Stephanie Kate Strohm is also the author of Pilgrims Don’t Wear Pink, Confederates Don’t Wear Couture, The Taming of the Drew, and It's Not Me, It's You. She works as an actress and teacher in Chicago. You can find her online at www.stephaniekatestrohm.com and on Twitter @stephkatestrohm.
When I read the blurb for this book, I immediately liked it, not because it's a story about royalty, but because it's about a girl, the sister of the "Prince's" fiance instead of the girl who ended up with the "Prince". Have you ever wondered what it would feel like? Then you should be reading "A Prince in Disguise".
In this month's guest post, I asked Stephanie to talk about how this book came to be, what inspired her to write about
the regular sister instead of the one betrothed to the "Prince".
Prince in Disguise isn’t just the title of my newest book (or a line from Beauty and the Beast) –
it’s also the title of a reality TV show in the book. In “Prince in Disguise,” the show, “princes” –
usually lords – come to America to pretend not to be royal in order to find love. At the beginning
of the book, Dusty, the older sister of my main character, Dylan, has gotten engaged to a Scottish
lord, and their entire family heads over to Scotland to film a televised version of the wedding. As
far-fetched as this might sound, I actually got the idea for “Prince in Disguise” from a very real
TV show that used to be on the air – “Secret Princes.” On “Secret Princes,” just like in “Prince in
Disguise”, eligible royals from all over the world came to America to hide their identities in
order to find love. To the best of my knowledge, none of those couples ended up living happily
ever after, but I couldn’t help but wonder – what if they had? Oftentimes on “Secret Princes”
when the American girlfriend met her new boyfriend’s royal family she ended up humiliated,
unfamiliar with the customs and the etiquette, mocked by her new boyfriend’s friends and family.
In every episode I saw, the couple broke up as soon as she met the family. I started to wonder
what kind of woman would be strong enough to stand up to that, and I started to wonder what
her family would think – how would the Americans feel about welcoming a royal son-in-law into
When I started thinking about characters for the book, I was really into the idea of American
royalty – like what does that even mean? The only King I could think of in American history was
Elvis Presley, and that’s actually one of the reasons Dylan and her family come from Tupelo,
Mississippi. It’s kind of an inside joke with myself that Dylan and the King were born in the
same city. I guess you could argue that we treat certain celebrity families like royalty, or that
anyone who’s lived in the White House might be equivalent to a royal family, but it’s not really
the same. None of those people wear tiaras. In fact, the only people I could think of who
regularly wear tiaras were pageant queens.
I’ve always been fascinated by beauty pageants. I’ve never done one (and certainly never will),
but the whole idea of doing a talent and wearing a sparkly dress and winning a big shiny crown
is kind of appealing, I’m not going to lie. I really liked the idea of a beauty pageant winner as a
sort of American princess – a beautiful All-American girl with a big smile, a practiced wave, and,
of course, that tiara. Someone who would look right at home next to a prince.
And that’s why I chose to write about Dylan, not Dusty. In Prince in Disguise, Dylan’s older
sister Dusty is a former Miss Mississippi who looks pageant-princess-perfect at all times. Dusty
looks like a princess, which is exactly why I wanted to write about Dylan instead. Dylan thinks
that she is nothing like a princess, and I was drawn to that contrast. What happens when you fall
in love with a prince, but you couldn’t possibly see yourself as a princess? That’s the story that I
was drawn to, and I had so much fun writing both Dusty and Dylan – I hope you have as much
fun reading about them as I did writing about them!
Thank you so much to Penguin Random House for granting my request to review one of my most anticipated reads this year! This, does not in any way affect my opinion about the book.
Title: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns
Author: Julie C. Dao
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publishing Date: October 10, 2017
Number of Pages: 384
An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl's quest to become Empress--and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny. Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng's majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?
Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins--sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.
I read the synopsis but it was only upon reading this book did I know that it is an anti-heroine book. I have always been curious about the story of Disney's Villains. In one of the books I own, The Evil Queen was considered as the most evil of them all because she didn't have any reason to be evil but she is anyway.
