*** 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

ICYMI: CODA (Audition Scene) and Official Trailer (2021)

I thought I’d share this audition scene from the movie CODA, a coming-of-age film that follows a hearing teenage girl who is a child of deaf adults (CODA for short). I’ve seen it multiple times now, and it never fails to move me, especially when she started signing midway through her audition.

CODA premiered in January at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, receiving rave critics’ reviews.

I haven’t watched the entire film, but I’m dying to see it. I’d probably schedule it where I would just stay in bed the whole day, eating while watching movies lol!

Book Review: Dearest Milton James by N.R. Walker

Reading the book’s blurb, I wasn’t quite sure about Malachi’s character because it felt like I’ve read his character a million times — that annoying main protagonist who’s supposed to be cute and funny who turns out to be simply irritating — luckily, Malachi isn’t like that. He is such a sweetheart, has a great sense of humor, and has diarrhea of the mouth when nervous. He may be over the top for some people, but I find this trait of him likable.

I also like the relationships he developed with his new colleagues, starting with Julian and the rest of the gang, whose characters were all wonderfully fleshed out. I particularly liked Cherry and Paul, the not-serial killer. 

I’ve read similar stories in the past where they would find a bunch of letters, and they’ll try to locate the sender or the writer and the supposed receiver. It’s always exciting for me because it’s like diving into another story. I won’t spoil anything but this is basically the story’s premise with Malachi and the gang becoming literal detectives within the Dead Letter Office.

Maybe, it’s just me, but I find this sweet story some sort of a ‘coming-of-age’ (FYI, he’s already an adult) journey for Malachi because he’s found a place where he could be himself, and everyone was so accepting. He also found love through Julian, and the chemistry between them was just electric. 

Dearest Milton James was simply a joy to read! It was a surprise release from the author, and it came out at the right time when I felt the need for a break from the barrage of bad news everywhere. It’s one of those many books of N.R. Walker that you’d keep on rereading regularly. It’s simple, funny, smart, and delicate. I highly recommend it.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Published August 24th 2021 by BlueHeart Press

About The Author
N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way. She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.

She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things… but likes it even more when they fall in love.

She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal. She’s been writing ever since.

Please also note that this blog is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission.

Manga Review: Would You Like To Be A Family by Koyama (ARC)

“Would You Like To Be a Family?” is a collection of three one-shot BL stories. The first story is about coworkers Takemura and Natsui – opposite in personality but very similar in some ways. While Take likes to keep to himself due to a high school trauma, Natsui is loud, cheerful, and well-liked by his colleagues. Natsui is a single father too. After an invitation for dinner, their relationship blossoms into something neither of them expected.

story and art by Koyama

I did enjoy it. It was sweet, short, and generally feel good. I loved that Natsui is sensitive to Take’s feelings and doesn’t make him feel out of place. I loved the single dad aspect of the story. It brings something different to the table.

The other two stories are way shorter than the first, which are both set in school — an angsty story about Kuma and Yagi and Harada and Kodama. These two short stories tackle the concept of navigating young love and exploring their identity. Both are fun and quick read though not as impactful as the main story. 

Overall, I’ve enjoyed reading these stories. I love me some happy endings, so this collection is a total win for me. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback, 176 pages
Expected publication: September 21st 2021 by LOVE x LOVE

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, TOKYOPOP, LOVE x LOVE via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review.

Book Review: Cynthia Starts a Band by Oliva Swindler (ARC)

Cynthia Starts a Band tells the story of Eleanor Quinn, lead singer of the highly successful band Kittanning. She is also dating her bandmate, who happens to be the most beautiful man in America. Despite her success in her career and ‘love life,’ she decided to walk away from it all. Eleanor’s life is in turmoil behind the scenes, and she knew that she had to leave while she can. 

Free from her band and’ fiance,’ Eleanor decided to change her name to Cynthia, moves in with her cousin in Seattle, and enrolls in a local university’s writing class. Everything seems to be going well until her past started to creep its way into her new life.

This novel was a quick read for me. I thought it has a great concept and a fantastic protagonist in Eleanor/Cynthia. She’s likable enough for someone who’s 27, naive, and just literally based everything on what she’d seen in films. Usually, that would annoy the living crap out of me, but I liked her personally.

The book reads like a YA novel, or maybe many instances show Cynthia’s immaturity and naivety. I feel that that aspect of the story will be a hit or miss for the readers. I don’t mind it that much, but I wished it was more realistic rather than a mere copycat of the movie scenes she’s been referencing throughout the story.

I liked that the author talked about something relevant now but has been taboo in the past. It has the #MeToo movement, the #FreeBritney movement aspect, and just the ugly side of fame that we know but don’t usually get talked about more often. I love the whole narrative of claiming your power, claiming your voice, and I think it is an important topic discussed in the book but is glossed over by the hasty pacing of the storytelling. 

