Saturday, September 12, 2009

Book Review and Giveaway: Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble

Anne has a terrifying recurring dream that she’s trapped in a tiny cabin – that’s she’s someone else. And that someone else happens to be Anastasia Romanov – the youngest daughter of the last Czar of Russia. One day a strange young man appears who tells Anne that it’s her destiny to save Anastasia and tells her an incredible story of one fateful night back nearly 100 years ago.

One fateful night about 7 years ago, I saw the movie Wes Craven’s They which was about teens plagued by night terrors who are dragged away by dark magic that traps them in another plane forever. Since seeing that film, I’ve had my own terrifying dreams of being trapped somewhere tiny and/or dark. (I’ve even had day terrors to this effect when using airplane lavatories).

Anyway, the thought of anyone being trapped anywhere completely freaks me out, so if I really had force myself through some very unsettling (to me) passages. Fortunately, the compelling mix of Russian history, folklore, magic and a smart modern day heroine distracted me enough from my terror to be able to finish the novel.

On a purely superficial level, the story not only holds up, it entertains mightily. We ride along on a wave of action scenes and of characters’ discoveries of how Anne can go about rescuing Anastasia. Anne and Ethan have an “electrifying” chemistry, and there are touching as well as comic relief moments thrown in as well. But if I dig a little deeper and start to ask myself about character motivations, I find myself with some unanswered questions, especially in regards to the “villain” of the novel (and what he does at the end).

Just one more thing – Anastasia writes five letters to her family from her magical prison – and while these give us more insight into her character and important background information, they are presented in an old-fashioned script typeface which is frustratingly difficult to read. It’s a bit better than the chicken scratch my grandmother pens in her letters to me, but not by much.

DREAMING ANASTASIA is available in paperback now. Find out more about it at the author’s website. Also, find a ton of other reviews and some fascinating interviews by checking out the rest of her blog tour stops (scheldule here).

To kick off Book Blogger Appreciation Week, I also have one copy of DREAMING ANASTASIA to give away to one of my readers with a US or Canadian mailing address. If you want it, just tell me in the comments which historical person you’d pick to meet given the chance and what you’d talk about. Contest ends at 11:59 PM on September 19th.

125 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I'm glad you liked this book! Julie was complaining about the font of those letters the other day. I got an ARC at BEA and the font is fine in it. Makes you wonder why they changed it.

Beth F said...

I have this to read in a few weeks. I hope I can read the font!

Debs Desk said...

I would love to have met Cleopatra or maybe not so far back in history John Kennedy. Please include me in your giveaway.
Thanks
Debbie
debdesk9(at)verizon.net

elnice said...

I would like to meet...Pocahontis. I would love to hear the real stories of when the first settlers came to the new world.
I am so excited to read this book!
zenfoxflowerATyahooDOTcom

Janssen said...

Abraham Lincoln. I'm just SO curious about him.

Jill of The O.W.L Blog said...

I would like to meet Abraham Lincoln. He seems like a very strong man - and very calm - man. I'd just like to see what he was like in the flesh.

foltzsfantasticbooks at gmail.com

...MY NAME IS ELENI AND I AM A BOOKAHOLIC... said...

Please enter me...I'd love to meet Martin Luther King Jr., he made such an impact on the world, I'd love to be able to hear one of his inspirational speeches live.

-Eleni
lafemmereaders@yahoo.com

Diana Dang said...

Hm, I would like to meet Albert Einstein. Not sure what exactly to talk about but how all of his discoveries contributed to our future expenses?

Taste Life Twice said...

I'd go back and talk to my grandmother and ask her what her life was like and what my mom was like as a kid.

Taste Life Twice said...

woops!
my e-mail
tashiluvsu@live.com

Sara said...

I'd like to meet Eleanor Roosevelt. She just seemed to be such an inspiring and confident woman. I feel like there should be a movie about her... if there isn't already. I'd like to talk to her about random, everyday things. Little tips she has for life and what her own life was like. I'd like to hear her stories.

grochowskis@hotmail.com

Donna said...

I'd love to get my hands on this book!

