The Trouble with Belonging by Magdalena Stanhoff #BookReview

TheTroubleWithBelonging

Cover: The Trouble With Belonging by Magdalena Stanhoff

The author sent me an ARC of this book (epub format) in exchange for an honest review).

My rating:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  (five stars)

Plot
(by Goodreads)

When those two first met as children, they brought light and hope into each other’s lives. Now they’ll have to find out if the bond between them can survive a catastrophe…and growing up.

New city, again. New language, new school, new people. Another place where he doesn’t belong. Chen Kehuan is a boy adrift: he has no mother, no friends, and no true homeland, and he doesn’t care much for anyone. Until one day that carefree street child appears on his path and turns his life upside down.
Little Niki roams around the city, making things out of nothing and talking to strangers on a whim. She’s stayed out of harm’s way so far, but how long will the good luck hold? And then that boy who doesn’t even speak her language enters her life and takes it upon himself to completely remake it.
Only, sometimes the best intentions can lead to a disaster. What will Kehuan do when Niki’s world is suddenly torn apart and she disappears without a trace?

Genre(s): > Coming of Age Fiction (Kindle Store)
> Contemporary Literary Fiction
> in Romance Literary Fiction
Series: n.a.
Length: 374 pages
Release date: 2021-11-18
   

Teaser


Niki in the meantime finished copying the character and was now drawing a cat next to it. It was a very simple drawing, as could be expected from a child of her age, and yet she managed to capture the features of the animal surprisingly well. When she finished, she turned around and poked Kehuan unceremoniously with the pencil.

Chen Xiao half-expected an angry reaction from the boy, or at least the usual scowl, but Kehuan turned round without protest and simply asked, “What word now?”

Niki thought for a moment and said a word in Polish, and Kehuan wrote the character for wolf.

“Why wolf?”, asked Chen Xiao with interest.

“We watched Princess Mononoke two days ago,” Kehuan said with a little smile, “and now she says I’m her wolf.”


My Opinion

This book introduces you to Kehuan, an eight-year-old lonely boy.

With “The Trouble with Belonging”, Magdalena Stanhoff has created an irresistible and unforgettable as well as intriguing story about a boy and a little girl. When Kehuan met Niki, he was not aware that his life was going to change. Most of the characters are complex, all are realistic with all virtues and flaws. The story comprises a variety of craftily elaborated characters with sufficient depth and interesting interactions until the last page. Magdalena Stanhoff introduces each character in a way that the reader automatically wants to read on – to get to know them better. I had a great time reading “The Trouble with Belonging” – it is a captivating read that warms you to Kehuan and Niki’s story. I was immediately drawn into the story, soon feeling very close to Kehuan and Niki. For me, “The Trouble with Belonging” is a surprising work of contemporary fiction (not one of my usual genres) – a story I will read again.

This is for you if you like contemporary fiction and/or coming-of-age fiction with a touch of romance, complex characters, and heart-warming stories.

Recommended.

In brief:

Cover ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  (five stars)
Writing ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  (five stars)
Plot ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  (five stars)
Characters ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  (five stars)
Mood Hopeful
Pace Steady
POV Third person – past tense
Language :mrgreen:  (decent)
Violence :mrgreen: – 😳  (there is some violence, not too detailed)
Sexual content :mrgreen:  (decent enough)
   

About the author

I’ve always loved books, and I’ve always wanted to see the world. ​But while I read compulsively in my childhood and teenage years, traveling used to be just an unrealistic dream. Many years had to pass before I could pack my bag and set off on my first journey abroad, but it happened in the end. Since then, I’ve visited many countries and met many amazing people of different nationalities and cultures. We worked, and learned, and played together, and I’ve gained some wonderful friends this way. My life would’ve been so much duller and paler without them. 
​Books and travels have made me who I am. ​And my family, of course, but that goes without saying. 
​As for my books, I write what I like to read: stories about people overcoming various difficulties, sometimes fighting their inner demons, sometimes struggling to fit in or starting anew from the scratch, and finding love and happiness with a little help from their friends and family. Throw in the motif of clashing cultures and world views, and the mess and growth that can come out of it. And since I’m an incurable dreamer, also the obligatory HEA. ​

P.S. As you may have already guessed, Magdalena Stanhoff is a pen name. My real name wouldn’t fit on any book cover, and besides, ​most of you wouldn’t be able to pronounce it anyway.

