Book Review: World Class by Jay Sandlin (ARC)

World Class is a Young Adult graphic novel by Jay Sandlin, which centers on Adrian Molina, the Colombian Cannon, who received a scholarship to play football for an elite school. Then he meets the rich, powerful, and star of the school’s soccer team, Titan Evans, who immediately sees Adrian as a rival. After numerous bullying incidents from Titan, Adrian suffered anxiety attacks that may derail his scholarship and spot on the team.

Can we talk about that phenomenal cover first? The color, the drawing, the symbolism—just stunning! If you’re like me, who’s absolutely in love with this cover, then you’d love what is inside even more. The colors are popping; they’re vibrant in continuous panels and just a feast to the eye.

Story-wise, the novel doesn’t feel as fresh, but that did not diminish my enjoyment from reading it. I loved Adrian as a character. I loved that he is from Colombia because we don’t get to see many POC main characters.

I also loved that the author tackled important topics such as bullying, racism, and diversity. I think these aspects of the novel are where the author succeeded, making these topics the story’s focus and associating them with what’s happening in the current events.

I wished we got more of Adrian and his friendship with Luciano, I am personally rooting for them, but I loved how the author handled this relationship. The bullying part, which also relates to racism, was uncomfortable to read. As a person of color myself, I was horrified for Adrian. It felt a bit too much, with the supposed adult in the story not doing anything about it.

Overall, the novel is very entertaining. It is evocative in a way, and I wouldn’t mind reading a continuation of Adrian’s story. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Expected publication: February 22nd 2022

A copy of this graphic novel was provided by the publisher, Diamond Book Distributors, Maverick, Mad Cave Studios via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review.

Artists: Patrick Mulholland, Rebecca Nalty

Pre-order your copy now:

About the Author
Jay Sandlin is an author and historian. He just completed a tour speaking at Universities with his research on slavery and the Golden Age of Social History in America. He will complete his Masters in History at the University of North Alabama in December and then move on to teaching and pursuing a Ph.D. in the discipline.

He is the creator and founder of The Novel Comics: Alternate History. With Superheroes. The Novel Comics’ first volume “Outbreak Mutiny” just debuted on Amazon with issues 0-7. The Novel Comics are a shared universe of characters and events in a unique timeline. Jay labels his book chapters as Issues and releases them in serialized installments like comic books but in a literary format.

Official Trailer: Spencer starring Kristen Stewart

Now, this looks absolutely smashing! Kristen looks the part, and she’s definitely channeling Princess Diana in these little snippets of her talking and those facial expressions!

The marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles has long since grown cold. Though rumors of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate. There’s eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana knows the game. But this year, things will be profoundly different. SPENCER is an imagining of what might have happened during those few fateful days.

Directed by Pablo Larraín
Written by Steven Knight
Starring Kristen Stewart, Jack Farthing, Sally Hawkins, Timothy Spall, Sean Harris

I’ve got a feeling that with all the raves she had been receiving since the film’s premiere in Venice last month, she’s getting that Oscar nod. I’m also curious to see if the BAFTA will also give her a nomination, at least. I cannot wait to watch it!

Book Review—Transylvania’s History A to Z: 100 Word Stories by Patricia Furstenberg

‘Transylvania’s History A to Z’ by author Patricia Furstenberg is a collection of 26 stories that let us burrow into the history and legends about Transylvania. These stories presented alphabetically have 100 words each.

Just a little story that I wanted to share before I continue telling you about this book—I’ve always wanted to go to Romania. When I visited Europe in 2019, I had Romania, Hungary, and Croatia on my list, but because of time (been staying in Europe for a month then) and money running out, I thought I needed to regroup and visit next time. It was still a great trip, but since then, I’ve become more interested in knowing more about the region and promised myself that I’d see these places soon. 

Going back to this short 68-page eBook (104 in paperback), I thought it was an excellent introduction, particularly for people like me who wanted to see a glimpse of Romania. And it has pictures to go with each story which add to the enjoyment of reading it.

