Friday, August 15, 2014

Author Spotlight - Kai Elle Wheeler

I'm going in a new direction, well for this week. On my facebook page Buy the Series, I've published several reviews. So this week, I thought I'd post one that I especially liked here today. 

Author Kae Elle Wheeler. Put her name in your memory. Her fairy tale series of Cinderella and her stepsisters is a series you don't want to miss. 

Her writing is fresh, fast paced, full of action, and in books 2 and 3 capture the emotion used in romance novels. There is wit throughout, and also mystery and intrigue. Due to the time, century, within the story there are no erotic scenes. But that doesn't stop the characters from feeling and thinking about it.

There are 3 books in the series, so far, and Kae is currently working on book 4.

Cinderella. That name evokes hope in the hearts of all young girls looking for eternal love. And if us romance authors are honest with ourselves, we're just writing our own fairy tales, of HEA for our readers. In our own way of course. 

Book 1: The Wronged Princess is Cinderella's story, somewhat. Book 1 is not a romance, but the rest of the story sticks closely to the premise of the fairy tale we all know, i.e. the ball, a fairy godmother, evil stepmother and stepsisters and that glass slipper.

In book 1, Fairy godmother, Faustine, is Prince Charming's Aunt, and she and Prince's mother, Thomasine, are responsible for Cinderella being at the ball, for not just the reason for Prince to marry, but for Prince to marry an intelligent woman.

King Osmond is shown very little due to losing his faculties, but it is also indicated he's not very bright, Thus, Prince's mother tests him to make sure he's intelligent enough to make a good king. His first idea, trying the glass slipper on the foot of every maiden in his kingdom, fails miserably. What happens when the glass slipper fits someone other than Cinderella? Chaos.

Esmerelda knows the shoe doesn't belong to her, and that she doesn't want to marry prince. Her sister Pricilla is too jealous that her own foot was too big to see Esmerelda's predicament. And Stepmother is too filled with latching her daughter to royalty to care.

In her dilemma, Esmerelda turns to Cinderella for an ally. Cinde, as we come to know her pines away for Prince while getting to know Esmerelda. The pair become fast friends, all the while, Cinde's confidence is gaining. So does Esmerelda's and as a result, Pricilla changes her attitude towards Cinderella.

As the stepsisters, characteristics change so do their appearance. They become lovely women in their own right. And by the end they grow to care deeply for each other. Pricilla even goes so far as to try do away with her mother to keep Cinderella alive.

The book is entertaining in the form of Esmerelda's eye affliction and the Prince never remembering her name. We see just a glimpse of what Esmerelda's batting eyelids can accomplish. At one point, she whips up wind so strong, it flings mud in Pricilla's eye at an opportune moment to save Cinde from being questioned too far.

Prince calls Esmerelda every name under the sun, but her own. I applaud Kae for coming up with so many clever names beginning with the letter E. Names like Eglantine, Edwardina, Elphalba, Elderinda, Eutilla, and Erszebet are just a few names the prince uses to try to remember her Esmerelda's name. I can't do her wit justice. Here's one example from the story. It includes both the name change and Esmerelda's eye probelm:
’Tis our duty to introduce your bride-to-be.” Maman turned her captivating smile on Esperneldi, who swallowed visibly, sending her eyes fluttering in cyclonic proportions.'

Book 2, Unlikely Heroine, is Pricilla and Arnald's story. This book is a romance, and while we're still caught in centuries past, some modern ideas creep in, which make this fairy tale interesting.

Pricilla and Esmerelda have been given jobs by Prince Charming. And Pricilla takes hers seriously.

The book opens nine months later with Faustine and Thomasine discussing their children. Cinderella is about to give birth to the royal heir and Faustine is jealous because her son, Arnald, won't even consider marrying.

But, Faustine is up to her tricks, using her magic, to get her son married off. But Arnald has magic of his own. He fights his mother's enchanting spell she put on him to attract women. He has his own brand of mesmerizing magic and he uses it to turn the women away. Only one woman, his true love won't fall under her spell or his. Which causes trouble for both Pricilla and Arnald, for neither are ready to marry. Fate has other plans.