Cleopatra would have to be my choice of historical personages to meet. A female with true power in a male-dominated world. Thousands of years ago. She's irresistible!

Chloe said...

I can't wait to read this book!

I would love to meet Shakespeare. I love his plays, and it would have been interesting to see what kind of a person he was as well. I would have liked to see one of his plays performed at the Globe Theatre (which I've been to) when he was actually alive!

Chloe
lookaftermyheart1901(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

A historical type character I would like to meet would be Beatrix Potter. Grew up with my Granny reading me these!

JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

donnas said...

Sounds like a great book. I would love to meet Charles Dickens. And talk about any possible missing works and A Christmas Carol.

Kristen M. said...

There is such an incredibly long list of historical people I would want to meet! I think it would be fun to talk to Harry Houdini about spiritualism or Nikola Tesla about science or Charles Dickens about poverty and the human condition.

This book sounds quite unique! I'm in on the giveaway.

Wanda said...

I would love to talk to Sir John A McDonald and I'd like to ask him what it was like being the first Prime Minister of Canada. wandanangreb(at)gmail(dot)com

Amanda said...

Ironically, I would actually want to meet Anastasia. I've always found her fascinating. Maybe it was just the mystery surrounding the one woman claiming to be her...

My address is amandagignac[at]gmail[dot]com

BookMac said...

hmmm...I would want to meet the captain of the Titanic, and I would talk ot him about what was going through his head as the ship was sinking.

bookmac13(at)gmail(dot)com

Liz said...

Awesome Giveaway! Hopefully I'll like the book as much as you :) I don't really know who I would like to meet. Probably Cleopatra, I think it would be so cool to meet her!
-Liz

liztapioka14[at]yahoo[dot]com

Chick Lit Teens said...

I'm glad to hear you liked this book! I'm really interested in European history and Anastasia, so I'm happy to know this book is good. If I could meet anyone it would probably have to be Shakespeare or Jane Austen. Got to love their writing.

Rebecca Herman said...

Great contest.I would like to meet Queen Elizabeth I.

rebecca191 AT aol DOT com

Dannie said...

Hm...I'd love to meet Goerge Orwell. He seems like an interesting fellow :)

April said...

Don't enter me, I won this in another contest. I just wanted to say fantastic review, I can't wait to read Dreaming Anastacia!

Pam said...

There's a couple people I'd like to talk to:

1) Rosa Parks - what a courageous and remarkable woman.

2) Adolf Hitler - I'd like to find out what the heck he was thinking! It's not like he was blond with blue eyes.

melacan at hotmail dot com

chey said...

Everything I've read about this book sounds great!
I'd like to meet Sir John A MacDonald. We'd talk about politics.

chey127 at hotmail dot com

jpetroroy said...

I'd meet with Shakespeare to ask him if he really wrote his plays.

jpetroroy (at) gmail (dot) com

Cynthia said...

Lincoln because it would very interesting

cindysku07@aol.com

carol said...

My grandmother is dead now she used to tell us interesting stories about her experiences in the war years and what it was loike when food was rationed and bombers going over her house in England. That is the sort of history I like to hear.

Kelly said...

Great review! Hmmm....I'd have to pick Amelia Earhart, so I can finally answer the question of what happened to her!

Thanks for the giveaway!!
Kelly

thenovelbookworm at gmail.com

Rachel said...

Definitely Anne Bonny or Mary Read (female pirates). I don't think I'd really care what we talked about-so long as we talked!
Thanks, Lenore!
rachel
sentas_cry516@hotmail.com

Cari said...

Assuming the stories are based on real people and not entirely fictional, I would like to meet Lancelot. We would discuss how it might be healthier for him and the nation to start dating new people. You know, people who aren't married. To his boss. The King.

Thanks!
Cari
neohippy10 hotmail

Stacie said...

I'd love to meet former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and here all about Trudeaumania!

simplystacieblog@gmail.com

renee said...

I would like to meet Marilyn Monroe, i just find her facinating.
reneetaylor at sympatico dot ca

melissa @ 1lbr said...

