Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Stolen Princess: Maidens of Malidone book 1 Book Review

The Stolen Princess, by Katherine Wilson, is book one in the Maidens of Malidone series (The series is three books long right now and I don't think there are going to be anymore, but I don't know that for sure)
This book starts when the castle is invaded by Lord Malcolm and his evil friends.  They try to get both the Prince and the Princess but only are able to capture Princess Rose.

Fast forward to when the Princess is 16 and just another slave in Lord Malcolm's kingdom.  Her hope remains in God, and she tries to live true to Him. She is friends with other girls who work in the kitchen with her, including the new little girl called Elly.

At the same time, her Brother's friend, Ian, ends up finding the secret kingdom that Rose is in and of course has to save her (But he goes back home first and makes a plan and has back up. Very smart!).   Rose wants to save everyone there.  And the rest are things I am not going to say, because this book is small and there is only so much before I have told you everything ever.  I like that this book is small, because: why have a longer book than you need to tell the story?.

I really enjoyed this book as a first fiction book by an author. The book kind of says "I need to get my feet as a author but I care and I have skill", or that's what it said to me. This can almost be a standalone novel.  The story wraps up Rose, Her Brother William, and his and her friend, Ian's stories well.  The next book is about Rose's Daughter's story.  And book two is for sure already even better than I expected.  I don't judge an author too harshly on his/her first novel.  Authors grow and get better, especially when they are only teenagers when they write the book.  Katherine was only 16 years old when this book was published (Homeschool author ALERT!!!!).  Go young people who write!

I would recommend this book for age 11 or older, if violence is something that is not okay with a younger reader then this is not the book for them.  It is not very violent, but there is a battle scene and some running away from bad guys and getting hurt and such. But in my opinion, the violence is not over done
The romance is very clean, very cute and age appropriate for everyone, there is not even one kiss.  This has the potential to be a great family read-aloud.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson Book Review

The Golden Braid, by Melanie Dickerson, is the sixth book in the Hagenheim series.  I have reviewed the first five, but now there are 7! Ahhhh! And the author is writing two more in this series. All of the books are non-magical fairy tale re-tellings.  They are set in medieval Germany and England, depending on the story, This one is in Germany. The series is about two main families and how their lives connect over the years.  There are different main characters for each book, but the stories span generations, though some are set at the same time (like this one) and others can be many years apart.  The Golden Braid is a Rapunzel re-telling which is reminiscent of the Disney movie and the original story, but Melanie Dickerson puts her own spin on the Golden Braid for sure.

This was a very exciting book! This book takes place at the same time, and a little before, and after The Princess Spy, by Melanie Dickerson (book five in the Hagenheim series, you can find my Review HERE). Anyway, I LOVED getting to see the crossover from both books into each other. I don't want to say too much about how they crossover, because I will kind of spoil a lot of the surprises in the story.

I loved the God content in this story. It was very well done and went well with the story.  I really enjoy when there is praying in books like this. I so enjoyed the main characters growing throughout the book.

As for age recommendations: There is romance (of course), but it is clean, only kissing and not to overly much of that. I  recommend this 13 or 14 + (at the youngest 12, but only for a mature reader because of things at the end of this review--spoiler section). But "the best age" (the age I think the book is going for) is probably high school age and college age, but definitely great for all adults (I have to force my Mother to read this!).

Why I think 12 is youngest age I would give this book to is because it is a little intense (attention spoilers ahead!) :
The main girl and her "mother" run into Bandits on the road and Rapunzel throws knives (She has been learning for a long time.); the scene is quite intense for the youngin's.  Later the bad guys come back and they try to take advantage of her, it's not really spelled out that way, but that's the impression I got.  A lot farther in the book Rapunzel is working at the castle and it gets taken over.  At that time,  her and the other kitchen maids use holly berries to make the evil villain and his evil friends very sick, so they can not hurt anyone for a time, and the good guys can win.  There is also a soldier in the castle that alludes to her possibly being taken advantage of while the castle is under siege, but nothing actually happens.  The main character get's drugged/poisoned and kidnapped by her "mother".

Just in case you're worried about the "spin" on the Rapunzel story, there is a VERY HAPPY ENDING!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Miss Match by Erynn Mangum Book Review

Miss Match is the first of a three to five book series, depending on how you look at it. There are the main three told from Lauren's point of view, and then there are two more after that (by some years) told from Annie McKay's point of view. The later two books happen after Annie moves to the same town that Lauren lives in with all of her family and friends.  If you choose to read the last two books, you do get a good look at how the characters have grown and are the same, but different.  Books four and five are for sure a part of the story, but kind of like there is The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (but not quite... that is just the best way I came up with to describe it).  The first book is a modern-day Emma (by Jane Austen) re-telling with a twist.

The narrator, and main character's name, is Lauren Emma Holbrook.  She is super funny! She's in love with Jesus, coffee and chocolate and may very well enjoy match making a little much.... okay, so it's her main hobby, fine so it's her only hobby, besides being in the pursuit of chocolate and Mr. Darcy.  But what's a photographer supposed to do when people just need to be put together???? And they don't know how, or what to do?!

There is an awesome, semi-eccentric cast of characters ranging from Lauren's​ father, the hypochondriac; her two older sisters (who are both married, one of whom Lauren takes some credit for); her almost-brother and boss, Brandon; Ruby, her co-worker; and Ruby's brother, Ryan; Hannah, a new addition to the office; and her Pastor Nick + her adorable nieces and nephews. If this does not have you a little interested, I'm sorry. I'm not that good of a writer, and I don't do books justice sometimes. Did I tell you she is a photographer, and that is really hilarious and interesting to read about?

I loved the God content.  Lauren totally grows as a woman in Christ.  And Lauren's reading her Bible always made me want to read mine, too.  Her story is engaging, and I loved that she was always her crazy self, not confirming to the world, and being renewed in her relationship with the Lord.

As for an age recommendation, I think 13 or 14 would be great, but older than that is 1000% awesome, too! Lauren is in her very early twenties in the first three books, except for the very, very, very, very beginning of the first book where she is only 19. There is no bad content though, so if you want to read it younger, it is 100% appropriate. In this series, the main character's romantic relationship does not even share one kiss until they are engaged. (As you go on in the books the couple's that Lauren is setting up, do kiss, but it's not anything crazy).

There is obviously romance, as it is an Emma re-telling, but it is family-friendly. Something I really appreciate in Mangum's writing, with this book and the others I have read by her, is that the story is clean and God centered.  This is one of my favorite books to read when I need a laugh, but it is also serious enough. I actually consider it a really good mix of humor with substance.

Reasons for lack of posts is all the problems with my internet and technology, I won't bore you with the details. I'm looking forward, hopefully and Lord willing.