And so, I devoured this retelling of her story in 2 days not only because I was curious but also because Julie C. Dao wrote it in a way that it would hypnotize you to not stop until you finish it.
The main character of the story, Xi Feng experienced pain early on in life, but in truth, I believe that it is her faith in magic and fate that truly sets her to have the courage to go out of the comfort and familiarity of the little village she grew up in.
Reading FoaTL feels like watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs but not. It has the essence of the classic story but as well as the gory details that the other version doesn't have.
What an amazing experience reading this book was. What a sad realization it is for me that I'd be waiting for it's next installment.
But nevertheless, bravo to Julie C. Dao, for writing an awesome anti-heroine book.
RATING : 5 STARS
Shout out to Penguin Random House for granting my request to review this book! This, does not in any way affect my opinion about the book.
Title: There's Someone Inside Your House
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publishing Date: September 26, 2017
Number of Pages: 289
Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss. One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.
International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.
Stephanie Perkins is one of my favorite authors and each of her books, made me feel giddy, inlove and happy.
It has been three years since her last book, "Isla and the Happily Ever After" so you could imagine how happy I was when I learned that she is going to publish a new book! When I learned that it's going to be a suspense-thriller, I knew that even if I don't read that genre, for Steph, I will.
And so, I started with the book, bracing myself to have nightmares. But.. I didn't. Stephanie Perkins write swoony YA romances, and this book lived up to my expectations. However, the story was supposed to revolve around murders, that will make you want to open the lights during bedtime. Sadly, this book only gave me kilig and I didn't really feel afraid.
I liked Makani Young, the main character as well as her group of friends for being girls who can depend themselves as well as for having each other's backs. Furthermore, Makani's love story. There are a lot of questions on my mind though, such as why did the killer do it? If the answer was what was stated on the book then I guess I got disappointed. Maybe because I'm used to reading books lately that have shocking twists.
I will always read a Stephanie Perkins book but she maybe need a little more practice in writing Suspense-Thriller themed books.
RATING: 3 STARS
Thank you so much to Abrams & Chronicle for granting my review of this book. This does not in any way affect my review of the book.
Title: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo
Author: F.C. Yee
Publisher: Abrams & Chronicle
Publishing Date: August 08, 2017
Number of Pages: 336
She annihilates standardized tests and the bad guys. Genie Lo is one among droves of Ivy-hopeful overachievers in her sleepy Bay Area suburb. You know, the type who wins. When she’s not crushing it at volleyball or hitting the books, Genie is typically working on how to crack the elusive Harvard entry code.
But when her hometown comes under siege from hellspawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are dramatically rearranged. Enter Quentin Sun, a mysterious new kid in class who becomes Genie’s self-appointed guide to battling demons. While Genie knows Quentin only as an attractive transfer student with an oddly formal command of the English language, in another reality he is Sun Wukong, the mythological Monkey King incarnate—right down to the furry tale and penchant for peaches.
Suddenly, acing the SATs is the least of Genie’s worries. The fates of her friends, family, and the entire Bay Area all depend on her summoning an inner power that Quentin assures her is strong enough to level the very gates of Heaven. But every second Genie spends tapping into the secret of her true nature is a second in which the lives of her loved ones hang in the balance.
I am a Filipino, and I grew up reading and watching not only Philippine mythology and Folklore but other Asian mythology stories as well. If you are familiar with Jackie Chan, you probably watched "Forbidden Kingdom" which includes the story of "The Monkey King".
I requested "The Epic Crush of Genie Lo" not only because I want to learn more about the Chinese mythology but also because reading the blurb gave me a gut feel that it's not just going to be a promising book but one that is also action packed. Guess what? I REALLY ENJOYED READING IT!!!
Reading the book gave me warm, gooey feelings because of the familiarity of the characters but at times, during the action scenes, made me feel over the edge, which is exactly what I was looking for! I also liked the fact that Genie is a reincarnation of "something" I didn't expect, a breath of fresh air.