My favorite amongst the 26 stories are the following:

A Paleolithic Murder is the opening story and also a very compelling one. In a hundred words, there is already a complete story of murder, love, and betrayal! So good!

Vlad the Impaler  – Yep, the very same Dracula in pop culture. I loved that it’s not a boring-ass description about him, but the author just summarized who he is and what he did historically.

X, I Sign My Letter with a Cross relates to the tension about the interracial relations discouraged between the Hungarians, the Germans, and the local Romanians. The Catholic and the Orthodox worshippers were also forbidden to marry during that era.

I’ve also learned about the X we put in letters and how it came to mean kisses. So apparently, the custom of placing “X” on envelopes, notes, and at the bottom of letters to mean kisses dates back to the Middle ages when a Christian cross was drawn on documents or letters to convey sincerity, faith, and honesty. The signer then placed a kiss upon the cross as a display of their sworn oath. That was a fun tidbit!

Overall, these stories are all interesting, enjoyable, and very short too. I kept going back and forth to connect one to another. You can read it in one sitting, and this is an excellent read for anyone like me who loves history! 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Date of Publication: August 20, 2021

Read it for free with your Kindle Unlimited subscription:

About the Author
Patricia Furstenberg is the author of contemporary novel ‘Silent Heroes, When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting For’ and of the Amazon Bestseller ‘Joyful Trouble.’ She writes contemporary fiction, historical fiction, poetry, haiku and children stories. All of her books include… dogs. Patricia believes each creature has a story and a voice, if only we stop to listen.

With a medical degree behind her, Patricia is passionate about mind, brain and education and the psychology behind it. Using her knowledge she crafts stories and poems that are great fun, as well as teaching empathy.

Patricia came to writing though reading, her passion for books being something she inherited from her parents. “When I write, I write,” she usually says.

When she’s not writing she likes to read, listen to music, dance and bake.
This Romanian born writer is living happily with her husband, children and dogs in sunny South Africa.
Patricia Furstenberg Author Page and Blog: http://alluringcreations.co.za/wp/

Book Review: Echoes of the War by Sir James Matthew Barrie

Echoes of the War written by none other than Sir James Matthew Barrie, author of Peter Pan is a collection of four short plays about families affected by the first world war. The titles are: The New Word, The Old Lady Shows Her Medals (which is the basis for the movie Seven Days Leave,) A Well-Remembered Voice and Barbara’s Wedding. I got it for free on Kindle and read the whole thing over breakfast.

There’s a sense of nostalgia in each story/ play. It tackles human relationships, particularly between fathers and sons, and the things that people go through and are about to go through when someone close to them is about to do something that you’ve no control over. Such is the case with the great war, where people were much obligated to be part of it.

Out of all the four stories, my favorite is the elderly soldier with dementia trying to make sense of what’s happening around him. It was heartbreaking. I was so moved by it for some reason. The other three stories were good and just as interesting.

Benjamin Alire Saenz once said, “We all fight our own private wars.” And somehow in life, it is always true no matter how and where you applied that sentiment. This was a great read. Get your copy, since it’s free and it’ll very much be well worth a few hours of your time.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
eBook Publication Date: May 17, 2021
First published in 1918.

Download your free copy below:

About the Author
Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet, OM (/ˈbæri/; 9 May 1860 – 19 June 1937) was a Scottish novelist and playwright, best remembered as the creator of Peter Pan. He was born and educated in Scotland and then moved to London, where he wrote a number of successful novels and plays. There he met the Llewelyn Davies boys, who inspired him to write about a baby boy who has magical adventures in Kensington Gardens (first included in Barrie’s 1902 adult novel The Little White Bird), then to write Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, a 1904 “fairy play” about an ageless boy and an ordinary girl named Wendy who have adventures in the fantasy setting of Neverland.

Book Release Day: The Sound of Violet by Allen Wolf

Desperate to find a soulmate, Shawn goes on one awkward date after another until he encounters the alluring Violet. He starts dating her, but his autism keeps him from realizing that she’s actually a prostitute.

