Feb 22, 2011

Maureen McGowen ~ Twist on Classic Fairy Tales

Cinderella:  Ninja Warrior
by Maureen McGowan

In this fast-paced story full of adventure and romance, Cinderella is more than just a servant girl waiting for her prince—she's a tough, fearless girl who is capable of taking charge of a dangerous situation. Seeking to escape the clutches of her evil stepmother, Cinderella perfects her ninja skills and magic talents in secret, waiting for the day when she can break free and live happily ever after. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Cinderella and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you've ever read!
I am greatly impressed with this story.  I love that finally, Cinderella is not just a - too peppy little girl prancing around in rags, happily at the beck and call of her stepmother and stepsisters.  Finally, Cinderella is more down to earth; and her feelings, and fears are very realistic.  I love the little twists and turns the story takes.  The choices the reader gets to make in the story is reminiscent of my favorite “choose your own adventure” books I read as a pre-teen.  The author takes Cinderella on and adventure, but the reader gets to choose the way she gets from rags to riches!  Definitely a must read for ages 8 and up (including adult!) 

Sleeping Beauty:  Vampire Slayer 
by Maureen McGowan
In this thrilling story full of adventure and romance, Sleeping Beauty is more than just a lonely princess waiting for her prince—she's a brave, tenacious girl who never backs down from a challenge. With vampire-slaying talents that she practices in secret, Sleeping Beauty puts her courage to the test in the dark of night, fighting evil as she searches for a way to break the spell that has cut her off from her family. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Sleeping Beauty and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you've ever read!
I enjoyed reading this story so much that I HAD to go back and read every possible twist and turn!  Though I must say that I did find a favorite “way” to read this adventure – there are many choices to make along the journey.  This story, as well as “Cinderella: Ninja Warrior” are not your typical fairy tale adventures.  Each main character has strengths and weaknesses that draws the reader deeper into the story, and aids in deciding which path to take.  Once again, a wonderfully written story by author Maureen McGowan!

* I received free copies of these books for this review - All reviews are my personal opinion.

Feb 9, 2011

Too Rich for a Bride

Ida Sinclair has joined her sisters, Kat and Nell, in the untamed mining town of Cripple Creek, Colorado for one reason: to work for the infamous but undeniably successful businesswoman, Mollie O’Bryan. Ida’s sisters may be interested in making a match for their determined older sister, but Ida only wants to build her career.

Ida is the oldest of the Sinclair Sisters, and true to nature, is quite strong-willed and determined to make her way in a "man's world." She most definitely is not searching for a husband and would rather be a sucessful busineswoman, than a bride. Unfortunately, her sisters do not agree, and they set out to find her a husband.

I love how Ida is determined to make her way in this world on her own, not dependent on anyone - she is not afraid to stand up for what she believes. Though I really enjoyed reading this book, and loved the character development of most of the books' wonderful characters. I was not overly happy with the way the story ends, but I'm not the author. I would have chosen to let her keep her business and have her man support her in that decision. Overall a wonderful book, and definitely worth reading!

This book is the second installment in the Sisters of Cripple Creek series, but can be read individually as well.

Disclaimer:   I received a copy of this title from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group through the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review. I was in no other way compensated to publish this post. These are my real and honest opinions.

Feb 7, 2011

Maverick Heart by Loree Lough ~ Review

When a coincidental meeting brings nurse Levee O'Reilly and Rancher Daniel Neville together, they're awakened to a long-ignored desire for love and acceptance by the realization that they might have finally found it.  Can these two mavericks accept the plans God has for their lives?

This is the 2nd book in the Lone Star Legends series by author Loree Lough.  I was left in suspense in book 1, Beautiful Bandit, when Levee O'Reilly is left stranded with her dead husband after their stagecoach was attacked by a gang of Outlaws.  I am excited to get to read this continuation of Levee's story.  She is a dynamic character in this story, and I love how she stepped right into the teaching position in town, and kept her life going even after the tragic death of her husband.  She shows such faith and strength of character throughout the story, but also is so realistic in her emotions and desires.
The only thing I did not like about this book, is that I will have to wait so long for the 3rd book to be published!
Maverick Heart is due in stores January 2011.

Feb 4, 2011

Catching up is hard to do . . .

Good intentions remain just that, . . . good intentions.  I had intended to read and post reviews on at least 2 books this past week; but as with most good intentions, it did not work out quite as I had hoped.  With the arrival of over a foot of snow, and 3 kids snowed in for 3 days (ughhh - no school for 3 days leads to a bit of cabin fever!).  Well, those 2 books never got read, and of course the reviews then, are still not done.  So, hoping and praying we don't have another set of snow days next week - I do intend to get at least 1 done before Monday!
Here's hoping I accomplish this, at least!  :)

Lost Island Smuggler ~ Max Elliot Anderson

Interview with Max Elliot Anderson
Author of Lost Island Smugglers

Loves 2 Read:   Could you tell us a little about the books you write for boys, and a bit about your background?
Max:   I grew up hating to read. My father wrote over 70 books and I didn’t read any of them. He also ran a film production studio where they made a lot of dramatic films. I often hung around the studio to watch the actors do their work. It was during this time that I learned about story, pacing, plot, dialog, humor, drama, and timing. When it came time to begin writing, I found that these elements were firmly imbedded in my mind.
I graduated from college with a degree in psychology, was drafted into the army for two years, during the Vietnam era, and returned home to film production work after that. Film projects have taken me all around the world and across the US, Canada, and South America. Many of these experiences have provided story ideas and characters for the books I write today. I’ve written thirty-six manuscripts so far, and am writing action adventures and mysteries that I think I would have loved as a child.

Loves 2 Read:   Where do you get your inspiration or ideas for the characters/stories you write?
Max:   Many of the characters come from my somewhat wacky childhood. We always had an interesting cast of characters around us in school, the neighborhood, and church. And there was never a shortage of adventure or fun things to do. I grew up in Wolf Lake, Michigan, which was a sort of wonderland for a child growing up. We lived in a wooded area with hundreds of acres of trees. Wolf Lake was great for swimming in summer and ice skating in winter. Many of my locations for stories come from actual places where I’ve visited while shooting film and video projects.

Loves 2 Read:    What is the main message you want the boys to grasp in this story?
Max:   Sam, Tony, and Tyler took scuba lessons together. Tony’s father owned a marina, so Tony got them in for free. After the boys completed the course, they decided to try their new skills in the ocean. The only problem was, none of them had permission to go, or to take one of the sailboats out for their diving adventure. The basic message I want boys and girls to grasp is about honesty, and to know that the things you do wrong can’t be hidden forever. The book also carries a strong anti-drugs message.

Loves 2 Read:    Who is your favorite character, and why?
Max:    That’s hard to say. It’s a little like asking which of my children I like best...impossible to answer. Each character has his or her own unique traits, quirks, positive strengths and negative challenges. I truly can say that I like them all.

Loves 2 Read:   What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
Max:    I didn’t start writing until later in life. Because of that, the last nine years have been consumed with writing, finding an agent, locating publishing opportunities, platform building, speaking, and promoting my finished work. It hasn’t left a lot of time for much else. I’m hoping that will change before too long. I do enjoy collecting coins and stamps. I also enjoy NASCAR. My son and I go to the Daytona 500 each year. I’d love to have the opportunity to do some traveling with my wife eventually, and not have to drag a bunch of video production equipment and a crew along. Most of my travel has been work related so a change like that would be great.

Thank you Max for your willingness to interview with me, and your donation of a new book for this giveaway!  Make sure to check out Max E Anderson's websites:  http://booksandboys.blogspot.com/    and   http://www.maxbooks.9k.com/