The book really has great potential, and I could even see it as a film in maybe, Hallmark Channel or, I don’t know – Disney adult version if there is one. That being said, I would be happy to read more stories from Olivia Swindler in the future. 

 Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Paperback, 268 pages
Expected publication: October 19th 2021 by Morgan James Publishing

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher,  Morgan James Fiction  via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review.

About the Author
Olivia Swindler was raised in Spokane, Washington but resides currently in Grenoble, France, where she eats approximately a baguette a day. Cynthia Starts a Band is her first book.

Book Review: A Light in the Sky (Clashing Skies #1) by Shina Reynolds (ARC)

A Light in the Sky is an epic young adult fantasy novel and a coming-of-age journey of its protagonist, Aluma Banks, thrusts into the world of politics within their kingdom ruled by an oppressive king and his slew of disciples.

Each year, Rider hopefuls across the kingdom of Eirelannia compete in the Autumn tournament for a chance to join the ranks of the aerial warriors known as the Empyrean Cavalry. The victors of the competition get to earn wings for their stead, given that they pass their subsequent training.

My favorite thing about this story is its very detailed world-building. I loved the combination of this old and modern society ambiance, and it’s vividly different for each ‘kingdom.’ I thought this is where the author excelled the most. 

On to the story itself, the early part of the novel was so fast-paced that it almost feels like I’m missing many details. I know that this is just the first book, but for most of the story’s first half, several characters were introduced but did not get to play significant roles in the second half. I’m probably just impatient for its next installment, but I thought some characters should’ve gotten more “page” time. I’d loved for the secondary characters to get their characters developed fully in the long run, along with the main protagonist.

There is also the inevitable love triangle which I find a bit problematic. I was like, girl, you’re in the midst of war, your father’s life is in peril, and a few days after meeting the guy who saved you, you thought that you’re already in love. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Aluma’s character, and she’s supposed to be smart and all, but she lacked focus most of the time, and it could get frustrating.

As I’ve said earlier, I loved the picturesque and vivid setting of the story. Hopefully, the pacing will settle a bit as we get more character development in the second installment. I won’t delve much deeper into the story because the official synopsis was already a dead giveaway, but I’d say that this is still a fantastic effort from the author.  

Overall, I found this story to be very engaging and entertaining. The characters may not remain with you, but they’re generally likable. I’m looking forward to its second installment!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Hardbound, 401 pages
Expected publication: November 9th 2021 by Wink Road Press

Pre-order your copy now:

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher,  Wink Road Press  via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review.

About the Author
SHINA REYNOLDS grew up in Nebraska, riding horses through wide-open fields. She wrote her first two books in her sixth-grade English class, the second of which went on to win an award at the Nebraska Young Author’s Conference. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, graduating with honors in art history and with a minor in anthropology. Before writing her debut novel, A Light in the Sky , she worked in film, music, and modeling. Shina currently resides in Texas, where she spends the majority of the year trying to stay cool and imagining she lives in Ireland. When she’s not writing
, she can be found painting abstractly, exploring the outdoors with her husband, and entertaining her mostly cuddly cat.

***

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

Manga Review: The Summer of You (My Summer of You Vol. 1) by Nagisa Furuya

The Summer of You is the story of two high school students – Chiharu Saeki and Wataru Toda, who found themselves bonding together for their shared love of movies. One day, Saeki confesses his love for Toda. Toda was unbothered and just accepted it, and both boys continue to spend their summer going to film spots of their favorite movies. As time goes by, Wataru realizes that he may not be as unaffected by Saeki’s declaration.

I enjoyed reading this short (Boys Love) BL manga. I particularly loved the relaxed ambiance of the story. Every time that they were having a conversation, it feels like there’s feel-good music playing. I loved that there’s no villain here, and the boys were simply going with the flow. The easy acceptance of Wataru towards Saeki was lovely and kind. Both characters are likable.

That little backstory about Saeki’s childhood was a bit cringy, but I guess people like that exist. I thought the conflict was realistic, I mean, sometimes, you have to let go for you to move on, but most of the time, that is not always the case. 

Reading this manga gave me a bit of a break from reading heavy novels with gore, ghosts, and family drama. It’s very refreshing, and I am looking forward to reading more about the boys and more from the author.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 1st 2021 by Kodansha Comics (first published July 28th 2017)

A copy of this manga was provided by the publisher, Kodansha Comics via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review.

About the Author
Nagisa FURUYA (古矢渚, Furuya Nagisa) is a Japanese mangaka, best known for being the author & artist of Kimi to Natsu no Naka, Futari no Lion, My Summer of You, Gunjou no Subete, and Number Call.