Book review: The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy by Colleen Chesebro

This is not my usual cup of tea, but I knew Colleen Chesebro’s excellent work as a blogger for a couple years and was curious about her debut novel. I am glad I decided to read it! This was a wonderful fairy tale, and in terms of the protagonist’s social relations, it was also a sweet, utterly believable YA novel that really tugged at my heartstrings. I loved Abigail’s relationship with her aunt in particular – it was terribly moving in places and the author’s vivid descriptions and excellent prose made it so lifelike for me, as if it all took place before my eyes. It was all very human, very easy to relate to, what they had to go through as they got to know and trust each other, and I loved this in the story more than anything else. Abigail’s relations with the local youngsters and the horse racing were a delight to explore and, of course, I found the fairies enchanting! I expect young teenage girls will most certainly lap up the whimsical fantasy elements in this story. The antagonist is a scary villain that I believe bordered on madness. His malice balances out perfectly the sweetness and innocence that surrounds Abigail in her world, other than that. I am really surprised this is a debut novel! It’s very well-structured and told beautifully, a real feat for an emerging author. I am already looking forward to the next installment in this delightful tale! (I received a free copy and chose voluntarily to review it.)

 

My rating:

5 stars

A heart-rending, enchanting YA fantasy I couldn’t put down!

 

Do you enjoy YA fantasy? Stories of fairy visitations, or orphaned children who make a fresh start in life in a new home? Check out this delightful book, I think you’ll love it!

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Book review: The Greek Isles Collection Vol. 2 by Angel Sefer

I loved this boxset and believe it’s really good value for money as it contains no less than three novels – and they were so amazing I couldn’t pick a favorite! Sefer surely can spin a yarn, taking her readers on a wonderful ride. The common characteristics in these novels are guilty secrets, lust, danger and heartache as well as the stunning Greek locations where the stories unfold. Having said that, each novel stands out in memory uniquely and is equal in merit. I am really amazed at Sefer’s seemingly inexhaustible capacity to create stories that are simply unputdownable! I recommend this boxset to anyone who misses Greece since their last holiday there. It will certainly transport them there in no time. If you love lustful romance that conquers all and is fraught with danger, look no further!

My rating:

5 stars

Exhilarating and unputdownable!

 

Do you enjoy Greek island romances? Stories of dark secrets and love that’s fraught with danger? Give this fabulous boxset a try – chances are you’ll love it!

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Book review: Genteel Secrets by S.R. Mallery

Having thoroughly enjoyed Sewing Can Be Dangerous by this author, I jumped at the chance to read Genteel Secrets. This is because I had high expectations, knowing this author’s unique ability to weave historical elements into her stories seamlessly, and to make them come so alive that it feels like you’re living them firsthand. As I expected, this delightful short read didn’t disappoint. This was the first time I read Civil War fiction and felt perfectly immersed into it, meeting legendary figures of this era for the first time and learning all about the espionage, the battles, and the unfair treatment African Americans suffered at the time. The romantic story was sweet and tender, the misunderstandings and adversities that often created distance between the protagonists spurred me on to keep turning the pages, and all the while I rooted for their love to have a happy ending. In a nutshell, the story was utterly delightful and its ending fully satisfying. I recommend this book highly if you’re looking for a short, romantic read to transport you to a different era and have you experience it in vivid colors!

My rating

5-stars

A compelling read!

 

Do you love historical fiction? How about a tender love story that is tested by strict social restraints and the hardships of war? Give this delightful short read a try! Chances are you’ll love it! VISIT AMAZON

Check out my interview with S.R. Mallery on this blog & marvel at her various artistic skills!

 

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Book Review: Kilty as Charged by Amy Vansant

I love the Outlander series as much as the next gal, so when I heard Amy Vansant wrote about a time-traveling highlander I felt compelled to read this book. Having read all her other novels I trusted her wicked humor would guarantee a lot of laughs and, indeed, this book did not disappoint. The romance was tantalizing enough to keep me turning the pages and the fantasy elements were delightful as is always the case with Vansant’s stories but, once again, I enjoyed the humor more than anything else. This is where this author truly excels and stands out! The protagonist’s Scottish accent had me giggling throughout – so spot on – and I felt compelled to read his lines out loud just to enhance my enjoyment further. His lack of understanding of vehicles and mobile phones had me howling in particular! A highly entertaining story you’ll want to read again and again! I highly recommend it!

