- Wende Dikec has spent her life traveling the world, and collecting stories wherever she visited. She majored in Japanese and International Economics in college and worked in import/export and as an ESL teacher before she committed herself full time to writing. She writes in several romance genres, and her books are quirky, light, fun, and sexy. Several of her short stories have been published in magazines, and her first book is currently on submission. She teaches at the Young Writers’ Institute, and is a member of Romance Writers of America, Three Rivers Romance Writers, Women’s Fiction Writers, Mindful Writers, and PennWriters. Wende is a trekkie, a book hoarder, the master of the Nespresso machine, a red wine addict, and the mother of three boys (probably the main reason for her red wine addiction). A puppy named Capone is the most recent addition to her family, and she blogs about him as a way of maintaining what little sanity she has left.
Reviews for my books:
From Am Kinda Busy Reading
May 16, 2016
Starr Valentine was really a refreshing fun read, for me it read like I was watching clueless again on Netflix. It made me smile, it made me laugh and it even made me sad at times.
To be honest, at first I did not know what to expect, I thought it was going to be something somewhat fun and silly and enough to distract me from my piles of work for a few hours. But, it was really something more…
As I said, it was all of those light and fanciful things, but underneath it all it is the story of pretty much Starr growing up and deciding who she wants to be. The chances of us waking up one morning and being told that we are an alien princess are near null, but this life changing or shattering moment for Starr is the beginning of something scary.
Starr Valentine was really a quick and easy read with a nice pace to it and some interesting characters such as Astra (Starr’s older sister), Maya (her new bestie) and finally Julian who is Starr’s love interest. I really liked Astra as a character quite a lot actually, there was really no way to ignore or dislike her in any way. Even though Julian’s status was shaky at best when we first meet him, there is no chance escaping from liking him too.
Overall, Starr Valentine was really a charming and amusing read and I am actually looking forward to reading more from Wende. I hope you enjoy it too!
From Paranormal Tendencies
May 13, 2016
Starr Valentine had it all. Cheer captain, quarterback boyfriend, popularity and the pretty face everyone envied. Then it all changed when she turned 16 and her parents revealed they were going home. To a planet called Vegon where Starr and her sister were royalty! What could be better? But their arrival on the beautiful planet was less than stellar for Starr. Could she survive on a planet where beauty isn’t important?
Wende Dikec’s Starr Valentine is entertaining, funny, and at times, sad. This book was good from cover to cover and I just couldn’t put it down! I think I have found a gem of an author. I adore Starr Valentine and I cannot wait to see what she writes next! 5 stars!
From What’s Beyond Forks
May 11, 2016
Starr Valentine by Wende Dikec is a story with so much to offer its readers. I love, love, loved this story! Starr is a character I really didn’t like in the beginning, but she’s not supposed to be very likeable. She’s spoiled, vain, and superficial.. the stereotypical popular girl. Her sister, Astra, is the total opposite. Once they find out their real identities and are moved off to their new planet, things flip around a bit. Astra is now seen as the pretty one, and Starr isn’t handling it well at all. The people of Vega have a different way of perceiving beauty, and I wish that was something we all possessed. The story really sent out some good messages for all of us, and it did it without being boring. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. To me, this was the ideal young adult book, with everything I love from humor to romance. Starr Valentine was an otherworldly coming of age story with well built characters who grew throughout the story as they learned more about love, friendship, and life. I was sad when it ended. I wasn’t ready to leave their world just yet!
From I Smell Sheep
May 9, 2016
I have read other YA novels that had a lot more sexual activity, violence and dark matters. This will feel totally vanilla to those who enjoy a more mature theme but I would say to most of those readers: “Everyone still likes a good Cinderella Story”. Kudos to Wende for keeping our kids young.
Packed full of powerful life lessons, Wende Dikec has written a great story to emphasize self awareness in youth. This is the second YA novel I have read from this author and she doesn’t disappoint. There is a similar theme I noticed in both reads: A smart, sassy fashion conscious young teen with a little danger and romance but mainly a story about judging others, adaption to change, self reflection and a good chance at “happily every after”.
Imaging being a teenager and your parents announce that they are returning to their real home. Only that home is on another planet! And your somewhat frumpy mother is the Queen! Having made a success of her “so far” young life on planet earth (being beautiful, popular and a shoe in to be Prom Queen) Starr is looking forward to conquering the next planet with the same attributes. Imaging on her arrival that what is conceived as beautiful has a whole new meaning.
