Dreaming Anastasia (Dreaming Anastasia Series #1)

( 110 )

Overview

What really happened to Anastasia Romanov?

Anastasia Romanov thought she would never feel more alone than when the gunfire started and her family began to fall around her. Surely the bullets would come for her next. But they didn't. Instead, two gnarled old hands reached for her. When she wakes up she discovers that she is in the ancient hut of the witch Baba Yaga, and that some things are worse than being dead.

In modern-day Chicago, Anne ...

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Dreaming Anastasia (Dreaming Anastasia Series #1)

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Overview

What really happened to Anastasia Romanov?

Anastasia Romanov thought she would never feel more alone than when the gunfire started and her family began to fall around her. Surely the bullets would come for her next. But they didn't. Instead, two gnarled old hands reached for her. When she wakes up she discovers that she is in the ancient hut of the witch Baba Yaga, and that some things are worse than being dead.

In modern-day Chicago, Anne doesn't know much about Russian history. She is more concerned about getting into a good college—until the dreams start. She is somewhere else. She is someone else. And she is sharing a small room with a very old woman. The vivid dreams startle her, but not until a handsome stranger offers to explain them does she realize her life is going to change forever. She is the only one who can save Anastasia. But, Anastasia is having her own dreams…

Joy Preble grew up in Chicago where— possibly because she was raised by an accountant and a bookkeeper—she dreamed of being a back up singer, but instead earned an English degree from Northwestern. Eventually, she began to write books so she could get paid for making up stuff. She now lives in Texas with her family, including a basset/boxer mix rescue dog named Lyla— who never met a shoe she didn't want to eat. Visit Joy at joypreble.com

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  • Dreaming Anastasia
    Dreaming Anastasia  

Editorial Reviews

TeensReadToo.com
I really enjoyed this book. It made me want to research the Romanov family and the fairy tale character of Baba Yaga... DREAMING ANASTASIA is easy to read and an enjoyable story. Thank you, Ms. Preble, for a great read.
— Marta Morrison
Examiner.com
The novel is cleverly written in alternating points of view (Anastasia, Anne, and Ethan) and takes you on a ride of paranormal fantasy, contemporary and historical fiction, with a little bit of romance. It's the perfect blend that will attract a variety of readers.
— Lori Calabrese
The Book Lush
A very entertaining and original story.
— Wendy Cueto
Galleysmith.com
Dreaming Anastasia is a story of love and loss on many different levels. It was a wild, fun and sweetly romantic ride.
— Michelle Franz
MsBookish.com
Dreaming Anastasia is a fun young adult fantasy that takes the reader back and forth from current-day Chicago to the time of the Romanovs, and throws in elements of a Russian folktale for added chills.
— Belle Wong
YABooksCentral.com
Joy Preble has given readers an intriguing tale of magic, tragedy, love, and betrayal... Be prepared to fall into this story; your heart will ache for the characters and what they've suffered, especially Anastasia. Lovers of fantasy and romance will not be disappointed, and a sudden twist at the end will leave readers eyes wide and mouths agape... Dreaming Anastasia will most definitely be gracing my shelves from now on.
— Noel Furniss
Publishers Weekly
In this debut novel, Anastasia Romanov, believed to have died in a bloody massacre with the rest of the Russian royal family, is alive, but held captive by Baba Yaga, an evil witch from Russian folklore. In present-day Chicago, 16-year-old Anne Michaelson has recurring dreams of the death of Anastasia’s family and Anastasia’s imprisonment. Handsome and mysterious Ethan Kozninsky has waited nearly a century to find Anne (“Now it’s occurring to me that smashing her to the floor in between classes in order to inform her that she is the girl who alone has the power to save the Grand Duchess Anastasia... is just possibly not the best plan I’ve ever had,” he thinks). This novel of star-crossed love rotates between the perspectives of Anne, Anastasia and Ethan. While Preble’s overall concept is interesting, the prose can be rambling, and the alternating points of view make the story feel choppy and, at times, confusing. The dialogue and romantic element come off as clichéd and fall short of Preble’s ambitious idea. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—This convoluted and contrived story shuttles between contemporary Chicago, Russia during the reign and downfall of the Romanovs, and the enchanted world of Baba Yaga. Ann, 17, who lives in Chicago, and Ethan, a handsome 18-year-old who mysteriously enters her world, share the narration. She is attracted by his beauty, and she soon develops strange magical powers. Ethan has powers as well; he can protect people and places. Readers eventually learn that he is actually a man who died in 1918 during the Russian Revolution. Ann begins to hear Anastasia's voice in her dreams and sees Baba Yaga and her frightening antics. Supposedly Ann is the one who can save Anastasia Romanov from Baba Yaga's clutches, where she has been since her family was brutally murdered by the revolutionaries, and Ethan has come to enlist her help. After a great deal of mystery about Ann's connection to the Romanov legacy, readers learn that she is the great-great granddaughter of Victor, Anastasia's illegitimate brother who has also survived since 1918. He is trying to stop Ann and Ethan from rescuing Anastasia; if she is found, Ethan and Victor will become mortal and die. In spite of the confusing back and forth, persevering readers might forge ahead to see how the story concludes, but it is a difficult read. Also, the contemporary scenes between Ann and her friend Tess contrast sharply with the book's main focus, and Tess's bitterness over the loss of her virginity awkwardly intrudes on the main plot.—Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402218170
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Series: Dreaming Anastasia Series , #1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 599,852
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 740L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.68 (w) x 8.42 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Joy Preble
Joy Preble grew up in Chicago where— possibly because she was raised by an accountant and a bookkeeper—she dreamed of being a back up singer, but instead earned an English degree from Northwestern. Eventually, she began to write books so she could get paid for making up stuff. She now lives in Texas with her family, including a basset/boxer mix rescue dog named Lyla— who never met a shoe she didn't want to eat. Visit Joy at joypreble.com
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Read an Excerpt