This book would definitely be on my "most likely to be read again" pile and I recommend it for readers who wants to read about Chinese mythology that has full of humor, action-packed and a love story that you'd surely be rooting for!
RATING: 5 STARS
Title: Rich People Problems
Author: Kevin Kwan
Publishing Date: May 23, 2017
Number of Pages: 398
Kevin Kwan, bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend, is back with an uproarious new novel of a family riven by fortune, an ex-wife driven psychotic with jealousy, a battle royal fought through couture gown sabotage, and the heir to one of Asia's greatest fortunes locked out of his inheritance.
When Nicholas Young hears that his grandmother, Su Yi, is on her deathbed, he rushes to be by her bedside--but he's not alone. It seems the entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe, ostensibly to care for their matriarch but truly to stake claim on the massive fortune that Su Yi controls. With each family member secretly fantasizing about getting the keys to Tyersall Park--a trophy estate on 64 prime acres in the heart of Singapore--the place becomes a hotbed of intrigue and Nicholas finds himself blocked from entering the premises. As relatives claw over heirlooms, Astrid Leong is at the center of her own storm, desperately in love with her old sweetheart Charlie Wu, but tormented by his ex-wife--a woman hell bent on destroying Astrid's reputation and relationship. Meanwhile Kitty Pong, married to billionaire Jack Bing, finds a formidable opponent in his fashionista daughter, Colette. A sweeping novel that takes us from the elegantly appointed mansions of Manila to the secluded private islands in the Sulu Sea, from a schoolyard kidnapping to a gold-leaf dancefloor spattered with blood, Kevin Kwan's gloriously wicked new novel reveals the long-buried secrets and rich people problems of Asia's most privileged families.
I've heard about the news that Kevin Kwan's first novel, Crazy Rich Asians will be turned into a movie and though I wasn't able to read it, my attention was caught when I saw that I have his third novel entitled Rich People Problems on my kindle. Thank you so much NetGalley and DoubleDay Books for granting my request to read the ARC!
Believe me, I gave my self a little hard time by not reading the first book! There were a lot of characters that at first I cannot distinguish who's who. However, as I continued reading, I was able to get to know each of the characters and liked most of them. I liked Nick Young and his wife Rachel who defied tradition for love. I liked Su Yi's character as well even if she is strict and may seem to not care about anyone but his grandson, Nick. I liked Astrid the most in this story not because she stayed in Palawan, Philippines but because of how gracefully she faced every problem that came her way. Although Edison Cheng is irritating, I think he's just one of those spoiled rich kids so I didn't mind all his plans to get Nicky away from Su Yi. But the one person whom I consider the greediest is Kitty Pong. I can't even tell you how annoying she is and her constant need to fit in.
There are a lot of scenes that are memorable to me, but the most would be the proposal and the way things ended up in the end. For sure I'll be reading the first book - Crazy Rich Asians and second book - China Rich Girlfriend before the movie comes up!
If you want a funny read and a novel full of characters who are enjoyable, I recommend reading this book!
RATING: 5 STARS
Title: Dark Matter
Author: Blake Crouch
Publishing Date: July 16,2016
Number of Pages: 342
“Are you happy with your life?”
Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.
Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.
Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”
In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.
Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.
From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.
I have been reading YA Contemporary Romance for weeks that I decided to try a different genre. I was actually in a bookstore when this book caught my eye. I was never a fan of mystery/thriller books but Dark Matter's synopsis caught my attention.
Warning: Spoilers ahead. See? Who wouldn't want to read about Jason, who has the chance to experience what will happen to his life if he makes different decisions in life. Not that he has any other choice but he had to go to different "worlds" just to find his real home. That first shocking moment: when I knew that he was abducted by another Jason, one who lived in a different world made me want to not stop reading. When Jason first went inside the box, it also made me think how he would be able to navigate it and get out. I was frustrated when he tried a hundred times to find "his Chicago" but failed but I knew that he would find it. And when he did, and another revelation - that the other Jasons were all in "his Chicago" fighting to be with his wife and son, I was out of my mind. I mean, how does he get away from all his contenders? However, his love for his family won and they were able to escape.