I think I'd like to meet Abigail Adams, and I guess John Adams too. I find their lives (and love story) quite fascinating!

librariansbook(at)gmail(dot)com

flowerchild said...

i would love to meet Leonardo da Vinci and we would talk about his how his life was .....

flower_child_23(at)hotmail(dot)com

purplg8r said...

I would love to meet Audrey Hepburn

belle2211(at)yahoo(dot)com

Chelsie said...

I'd love to meet Margaret Mitchell, and talk to her about why she's so anti-social.

Also, on a similar subject, I'd like to meet Clark Gable just to see if my friend was just telling stories when she said that he had supposedly horrible breath.

<3 Chelsie
bookluverreviews@hotmail.com

PJ Hoover said...

I'd want to meet Homer. And we'd talk about The Odyssey and The Iliad (of course)

Staci said...

Totally like the premise of this one...very interesting. Great review and I'll be looking for this one unless of course I'm lucky and win it!!!

Jazz said...

I'm so happy you're giving this a good review, but I am sad to see no mention of Baba Yaga. I thought she was going to be a more prominent figure in the story.

Well, if I could meet anyone it would be the Souther Gothic author Flannery O'Connor. From reading her short stories, you can really see how well she saw through deceptiveness, and how well she knew other didn't. I would love to talk to her about character creation and the true nature of people.

ladysexton(at)gmail[dot]com

cqueen2 said...

i would of love to of meet my great great grandmother ..i was told that she was a very sweet and beauiful lady

thanks
wadesherry@hotmail dot com

Jessica Secret said...

I'd want to meet...um...Pocahontis.

shutupjessicasreading at gmaildotcom

Alyce said...

This is a tough question. There are so many historical figures I would love to meet... I think I'm going to go with someone literary - L.M. Montgomery. I love those Anne of Green Gables books, and I'd like to know more about the sources of her characters. :)

akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

Katie said...

I'd pick Martha Washington. It'd be interesting to see her point of view on her husbands job.

katiesbookshelf@ymail.com

bookbutterflyangel said...

This book sounds so interesting! It sounds great.

If I could meet any historical figure, it would be Jane Austen, hands down. I'd love to find out just how she wrote like that, and what she thinks of her increasing popularity today. :)

~bookbutterfly
lady.dashti(at)gmail(dot)com

AquilaLorelei said...

Before I forget, my email address is lpuhala AT gmail DOT com
I'd want to meet Benjamin Franklin, just 'cause he seems so laid-back for his time. We'd probably talk about philosophy and cnicism and wry humor.

Anna Moore said...

I think out of everyone, I would probably say that if there was any historical figure I could meet, it would be either Hitler or Eva Braun. Hitler, to find out what the HELL he was thinking, and.. really the same for Eva, maybe she'd paint a picture of him the rest of us couldn't see.

booknerdsnet@gmail.com

Sab H. said...

I'd pick Hitler to talk about reasons. I believe he was a brilliant man and used it for the wrong purposes. I'd love to hear him talk about it.

cystalreviews[at]gmail.com

J.T. Oldfield said...

Because I'm a big nerd when it comes to religion, I'd probably say I'd want to meet Buddha or Jesus or Muhammad.

Thanks hosting this challenge!

j.t.oldfield[at]gmail.com

Jenny N. said...

The first person that came to mind was Jane Austen. I would ask her about her books and have her give me the dish onMR. Darcy.

jen4777[at]hotmail.com

Jenny N. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth said...

As a history lover, there are SO MANY people I'd love to meet. If I met Elizabeth I, I would ask her if history has portrayed her accurately. Was she truly an extremely intelligent strategist, was she just lucky, or was it a combination of both?

Wendy said...

I'd talk to Caesar. Maybe he could give me a few pointers on how take over the world, heh.

Sara said...

I'd love to have a chat with Einstein.

Sara M
silentalibis AT yahoo DOT com

Melody said...

I can't wait for my copy to arrive in the mail!

Khy said...

I want to meet the Sea Peoples who totally jacked up the ancient Egyptian empire, to see what their deal was and where they came from. I can say a group of people right? xD

This book sounds awesome too. :D

etirv said...