The Forest, Late Evening

Anastasia

I didn't always dream about my family. Still, they haunted me for the longest time. Their smiles. Their voices. How they looked when they died. But of all the things I remember, the strongest memory is a story.

Of the stories my mother told me, only one did I love hearing over and over. I had not known it would become my story-the one I would live day after day. Here in the small hut with its tiny windows and smooth, wooden floor. The small bed in which I sleep, its blue and red cotton quilt tucked neatly around me. My matroyshka nestled on the soft goose-down pillow. The matroyshka-the doll my mother gave me near the end, the one she told me to hold tight, even though she knew I was seventeen and far, far too old for such things. A wooden nesting doll, its figure repeated itself smaller and smaller, each hidden inside the other, the last one so tiny it almost disappeared in the palm of my hand.

I understand now what it is to be hidden like that-so tucked away that no one even knows I am here.

In the story, there was a girl. Her name was Vasilisa, and she was very beautiful. Her parents loved her. Her life was good. But things changed. Her mother died. Her father remarried. And the new wife-well, she wasn't so fond of Vasilisa. So she sent her to the hut of the fearsome witch Baba Yaga to fetch some light for their cabin. And that was supposed to be that. For no one returned from Baba Yaga's. But Vasilisa had the doll her dying mother gave her. And the doll-because this was a fairy tale and so dolls could talk-told her what to do. Helped her get that light she came for and escape. And when Vasilisa returned home, that same light burned so brightly that it killed the wicked stepmother who sent Vasilisa to that horrible place. Vasilisa remained unharmed. She married a handsome prince. And lived happily ever after.

When I listened to my mother tell the story, I would pretend I was Vasilisa the Brave. In my imagination, I heeded the advice of the doll. I outwitted the evil Baba Yaga, the fearsome witch who kept her enemies' heads on pikes outside her hut. Who rode the skies in her mortar and howled to the heavens and skittered about on bony legs. Who ate up lost little girls with her iron teeth.

But the story was not as I imagined. Not as my mother told it. I am not particularly brave. And it was not an evil stepmother who sent me to this hut in the forest. I came because I believed him. The man I trusted with all my heart. The one who told me I was special. That I alone would save the Romanovs by letting him save me.

Oh, yes, I believed. Even as the Bolsheviks forced us to the house in Ekaterinburg. Even as I sewed jewels into my clothing so no one would find them. And even on that July day when we were all herded like cattle down into that basement.

Because that is what seventeen-year-old girls do. They believe.

But that was all so long ago. At least, I think it was. In the hut, it is hard to say. Time works differently here. We are always on the move. The two hen's legs that support the hut are always scrabbling for a new destination. Keeping us from whoever might be searching. If anyone still cares to search.

At first, I thought I'd go mad. And perhaps I have. But most days, I convince myself that I do not mind it so much. I sweep and sew and fill the kettle in the fireplace and bring sweet, hot tea to Auntie Yaga. Auntie, who rocks in her chair, her black cat settled in her lap, and smiles with those great iron teeth-and sometimes, as my mother did, tells stories.