Bookworms have been raving about this book and it lived up to my expectations. Reading Dark Matter is like watching a past-faced, gripping movie where there is romance, mystery and action. I'm also really satisfied with the ending because I for one always want happy-ever-after on the stories that I am reading.
RATING: 4 STARS
If you have read "Level Up" by Cathy Yardley, I'm sure you are as excited as I am to have your hands on her next book which is "One True Pairing"! Read on to know what is it about.
Title: One True Pairing
Author: Cathy Yardley
Publisher: SMP Swerve
Publishing Date: July 25, 2017
Number of Pages: 200
They couldn't be more opposite, the Hollywood actor and the hometown girl, but all they need is a little convention magic to become the perfect ship in Cathy Yardley's One True Pairing.
Jake Reese needs a decoy girlfriend. Fast. The lead actor of the popular TV show, Mystics, is tired of losing his shirt to overeager fans. Literally. Which is why a chance meeting with gothabilly bookworm-slash-barista Hailey Frost seems almost too perfect to be true. Hailey is not impressed with his TV fame and is desperate to save her family's bookstore. It's a match made in Hollywood, but as the two pretend to date, fan fiction becomes reality. Can this OTP become canon?
You are also in for a treat because today, you will be able to read an excerpt from the book!
Jake handed over a few hundred dollar bills. “Hey, this is too much!”
“You rescued me, you’ve driven me around, you stood up to a manager for me. This is the least I can do,” Jake said, his eyes meeting hers. He looked so damned sincere. “Anything else I can do to make it up to you?”
The guy was a sweetheart, she realized. He’d probably be a beautiful mark—just enough naiveté, especially for Hollywood. Chivalry, nobility. The guy was a soft touch.
She couldn’t help it. Her grinned curved wider, and she looked at him suggestively. “Have anything particular in mind?”
“What? Oh! No. That’s not what I meant,” he stammered. But she saw his pulse racing in the thick muscles of his neck, and the way his pupils dilated.
Might not be what he meant, but he was thinking about it.
And damn it, now so am I.
“Why not?” she teased, pitching her voice as if she were hurt that he wouldn’t consider it, just to watch him squirm. And squirm he did.
“No. I mean, I’d love to, don’t get me wrong. You are . . .” His gaze now swept over her, and she felt it like a chinchilla mitten, all soft and sensual and something you just wanted to rub up against. “Unbelievable. But I don’t want you to think that I’m just taking advantage of the situation, or anything. I mean, I don’t expect you to have sex with me.”
“Relax, Boy Scout. I’m just messing with you,” she said, laughing and patting his cheek. “Really, it’s cool. Maybe score me a one-day pass to the Con? My sister’s a big fan, she’d love to get some video of it.” Since Cressida couldn’t leave the house, video would be the next best thing to attending in person.
“Just because I don’t expect anything,” he said quietly, “doesn’t mean I don’t want anything, Hailey.”
She blinked. Her heart started to rhumba in her chest. God. Sex with Jake Reese?
He was messing with her, she chastised herself. He had to be.
She started to take a step away from him. She had to get out of here, before she started getting ideas—reckless, stupid ideas.
Before she could pull away, he grasped her wrist—gently, but inexorably. He kept it against his cheek, then turned his face, letting her fingertips rub against the stubble before placing a hot kiss in the center of her palm.
Just like that, her lady parts tingled in anticipation.
“Oh, my,” she whispered.
“I’d like to take you to dinner,” he said, his voice low, those blue, blue eyes mesmerizing. He’d lost his stammer, and he’d somehow switched from awkward suitor to hell-yeah, hot-fudge-sinful man. “Tonight. When do you get off work?”
Wow. Zero to turned on in three-point-two seconds. That had to be some sort of record.
She swallowed hard.
This is a bad idea.
“I guess I could have dinner.” Her voice came out breathy, and she cleared her throat, getting more businesslike. “I mean, I’ll be hungry. Gotta eat, right?”
