Interview with Debra Sue Brice

Today we have an interview with Debra Sue Brice, author of Icing and Crossing Boarders, Christian contemporary romances, and the Danni Girl Mysteries, cozy detective stories.

Without further ado, interview! (That rhymed … quite by accident …)

Welcome to Reveries Reviews, Debra Sue Brice! First, could you tell us a little about yourself?

I absolutely love to write, but when I am not writing I am a first grade teacher, competitive equestrian, and business owner. I also enjoy spending time in the kitchen trying new dessert recipes.

Could you tell us a little about your latest novel, Icing?

Icing was a very fun and exciting story for me to write. It is all about living out your dreams and trusting God to take control of your life. He has so many blessings in store for all of us which is why Icing is so important to me. I want to encourage everyone that there is a plan for our lives. We just have to be patient and listen.33270718

Where did you get your idea for Icing?

All of my characters are derived from real-life friends and family members, myself included. I love to bake so my main character, Denie, is a cupcake shop owner. I want my audience to be able to relate to at least one character throughout the storyline. I want them to be able to connect and feel like they are a part of the story. I am also a huge fan of our AHL hockey team, the Cleveland Monsters. Putting the two together and throwing in a little romance just seemed right!

What does your writing process look like?

I’m all over the place when it comes to my process. For larger novels, like Icing, I like to have a rough (very rough) outline so I have a general direction as to where I want to go. For the most part though, the story always changes by the time I get to the end. When writing my cozy mysteries, I just start with my main characters and let the story take over.

How long have you been writing for? Why did you start writing?

My very first novel was published in 2015 but I have been writing stories for fun ever since I was a little girl. I would write notes to my sister from her favorite actors and leave them in her locker at school. I also loved to write stories about adventures because so many ideas were always running around inside my head and I needed to let them out. My ultimate dream when I was little was to see my name on the front cover of a book. I have been very blessed to have a very encouraging family who continually tells me to never give up on my dreams.

Do you snack while writing? Do you listen to music?

I definitely listen to music, but it all depends on the type of novel I am writing. For Icing, I liked listening to my Etta James station on Pandora. As for snacking, I usually like to take breaks from writing to bake. But I will say, animal crackers (the vanilla kind) always seem to help with any mental blocks!

If you could go back a year and tell yourself anything (writing-related), what would that be?

There are many things you can learn through experience. Not all my experiences have been that great, but I am glad I was able to see the ups and downs of turning a manuscript into a final product. My advice to myself would be not to settle for the first person/publisher who is willing to take your book. Do your research and make sure you are putting your manuscript into the right hands to help you succeed.

What’s next for you as an author?

I want to inspire the world with more romance novels, both for adults and young adults as well. My main goal is to complete a dystopian YA novel.

Thanks for coming over to Reveries, Debra!

About the Interviewee

Horses, cupcakes, hockey, and murder. What can be better than that? In order to share my love of all these things I thought it would be best to write them down and put them in the form of a novel…or two, or more! When not living in my fictional world, I am a first grade teacher, avid baker, fanatic Cleveland Monster hockey fan, and successful equestrian. I was born and raised in Ohio which is where I continue to get inspiration and ideas for my stories. So stick around and enjoy the many journeys my characters will take you on in the wonderful world of READING!


What did you think of the interview? Are you ready to pick up a copy of Icing on Amazon? What about Crossing Borders or a Danni Girl Mystery? Ever read anything by the author? Are you a fan of hockey or cupcakes? Let me know in the comments!

~Kellyn Roth

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Left to Die by Ivy Rose (and blog tour)

Title: Left to Die

Author: Ivy Rose

Genre: Christian contemporary fiction

Setting: China

Publisher: Lakeside Publications

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

Left for Die by Ivy Rose

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Lindy Greene’s life is perfect. Too perfect. But living as a missionary nurse, serving in a rural hospital in China, soon brings the disaster she fearfully anticipates. All of her well-thought-out plans for the future disintegrate after pulling a fatally ill, disfigured, abandoned child from a pile of trash. She doesn’t even like babies.

Nathan Thomas can’t find balance. College suited him just fine until his cash ran out, forcing him to the Chinese mission field with his parents. The chaotic atmosphere in China does little to relax his agitated mind, and the pretty blonde nurse at the clinic does nothing to help him focus.

