Category Archives: Authors

Book Review: A Spell of Rowans by Byrd Nash (ARC)

The Rowan siblings were born with powers – both a gift and a curse. Phillipa could charm anyone, Victoria could see through someone else’s deepest secrets and emotions, and Liam could read memories by touching an object. Their mother, Rachel, was abusive, and even after her death, she’s still terrorizing their waking hours.

I enjoyed reading this book so much that I had to read it twice. It’s fascinating and affecting because it has the elements of mystery, magic, and, most importantly, family drama. At first, I was under the impression that it would be a fantasy/magic kind of book, but it turns out to be more than that. The ‘magic’ element isn’t even that prominent in the book. It tackles more on how these siblings cope and grew together after enduring years of abuse from their mother.

I love the characterization of each character. I particularly adore the interaction of the siblings and the little romance in there. (And speaking of romance, you have got to watch out for Reed—I think we all need a person like Reed in our lives.) I also enjoyed the fact that it kept me guessing until the end about their mother’s death. I wished it did have some time skip or a future view of these characters because you’d absolutely root for them. I know I did.

I highly recommend this book and would explore other works from the author. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Kindle Edition
Expected publication: October 26th 2021 by Rook and Castle Press

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

About the Author
Spinning tales of subtle magic with unexpected twists, Byrd writes the book you need, not the one you expected.

As one reviewer wrote: “When I get a Byrd story, I know I’m in good hands.”

Whether it is a Doppelgänger who was once a medieval knight now working in college administration, or an updated Red Riding Hood escaping a post-WWI wolf pack, her characters all feel real.

That Celtic goddess at the pet store? She’s someone you know. A medieval queen fleeing an abusive marriage? You experience her pain and triumph.

With a B.A. in journalism, she’s worked in the writing field for over thirty-five years. Discover more about her, sign up to be a beta reader, or grab a free book at her website ByrdNash.com.

Book Review: Gone But Not Forgotten (TIN Book 1) by Charlie Cochet

Dexter and Sloane Daley have worked as TIN Operatives for three years now. Their next big assignment is to retrieve a virus that mutates a human’s gene to that of a Therian. And it may just be their most critical and dangerous mission to date.

I’m a big fan of the THIRDS series, and I’m glad that this first book from its spin-off series, TIN, has finally come out! Gone But Not Forgotten isn’t THIRDS. It’s very different from that series, even though the main protagonists are the same. This first book is more serious, way darker, and lacks the humor we’ve gotten used to, mainly from Dex’s character. I love that Dex and Sloane are very much in love, and their bond is stronger than ever. We’ve seen Dex’s evolution from the THIRDS series, and the manifestation of that is even more prominent here. I thought it was exciting to imagine what Dex’s final evolution/form would be.

I’ve some concerns about this book, though. There was a trigger warning at the beginning for kidnapping, sexual abuse, and trafficking, which are very much on-page. That surprised me. I mean, am I reading a Charlie Cochet novel? The sex scene with other Therians around just doesn’t feel right for me. It was too graphic and uncomfortable to read. Another thing is the whole undercover stuff. I mean, I shouldn’t be wondering where this and that guy came from, given the nature of what they do, but it’s unnerving for characters to just pop up out of nowhere.

Considering the issues I stated above, it’s still a good read, but I am not sure If I would be that keen to follow this series, the way I was so crazy about the THIRDS series. I understand that this is a different series, but this is still part of the THIRDS universe, so hopefully, there’s a way to incorporate that fun-ness of that series here.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Published September 16th 2021 by Charlie Cochet

About The Author
Charlie Cochet is the international bestselling author of the THIRDS series. Born in Cuba and raised in the US, Charlie enjoys the best of both worlds, from her daily Cuban latte to her passion for classic rock.

Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found devouring a book, releasing her creativity through art, or binge watching a new TV series. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

Book Review: Marvin the Very Tall Bear Kindle Edition by T.A. Unwin

This little story is about a Bear named Marvin who wishes he wasn’t as tall as he is so that he could do what other bears could do—fit through doorways, sit at the dinner table, and play on the slide in the park. One night, he wishes he wouldn’t be so tall until he wakes up to find out that his wish just came true! It reminds me of the saying, “be careful what you wish for because you might just get it…”

This is an excellent short story to tell kids that it’s okay to be different and that they are unique and remarkable just the way they are. I’d love for the drawing to be more prominent, and colorful but overall, I thought it’s a great bedtime story.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 16 pages
Published October 19th 2015

You can download it for FREE via Kindle on Amazon.

About the Author
T.A. Unwin is a writer and artist from London, now living on the Hampshire coast in England. Her childhood revolved around animals; looking after pets and writing stories about them. A passion for the natural world led to a Zoology degree followed by a Masters in Animal Welfare. Writing then took a back seat as the young adventurer set off to gain experience of working with different animals around the world. She trailed after the macaque monkeys in Gibraltar, as well as their monkey cousins in India, studied birds in Scotland, researched vultures in Namibia and spent ten weeks monitoring marine mammals from a boat in the Mozambique Channel. Currently she works part-time in a zoo and has finally returned to her favourite hobby – writing stories about animals. She has two noisy budgies who do their best to put a stop to this.

Book Review: The Missing Rainbow (Lil Bub and Friends Presents Book 1) Kindle Edition by C. Hagerman

These past few days, during my break time at my day job, I’ve been reading these little short stories intended for the younger audience, which I find therapeutic because they’re just all so full of positivity talks about friendships, rainbows, butterflies, and whatnot. I thought it would keep me from stressing about this pandemic, politics, job-related incidents, and more. Some were cute, and some were nice. Others, I’m thinking of reading to my little nephews and nieces the next time I visit them—anyway, enough of my rambling. 