If you enjoyed reading the excerpt, why not purchase the e-book? You can do so by going to these websites:
Cathy Yardley is the author of the Fandom Hearts series, starting with Level Up, and needs to get out more. When not writing, she's usually lurking on social media, playing Fallout 4, or watching D-list movies and adding to her unnatural mental store of character-actor trivia. She's a fangirl of Supernatural, Doctor Who, Sherlock, LOTR, and too many others to name. She lives with her family in Seattle. They are considering performing an intervention for her addiction to pop culture.
I got an ARC from NetGalley (Thank you!) however, this does not affect my review of the book.
Title: Sad Girls
Author: Lang Leav
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Publishing Date: May 30, 2017
“Your first love isn’t the first person you give your heart to—it’s the first one who breaks it.”
Sad Girls is the much anticipated debut novel from international best-selling author Lang Leav. A beautifully written and emotionally charged coming of age story, where young love, dark secrets, and tragedy collide.
School is almost out for Audrey, but the panic attacks are just beginning. Because Audrey told a lie and now her classmate, Ana, is dead. Just as her world begins to spin out of control, Audrey meets the enigmatic Rad—the boy who could turn it all around. But will their ill-timed romance drive her closer to the edge?
Reading Lang Leav's poems is like reading something that would make you say, "That's exactly what's on my mind but I don't know how to turn into words." When her read her pieces, they always go straight to the heart. So, when I saw that her new novel, Sad Girls was on the Read Now category on Netgalley (thank you!), I grabbed the opportunity because I just know, I'd love it as much as I loved her books of poems.
This book ruined me. If I could describe the book in one word - TWISTED, that's it. The book started with a girl -- Ana, who committed suicide. And that is also the reason how the main character, Audrey and love interest, Rad met. The love story of this book is on point, meaning the words Lang used in her poems can be very much felt on how she wrote Audrey and Rad's love story. However, the revelation in the end was what made me ask, why did Lang do this to me? I was expecting "happy ever after", but I don't think the book really ended with it. There's no question that she is a very good writer with her way with words, and the plot twists were so shocking that I had to take a breather but I just can't accept the ending. It took me days of pondering to move on from the book. I even talked to a friend about it and this is what he said, "you know, this happens in real life." I believe he is right. And what makes this book a hit is it' authenticity. That the truth truly hurts.
RATING: 4 STARS
Thank you so much to Fay of Bibliophile Soprano and Penguin Random House for hosting this blog tour. This, in any way, does not affect my opinion of the book.
Title: What to Say Next
Author: Julie Buxbaum
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
From the New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things comes a charming and poignant story about two struggling teenagers who find an unexpected connection just when they need it most. For fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Niven, and Rainbow Rowell.
Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.
KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.
DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I mean, I’ve never once sat with someone until now. “So your dad is dead,” I say to Kit, because this is a fact I’ve recently learned about her.
When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?
I admit, What to Say Next is one of my most anticipated reads this year simply because I loved Julie's other YA book (Tell Me Three Things) so much I know I had to get my hands on the next one!
I dived into the book expecting it to be so much like Tell Me Three Things only to realize it's not. It's different, in a good way. The synopsis was vague that I just assumed it would be like any other YA Contemporary novels but What to Say Next is unique. Reading about Kit and David is like looking into people I know. The emotions felt so raw that for a second I thought I am present in the scenarios the characters were in. Julie's writing is exceptional, there's no doubt about that.
Also, if there's one thing I have observed about Julie's novels, it's that, she loves to add twists when you're already nearing the end and you'd think, oh, so that's it. But no, I was so gobsmacked by the twist in WTSN,(which I wouldn't devulge) that I had to pause and take it all in before diving into the story again. Only a few novels could do this and WTSN is definitely one of them. That revelation though made me look at Kit and David in a new perspective.
Now I understand what Julie meant in her author's note when she said that she'd miss David being in her head because right now, I kind of miss reading about him too. If you want to read about memorable characters and a plot that is so authentic, then WTSN should be on your TBR list.
RATING: 4 STARS
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