Edgar Allan Poe and we'll probably watch and discuss horror movies!

delilah0180(at)yahoo(dot)com

Mariah said...

I would like to meet Queen Elizabeth 1 and we would talk about what it was like to be constantly in fear of her life

silverbookgirl[at]yahoo[dot]com

*Samantha* said...

I think I would want to meet King Henry VIII. As many faults as he had, he still did some fantastic things for his country in terms of defence and arcitecture and on those merits alone, I would love to meet him and talk to him about that.

HarlequinTwilight@gmail.com

Ladytink_534 said...

Sounds neat! I'd love to meet Walt Disney and ask him about some of his movies and ones he would have liked to do... and if I'm allowed to change the past, maybe get him to stop smoking early.

throuthehaze said...

hmmm...does Jerry Garcia count as historical (I think he should)...I would love to talk about music and just life in general with him.
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Christina Farley said...

Very interesting book. I do love the Anastasia story.

Marie said...

I would love to meet Queen Elizabeth I and talk about what it was like to be ruling England during that era.

marielay@gmail.com

C said...

Looks good - I will have to add it to my Shelfari!

I would go back and talk to John Adams. I would want to know how he was able to be so courageous and push what no one else would.

Sadako said...

I've been wanting to read this soon too!

Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

My pick would be Jane Austen. Love her writing and she was such in individual and modern thinker for her time.

I just saw this at the bookstore and it looks great. Good review. I'd love to win. Count me in!

demonicattractions@gmail.com

lissa said...

one historical person to meet - does Charlotte Bronte counts as an historical person? if not, I guess I would pick Amadeus or Mozart or any real talented writers, composers and visionaries

Michelle said...

I'd like to meet the dutch artist Durer. His work fascinates me and I think we'd have a nice talk about his art and his inspirations of course!! Thanks,
mmillet at gmail dot com

Emily said...

Awesome giveaway, I am salivating over this book!

I would love to meet Harriet Tubman, she did so many brave things and I would love to hear her stories!

emily DOT wittenberg @ gmail DOT com

Anonymous said...

a great question. would love to meet jackie kennedy.

karen k
kmkuka(at)yahoo(dot)com

Tasha said...

I'd love to meet Helen Keller. We'd talk about overcoming adversity, education, and teachers.

bibliophile23 said...

I would love to enter this giveaway. If I could meet a historical person it would have to be my lady, Jane Austen. I would definitely talk books with her and, also, try to force her to talk Darcy and Wentworth.

I also would like to pass an award on to you. You can find it here

Grace2133(at)yahoo(dot)com

Kristen said...

I would love to meet Aristotle.. I think that would be quite interesting.

bittahsweetharmony@Yahoo.com

Holly said...

I've wanted to read this. I'd love to be entered.

I'd love to meet Laura Ingalls Wilder.

je2kids(at)yahoo(dot)com

Flip The Page! Book Reviews said...

Enter Me In!

Well i don't know if he is exactly "historical" to everyone else but to me he is pretty much monumental- JOHN LENNON! I would definitly meet him if i had the chance to!

Christina
flipthepageplease@gmail.com

Jasmine said...

I would love to meet Dian de Poiters and King Henri II of France and to witness their love first hand. They seem to have one of the loveliest love stories in history and would love to see it

enchantingdragon@gmail.com

Shadowofwonder47 said...

This sounds like an awesome book! Please enter me.

My grandmother died when I was four and I don’t remember her so I would like to go back and talk to her about anything.

Shadowofwonder47[at]yahoo[dot]com

EGuevara said...

I would want to meet Beethoven. we take a lot for granted in life, and for a man to create such beautiful music without the ability to hear is inspirational. His loss of hearing did not stop him from completing creating some of the most beautiful symphonies of our time.

Beth said...

Please enter me. Thanks for the chance.

Lizzi0915 at aol dot com

ddurance said...

Let's see, maybe Jack the Ripper, because that's one mystery I would love to solve.