 

Connect with the Author:


Please take a look at my statement on reading in My train of thoughts on …reading. Now I am asking you.  🙂

My questions for you bibliophiles:
What about you? What did you think about “The Trouble with Belonging”? Or – if you did not yet read “The Trouble with Belonging” – are you now interested in reading it yourself?

I am looking forward to reading your comments.  🙂

 

 

The Mother We Share by Jennifer Soucy #BookReview #RBRT @bansheetales

TheMotherWeShare

Cover: The Mother We Share by Jennifer Soucy

The author sent me an ARC of this book (epub format) in exchange for an honest review (a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team).

My rating:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  (five stars)

Plot
(by Goodreads)

She yearned for the mother she never knew, wishing for a whole family. Something heard and replied…

Evie Bonaventura is terrified when a strange girl breaks into her room, a creature with her dead mother’s eyes. Dad confesses Evie had a twin, but she died along with their mother who was unable to survive the devastating childbirth. Mom swore on her deathbed that her baby was kidnapped by fairies—a changeling, but that was impossible. Myths aren’t real.

Yet the otherworldly girl continues to stalk Evie before attacking their father and others. Beltane approaches, their 18th birthday and the night when fairy powers peak. Evie’s determined to protect her family, confident because heroes always win—don’t they?

Tragedy strikes, forcing Evie to act. She embarks on an adventurous rescue mission from Boston to Ireland, aided by an unlikely band of brave friends, legendary creatures, and a colorful coven of witches. Evie has a choice: destroy her twin sister or save her, in honor of the mother they once shared.

Genre(s): > Fairy Tale Fantasy (Kindle Store)
> Mythology & Folk Tales (Kindle Store)
> Mythology & Folk Tales (Books)
Series: n.a.
Length: 308 pages
Release date: 2021-04-06
   

Teaser


Dad called the school for me, making up a lie that I was sick. Not a lie after a sleepless night with my face and neck resembling a cat’s scratching post. The jagged lines weren’t too deep on the right cheek. My throat, however, was a rainbow ring of raw and swollen skin. No way I wanted people asking all sorts of uncomfortable questions.

I had an idea, and Mike agreed to help. He would pick me up after school so I could speak to Ms. Moynagh.

It was risky to involve another adult, who also might not believe me, but the image of her fairy charm dangled in my mind, taunting me with the promise of information beyond what was available on the internet. She must’ve learned something about changelings and – as an Irish immigrant, herself – she might be sympathetic about my mother’s deathbed rants concerning the monsters from their shared folklore.


My Opinion

This book introduces you to Evie Bonaventura who meets her dead(?!) twin sister; her friends believe her, her father wants her to see a therapist.

With “The Mother We Share”, Jennifer Soucy has created an intriguing story about a young woman stalked by her dead twin sister. She begins a journey to find out the truth and save the ones she loves. Most characters are complex, all are realistic with all virtues and flaws. The story comprises a variety of craftily elaborated characters with sufficient depth and interesting interactions until the last page. Jennifer Soucy introduces each character in a way that the reader automatically wants to read on – to get to know them better. I had a great time reading “The Mother We Share” – it is an intriguing read that led me right back to the country and places I truly miss. I was immediately drawn into the story, soon keeping my fingers crossed for two very special characters. For me, “The Mother We Share” is contemporary fiction told through the eyes and mind of a young American woman who is suddenly confronted with stuff that fairytales are made of; this viewpoint – not yet twenty, American with Irish ancestry – makes for a charming read. It is a story to read again.

This is for you if you like contemporary fiction with Irish mythology, a young determined heroine, food for thought, and if you are interested in seeing more myth than modern-day visitors normally see on a trip to Ireland.

Recommended.