The Missing Rainbow by C. Hagerman, the first in the Lil Bub and Friends PresentsThe Missing Rainbow is about the friendship of a whale, a frog, and a bunny. They all loved watching the rainbow up in the sky until it went missing. I really like this book. It has colorful and cute illustrations; the words were simple but a bit repetitive. It is very engaging, and it teaches children a great lesson on conflict resolution. It’s 19 pages and is great for kids to learn about colors and those who are learning English as a second language. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

You can download it for free on Amazon.

Book Review – MonsterMind: Dealing With Anxiety & Self-Doubt by Alfonso Casas (ARC)

“This isn’t the triumphant tale of a hero who defeated his monster… it’s just the story of somebody…. who’s learning to live with them.”

In MonsterMind, Alfonso Casas introduces us to his monsters— past traumas, social anxiety, sadness, doubt, and fear that lives inside his head that manifest in his day-to-day life.  

I didn’t know that reading this graphic novel would hit me on an emotional level. The book reminded me so much of my early post-college days. After getting my degree and thinking I had everything under control, I was clueless about how the real world works, which led me to develop anxiety about my future. Like the main character here, I encountered a lot of struggles, suffered through depression, and the fear of not knowing what the future would hold for me. 

I loved how the author addressed things like that here – in an adorable, humorous way. Casas acknowledges that not everyone deals with anxiety and depression the same way and that it is okay not to be okay. It is okay to be alone. It is okay to feel these things. It is okay to ask for help and, it is okay to prioritize oneself.

Despite the serious subject matter of this graphic novel, I loved that it uses the beauty of art to get through its readers. It uses humor, not to make light of the subject but to bear the unbearable. I believe this book would resonate with many people, particularly now, with the pandemic ravaging not only our livelihood but our strength to remain resilient. I cannot recommend this highly enough.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Harbound Copy, Expected publication: December 21, 2021

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Diamond Book Distributors, Ablaze via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review

About the Author
Desde que recuerda sabe que lo suyo es dibujar, no porque se le de excesivamente bien, sino porque lo demás se le da peor. Desde 2007 lleva colando sus ilustraciones en diferentes periódicos y revistas, hasta que en 2010 pone sus lápices al servicio de Julián Almazán para dibujar Marica tú, su primera incursión en el mundo cómic. Alfonso vive en Barcelona, continúa dibujando y espera que sus sueños sigan cumpliéndose. El último en hacerse realidad es lo que tiene en las manos. Amores minúsculos es su primer obra en solitario. Espera que no sea la última.

Book Review – Misty Presents: The Jaume Rumeu Collection by Bill Harrington, Jaume Rumeu (ARC)

The Jaume Rumeu Collection includes four terrifying tales from the pages of the legendary Misty, the late ’70s supernatural horror comic book marketed for girls, which will bring us back to the past. Even though I wasn’t born yet when these came out, the Misty comics somehow found their way to my ever-wandering curiosity growing up in the ’90s. For those of you who are not very familiar, Misty was a weekly British comic magazine for girls published by Fleetway in the late 1970s.

The whole thing is very nostalgic as the artwork is way different than what we have now—comics, mangas, and the entire digital world integrated into it. The dated feel of the ‘graphics’ adds enjoyment to these stories. I wasn’t expecting it to be more academic, with fascinating insights into what goes on behind these works. It is a short read with only 128 pages, which really isn’t much of a chore.

This book would be a fantastic read for any fan of Jaume Rumeu and would be a great addition to your horror comics collections.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Paperback, 128 pages
Expected publication: November 11th 2021 by 2000 AD

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Rebellion via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review

About the Author
Jaume Rumeu Perera was born in 1930 in Catalonia. He began drawing comics in 1952 when he signed to the art agency Creaciones Editorial, under the name Romeo, and debuting on the comic Johnny el Temerario (Johnny the Daredevil). A master of multiple genres, he drew science fiction, adventure, espionage, sports and romance comics and during his forty year comics career his work was published across Europe. In the UK he worked primarily romance and girls’ comics, adopting the pseudonym Homero in the late 1960s. For DC Thomson he drew Susette for Cherie and Juliette for Romeo, and for IPC, he drew comics for Tammy, Jinty and Misty. His work for Misty includes such iconic stories as The Black Widow, Spider Woman and The Loneliest Girl in the World. As the comics market shrank in the 1980s, he continued to draw comics across the continent, such as football comics for DC Thomson and horse comics for the Swedish and Dutch market. He retired from drawing comics in 1992, and died in 2003.

Book Review: It’s Owl Good (The Super Adventures of Ollie and Bea) by Renée Treml (ARC)

This review will be short, and I want to tell you that I loved this book and would read this story to my little nieces and nephews.

It’s Owl Good by Renée Treml is an adorable story about an Owl named Ollie who wears glasses and is insecure about how others see him. With the help of Bea, a super-nice bunny, who has her struggles, they help each other accept their differences and what makes them unique and beautiful.

It is a beautiful little book that sends a good message and is great for kids to read. I finished it in 15 minutes, and it’s just all kinds of adorable and funny. The dialogues are simple, full of cute puns and the illustration is just as good as the story. It is absolutely delightful!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Capstone, Picture Window Books via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review
Expected publication: January 1st 2022 by Capstone (first published August 1st 2021)

About the Author
Renée Treml was born and raised in the United States and now lives on the beautiful Surf Coast in Australia. Her stories and illustrations are inspired by nature and influenced by her background in environmental science. When Renée is not writing or illustrating, she can be found walking in the bush or on the beach, and exploring museums, zoos, and aquariums with her family and superenthusiastic little dog.

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 is an author and host of his podcast, GeekOPedia. In addition to World Class, he’s written Hellfighter Quin and Over the Ropes for mad cave studios. Find more on his other books and comics at JaySandlin.com

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.