Deciding to return to earth at all costs she embarks on a adventure that helps put things in perspective. Well thought out storyline and heartwarming relationships would definitely have me handing this out to my children and grandchildren!
I give this 4.5 “beautiful” sheep!
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Inner beauty is the true kind of beauty. Looks will go away but what is inside will remain forever. Have you ever heard any of these sayings? I have heard them so many times and, as cliché as they sound, every one of them is truth. In a society that tends to forget the meaning of true beauty and the value of kindness, being yourself, and a good heart, Wende Dikec presents us with a marvelous adaptation of The Ugly Duckling.
Starr is the perfect material for homecoming queen. She is gorgeous, captain cheerleader, and the date of the cutest guy in her school. In other words, she is envy of tons and the dream of even more. Nevertheless, her life is materialistic and self-centered. Therefore, when her parents tell her that her mother is a royal of another world, she doesn’t miss the chance to shine in a whole different level, as a princess. Astra, her sister, is everything Starr is not. Sure, she isn’t as beautiful as Starr and might be the center of attention, but she has a good heart. I loved how the author subtly criticizing humans for centering in materialistic and vain things by showing how people in Vega, the new home planet for Starr and her family, didn’t measure beauty by how thin a girl is or how pretty her face was. In fact, a kind heart and sincerity were much more important than a thin waist.
I must confess I wanted Starr to change her way of seeing the world. At the beginning of the book she was too rude, selfish, and arrogant. I wanted her to open her eyes and see how she was waiting time in trivial things when she could be spending with her amazing family. Nevertheless, it hurt when she started to realized how people in Vega truly see her as, ugly. Probably ugly wouldn’t be the right word to define it but the point is that they didn’t fall for her looks, they saw her true nature and made her and outcast. A valuable moral lesson if you ask me but I was really hoping that things wouldn’t end like that. After all, everyone deserves a second chance.
I truly recommend this book to any fairy tale adaptation fans that love a good mix of romance, action, deception, self-growth, a spark of comedy, space traveling, and a hell of an adventure.
April 28, 2016
I thoroughly enjoyed this spunky book! I have to admit that at first, I completely hated Starr and her self-absorbed petty airhead attitude. The author does a spectacular job of exposing the mind of a bubblehead teenager. However, it was very interesting to enter the world of Vega and experience their different standards of beauty and culture. The complexity of the society was very intricate and appealing to me! It was very intriguing to slowly see Starr get a much needed attitude adjustment! With a complex, unique storyline, well written dialogue and a splash of romance, I had an absolute blast reading this book! I loved that it was kept light-hearted and spunky all throughout!
April 22, 2016
Starr Valentine is your typical popular high school girl. She’s beautiful, spoiled, the hottest guy asked her to homecoming – where she expects to be announced Queen. Her sister – Astra – isn’t as lucky in the looks department, but she has maturity and kindness in spades. When their mother announces that they are aliens and will be returning to their home planet, Starr is ecstatic. She always knew she was princess and now it will be official, but everything on their home world is not what Starr expected.
Let me give it to you straight… Starr is exactly how the bratty, spoiled girls when I was in school acted. Let me say, it wasn’t pleasant to be inside one of their heads. I REALLY didn’t like listening to Starr commenting of the fatness of her mother or just how “special” she is. Although, once the story progressed and Starr realizes that she’s not the most beautiful person on her home world, Vega, she does have an attitude change that is much needed – it felt like I had to be inside of her head more than I would have liked.
My absolute favorite aspect of Starr Valentine is the world Wende Dikec created. Vega is imagined to be a wondrous place that I wish I could visit. Her prose and world-building are spot on. (I had to read this on a different device than I usually do, so I don’t have examples and quotes for you, but trust me – the writing is amazing!)
I think the moral of the story kind of overlaps the romance – which I actually enjoyed. Julian is a charming love interest. It especially pleased me that he wasn’t falling over himself to be with Starr. She had to make a positive change in her life in order to be truly attractive to him. Again… love it!
If you a fan of selfish brats learning valuable lessons, handsome Dukes with a good head on their shoulders, a mother and sister who are beautiful – even when the narrator doesn’t think so, alien worlds with vivid imagery, and a smooth writing style that flowed – then Starr Valentine is the book for you.