In brief:

Cover ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  (four stars)
Writing ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  (four stars)
Plot ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  (five stars)
Characters ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  (five stars)
Mood Suspenseful, hopeful
Pace Steady
POV Third person – past tense
Language :mrgreen: – 😳  (decent enough; mild swearwords)
Violence 😳  (there is some violence, not too detailed)
Sexual content :mrgreen:  (decent enough)
   

About the author

Jennifer Soucy is just a regular girl with an abiding love for the supernatural/paranormal–a proud nerd of anything involving horror & dark fantasy. Born in Connecticut and forever a New Englander at heart, she moved away at 19, unable to resist the call of adventure. She settled again in the Atlanta area with her family and delights in being called a “Damn Yankee.” She also lived nearly two years in Las Vegas, her home away from home. Back in Georgia now, she started writing again to fulfill her childhood dreams. This writer, assistant editor, and 25-year veteran of the service industry hopes to continue publishing books that occasionally make people sleep with the light on..

 

Connect with the Author:


Please take a look at my statement on reading in My train of thoughts on …reading. Now I am asking you.  🙂

My questions for you bibliophiles:
What about you? What did you think about “The Mother We Share”? Or – if you did not yet read “The Mother We Share” – are you now interested in reading it yourself?

I am looking forward to reading your comments.  🙂


RBRT_new_logo

RBRT – new logo

The Labyrinthine Journey (Servant of the Gods, #2) by Luciana Cavallaro #BookReview @ClucianaLuciana

Cover: The Labyrinthine Journey
(Servant of the Gods, #2)
by Luciana Cavallaro

The author sent me an ARC of this book (mobi format) in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  (5 stars)

Plot
(by Goodreads)

Follow Evan as he continues his odyssey as Servant of the Gods in The Labyrinthine Journey. The quest to locate the sacred object adds pressure to the uneasy alliance between Evan and the Atlanteans. His inability to accept the world he’s in, and his constant battle with Zeus, both threaten to derail the expedition and his life.

Traversing the mountainous terrain of the Peloponnese and Corinthian Gulf to the centre of the spiritual world, Evan meets with Pythia, Oracle of Delphi. Her cryptic prophecy reveals much more than he expected; something that changes his concept of the ancient world and his former way of life.

Will Evan and his friends succeed in their quest to find the relics and stop the advent of Christianity?

Genre(s): Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy
> Fantasy > Metaphysical & Visionary
> Fantasy > Historical
> Fantasy > Fairy Tales
Books > Literature & Fiction
> Genre Fiction > Historical > Fantasy
> Action & Adventure > Fantasy
> Mythology & Folk Tales
Series: Servant of the Gods, #2
Length: 310 pages
Release date: Mythos Publications:  2017-10-01
Luccav Enterprises:  2018-01-12

 

Teaser


‘The Oracle of Delphi is the most powerful of all prophets,’ said Dexion. ‘My father told me people voyaged from faraway places to hear her predictions. My homeland was settled by Greeks who sought Pythia’s advice. She described the location, how far it was, how to get there and what they would find once they arrived.’

‘Is your ability the same as hers?’ Leander asked.

‘No.’ Dexion shook his head. ‘My ability only allows me to see a person’s future, whereas the Oracle’s gift sees all.’


My Opinion

This book continues the journey of Evan/Evandros Chronis and his fellow travellers. While Evan still dreams of returning to the 21st century, their search for the relics is disrupted by a certain someone who has different plans for the future.

With The Labyrinthine Journey, Luciana Cavallaro has created another well-crafted historical suspense that continues a modern architect’s journey into the past and/or mythology – against his will. It is a very compelling read that draws you close to Evan and his quest. Luciana Cavallaro introduces the characters with care, integrating them in the plot, you want to find a possibility to help Evan reach his goal. Evan is believable, determined, and has a strong sense of justice. As the journey continues, the story keeps its steady yet fast-paced flow, skilfully combining the already known characters with new encounters and mythology. Be prepared for some complex characters, surprising events and revelations, and for an adventurous journey into Greek mythology. The author’s passion for history and writing shows – I had a great time reading. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

This is a book for you if you like mythology, fantasy stories with believable characters, and if you appreciate excellent story-telling.