"They don't really know me," Auntie says. She takes a long sip of tea and clasps the cup with two huge, brown, gnarled hands. It is those hands that scare me most-that have always scared me-and so my heart skitters in my chest. The fear is less now than it used to be, but its fingers still run along my belly until I want to scream and scream even though I know now that it will make no difference. That what I did, that what brought me here, made no difference. But that, of course, is yet another story.

"They say they know what evil is," Auntie Yaga continues. "But they do not. They think it is all so very simple. That I am a witch, and that is that. But it is not as they tell it. I am not what they think I am."

Listening to Auntie Yaga now, I really do understand. None of it is simple. It is not like the stories my mother told. Not like what he told me.

"You will save them, Anastasia," he said. "You just need to be brave. I'll take care of the rest."

Only that wasn't simple either. Or perhaps it was. A simple revolution. A simple set of murders. My family, destroyed one by one in front of my eyes. Their screams. Their cries for mercy. And a storm in a room where no storm could exist. A thick, black cloud that deepened and swirled and cracked open the ceiling. A giant pair of hands-the same hands that now clutch a cup of sweet tea-that closed about me and carried me here. And suddenly, I knew how not simple it all really was.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 110 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(46)

4 Star

(31)

3 Star

(23)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 110 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Marta Morrison for TeensReadToo.com

    Anne is a typical American high school student. She is more worried about what college she will get into than Russian history.

    But she keeps having a strange dream over and over again. This dream is about Anastasia, the youngest daughter of Tzar Nicholas. Nicholas was the last reining Tzar of Russia and his whole family was gunned down in the basement of their house.

    Then in walks Ethan. He is an attractive stranger who seems to know Anne and is stalking her.

    Add a lacquered box that depicts the fairy tale of Baba Yaga along with the mention that her mother used to enjoy the stories of Russia as well, and you have a compelling story full of romance and mystery.

    Oh, and did I mention the blue light coming off Anne's hands, or the arms that come from the sky to try to take Anne away, or the house on chicken feet?

    I really enjoyed this book. It made me want to research the Romanov family and the fairy tale character of Baba Yaga. I loved the characters, especially Anne's best friend, Tess, who seems to be in the right place at the right time. She defines the expression, "I've got your back."

    DREAMING ANASTASIA is easy to read and an enjoyable story. Thank you, Ms. Preble, for a great read.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2009

    It was interesting to read

    As a person who is Russian and knows about Russian history, I found this book quite interesting.I wound even say funny because of Baba Yaga and all this story about Anastasia Romanov.
    But,anyway, I really liked that book and I think Joy Preble is very talented writer. I recommend this book to all readers who just want to read about love,magic and the power of dreams...

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Magical Dreamer

    Dreaming Anastasia was an enjoyable read from start to finish. So enjoyable, in fact, that it's gotten me interested in reading more about the Romanov's and their history. I, of course, know vague high school level details of the events but the plot in this story fictionalized elements so interestingly that I'm intrigued to find out more. This is a testament to Preble's ability to interweave fact with fiction thus making it entirely believable that this young princess was swept away by magic to live an ageless life until saved from captivity.

    Speaking of magic, I appreciated that Preble didn't bang us over the head with mysticism and magical pyrotechnics. The story was driven by compelling characters who happened also to have these forces inside them - some were for good others for evil . While magic was entirely prevalent throughout it wasn't a caricature or some outrageously constructed series of laughable actions that people were left scratching their heads over. In this case the magic was all completely relevant and believable in the scope of the story.

    The relationship between Anne and Ethan carried with it that invisible bond magic and the mission they were carrying out held over them. She with her initial skepticism over the events transpiring and the struggle to accept her role and power; he the person with all the answers for her yet measuring how to best move forward in providing them. There was just enough to push them together but also plenty to keep them just that much apart. Speaking of which, I enjoyed that Preble didn't fall into the trap of prolonging the initial distance between the two in the hope of keeping that "who is he" mystery alive. It was clear from the beginning there was a bond and we were kept guessing for just the right amount of time before small details started to trickle out. The timing of that was very well done and kept intriguing me throughout.

    The attraction between Ethan and Anne was apparent from their initial meeting. Yet, the budding love story between the young couple is chaste. I never felt like they were completely in or out of love just that they were moving more and more in the direction of figuring it all out. This, in my opinion, makes the book a good gateway for readers moving from Middle Grade to Young Adult. To further the latter point, Dreaming Anastasia is a quick read with plenty of suspense and mystery to keep readers not only interested but invested in the outcome.

