Books · Reviews · Writing

SRP Review – Renegade Hearts by Anne Patrick

 Disclaimer: The reviews I post on The Self Rescue Princess won’t be the usual style of book review that talks about all the points and elements of a novel. My intention is to focus on heroines that I believe exemplify the spirit and character of a self-rescuing princess or are on their way to achieving that status.

Now on to the review:

Renegade Hearts features Jenny Holloway, a woman of faith moving forward after the devastating loss of her husband. Now as a single mother, Jenny works through her grief while balancing motherhood and taking care of the ranch that her late husband had inherited from his uncle. With her increasing workload, Jenny agrees to hire on another hand.  

What I loved most about Jenny was  the ability to stand up for herself combined with a strength of relying on others when needed. A lot of strong heroines are very much “I’ll do it all myself” kind of gals and will refuse even necessary help, making their situation tougher and putting themselves in danger. I enjoyed seeing a strong heroine depicted as not only able to direct and lead, but also knowing when it was time to listen and follow.

Jenny also kept a warm and loving relationship with her sister even though they had conflicting views about their father. Usually in books when the heroine has a difficult relationship with a family member, and others don’t ‘see’ the person and their behavior in the same light, the other relationships suffer. I liked how the two sisters supported and loved each other anyway, keeping their sisterly bond while allowing each other to have a separate relationship with their father. Later, Jenny makes a hard decision that honors her father even though it’s one that forces her to put her pride in check and take steps toward forgiveness.

Jenny exemplifies the type of self-rescuing princess I love to get to know. One that can stand alone but also with others, not holding independence as such a great character value that others are always pushed to the side.

Books · Reviews · Writing

SRP Review — The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Disclaimer: The reviews I post on The Self Rescue Princess won’t be the usual style of book review that talks about all the points and elements of a novel. My intention is to focus on heroines that I believe exemplify the spirit and character of a self-rescuing princess or are on their way to achieving that status.

Now on to the review:  

The Help is filled with women from two different ‘stations’ in life who are becoming self-rescuing princesses. Each women have grown up in a time where the color of a person’s skin determined their worth, and these women are discovering that there is more to being a good person than continuing behavior taught to you. And defending yourself isn’t always a sign that one doesn’t have manners. There is a time to stand up for yourself–and others. The Help shows strong women coming to that point during a period in history when doing so put a person’s life in danger. There are some wonderful tender moments that I’d like to mention but won’t so I don’t spoil the book for anyone.

The character that drew me in the most was Minny. There are some situations in her life that might make someone think she isn’t a self-rescue princess, but Minny never acts or feels like a victim. For her, that was the way the world worked for someone of her race and yet Minny never gave up. She was herself, showing restraint at times in order to ensure she’d have a job as a maid to take care for her family. She does put with verbal and physical abuse from people, but she doesn’t allow it to define her or overcome her. What I found truly amazing about Minny was that she was able to care (love) someone that she expected to hate. Minny fought her instinct to judge based on past experiences and see someone for who they truly were.

Miss Aibileen felt like the heart of the book. Aibileen was a woman who always encouraged, always loved, even knowing that in the future that love would be overlooked or ignored once a child grew up. While she was concerned about herself, her greatest worries were for her friends, family and the young children she worked with. Her compassion was always on the surface.  

Miss Skeeter took a look at the way her friends, family–and even herself–had dismissed the maids that worked for them. The ‘Help’ loved and cared for them when they were children. When those children grew up, they treated the maids as ‘help’ not as the women that loved them as their own. Skeeter knew it had to change. She risked her reputation and friendships.

The true spirit of a self-rescuing princess, or in this case self-rescuing princesses, is woman/women standing up for themselves, for others, and especially by each other. They decided to do what they could, in the only way they knew how, to have their voices heard and to change their circumstances — and the life of their daughters and other women ‘destined’ to follow in their footsteps.

Books · Reviews

SRP Review: Paradox by JoAnn Carter

Disclaimer: The reviews I post on The Self Rescue Princess won’t be the usual style of book review that talks about all the points and elements of a novel. My intention is to focus on heroines that I believe exemplify the spirit and character of a self-rescuing princess or are on their way to achieving that status.

Now on to the review: (this book was sent to be by the author)

Paradox is the story about Lilly, a young Christian woman, who’s asked to come and help with the family business after the arrest of her sister. Lilly was a heroine who strived to be a self-rescuing princess but at times allowed the critical voice that resides inside to bring up the mistakes of  her  past and stole her resolve which turned her into a damsel in distress. A situation that Lilly didn’t like. She wanted to enjoy the life that God blessed her with and abide by His will but found that the inner voice sometimes overrode.

Lilly was a young woman that graduated from college, opened her own business, lived her own life away from her family but still felt inadequate and as if she could never live down the mistakes she made in the past. When she thought about returning to her childhood home, she saw the person she used to be and her confidence slipped away. Lilly struggled hard against the self-doubts and memories of the mistakes she made in the past.