 

My rating:

5-stars

A highly entertaining story you’ll want to read again and again!

 

Do you drool over muscly lads in fiction? Do you enjoy time-travel or humorous romance? Look no further! This book was written for you!

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Book review: Better Dead Than Divorced

As I read this compelling memoir I experienced a mixture of feelings and the most prominent one was anger. I felt enraged, not just for the murder of Panayota and for all the cruelty she had to endure in the hands of her despicable husband, but also about the terrible social restraints that led this woman to prefer death rather than become a divorcee. The latter is a notion that’s unthinkable in Greece today but sadly at the time the stigmatization of divorced women was a common phenomenon.

Panayota’s husband was a man of no honor, no ethics and clearly had the characteristics of a true psychopath. I was relieved that he came to pay for his crime and was amazed by the steel determination of Panayota’s cousin (the author’s father) to make sure the killer was brought to justice, regardless of the obstacles he found in his way.

The book amazed me with its storytelling style which was a lot less gruesome/depressing than I’d expected it to be. The author, much to his credit, chose to tell the story in a detached way, thus saving the reader from harsh prose heavy with hard feelings. As a result, this read like fiction even and made my reading pleasure so much better for it.

I would greatly recommend this to anyone interested to sample Greek village life in a bygone era, at a time when life often led young women to impossible choices and victimized them unfairly in the hands of men.

 

My rating

5 stars

A compelling tale of a murder foretold

 

Interested in memoirs, stories of true crime, or tales of Greek village life in the old days? This book is bound to deliver all you’re hoping for.

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Book review: Eve of Deconstruction by John Manuel

This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I’ve enjoyed it immensely. It is not often that a non-Greek author manages to capture the Greek psyche – as well as life in Greek villages – with such a great measure of authenticity and I was really impressed by that. The heroine, Eve, faces a huge shock to discover that she has ancestry in Greece she never knew of. As a reader I found myself following her eagerly and excitedly along her journey through uncharted territory, both in a mental and physical sense, to find the truth about who she was. I found the style of writing compelling, with just the right measure of description, and it certainly motivated me to keep turning the pages. I highly recommend this book for its beautiful story, the delightful way in which old secrets were revealed, but most of all, for the feeling it gave me of actually being there and witnessing it all first hand – a precious talent that this author surely possesses.

 

My rating:

4-stars

A compelling story beautifully told

 

Are you looking for a Greek holiday read that offers a spot of family drama instead of the usual light-hearted romance? Are you drawn to stories about old family secrets or adopted children looking for their truth origin? Give this intriguing tale a try today!

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Book review: You’re in for a Ride by Nicholas Rossis

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I’ve read all the short story collections of Nicholas Rossis and this is one of my favorites. They are all equally highly imaginative but the twists in this particular book are that something else. Two of them had me laughing out loud when all was revealed in the end but I don’t wish to describe them and spoil anyone’s fun. Just trust that if you read this book you’re in for a ride, indeed, and one that is truly unforgettable. The most unexpected surprises will be awaiting for you at the next turn again and again. Some of the stories  are chilling to the bone, and others are compelling page turners. My only disappointment was that it ended too soon! Choose this book on a wintry night tucked in bed and have the most exhilarating experience. I know I did and devoured it in one sitting!

 My rating

5 stars

An exhilarating experience!

 

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Looking for something to excite and intrigue? Look no further. This is exactly what you’re looking for and it’s only $0.99 for a limited time!

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Book review: My Map of You by Isabelle Broom

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I was drawn to this book before I even started reading, first because of the stunning cover and secondly because I love the Greek island of Zakynthos (Zante). When I was offered a free copy in return for an honest review, I jumped at the chance hoping to recapture some of the beauty of this island.