Deidre
deidre_durance at hotmail dot com

Jaime said...

I would like to meet my GGG grandmother, Mary Jane Bacon, she was captured by Indians in Kansas in 1868 with her son and a survivor being raped multiply times and beaten almost to death
copperllama at yahoo dot com

juli said...

i would love to spend some time talking with laura ingalls wilder about life in the woods and on the prairie
juli
uffdauff@msn.com

Alyssa said...

I think I'd like to talk to Abraham Lincoln. I've always admired him. I think I'd like to ask him what he thinks of how our country is going.

Lynz Pickles said...

I've been hearing such great things about this book and am dying to read it. I've always loved reading about Anastasia! But if I could choose any historical person to talk to, I'd choose Joseph. (The Biblical Joseph, not... uh... another famous person with the same first name.) I had the biggest crush on him when I was eight!

lynzajw[at]gmail[dot]com

need-tea said...

It's not a person per se but I would have loved to have met/seen Man o' War race. He's one of my favorite horses and no one has a complete video of him racing, so I'd love to see that!


Thanks for the contest!

greenteaonlyplease(at)gmail.c

Haley said...

if i could, i would want to talk to Anna Pavlova. she was one of the best ballerinas in the world. or, C.S.Lewis, because his writing was fabulous and his analogies were awesome.

haley mathiot at yahoo dot com

Marie Burton said...

I would love to read this book.
As part of the entry, I would like to say I would like to meet Elizabeth I, the first female monarch of England. I would talk to her about her feelings regarding her beheaded Mom, and towards her fat dad, and then I would ask her if she were truly a virgin and if so, WHY?
thanks for the opportunity
Marieburton2004 at yahoo dot com

Meg said...

I can't wait to read this book! It looks so good. I would love to meet Amelia Earhart and talk about her adventure flying around the world.

Megan
Megala872@aol.com

Lori T said...

I would like to meet Hunter S. Thompson...he had so many fascinating adventures and I would love to hear about them.

This sounds very interesting and I would love to read it.

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

I would like to talk with Hitler...that would be really interesting to get inside his creepy head. I think I would just have a normal conversation with him just to see what he was like.
layersofthought{@}gmail{dot}com

Kelsi Rose said...

I would love to meet Emma Smith. Her strength and faith have always amazed me. krburr82@gmail.com

DeNiSe MaDnEsS said...

That is a really good question lets she historicaly I would have to say Martin Luther King He had such a great speech I would want to ask him so many question !!!
Denise
deniseguzman682(at)gmail(dot)com

pagese said...

I would want to meet Queen Elizabeth I. And I would want to know her thoughts when she was on house arrest on the verge of becoming Queen (among lots of other things)

onebooktime@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I would love to meet Jane Austen. If she doesn't count, then it would have to be FDR.

daydreamer_11691@verizon.net

2.0 Blog said...

I'd like to meet Frederick Douglass, and discuss his life, experiences, and how he came to be so full of wisdom despite being a slave in early life.
~Bella
iroquois.girl@yahoo.com

Book Butterfly (Kim) said...

I'd like to meet Jane Austen! So much to talk about! Please include me in the giveaway

Kim
bookbutterfly9@gmail.com

Colleen said...

John Lennon, no question about it. I'd ask him what "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is really about. :0)

celtic_aura(at)hotmail(dot)com

Bingo said...

I'd like to have met Jackie Kennedy so please include me in the giveaway.

Shawna said...

Shawna
weloveourdogs@juno.com

Thanks for this chance to win this amazing book!!!

I would LOVE to meet Jesus...how wonderful that would be!!!!

Posted this giveaway on the blog http://booksaremoviesinthemind.blogspot.com

GOOD LUCK TO ALL!!!!

Trista said...

I would love to meet Marie Antoinette! Please enter me in the contest! :)

Trista.Stephens@fnf.com

Liviania said...

This is kind of awesome - I love Russian culture. And that's odd that they chose a hard to read font.

Liviania said...

Oh yes, and I would like to meet Nathaniel Hawthorn.

inbedwithbooks AT yahoo DOT com

Stephanie said...