Oh, how I could relate Lilly. How many times have I accomplished something or wanted so much to stretch myself and help others but that voice started … Don’t you remember when … Yet, Lilly worked hard to overcome those insecurities and risked failing in order to step in and help her family when needed. She wanted to so much to live past the mistakes but believed that no one else could.

My heart ached for Lilly. I rooted for her. She wanted so much to be the self-rescuing princess that not only saved herself but her family as well. I cheered her on to be the full-fledge self-rescue princess I knew she could be. What I loved about Lilly was that she acknowledged the trap that gripped her, one of her own doing, and didn’t place the blame on others.

I loved seeing how Lilly grew not only in her walk with God but in learning to trust and believe in herself and in the people that loved her. It was wonderful to read about an accomplished Christian young woman that faced her insecurities in order to be the woman God intended her to be.

Books · Reviews · Writing

American Idol Voting and Book Reviews

I’ve been an avid viewer of American Idol since season one (though I don’t vote anymore because whoever I call for gets voted off … my daughters still blame me for Chris Daughtry going home). Watching the result show last night and reading some backlash on message boards brought to my mind the writing community and how we face the same issues when it comes to voting or as we call them reviews. One group prefers one style over another and is amazed when their preference doesn’t ‘win’. There has to be rigging involved or the rest of the voting public has bad taste because no one could actually think that the others are better.

For some reason when it comes to the entertainment/creative field, some people don’t believe that anyone could actually enjoy/like a singer that they don’t. I see the same attitude when it comes to books. I read a few boards geared toward writers and readers and there is always a debate about why certain books take off and others don’t. Lower starred reviews are seen as a conspiracy/rigging against authors. Some find it hard to believe that a reader could honestly not like a particular work. It has to be jealously or some other malice involved.

But even more confusing … and troubling … to me is when books that are bestsellers are sneered at as not being well written. For some reason some writers feel that some best sellers are unworthy of that kind success based on their view of the book and believe that readers who bought and enjoyed those books just don’t know good writing. The question I see asked a lot on message boards is how can anyone call that good writing?

To me the answer is simple … every reader has a different opinion of what is the most important element of a book. Some like a more plot centered book. Others want characters that make them feel as if they know them in real life. Some want to be entertained and to laugh. Others want a book that will make them think and reevaluate their stances on issues.

Some people love country music. Others love metal. Some like to watch a singer perform. Others just like a singer to sing. Some readers love fantasy. Others science fiction. Some readers want some romance in their mystery or suspense. Others would prefer that the entire focus of the book remains with the crime.

Voting for the next American Idol or reviewing a book isn’t a choice/conspiracy against an artist. It’s an opinion of what an individual personally enjoys … what speaks to them. There is no correct preference. And there’s no preference that is wrong.

Books · Reviews

SRP Review: Miss Scarlet’s School of Patternless Sewing by Kathy Cano-Murillo

Disclaimer: The reviews I post on The Self Rescue Princess won’t be the usual style of book review that talks about all the points and elements of a novel. My intention is to focus on heroines that I believe exemplify the spirit and character of a self-rescuing princess or are on their way to achieving that status.

Now on to the review:  (I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway)

Miss Scarlet’s School of Patternless Sewing is filled with the self-rescue princess types. Two that stand out in the book are Scarlet and Mary Theresa. At first, I didn’t like Mary Theresa and wondered what kind of princess she would turn out to be. Yes, she was a self-rescuing princess but took it to such an extreme that she was controlling of everyone else around her. She showed that a woman can try so hard to rescue herself that she place all of her personal relationships in danger.  There are times when a self-rescue princess must relinquish some control and learn how to enjoy life.

I loved taking the journey with Mary Theresa. She struggled to find a balance between being herself and allowing others in her life to be themselves … without fearing it would take away from who she was.  The character of Mary Theresa brought that home the fact there is a balance between being a self-rescuing princess and a damsel in distress, a characteristic that is good and empowering can turn into one that is unpleasant and harmful if a person is not careful. Mary Theresa came into her own in the story and in the end, she landed up being my favorite character.

Scarlet is a self-rescue princess who is chasing her dream and doing whatever she can to make it happen. She allows no one, including boss and family, to stand in her way nor will she wait around for anyone to cheer her on. If she needs cheerleaders, she’ll find her own or else become one for herself. At times, her single minded focus put other areas in her life on hold and was a detriment to her health. I liked that Scarlet stood up for herself and didn’t allow others words or actions to put a damper on her enthusiasm or make her second guess her goals. Scarlet learned some important lessons about herself, her family and … well, there’s more I want to say but am afraid that it will spoil the book. And I don’t want to spoil Scarlet’s journey for anyone.

 What I loved most about Miss Scarlet’s School of Patternless Sewing was that all the characters showed that there are many ways for a woman to show confidence, have a life filled with purpose and — to be a self-rescue princess.