Shawn thinks he’s found a potential wife while Violet thinks she’s found her ticket to a brand new life. This hilarious and dramatic award-winning story has been adapted into a major motion picture.

PRAISE FOR THE SOUND OF VIOLET:

“Wolf, an award-winning filmmaker, has adapted this first novel from his own original screenplay, and its cinematic potential clearly shows. The high-concept narrative is entertaining, well-paced, and highly visual … It’s a charming, humorous, and hopeful tale. A quirky, touching love story that offers insights into autism, religion, and personal tragedy.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A wonderfully well-written, funny, romantic love story. Unique and inspirational. The Sound of Violet is not your average romance. Rarely do I find myself so captivated by a book that I cannot put it down for nearly two hours. Pick up this book and get lost in the beauty of their relationship. My only complaint would be that the story had an ending, as all stories do, and I did so want to keep reading on. Most highly recommended. The Sound of Violet is simply remarkable.” – Readers’ Favorite

“By turning conventions of contemporary romance on its stilettos and swapping out the typical sassy, fashion-obsessed female protagonist for an autistic male who reads jokes from index cards, Wolf puts a fresh spin on the genre. Adapted from his award-winning screenplay, The Sound of Violet shows signs of its origins with snappy dialogue and humorous, well-staged scenes … A sweet and entertaining romantic comedy, The Sound of Violet touches on autism and the power of faith. It will appeal to any reader who enjoys a blend of quirky characters, humor, and drama.” – Blue Ink Review

“Heartfelt, out-of-the-ordinary romance … This warm, witty story does not shy away from serious themes like exploitation, redemption, and true love. The Sound of Violet explores heavy issues with a light touch. It’s easy to see this being adapted into an enjoyable movie …” – Foreword Reviews

You can also read my full review HERE.

GET YOUR COPY NOW!

About the Author
Allen Wolf is an award-winning novelist, filmmaker, and game creator. He is also the host of the popular Navigating Hollywood podcast.

His debut novel “The Sound of Violet” has won multiple accolades and is described as “Entertaining, well-paced, and highly visual” by Kirkus Reviews. It is now a major motion picture. (www.TheSoundOfViolet.com)

He has won 39 awards for his games that are available as books, including You’re Pulling My Leg! and You’re Pulling My Leg! Junior. They’ve brought smiles to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

As a filmmaker, Allen wrote, directed, and produced “In My Sleep,” which was released worldwide, won multiple film festivals, and is available on iTunes and Amazon Prime. Hollywood Reporter raved, “In My Sleep never rests, a credit to the tight, psychologically astute pacing of filmmaker Wolf.”

Allen graduated from New York University’s film school. He married his Persian princess, and they are raising two kids together. He enjoys traveling around the world and hearing other people’s life stories. Allen also cherishes spending time with his family, eating chocolate, and visiting Disneyland. See more at http://www.allenwolf.com.

Book Release Day—Hugh: A Hero without a Novel by David Lawrence

“…a work of queer historical archiving that’s as admirable and remarkable as its hero.” – Kirkus Reviews

This romp through 18th century England is like nothing told in the era of Tom Jones – a sparkling, humorous, and poetical coming-of-age 242 years in the making.

From an old family trunk comes a manuscript which never saw the light of day. Its pages tell of the life, times, and blackmail of a young queer aristocrat stepping into 1768 Society…

A time of wig powder and heeled slippers.
Duels and social climbers, when the most popular member of the government is declared an outlaw. Hugh Entwistle enters this world wealthy, witty, and well-connected. Everything to be a success – everything, except that thing stuck to the bottom of his heeled slipper.

Hugh’s is a story of secret encounters and significant looks. Hushed separations and sobriquets. But if he dares define Liberty, he might be asked to confront a blackmailer. Asked to confront a father. And before he can make a marriage proposal, follow his heart, and accept one.