Highly recommended.

In brief:

Cover ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  (5 stars)
Writing ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  (5 stars)
Plot ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  (5 stars)
Characters ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  (5 stars)
Mood Suspenseful
Pace Fast, steady
POV Third person – past tense
Language :mrgreen: – 😳  (decent enough)
Violence 😳  (scenes of violence)
Sexual content :mrgreen: – 😳  (decent enough)

 

About the author

Historical fiction novelist and a secondary teacher, Luciana Cavallaro, likes to meander between contemporary life to the realms of mythology and history. Luciana has always been interested in Mythology and Ancient History but her passion wasn’t realised until seeing the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. From then on, she was inspired to write Historical Fantasy.

She has spent many lessons promoting literature and the merits of ancient history. Today, you will still find Luciana in the classroom, teaching ancient history and promoting literature. To keep up-to-date with her ramblings, ahem, that is meaningful discourse, subscribe to her mailing list at http://www.luccav.com.

Connect with the author:

Please take a look at my statement on reading in My train of thoughts on …reading. Now I am asking you.  🙂

My questions for you bibliophiles:
What about you? What did you think about The Labyrinthine Journey? Or – if you did not yet read The Labyrinthine Journey – are you now interested in reading it yourself?

I am looking forward to reading your comments.  🙂


10 Statements – Luciana Cavallaro

Review: Search for the Golden Serpent

 

Search for the Golden Serpent (Servant of the Gods, #1) by Luciana Cavallaro #BookReview @ClucianaLuciana

The author sent me an ARC of this book (epub format) in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Plot
(by Goodreads)

It’s not where he appears, it’s when.

What if you’re born during another time grew up in the 21st century and thrust back into the past? Confused? So is architect, Evan Chronis.

Evan drawn by screams ventures out to his backyard and sees blood trickling down the limestone steps. He steps off the veranda and finds himself in the days of great and marvellous power, a time when the gods ruled the universe.

To return to the 21st century life he longs for, he must risk his life in search of powerful, treasured relics older than the Holy Grail. But what he finds might be more than he expected.

Will Evan find the relics and return home or will he remain forever stuck in a world so different from his own?

Genre(s): Kindle eBooks
> Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Myths & Legends > Greek & Roman
> Literature & Fiction > Mythology & Folk Tales > Mythology
Books
> Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Myths & Legends > Greek & Roman
Series: Servant of the Gods, #1
Length: 426 pages
Release date: 2015-03-27

 

Teaser


… As he reached the rear, he glanced back at the well-lit patio. Blood drained from his face. A chill seeped into his bones.

‘When I came out that was not there.’

The vision became clearer the longer he stared. Hesitant, he took a step, wanting to go but at the same time not. Before he could take another, he rocketed backwards. His arms and legs flung out, swept into a maelstrom, engulfed in white light.


My Opinion

This book introduces you to Evan Chronis, architect. He has strange and suffocating dreams – way too realistic for comfort. And how does he get his life back?

With Search for the Golden Serpent, Luciana Cavallaro has created a well-crafted suspense story that takes a modern architect into the past and/or mythology – against his will. It is a very compelling read that draws you close to Evan and his quest. Luciana Cavallaro introduces the characters with care, integrating them in the plot, you want to find a possibility to help Evan reach his goal. Evan is believable, determined, and has a strong sense of justice. As the journey begins, the story reaches a steady yet fast-paced flow. Be prepared for some complex characters, surprising events and revelations, and for an adventurous journey into Greek mythology. The author’s passion for history and writing shows – I had a great time reading. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

This is a book for you if you like mythology, fantasy stories with believable characters, and if you appreciate excellent story-telling.

Highly recommended.

In brief:

Cover ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Writing ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Plot ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Characters ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Mood Suspenseful
Pace Fast, steady
POV Third person – past tense
Language :mrgreen: – 😳
Violence 😳
Sexual content :mrgreen: – 😳

 

About the author

Historical fiction novelist and a secondary teacher, Luciana Cavallaro, likes to meander between contemporary life to the realms of mythology and history. Luciana has always been interested in Mythology and Ancient History but her passion wasn’t realised until seeing the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. From then on, she was inspired to write Historical Fantasy.