Books · Reviews · Writing

SRP Review: Full Mortality by Sasscer Hill

Disclaimer: The reviews I post on The Self Rescue Princess won’t be the usual style of book review that talks about all the points and elements of a novel. My intention is to focus on heroines that I believe exemplify the spirit and character of a self-rescuing princess or are on their way to achieving that status.

Now on to the review:

This book is about Nikki Latrelle, a jockey at a racetrack in Maryland … a strong, capable woman in a man’s world.  At a young age, the heroine had to learn to fend and protect herself. From the start, I was drawn to Nikki and curious as to how her past would affect Nikki in her job and when she got tangled up in a murder investigation. I was impressed how Nikki’s past explained her distrust of others but never controlled her. It was a part of the character’s history but not an overwhelming thread in the story. Nikki was a very well-balanced character and I found myself admiring her very much. 

When Nikki was accused of some terrible crimes (don’t want to give away any of the plot so I won’t give specifics), she is hurt and devastated when others turn from her but still tries to understand their feelings and realize that was a painful time for a few of those individuals. I found that aspect of her character inspiring, she never wallowed in her circumstances or just accepted it, she worked through it without becoming bitter and writing people off. 

What I loved most about Nikki was her determination to make her way in the world and not allow any baggage to hold her down. Her painful childhood was part of her … shaped her … but didn’t define Nikki. It fleshed out her character but didn’t become the identifier for the heroine or take over the story. 

Even though she remained cautious, Nikki took chances and steps to allow people in her life and refused to allow the past to control her. That makes her a self-rescue princess. I can’t wait to get to know her more in future books.

Full Mortality by Sasscer Hill is an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel 2010.

Books · Reviews

SRP Review: Girls To The Resuce Book #1 edited by Bruce Lansky

Disclaimer: The reviews I post on The Self Rescue Princess won’t be the usual style of book review that talks about all the points and elements of a novel. My intention is to focus on heroines that I believe exemplify the spirit and character of a self-rescuing princess or are on their way to achieving that status.

Now on to the review:

Girls To the Rescue -Tales of clever, courageous, girls from around the world was recommended to me by a blog reader. The book was originally published in 1995 and is now also out in a Kindle edition.

The introduction pulled me in immediately. “…you understand that there’s more to life than waiting around for a handsome prince …” This collection of ten short stories that feature brave young women who take on injustices, some within their communities and some within their own families, by relying on their inner strength and intelligence. Four of the stories are original and the remaining six are adaptations from fairy tales around the world.

If I had to pick a favorite … and this wasn’t an easy task for me to complete … it would be Grandma Rosa’s Bowl adapted by Bruce Lansky from a Grimm Brother’s Story. The way the grandmother was treated by her daughter-in-law broke my heart and I wondered how this story would end. The granddaughter in a kind and loving way showed her mother the errors of her ways without resorting to rudeness. In the end, the manner in the way the lesson was taught brought the family closer together. I also loved the fact that the daughter-in-law took responsibility for her behavior and worked hard to change herself for the better.

Then there was the Princess Meghan in For the Love of Sunny. This strong and resourceful heroine uses her brain to outwit those that are trying to stop her marrying the man she loves. The Fairy Godmother’s Assistant shows how with a few simple changes and a different outlook on a problem, a damsel-in-distresses can be encouraged to rely on themselves and work to change their circumstances instead of waiting for the white knight to save the day.

Books · Reviews

SRP Review: We Interrupt This Date by L.C. Evans

Disclaimer: The reviews I post on The Self Rescue Princess won’t be the usual style of book review that talks about all the points and elements of a novel. My intention is to focus on heroines that I believe exemplify the spirit and character of a self-rescuing princess or are on their way to achieving that status.

Now on to the review:

At many times, I wasn’t sure about Susan (Nic as the hero calls her) ever becoming a self-rescuing princess. Yes, she rescued others but did so in a way that stopped her from having a life outside of being an ordered around superhero. Her overzealous helpful nature made turned her into a damsel in distress because her choices were dictated by others. Susan dropped everything in order to put others first even when there wasn’t a real need for her make herself second. At times, I felt like Susan was turning into a martyr … and wondered a few times if she kind of enjoyed that status.

I wanted to throttle Susan many times. I wanted to scream at her. I wanted to reach through the Kindle and grab her, attempting to shake some sense in her. Other times I cringed and gently laid the Kindle down and walked away … not because the writing was horrible or Susan made such an irrational choice but the fact that I saw a little of myself in Susan.

Well, I don’t want to give away too much and ruin the book for anyone so I’ll refrain from giving examples. In the end, I see Susan taking the path to turn herself into a self-rescuing princess and taming her natural damsel-in-distress side that she didn’t fully understand resided in her.

What I loved best about Susan was her willingness to admit that she helped create the drama she wanted no part of … well at least a little less part of because family and friends can always add a little drama and flair to life. Not bad things as long as other people’s dramas don’t become the sole focus of your life.