry money-hungry person as her parents.

The steampunk elements were subtle throughout the novel. They were woven into the details of the world. At times, I got a strong historical fiction vibe from when Kay had to dress up to go to society affairs, but for the most part the story centers around Kay and her need to solve Domino’s murder. Everyone is a suspect and the only clues left behind are Domino’s latest invention and a slow trail that keeps including Kay in the mystery.

Disclaimer: I received a free ARC of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

This novel was published by Fire & Ice Young Adult Books on 07/18/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Mary Victoria Johnson’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: Paper Cranes (A Fairytale Twist Novel) by Jordan Ford

Paper Cranes (A Fairytale Twist Novel) by Jordan Ford

A YA Contemporary Romance Novel Published by Amazon Digital Services (6/16/17)

Summary:

“I know it must seem odd sometimes like we’ve never really fit into this world. But there’s magic in words and storytelling. I’d be lost without books, Tristan. They’ve kept me afloat through my darkest days. Escaping into another world full of love, enchantment…heroes. It keeps me breathing.” (Kindle Locations 1450-1452).

Tristan decided to live with his dad when his parents divorced because his mom had someone to come home to and his dad did not. Tristan feels more and more burdened taking care of his dad. He doesn’t want to participate in school or be social and would rather be the typical morose teenager until he meets the girl in the tower next door, Helena. She is straight out of a fairytale with her mild English accent, proper English, and romantic notions.

Keywords:

Puppy Love, Tower, Fairy Tale, Paper Cranes, Wishes, Quirks, Poetry, English Assignments, Love, Romance, Divorce, Teenagers, Dreams

My Review:

Tristan, outside of Helena feels incredibly real and like sullen teenager, but with Helena he is full of puppy love. Most of this book was focused on the ridiculous and hard to read over-the-top puppy love. Helena never felt real to me and she was a flat character and though Tristan idolizes her and her unique ‘personality’ she felt unreal and exaggerated to me.

Tristan is incredibly dynamic. He’s your typical broody teenager, but his backstory is rather interesting. Every moment we were in his head as he interacted with his dad or his mom, I was engrossed in the book.

The plot was quite predictable, a bit dull and unremarkable. If only more of the book was devoted to Tristan, it would have been a much better read.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services on 06/16/17 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.25

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Jordan Ford’s Website

Book Review: The Girl and the Clockwork Crossfire (Clockwork Enterprises Book 3) by Nikki McCormack

The Girl and the Clockwork Crossfire (Clockwork Enterprises Book 3) by Nikki McCormack

A YA Steampunk Novel published by Elysium Books (6/01/17)

Summary:

Maeko must choose where her loyalties lie – with the Pirates or just those she loves. Can she betray her new friends to keep her loved ones safe? New information from the Lits’ secret prison isn’t good and Maeko won’t be able to ignore it.

Keywords:

Clockwork, Cat, Pirate, Friendship, Streets, Fleeing, Fighting, Stealing, Officers, Mystery, Death, Street Smarts, London, Teenager, Female Main Character, Love, Loyalty, Proper Society, Detective, Wealth

My Review:

Maeko only wants to do right by those she loves, but she can’t always save everyone. In fact, those around her seem to get into just as much trouble as she does! Maeko’s love and empathy for everyone around her, even the cat (and so much the cat) is quite endearing. She is a phenomenal person (even for a Rat and a Pickpocket) and a well-built main character. She is loyal to a fault and stubborn and brave.

Macak the cat even gets his own mini chapter in this third book and he’s more important than ever! He is one of my favorite literary ‘pets’ even though he’s more like a sidekick to Maeko. I wish I had a cat that sat on my shoulder and followed me into all sorts of danger!

The storyline continues to be amazing and the balance between action and storytelling is perfect. I do wish there was more to the Maeko and her mother storyline, but such is the way between parents and their children sometimes.

McCormack is a professional storyteller and I would read anything she writes.

This novel was published by Elysium Books on June 1st, 2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Twitter

Nikki McCormack’s Website

Book Review: The Girl and the Clockwork Conspiracy: Clockwork Enterprises Book Two (Volume 2) by Nikki McCormack

The Girl and the Clockwork Conspiracy: Clockwork Enterprises Book Two (Volume 2) by Nikki McCormack

A YA Steampunk Novel published by Elysium Books (9/12/15)

Summary:

Maeko is recuperating from her injuries as a ward of Lucien Folesworth. She saved his life and now he feels compelled to save her from a life on the streets, but high society and propriety isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Maeko would rather live in poverty on the streets than have to conform to life following all the ridiculous rules as a woman in the ruling wealthy class. Will Maeko stay with Lucien or will something else tear them apart?