    The use of mystical storytelling and lore is widely used and certainly effective. The story of Baba Yaga is vivid and creatively portrayed. There is equal parts fearsome monster and sympathetic captive compelled by others to do their bidding. She quickly becomes one of those members of the cast that readers either love or love to hate. Further, the story surrounding the role she plays in Anastasia's captivity is quite imaginative and makes one wonder if it is truly of real Russian folklore. Yet another area where readers may be compelled to do further research after completing the novel.

    In the end Dreaming Anastasia is a story of love and loss on many different levels. It was a wild, fun and sweetly romantic ride.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2012

    Amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have always been a fan of learning about what happen to Anastasia Romanov. And when I found this book i was so excited. It was so intersting what may have happen if any of the details Joy Preble wrote was real. If you read this book you have to read the next two books!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2011

    Good Story...

    There are so many characters that come together to make this story work. It is well written and well rounded(adventure, mystery,magic,lineage,romance, betrayal, etc...) I enjoyed the historical aspect of the Romanov's as well. Looking forward to reading the next book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful debut novel!

    Before I even start to tell you how magnificent I think that this book is, let me tell you that I have been fascinated by the story of the Romanov's since probably Junior High when I wrote a term paper on them. Ever since I've read quite a bit on the family and their fate. When I saw the theme of this book I really was dying to get my hands on it. I was really hoping for something really great and I wasn't disappointed at all in this debut novel by Joy Preble.

    After reading the synopsis above I had really high hopes for this fantasy adventure and over and over while I read I was rewarded. I'd recommend this to any adult who's been interested in this story. Preble has woven a wonderful story that embraces the Romanov legend and gives it a bit of a twist. Even young readers who aren't knowledgeable about the Romanov's won't be lost in the story. By telling it from three different perspectives it's all laid out well and easy to understand.

    While this book is listed as a YA book, it's definitely one that parents can pick up and be just as thrilled with. The action never really stops in this book and I found myself hating to put it down for things like eating and sleeping ;)

    I found the dialogue between characters to be very believable, and the action was fast-paced and really moved the story along. Interspersed with the story of Anne and Ethan there were handwritten letters that Anastasia writes to her family that tell the story of the Romanov family.

    This is definitely one you'll be happy to see your teen reading. I'd give this book 5 stars! I absolutely loved this one!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2013

    Dreaming Anastasia

    Oh My God! This book was awesome!!

    Okay so this book is about Anne who is just a regular high school girl, or so she thinks. Anne soon notices the same boy(Ethan) following her, Anne also starts having these dreams about Anastasia and Baba Yaga. Then she leaves school and Baba Yaga's hands come out of the sky and try to grab her, but Ethan saves her. Then he explains everything to Anne... it turns out when Anastasia's family was murdered a group called the brotherhood made a deal with Baba Yaga to keep Anastasia alive, so Baba Yagab took Anastasia to her hut with chicken legs(so it can move from place to place) to keep her alive and safe, ever since the brotherhood have been immortal seaching for the girl who can find Baba Yaga's hut and save Anastasia. Well it turns out Anne is that girl. Together Ethan and Anne try and find Baba Yagas hut to save Anastasia.

    My over all thought were 3 things... #1 why arent there more books with Russian folklore? #2 this book is freaken geinus and #3 is their a second? (their is a second it's called Haunted and their is a third called Anastasia forever)

    I think anyone who likes folklore with a awesome twist, or adventure or just a good read will like this book, so come on get the book allready!!!!

    A book review by a major book worm

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2012

    No

    I have always LOVED Anastasia and the entire story of her and her family. I was giddy with excitement when i found this book. It started out really interesting and had my full attention but after that it became cheesey. It was like a kiddie book and nothing about it was serious.
    I always love the villaians in a story but there was nothing scary about either Baba Yaga or the dude whose name i cant remember because he was so completely boring. Personally i hated the ending. All that work for nothing.

    It just dissapointed all my expectations and left me feeling like i was reading a stupid book for little kids. I mean, weird is okay as long as it doesnt get completely crazy and mostly all the magic and fairy tales irritated me.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2009

    WoW

    it started off a little slow but it was totally worth reading by the end i was hoping there was more! this was a amazing sotry if you like Russian history or not!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2013

    I love this book

    I love this book, i couldn't put it down, joy preble is an awsome writter, she needs to continue with writting:)

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great book

    I really like how the author really interpreted such a classic tale in to something new. I love it when authors do that!! It gives me a whole new fresh picture of the story of Anastasia Romanov.