The Chinese mission field isn’t for the faint of heart. Nathan wonders how he can survive his remaining time there, while Lindy struggles to help everyone she can. With different ideals pulling them in separate directions, there is one thing drawing them together: a tiny, sickly, crippled orphan who relies on them to stay alive.

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads

I wasn’t sure about this novel. I’ve never read a book about missionaries (unless you count the Bible), and I was pretty convinced I wouldn’t enjoy it (mostly because these kind of things really make me feel guilty). I was a bit nervous, to say the least. But this was a sensational book that has earned a place amongst my favorites.

Plot {5/5}:

The plot was fantastic! It all unfolded so beautifully and was perfect and amazing and wonderful and – *kicks self* It was well-paced, interesting, and kept my attention 100% throughout the entire book.

And I’ve just got to say … the epilogue was so perfect, guys. Just ❤

Characters {4/5}:

I didn’t get extremely attached to Lindy (although I really liked her), but Jia … I think I’m in love again, guys. I know I’ve said that before, but … this is it. At least in a sisterly way.

I think I need a little sister now …

And yes, I do realize it’s expensive and a lot of work and gruesome and I probably wouldn’t be able to handle it with my lack of experience – Left to Die was nothing if not realistic – but … but …

Back on track.

I loved Nate. He was amazing! Not as good as Gil, of course, but … Besides, Nate and Lindy were so cute together!

Setting {4/5}:

Sometimes there could have been a little more description, but overall, the setting was vividly portrayed. I think I always realized how bad it was in China with the orphans and such … or at least I was able to imagine it that bad (I can be pessimistic about these things) … but it was still sad to read about it.

Writing {4/5}:

I feel like there could have been a little work on the writing here and there, but overall, it was good. I really like Ivy Rose’s writing style. It just … appeals to me. No particular reason. 🙂

Content:

Parental guidance suggested for younger teens. No language or sexual content (except maybe a couple kisses, no details). Descriptions of sickness and the medical care and abandonment/other poor treatment of infants/children (somewhat graphic, but still pretty clean) that may disturb sensitive readers or young children.

Overall {5/5}:

AAAAAH THAT WAS SO GOOD!!!

*puts on serious face* It was a noble story which I’m recommend to any lover of missionary stories, Christian fiction, light romance, adorable babies, and somewhat sad stories with very happy endings.

~Kellyn Roth

About the Author

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Ivy Rose is an 18 year old history lover and literary enthusiast. Aside from writing, she enjoys being outdoors, eating chocolate, traveling, reading, and doing TaeKwonDo. She resides with her family of 9 on the banks of the Long Lake in eastern Washington.

She can be found at various places on the internet:

Blog – Pinterest – Goodreads – Instagram

lefttodieblogtour

Is that cover not amazing? And the graphics! *swoons*

lefttodiegiveaway

You can enter the giveaway here (as the HTML is not cooperating for some reason so I can’t embed it)!

Follow the Tour

~Monday~

Becoming Lost – Review

Beyond the Amethyst – Review

Anika’s Avenue – Review

Once Upon an Ordinary – Interview

~Tuesday~

Whispers on the Wind – Interview

Read Another Page – Review

The Left-Handed Typist – Review

~Wednesday~

Counting Your Blessings – Review/Interview

Stories by Firefly – Review

Writing in the Light – Interview

~Thursday~

Reveries Reviews – Review

Marrok Macintyre – Interview

~Friday~

A Purpose and a Promise – Review

Having a Heart Like His – Review/Interview

Whimsical Writings – Review

~Saturday~

Rebekah’s Remarks – Interview

The Crowd by Alleece Balts

Title: The Crowd

Author: Alleece Balts

Series: The Crowd, #1

Genre: Contemporary YA/Romance

Era: contemporary

Setting: Vermont, United States

Publisher: Alleece Balts

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 5/5

The Crowd by Alleece Balts

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Whitfield Preparatory Academy ought to be the perfect school…

Not only does the Academy boast a distinguished faculty and lavish campus, it is also home to the privileged youth of the upper class. They will one day hold the reins of power in the business world and political arena – but for now, they exercise absolute authority at the Academy.