Hugh is a rollicking tale of comic angst, and a celebration of the wit, beauty, and absurdities of a glorious age.

Praise for Hugh: A Hero without a Novel:

“I found it absolutely fascinating…Sui generis, thoroughly interesting, fabulously vivid in place and time, and I’m glad I read it.” – K.J. Charles, author of The Magpie Lord

“Intriguing, ambitious, and pretty damn delightful. This is a genuinely impressive accomplishment….written with passionate conviction, and without compromise. It’s so unabashedly itself that it will absolutely sweep you along if you let it, and I was very much in the mood to be swept.” – Alexis Hall, author of Boyfriend Material

Read it for Free via Kindle Unlimited.

About the Author
A native of the American Southwest, David Lawrence has spent much of his life in Great Britain, France, and Finland. He now lives in a the American Northwest – Helena, Montana – with his Finnish partner.

By day he loves hiking under the Big Sky of his beautiful adopted state.
By night, however, he prefers editing lost manuscripts and wandering the byways of 18th century London…

You can learn more about David Lawrence and his penned works by visiting his website: https://www.aherowithoutanovel.com/ and subscribing to his newsletter.

*** Book Release Day: Stranded by Sarah Goodwin ***

‘You. DO. NOT want to miss!!!’ NetGalley reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘IT WAS SO GOOD.’ NetGalley reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘INTENSE… My heart was pounding.’ NetGalley reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Eight strangers. One island. A secret you’d kill to keep.

When eight people arrive on the beautiful but remote Buidseach Island, they are ready for the challenge of a lifetime: to live alone for one year.

Eighteen months later, a woman is found in an isolated fishing village. She’s desperate to explain what happened to her. How the group fractured and friends became enemies. How they did what they must to survive until the boat came to collect them; how things turned deadly when the boat didn’t come.

But first she must come to terms with the devastating secret that left them stranded, and her own role in the events that saw eight arrive and only three leave…

A gripping, twisty page-turner about secrets, lies and survival at all costs. Perfect for fans of The CastawaysThe Sanitorium and One by One.

***

I’ve read and reviewed this debut book of Sarah Goodwin a month ago, and I absolutely enjoyed it, so I thought it’d be great for you guys to check it out since it is now available for purchase online! This is also the author’s debut book, so your support would definitely mean a lot!

It has a “Lord of the Flies” feel, with the whole power-grabbing, and we see here how wicked people could get and the things they’re willing to do to survive. I just couldn’t put it down. It’s very engaging, exciting, frightening, and just a whole lot entertaining. Please read my full review here.

Order your copy now and enjoy!

About the Author
Sarah Goodwin is a novelist who grew up in rural Hertfordshire. She was raised on ‘The Good Life’ ‘Anne of Green Gables’ and ‘Little House on the Prairie’ by her parents, who turned a blind eye to her dabbling in herbal medicine, feminism, eco-warrior ideals and witchcraft. They were understandably unsurprised when she developed the lifetime ambition of building a hut in the woods and living there like a soothsayer.

Her second preferred career, was author.

At Bath Spa University Sarah studied for a BA in Creative Writing and self-published many novels across various genres, including YA magical realism, contemporary women’s fiction, romance and horror.

Sarah graduated in 2014 with an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. After writing several historical novels, she decided to return to her roots and write instead about the wild, the darkness and survival, which led to her coming up with the idea for ‘Stranded’ which would become her first professionally published novel.

Book Review: The Necromancer’s Reckoning (The Beacon Hill Sorcerer #3) by S.J. Himes

The High Council of Sorcery has come to Boston, and they are after Angel, accusing him of many violations of practitioners law. Everyone he cares about seems to be in danger, but Angel’s isn’t about to give up without a fight.

This, by far, is the most intense book in the series. There is a lot of magic and discoveries and new characters. And these characters that we’ve come to love from the last two books are all here, vibrant as ever. They all have excellent character development, which I thought is the aspect where the author excels the most. She loves her characters that we also love. My particular favorite is Daniel’s adorable sibling relationship with Isaac. I loved that they both are healing each other in a way from their traumatic experiences.