As it turned out, the writing exceeded my expectations tremendously on this score. Reading this book actually felt like I was back in Zakynthos and I could see and feel it all down to the last enchanting detail. The heroine went through an incredible journey of growth and healing. Out of the blue, she finds herself in an unknown place in a foreign country where she winds up finding her roots, new love and even deliverance from resentment and pain that had been blocking her advancement in life, denying her happiness.

The awkward situations between the two main characters felt real and down to earth, and the romance was utterly sweet and delightful. Actually, this book offers a number of delights: a wonderful romance, a host of lovely, lifelike characters, and a well-structured family story that added drama in the right measure, just enough to enrich the plot. More than anything else though, I enjoyed the wonderful way in which Greece and its people are portrayed in this book. Being Greek, this is always a delight and a huge compliment.

The love of this author for Zakynthos, its people and the way of life there shines through. I highly recommend this book to anyone who shares similar passions for any place in Greece. And I’ll definitely read more from this author.

 

My rating:

5-stars

Exquisite writing that made me feel like I’m on the island!

 

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Do you enjoy Greek island romances? What about stories about old family secrets, redemption and healing? If this sounds like your cup of tea, then definitely give this book a try!

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And check out my interview with Isabelle Broom on this site!

 

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Book review: The Greek Salad (Grammatakia series)

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The Greek salad is a delightful book that teaches Greek in a unique way; not only does it teach a host of useful words and phrases, but it also introduces the reader to many facets of the Greek culture. For one, this book in the Grammatakia series is all about the infamous food culture that is immense in Greece. Sofia is celebrating her name day and is preparing a typical Greek salad for her guests, but the ingredients are not exactly cooperating. Instead, they are busying themselves with various Olympic games! The illustrations are a joy to behold, especially the ones featuring Sofia’s cousins; they are a truly delightful bunch! There is also a sheet of stickers inside the book that I’m sure will delight students of Greek of all ages. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the series will bring. I recommend this to anyone who loves my country and would like to learn a bit of Greek without worrying about its (admittedly) painfully difficult grammar! (I received a free copy of the book in return for my honest review.)

My rating:

5-stars

Delightful!

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Looking for a short book that will teach you a little Greek and entertain? And I don’t mean just the kids! Look no further  – check out this brightly colored delight on Amazon now! (Available only as a hardback)

Alternatively, visit the Grammatakia website and shop from there. The book can be shipped from Australia anywhere in the world! As soon as you buy the paperback, you will receive an email with a video link where you can read the whole book digitally as well!

 Check out my interview with the author, Yannis Nikolakopoulos.

Learn Greek the fun way with The Grammatakia series #Greek #Greece #ASMSG Click To Tweet
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Book review: How to get good reviews on Amazon

How to get good reviews on Amazon

I devoured this book. A lot of the advice made sense to me and I’d been following it all along instinctively, but there was so much more in this gem of a book that left me absolutely gobsmacked. I cannot believe how easy it is to identify a nasty reviewer, for example, who hides behind a nickname. That little tip is one of the best I’ve ever been given and I am very thankful it was included in the book. The bits about the forums were scary and left a bad taste in my mouth. I’ve been keeping away from forums for this reason and reading this means I now know for sure I never will. There is sound advice throughout the book, most of it reminding us the plain truth that people are basically the same. Honesty and a little flattery will get you anywhere. And when I say ‘flattery’ I mean approaching top reviewers with more consideration and politeness than some authors often do. Theo Rogers gives invaluable advice to help us raise our chances that a top reviewer would accept to read our books. Mind you, I found myself guilty on a couple of non recommended practices, mainly when I first started on my publishing journey. I will certainly adjust my course of action as necessary. Thank you Theo Rogers for these precious insights!

My rating:

5-stars

A book of precious insights

 

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Are you interested to take a peek behind the curtain on the world of reviewers? Are you ready to get inside their heads, learn the jargon, and the best way to approach them? This book will open your eyes and teach you a thing or two!

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