For seventeen-year-old Ella Parker, acceptance into the prestigious Academy is a dream come true. But her delight quickly turns to dread when she finds herself in the crosshairs of an elite group of ruthless students dubbed “the Crowd.” Ella’s been at the center of unwanted attention before – but never like this – and she’ll do anything to make them stop. Anything, that is, apart from accepting the advances of popular and wealthy playboy Jackson Montgomery, the leader of the Crowd.

Will Ella be humiliated, or triumph over her tormentors?

An irresistible story of faith, friendship, betrayal, and romance, The Crowd will immerse readers in Ella’s tumultuous struggle from the very first page.

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The Crowd by Alleece Balts is a simply fantastic novel. That is the only word to describe this book: fantastic. I was, as the blurb says, immersed from the very first page. I loved it to death, and I can’t wait to get my hands on book 2!

Plot {5/5}:

I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect when I started this novel. I only knew I was sick to death of hearing about bullying. Why? Because I’m homeschooled and know nothing about it and just want people to stand up for themselves! I’ve read maybe a hundred YA/MG novels with characters getting bullied in it … and it always just annoys me.

However, for some reason this one didn’t annoy me at all.

Aside from that, the plot was fantastic. I’m not going to attempt to explain it to you, but I’ll just say it was amazing, start to finish (and you should read it; you should definitely read it!).

Characters {5/5}:

The characters were another of this novel’s strong points. Ella was one of the most individualistic characters I’ve read of in a long time. There was nothing generic about Ella! Jack was also super cool and interesting (his past, the redemption, etc. were all very real). I love how Ella’s dad was a rockstar and her mother was a reporter and the story of their meeting … wow. Even though we didn’t get to meet either of Ella’s parents (well, we didn’t get to meet Ella’s mom for very long, anyway), I got a super good idea of who they are just based on their actions (and because of Ella’s thinking about them). The same goes for Malcolm.

I’m not going to go into every single character, but … wow. Quite a few of them, all so beautifully done, and I never got them mixed up! How did Mrs. Balts do it? 😀

Setting {4/5}:

Fairly strong. I would have liked a little more focus on the setting here and there. For the most part, though, it was good, and the description was top-notch.

Writing {3/5}:

The author’s writing is absolutely gorgeous! It reminds me of … hmm. I don’t know. Old-fashioned yet contemporary. Whimsical and sweet, but dipping into solemnity when need be. It really showed a lot of emotions and had a lot of content (not the bad kind; I mean content like deep stuff) while not overloading my tiny little brain. 😛

The one problem was the head-hopping. I was never sure if I was in Ella, Jack, or Aunt Meg’s head. It kept changing, oftentimes three or four times in a scene. It was confusing. It didn’t bug me a ton, but it almost made me shave off half a star … before I realized it just wasn’t worth it because the novel was too strong besides that.

Content:

I’d say light PG-13. I’m gonna try to say why as accurately as possible, but I’m not going to list every little thing. Depending on the maturity level, younger teens may need parental guidance.

No cussing. Some crude language and name-calling. A mention of gay people (as a part of the name-calling, not justified). Bullying. Mentions of (and an attempted) suicide. Mentions of drug-use and drinking. Mentions of hospitals, blood, gunshot wounds, almost dying, cancer, etc. Nothing graphic or disturbing.

Lots of attraction, romantic emotions, etc. There are some crude jokes that count towards sexual content. Quite a few kisses, ranging from no details to somewhat-detailed-ish. It’s pretty clear that most of the girls and boys at the campus are none too moralistic. Then … once Ella is hiding a closet (she was snooping and had to hide) and there’s a couple in the room presumably having s*x. Nothing is detailed and it’s not talked about a ton, but it’s pretty obvious what’s going on. So there’s that … *awkwardness hopefully ends* But it was such a very brief scene, so … I don’t know.

Overall {5/5}:

A fantastic novel I’d recommend to almost any older teenager/adult and some younger teenagers (depending on who they are and what they can handle). PLEASE let the sequel be coming out soon! Plllllleeeeeaaaaseeee!!!!