Angel and Simeon’s relationship is stronger than ever. Being bonded, it is so lovely that we still get the same banter, and their chemistry is still as amazing as ever. I just love this series so much.

This awesome third book also paved the way for the new couples—Isaac and Batiste and Daniel and Rory— that we’d get to read in subsequent sequels (given that I’ve read the books already lol, and they’re frigging amazing.)

I don’t think I’d have to say more about this third installment. You’d have to read the first book and enjoy the succeeding stories up to this point. I’m just writing this to praise the author’s writing because she absolutely smashed it again.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published May 28th 2018 by SJ Himes

About the Author

LOVE SPRINGS ETERNAL releases August 31st 2021.

I will be moving all my titles over the course of 2022 to my new author name, Sheena Jolie.

If you have questions for me, and want an answer sooner rather than later, find me on Facebook or Twitter. Social media links on my website, along with a FAQs page for the most common questions I get asked.

Current writing cluster titles are available on my Works in Progress page at my website. http://www.sjhimes.com

I also write as Revella Hawthorne. I write mainly gay romance and erotica, but I am branching out into polyamorous groupings and LGBT+ characters.

Saving Silas is my only contemporary. Everything else is paranormal, urban fantasy, or scifi/alternate universe.

I’m a nomad–I move a lot. My health is sporadic, so when I’m feeling well enough is when I’m writing. Which is good, as otherwise, I think my suffering translates to boring stories. 

I’ve learned the hard way that I can’t do release dates until a book is 100% DONE. No projected dates anymore. For up to date and accurate information, find me on Facebook and Twitter. I RARELY come to GR. It’ll be months before I’m back again.

Any books I have reviewed are my own opinions and done so without malice. I won’t review a book anymore if I can’t give it 3 stars or higher. Most of my reviews are based upon how a book makes me FEEL. Entirely subjective and personal. Exceptions are in cases of plagiarism and intellectual property theft or a massively horrible formatting job or erroneous content (ie the title and blurb don’t match the interior.)

***

Please note that this blog is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission via Amazon Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
I also earn a commission, at no additional cost to you if you purchase a product through one of the affiliate links or ads displayed on the website

Book Review: The Necromancer’s Dilemma (The Beacon Hill Sorcerer #2) by S. J. Himes

This second installment of the series is as good and as enjoyable as the first one. We are back in Boston, and Angel and Simeon are very much officially together. Angel and Isaac are trying to patch things up, and Angel has gotten himself an apprentice.

The Necromancer’s Dilemma made me love the series even more. I adore Angel and his relationship with Simeon, and this follow-up cemented his status in my book as one of my favorite characters in the genre. The very sardonic necromancer is back with his snark, and his protectiveness is still as intense as ever. 

We also get multiple POVs here. I loved that we get those perspectives from the side characters, even from the adorable baby dragon, Eroch!

I also loved that the author maintained the same pacing she had in the first book. The plot was rock-solid and consistent, and as I’ve mentioned, the characters’ POVs are a sweet addition to this sequel. This is a quick review, but I’ve to tell you that it is absolutely worth reading!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
ebook, 213 pages
Published July 1st 2016 by SJ Himes

About the Author

LOVE SPRINGS ETERNAL releases August 31st 2021.

I will be moving all my titles over the course of 2022 to my new author name, Sheena Jolie.

If you have questions for me, and want an answer sooner rather than later, find me on Facebook or Twitter. Social media links on my website, along with a FAQs page for the most common questions I get asked.

Current writing cluster titles are available on my Works in Progress page at my website. http://www.sjhimes.com

I also write as Revella Hawthorne. I write mainly gay romance and erotica, but I am branching out into polyamorous groupings and LGBT+ characters.

Saving Silas is my only contemporary. Everything else is paranormal, urban fantasy, or scifi/alternate universe.