Keywords:

Clockwork, Cat, Pirate, Friendship, Streets, Fleeing, Fighting, Stealing, Officers, Mystery, Death, Street Smarts, London, Teenager, Female Main Character, Love, Loyalty, Proper Society, Detective, Wealth

My Review:

I have never read a steampunk series quite like The Clockwork Enterprises. The story is believable and gritty and full of plot and action and interesting characters.

Maeko is a loveable hero who doesn’t stop to think twice, even if her own life is in danger. She is now torn between her feelings for Chaff and the affection Ash feels for her, but she is almost too busy with other problems. Almost.

I loved seeing Em, the surly detective, more in this book.

The story is well put together and though the ending could have been a bit stronger, I’m glad that the third book is already available so I can start reading it immediately.

The steampunk elements were elegantly integrated. Again, like with the first book, McCormack is a genius with world building and writing a good story.

This novel was published by Elysium Books on September 12th, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Twitter

Nikki McCormack’s Website

Book Review: Mixed Feelings (Empathy in the Preternatural PNW Book 1) by Olivia R. Burton

Mixed Feelings (Empathy in the Preternatural PNW Book 1) by Olivia R. Burton

An Urban Fantasy/Mystery novel published by Peacock Deceiving a Suitcase (05/31/2016)

Summary:

“As I munched irately on my tangy, chocolaty, wafery bundle of deliciousness, I considered the last week, wherein I’d been hired by fairies, bewitched by a demon, nearly seduced by a werewolf, kidnapped by a vampire, and rescued by my gun-toting best friend. All things considered, sharing pizza and wine with Mel hadn’t been the worst thing to happen, but I wasn’t going to tell Chloe that.” (Page 188).

Gwen uses her empathy ability to help her therapy clients. She’s approached by the same two characters who announced her ability weak when she was a child. This time they think she’s up for the job: of helping rescue some missing kids. Gwen, along with her best friend and admin Chloe and the horn dog werewolf PI Mel, will drop all their current clients so they can find out who’s nabbing these kids and stop some future kidnappings as well.

Keywords:

Sugar, Werewolves, Supernatural, Mystery, Kidnapping, Ability, Empathy, Friendship, Junk Food, Monster, Rescue, Secret, Sarcasm

My Review:

Gwen’s obsession with donuts, sweets, and sugar is hilarious. How can someone consume that much sugar without it adversely affecting them? I’m not sure it’s possible, but I don’t care. Gwen is not the most amazing hero and she’s helped almost every step of the way to save the kids. She herself needs saving every now and then. It is her gift that is more useful than herself at times, but her can-do and sarcastic sugar-loving attitude are hilarious to watch as she bungles along. Besides, she’s like any one of us, right?

I had a hard time getting into this book and kept putting it down until about halfway through. If you like urban fantasy, you probably won’t have this same lack of connection that I did with the plot and characters.

Not all questions were answered in the end and I’m very curious to see what happens with Chloe, the best friend, in subsequent books.

This novel was published by Peacock Deceiving a Suitcase 05/31/2016 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 3.50

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Olivia R Burton’s Website

Book Review: The Kiss of the Blue Howler by Victoria Bastedo

The Kiss of the Blue Howler by Victoria Bastedo

A Fantasy novel published by Amazon Digital Services (06/03/2017)

Summary:

“But life in a cavern was all-inclusive.” (Page 297)

Life Underneath is full of wonder. For the son of the elader of Ishtish, Xerai, life is simple. He is the Instinctive and must protect the people of Ishtish with his powers of instinct. One evening, he finds Zephyr, a mute ThoEn who can only speak through pictures she paints around her. She is lonely and afraid and doesn’t trust Xera, but when she doesn’t come with him to town before nightfall, the Blue Howlers will get her. The Blue Howlers have never been so aggressive and Xerai, along with Zephyr, will have to figure out what’s wrong before it’s too late.

Keywords:

Instincts, War, Abilities, Kingdom, Underwater, Underneath, Companionship, Friendship, Loyalty, Leader, Sacrifice, Loss, Love, Water, Visual, Creatures

My Review:

Bastedo has an ease of storytelling that is unusual in so many authors! It is so easy to read this story, even trying to understand this new world she has painted for us.

The story and the imagination just keeps growing and all the elements are interconnected in a logical way that gives the story more depth and intrigue as the novel unfolds. The conclusion tied up all loose ends and ended as magically as it began.

Though Zephyr is mute, she is able to fully communicate. I love how this apparent ‘disability’ isn’t a hindrance to Zephyr interacting with others around her. It is so awesome to have diverse characters like Zephyr.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services 06/03/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.75

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

FreeValleyPublishing

SnoValleyHobbit

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