I would love to meet Oscar Wilde. I love his wit, and I think he would be a fascinating person to converse with!

Lindsay's Photographys said...

I would LOVE to win this!!
Thankyou!! :D:D:D

-Lindsay

lindsay15photo@gmail.com

Alexa said...

I just read a review of this on another blog and added it to my TBR list so I'd love to win. I've been fascinated by the Anastasia story since seeing the movie with Ingrid Bergman.

notenoughbookshelves.gmail.com

HNBerry said...

I'd like to me my mother's Great Granny Hart. SHe was thougth to be a Black Widdow. shortly after men married her they ended up dead or went missing. she is the one family member who has a mystery about her and I'd really like to know more.

Elizabeth said...

I'd love to read this book! I've always wanted to meet Queen Elizabeth I - besides sharing a name, I think she is completely fascinating.

Misusedinnocence said...

I would like to talk to Shakespeare about theatre. :)

misusedinnocence@aol.com

bridget3420 said...

I'd like to enter. I would want to meet the person who invented pantyhose and talk about what an idiot they are. LOL.

bjhopper(at)me(dot)com

barbrafl said...

I would LOVE to meet Shakespeare. I love his works, simply beautiful. We would talk about what it's like to see your works presented live :)

barbrafl737 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Cherie J said...

I would love to meet Queen Victoria and ask her questions about her relationship with Prince Albert. Thanks for the chance to win this. It is on my wish list.

cherierj(at)yahoo(dot)com

Sarah Z said...

I would love to meet Cleopatra!
Thanks
Sarah
believedreamcourage (at) gmail.com

Joanne said...

I'd like to be able to meet and chat with Mona Lisa, just to find out what she was thinking while sitting for that portrait. Or maybe Eve, I'd be curious to hear her side of the apple story :P

shiloki(at)gmail(dot)com

Zombie Girrrl said...

Awesome contest!
Either Lewis Carol so I could see what he was smoking when he wrote Alice in Wonderland, Adam and Eve so I could slap them silly for getting us kicked out, or Albert Einstein, he's one of my heroes because he felt such remorse over his beautiful equation being used to kill innocent people. In my opion, he was a genuis in more than mathematics.
zombiegirrrl21 at aol dot com

Rebecca N. said...

I would like to meet up with Philip & Mary English...two of the people accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials. The documents about Mary have been lost so nobody knows the outcome of her trial that day. I would like to talk to her to find out.

imsosweepy { at } gmail { dot } com

ccqdesigns said...

Well I guess somebody has to be last! I keep seeing this book and I just have to read it. I would love to meet Joan of Arc. I have so many questions to ask her. And I have read everything I can find on Anastasia as well.

rebecca dot cox at charter dot net

deltay said...

It might be fun to meet Louisa May Alcott. LITTLE WOMEN is definitely a classic, so it'd be great loads of fun to get some insight!

lucidconspiracy[at]gmail[dot]com

Allison said...

Ok, don't laugh..I would love to meet Laura Ingalls Wilder!! I love her books and the time period she lived!!

Enter me please!!

allisonattic@gmail.com

Lucyinthesky said...

Thanks for the chance to win.

I'd like to meet Louise Bryant who was John Reed's partner (the movie Reds). We'd talk about her experience as a journalist during the Bolshevik Revolution.


espressogurl at hotmail dot com

mindy said...

amelia earhart she was so ahead of her times i would like to know what inspired her minsthins at optonline dot net

Sylvia said...

Reading your review makes me wanna read Dreaming Anastasia now, so I hope I get to win so that I can finally read it, thanks for this giveaway!:) And for the historical person, I'd like to pick Hitler, creepy right, but I think it will be interesting:)

sylvia_uy4@yahoo.com

Belinda M said...

I would love to be able to meet Napoleon

Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Chat - join us at http://forum.coolcanucks.ca/


bluebelle0367(at)hotmail(dot)com

Paradox said...

I would want to meet Hatshepsut (a female Egyptian pharaoh.)

paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com

Lenore said...

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. The winner will be announced shortly.