She has spent many lessons promoting literature and the merits of ancient history. Today, you will still find Luciana in the classroom, teaching ancient history and promoting literature. To keep up-to-date with her ramblings, ahem, that is meaningful discourse, subscribe to her mailing list at http://www.luccav.com.

Connect with the author:

Please take a look at my statement on reading in My train of thoughts on …reading.  Now I am asking you.  🙂

My questions for you bibliophiles:
What about you?  What did you think about Search for the Golden Serpent?  Or – if you did not yet read Search for the Golden Serpent – are you now interested in reading it yourself?

I am looking forward to reading your comments.  🙂


10 Statements – Luciana Cavallaro

 

Kima by A. H. Amin

kima

 

The author sent me an ARC of this book (pdf format) in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Plot
(by Goodreads)

Christmas Eve 1928 gave birth to a yearly phenomenon in South Africa. A herd of false killer whales were found beached upon the shore. It has also given birth to the story of two young children who meet an old woman named Kima. Kima somehow knows why this has happened, but that’s not all she knows. The children, Alex and Alice, realize that there is more to this woman than what meets the eye, and ear. She will reveal to them a tale, a mysterious story she claims was passed on to her by a mythical Black Seagull.

Derived from both historic tales and figures, Kima is a fictional character portrayed in a way that makes her become real.

Genre(s): Literature & Fiction > Mythology & Folk Tales
Series: n.a.
Length: 140 pages
Release date: 2016-11-03

 

Teaser


She gazed at the small child and she saw her feelings through the little girl’s gestures; it was the same way she had felt when she had looked at the birds earlier that day. Alice met the same eyes that were inspecting her. Noticing the odd way the old woman was looking at her, she stopped biting her nails.

‘It’s not your fault child’ the old woman said.

‘Don’t worry, Kima can tell.’


My Opinion

This book introduces you to Alice and Alex, two white children in South Africa. After more or less falling over false killer whales beached on the shore they meet Kima – a wise woman who tells them an unforgettable story.

With Kima, A. H. Amin has created a remarkable story of two children and a wise woman. Kima’s story, told to her by the Black Seagull, leaves an impression – not only on Alice and Alex; I could hear her voice in my mind. The tale of courageous allies and their endeavour to save the world is beautiful. It is a good read, drawing you close to Kima, Alice, Alex, and the tale. Respect for nature should be on our minds, listening instead of being indifferent. A. H. Amin was inspired by an article about suicide whales on the beaches of South Africa, he did some research on whales and learned that whales use the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate. ‘What if a magnetic field generated by a different source could influence and affect whales?’ Kima, Alice, and Alex are of sufficient depth – as well as believable. The story has a good flow.

This is a book for you if you like mythology and folk tales, as well as nature and food for thought.

Recommended.

In brief:

Cover ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Writing ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Plot ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Characters ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Mood Suspenseful
Pace Steady
POV First person – past tense
Language :mrgreen:
Violence :mrgreen:
Sexual content :mrgreen:

 

About the author

A. H. Amin was born in Iraq, and he had lived most of his life in Kuwait. He studied dentistry in Emirates in his first years and then he continued in Egypt.

He had first came across to his talent when he had met a group of students in Emirates who were discussing the making of a movie. After seeing how his ideas had impressed them, he started to take a little interest in literature.

He started finally after he came up with the idea of a new fiction thriller book, Psychs, which was his first published book, after he received good criticism about his new idea.

At present he continues to write the Psychs’ series and planning for the next one.

Connect with the author:

Please take a look at my statement on reading in My train of thoughts on …reading.  Now I am asking you.  🙂

My questions for you bibliophiles:
What about you?  What did you think about Kima?  Or – if you did not yet read Kima – are you now interested in reading it yourself?

I am looking forward to reading your comments.  🙂

 

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