~Kellyn Roth

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Title: Austenland

Author: Shannon Hale

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Age-Range: 14+ (young adult/adult)

Era: contemporary

Setting: New York, USA and England

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Source: library

Rating: 4/5 stars

Content: 3.5/5. It’s been a while, so I don’t remember exactly. Some cussing, but extremely rare … and unnecessary in my opinion. I just remember one or two words. A little sexual content – mostly in form of mentioning stuff that could be taken inappropriately, a little innuendo, and then kissing (not extremely detailed). There were also three mentions of gay people. Never says what that is or goes into more detail about it. Mentions of adultery, and it’s hinted that several of the stayers at the result (they’re all female) have husbands. No violence. Not recommended for readers under 14.

Austenland by Shannon Hale

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Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.

Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen; or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It’s all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?

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Well … hmm. It was a great book, but there were also a couple things that were not so good. The content, for one. It wasn’t awful (it was better than the very worst Gilmore Girls episode, for my mom’s sake), but it was still there. And unnecessary.

Then I found the writing a bit immature, and the romance was just a wee bit cheesy at times. Also, falling in love with Mr. Darcy does not make you a lesser human being, as Jane seems to think. It makes you a little crazy (KNIGHTLEY GUYS KNIGHTLEY!!! THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH EVERY AUSTEN HERO BUT KNIGHTLEY!!!!!!!!), but not a lesser human being. 😉

Other than that, the book was amazing.

The plot, the characters, the setting … all well-developed and original. I especially liked the concept … a place where you can go to dress up like a Regency bell, enjoy the empire-waist gowns and meet the dashing gentlemen (or are they … actors?) of that time. Is anything real at Pembrooke Park, or it all just Jane’s imagination?

But, of course, I’m obsessed with Mr. Knightley, not Mr. Darcy. And I’ve never actually gotten through the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice. 😛 I love Keira Knightley unconditionally, no matter what. I don’t care what people say. She is the perfect Elizabeth Bennet.

Anyway, overall, it was a great book. I don’t know why, but it reminded me of Gilmore Girls (chick flit) crossed with your less-awesome “historical” romance novel (usually also a chick flit and sometimes pretty slack on the “historical” part!). However, I did enjoy it (didn’t put it down for a long time!) and would recommend it for older young adults/adults.

~Kellyn Roth

Taste of Danger by Alexa Verde

Title: Taste of Danger

Author: Alexa Verde (http://www.alexaverde.com)

Series: Secrets of Rios Azules, #2 (can definitely be a stand-alone)

Genre: Christian adventure romance

Age-Range: young adult/adult

Setting: Rios Azules, a small town in Texas, USA

Publisher: Alexa Verde

Source: author (for honest review)

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Content: 2/5. Some violence. Nothing too graphic. Some intense action scenes. Okay for teens; some parental guidance for tweens (maybe).

Taste of Danger by Alexa Verde

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Small-town librarian Soledad Sokolova has three days to find a hidden Russian treasure — or she and her father will die. Out of options, she turns for help to a hunky stranger, private investigator James O’Hara. But she knows better than to let a ladies’ man break her heart for the second time. Bound by his word to Soledad’s father, James is ready to protect her at all costs. However, once betrayed, he’s reluctant to fall in love again. Will James and Soledad escape danger and find treasures of faith, love, and hope?

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You’ll Be Like Faye by J.C. Buchanan

Title: You’ll Be Like Faye

Author: J.C. Buchanan (http://jcbuchanan.com/)

Series: n/a

Genre: mystery

Age-Range: middle grade

Publisher: J.C. Buchanan

Source: author

Rating: 4.5/5 stars. I REALLY loved it, but there were a few things that bugged me.

Content: 2/5 I’d say it’s perfectly ok for any kid over … oh, eight? There are some descriptions of pregnancy (no details … which sounds weird considering the fact that I just called it ‘descriptions’ …) and some drama. Mentions of a car crash in which two people died.

You’ll Be Like Faye by J.C. Buchanan

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In her second novel, J.C. Buchanan leaves the fairy kingdom behind and introduces her readers to Faye Corcoran, a regular 12-year-old girl in a typical suburban family. But is it a typical suburban family? And when Faye’s best friend convinces her there’s something suspicious about the new housekeeper, how far will Faye go for answers?

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Continue reading “You’ll Be Like Faye by J.C. Buchanan”