    The story line of this story is amazing! I love the new concept of the story and how it flows. I love the history of the Romanov's and what happen to Anastasia. Ms. Preble did an great job in pulling the reader from the very first page. Heck, I was hooked. I loved that right from the started the action and mystery of Anastasia began, and just kept on rolling.

    The characters were really unique. I loved Anne and her fierceness. She is so strong and not intimidated. Her character knew much because she went through so much. I admired Anna for her strength and wiliness to help Anastasia. The character that came out to me the most, is the best friend. She is absolutely amazing! I loved how supportive she was instead of the normal jealousy stuff.

    Overall, this is a great book! I loved the pacing of the book. Many surprises were revealed little by little, but not too much to over whelm the reader. As the reader continues reading, your are sucked into a world of great story told over many years!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 1, 2011

    Awesome Read - Couldn't Put it Down

    Let me say first that I am fascinated by historical mysteries, like Anastasia Romanov, so I was immediately intrigued. But on the whole, Dreaming Anastasia has everything a great fiction novel needs - actual historical fact, legend, mystery, suspense, girl meets boy, and supernatural events. I especially appreciate the fact that while the relationship between the two protagonists is compelling, it is not the focal point of the plot. The protagonists have lives and purpose beyond their romantic interest, as do we all, and so it was easy to get swept up in the story. Joy Preble rocks her debut novel, and it's exciting to see my sophomore English teacher receive national acclaim.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2011

    i loved it! easily one of the best books ever!

    this book is the perfect mix of history, magic, and mystery. you should seriously read this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    review taken from One Book At A Time

    I love the whole idea of the possibility of Anastasia Romanov surviving that horrible night. I especially liked the idea of a mythical answer to the question of did Anastasia survive.

    I loved the folklore included in this story. I didn't know much about Baba Yaga before this. I found her story particularly interesting. I liked how the Brotherhood was able to manipulate her to do their bidding. But, I think in the end she was lonely and managed to twist around the wording of the Brotherhood's spell to get what she wanted.

    I liked how dreamlike Anastasia feels during this entire story. Even when Anne manages to free her from Baba Yaga grasp, it still doesn't seem possible that the Anastasia we know from history could be alive and well in modern day Chicago. I also really enjoyed Anne. She takes everything in stride but doesn't readily accept things as fact. I also really enjoyed the twist in the Romanov family. It was something I'm sure was entirely plausible.

    Overally, I enjoyed this story. It was fast pasted and was an excellent mix of history, fantasy, and modern day elements. I'll be looking for the next one!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Dreaming Anastasia was amazing!

    I really liked this story. I thought that it was well written and easy to follow. The book never really has a dull moment which makes it very hard to put down. The love story could have had a stronger presence but I guess that wasn't the main focus of the book. I recommend this book to anyone that likes myths, history, and the supernatural. Great Book!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2013

    Fantastic!

    I love the wonder around the story of Anastasia and this book used the story well!! There was a little romance, a lot of action, and enough mystery to keep anyone's attention! Amazing! I wish i had enough money for the next one. There's three in the series so far, idk if that's it or if there's more coming, but it's totally worth the read! :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2013

    I like book .

    I like this is about a gril whom discovers she reincarnation of anastasia. This a easy and fun read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2013

    Bad

    This book is not for all ages at all. I' ve only read the first 2 pages and they're talking about sluts and tight azzes and other junk. Im 12 and thought this book would be good because im russian and hav alwaus been interested in the legends and cultures from this country. Ages 14+. I dont think that i shouldve bought this book. The good reviews were most likely written by teens who like talking about s*x and other junk. Be careful what books u buy and dont just go by the reviews. Do some research or read the editorial reviews. Negative 5 stars. DONT GET THIS BOOK UNLESS U LIKE READING INNAPROPRIATE STUFF! i dont kno if there is any more foul language or topics in this book and i dont wanna find out. Enjoy reading other books that arent this messed up! I hope b&n sees this review!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Must-Read!

    "Dreaming Anastasia" had historical influences with references to the Romanov rule and their fall in Russia. Also, a Russian folklore come to life was a the core of the story. There was adventure, romance, history, magic. What more can a reader ask for? Bear in mind that this novel is the first of a trilogy. The third and final book is due to be released in the fall of 2012.

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  • Posted July 13, 2011

    Eww

    I dont get all these people who say they loved it. I could not even finish. It was overly dramatic and weird. Sorry i wasted my money.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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