In the meantime, Pricilla uncovers a discrepancy in the books, and intends to investigate. Her jealousy over Esmerelda's relationship with Cinde comes to the forefront often. Pricilla remembers often that her overly large foot kept her from marrying Prince, but put Esmerelda in the spotlight, even though she constantly reminds herself she doesn't want to marry or have children. So Pricilla, plunges into solving this mystery to forget the fact she's not the marrying kind.

In Unlikely Heroine, Pricilla's headstrong ways not only aid her, but are a deterrent as well, getting her into trouble, and having to be rescued. And Arnald comes to her rescue. Pricilla and Arnald aid one another, trying to catch the culprits. They are both strong characters that compliment each other well.

This book has all the elements of a romantic mystery. Murder, Intrigue, and boy getting girl. But the fairy tale continues. Stepmother tries to kill Cinderella. Faustine and Thomasine continue to direct their children's lives, and Esmerelda's eyes still changes the weather at whim.

Book 3, Surprising Enchantress is Esmerelda's story. And though, Esmerelda has been a huge part of book 1 and 2, this time she gets her man.

It's 5 years later, Prince is about to be crowned king, Cinderella has grown confident and will make a great queen. She has two lovely children, Pricilla is pregnant, and Faustine and Thomasine are trying to come up with some idea on who would be a good match for Esmerelda.

Esmerelda has her eye on Allessandro de Lecce, but he doesn't even consider her. Most of Essie's days are spent keeping the books for the kingdom and playing with Prince Edric, Prince Charming and Cinderella's son.

But the plot to overthrow the kingdom, which was foiled by Pricilla and Arnald returns in an unlikely way. Conte de Lecce is the true heir to the kingdom and he wants it back.

Conte insists his son, and heir, Alessandro marry to suit his purposes. This excerpt tells it better than I can.

“What are you talking about Nobility, Royalty, Marriage?” Alessandro sounded…furious.
The signs of panic started at the tips of her toes, working their way up through her blood stream. Her knees shook, soon followed by a tingling sensation in her fingers.
The Conte’s tone hardened. “Sí. You shall betroth yourself and soon. ’Tis your duty. Just an heir or two. If Lady Kendra does not appeal, perhaps Lady Esmeralda is more to your tastes?”
The hair at Essie’s nape raised, along with chilled pricks over her skin, air constricted in her throat. Her eyes began their awkward fluttered fury. Dust stirred in the room, and the furniture coverings billowed in protest. She fought an imminent sneeze at the stirring dirt.
“Lady Esmeralda? You have truly lost your faculties if your ambitions go so far as to bind me for life to a woman whose eyes flutter so furiously ’tis enough to create an avalanche in these Pyrenees Mountains?” Alessandro sniffed in disgust.

Yet, soon Aless, changes his tune.

Alessandro, upon finding Esmerelda in the joining chamber has heard his outburst, regrets his rash statement. What ensues is him falling in love with her and her affliction, Essie trying her best to get over him; working all of this out while they are constantly thrown together to stop the plot by his father to overthrow the kingdom. Esemerelda must protect Prince Edric from being kidnapped before the coronation.

It is Essie's enlistment of Aless, her refusal to stay out of danger, and her affliction that pulls you into rooting for this character to get her man, and have the HEA that all fairy tale endings should have.

Stepmother is still a problem. Conte de Lecce almost succeeds and in this story we get more magic, in the form of Chevalier Joseph Pinetti, Aless' rival for Esmerelda's hand.

Even in the end, Esmerelda doesn't hesitate to think of letting Aless off the hook. “I am trying to save you a fate worse than death. Mon…Dieu!
“Bah. You are slow as a snail...”
Even though her reputation is ruined by the nights she's spent alone unchaperoned with Aless.

At the close of book 3, several surprising events happen. Faustine believes Pricilla will deliver a girl. When it is a boy, she breaks the wand. It disintegrates into glittery dust. You have to read the rest to find out who is the next fairy godmother. Or maybe you know already.

These were fun light stories. Very refreshing. Hope you take the time to enjoy. 

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