Tag Archives: Book Review

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 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 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

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: 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.

Book Review: Hugh by David Lawrence (ARC)

I often find historical novels quite heavy, but this one was entirely unexpected. It’s a coming-of-age story of Hugh Entwistle as he steps into the world of the wealthy and a society bounded by rules, with secret dalliances on the side that must always remain secret.

At first, I didn’t feel that involved with the story, but when Hugh meets his three relationships – the beautiful, the sublime, and the indifferent. Yep, from Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautifulthe story’s narrative just flowed smoothly.

I loved Hugh. I loved his sassy and captivating persona. His internal monologues are also so much fun to read. I also loved the secondary characters, which seems to fall right out of those old renaissance-themed movies. 

I liked that the romance wasn’t as dragged out, although I thought the narrative suffers a bit on the second half of the book because it feels like there’s a lot of telling more than showing.

The author also has an excellent grasp of the language of the time, which I appreciate here. Each character has a distinct vibe. His humor is on point; I find myself chuckling now and then.

Overall, I found this to be really sweet, humorous, and very interesting. It’s quite a different take from the usual queer historicals I’ve read before and is well worth my time.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

An advance review copy was provided by the publisher, The Book Whisperer via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review.

Date of Publication: September 21, 2021

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.