I’m a nomad–I move a lot. My health is sporadic, so when I’m feeling well enough is when I’m writing. Which is good, as otherwise, I think my suffering translates to boring stories. 

I’ve learned the hard way that I can’t do release dates until a book is 100% DONE. No projected dates anymore. For up to date and accurate information, find me on Facebook and Twitter. I RARELY come to GR. It’ll be months before I’m back again.

Any books I have reviewed are my own opinions and done so without malice. I won’t review a book anymore if I can’t give it 3 stars or higher. Most of my reviews are based upon how a book makes me FEEL. Entirely subjective and personal. Exceptions are in cases of plagiarism and intellectual property theft or a massively horrible formatting job or erroneous content (ie the title and blurb don’t match the interior.)

***

Please note that this blog is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission via Amazon Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
I also earn a commission, at no additional cost to you if you purchase a product through one of the affiliate links or ads displayed on the website

Book Review: The Necromancer’s Dance (The Beacon Hill Sorcerer #1) by S. J. Himes

For the record, I’ve read this book in 2018 and the rest of the books that follow. After reading the fifth book in the series, which was released last month, I’ve only realized that I’ve never written any reviews for any of the books! I mean, the author’s books have been my comfort read for years, including her epic The Wolfkin Saga.

So, The Necromancer’s Dance is a world where vampires, sorcerers, and other supernaturals walk amongst us. It’s a great set-up with the brilliant introduction of our main character, necromancer Angelus (Angel) Salvatore. Angel and his brother Isaac are lone survivors of the Blood Wars that took the rest of their family several years back.

When someone summoned a demon to kill Angel, he realized something sinister was up in the air. The past reared its ugly head, and with the help of an Elder vampire Simeon, who’s been wooing Angel from the moment they’ve met, he knew that this isn’t just a battle between life and death.

I loved that the author quickly mentioned who the leading players are early on in the book. This made the book’s pacing so good because everything feels like it’s happening in real-time, even with flashbacks.

Angel’s dialogues are so good, and his banter with all the other characters was just incredible – full of wit, and he’s overall just a likable character. I also loved his chemistry with Simeon because it showed his sensitive side outside of his bubble with his brother.

Story-wise, this was top-notch with fantastic characters to boot. If you’re into vampires, mages, and just supernatural in general, I cannot recommend this highly enough.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Kindle Edition, 249 pages
Published January 2021 by SJ Himes (first published February 25th 2016)

About the Author

LOVE SPRINGS ETERNAL releases August 31st 2021.

I will be moving all my titles over the course of 2022 to my new author name, Sheena Jolie.

If you have questions for me, and want an answer sooner rather than later, find me on Facebook or Twitter. Social media links on my website, along with a FAQs page for the most common questions I get asked.

Current writing cluster titles are available on my Works in Progress page at my website. http://www.sjhimes.com

I also write as Revella Hawthorne. I write mainly gay romance and erotica, but I am branching out into polyamorous groupings and LGBT+ characters.

Saving Silas is my only contemporary. Everything else is paranormal, urban fantasy, or scifi/alternate universe.

I’m a nomad–I move a lot. My health is sporadic, so when I’m feeling well enough is when I’m writing. Which is good, as otherwise, I think my suffering translates to boring stories. 😉

I’ve learned the hard way that I can’t do release dates until a book is 100% DONE. No projected dates anymore. For up to date and accurate information, find me on Facebook and Twitter. I RARELY come to GR. It’ll be months before I’m back again.

Any books I have reviewed are my own opinions and done so without malice. I won’t review a book anymore if I can’t give it 3 stars or higher. Most of my reviews are based upon how a book makes me FEEL. Entirely subjective and personal. Exceptions are in cases of plagiarism and intellectual property theft or a massively horrible formatting job or erroneous content (ie the title and blurb don’t match the interior.)

***

Please note that this blog is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission via Amazon Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
I also earn a commission, at no additional cost to you if you purchase a product through one of the affiliate links or ads displayed on the website