Category Archives: Five Stars

Dragum 

Dragum by K.c LaSaga is a story about Kali, young, idealistic, and ambitious, who has different goals and adventures in mind, contrary to her family’s wishes. As she embarks on a path toward travel and romance, Kali soon becomes the center of controversy within her family and community. Her journey, coming-of-age experiences, and a vibrant romance with another woman quickly shape the opinions of those in Kali’s life, which poses obstacles, and challenges her inner strength, or dragum.

The story is narrated in the first person, from Kali’s perspective, so the reader sees the world and experiences through her eyes. She quickly learns that the world of adulthood and acceptance in society isn’t an easy path to navigate. As Kali flies through a whirlwind of new social circles, an exciting relationship, nightlife, and ambitions ahead, she soon learns of the darker side of life: heartache, disappointment, and cruel opinions. Kali tries to face her internal struggles and must also face the inevitable while learning to find self-love and acceptance.

LaSaga is an exceptional writer and maintains an engaging, smooth narration throughout the book. I felt drawn to Kali and her struggles with identity, heartbreak, and finding a place in society as a young adult. The author does an excellent job of tackling the complexities of Kali’s life and how she must face layers of unexpected chances and experiences while learning to build self-confidence. As challenges mount before her, Kali presses forward to take greater charge of her life, despite what lies ahead. Kali’s life is highly relatable, and I found the book kept me intrigued and challenging to put down!

Dragum by K.c LaSaga is a fantastic novel for anyone who enjoys romance and coming-of-age stories. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars for its well-written, detailed account of a unique yet familiar character who must face the struggles of life, self-identity, and living authentically. It’s a great book that I highly recommend, and I look forward to reading more from this author.

Pages: 333 | ASIN : B09MF7LQZ4

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What’s Not Lost

What’s Not Lost by Valerie Taylor is a heartwarming story about new beginnings. When Kassie O’Callaghan’s abusive ex-husband passes away, she puts the past to rest and gets ready to finally move on to the next chapter of her life. However, as she plans to start a new life, shattering, life-altering news is shared about Kassie, her ex-husband, and events of the past, which can impact Kassie’s ability to move on successfully. As family drama escalates, Kassie wonders if her chance for a new life with her fiancé may be derailed.

This romantic drama is filled with turmoil, heartache, and moments of nail-biting suspense. As Kassie tries to unravel the layers of drama around her, she must decide how to proceed with her upcoming marriage. Will she be happy with her fiancé, welcomed into his family, or will the impact of constant drama destroy any chance she has at a decent life? It’s a story about the complexities of life, with colorful characters and no shortage of excitement.

Taylor does a great job of developing the characters’ personalities, from Kassie’s indecisive, pushover ways and her failed attempts to become more confident to Chris’ habitual cheating and Lexi’s carelessness, creating a page-turning story. As Kassie weighs her options and how her life will be affected by getting entangled in the lives of everyone involved, she must decide if her engagement with Chris is worth the trouble or if she should break it off. While no decision is ideal, the storyline winds through several relationships, focusing on the portrayal of romance and the difficulties that follow.

What’s Not Lost by Valerie Taylor is a story about the ugly side of romance, and new love, when honesty isn’t valued, and tragedy follows. I found this book entertaining, dramatic, and the characters interesting. It’s a well-developed story and is a great option for fans of the romance and drama genre.

Pages: 321 | ASIN : B0BNLQS1DQ

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Aging Wisely

Aging Wisely: Facing the Emotional Challenges from 50 to 85+ Years is a powerful and insightful book written by Viola Mecke, a clinical psychologist who draws from her personal experiences and professional expertise to delve deep into the emotional complexities of aging. Through her words, readers are transported into a world where they come to understand that as the years pass by, not only do our bodies change, but so do our emotional expectations and capacities. Mecke masterfully illustrates that by learning to accept and anticipate these changes, we can truly embrace aging and make the most of the precious moments in our golden years.

“I hope to show how to greet the emotional stresses that aging brings so that it can become a time for realizing the fullness of life.”

In this comprehensive 13-chapter book, Mecke divides the aging process into four distinct stages: The Phase of Fulfilment (50-65 years), the Phase of Retirement (65-75 years), the Productive Years (75-85 years), and the Phase of Loving Living (85+ years). Mecke guides readers through the unique challenges that come with each stage, such as physical and social changes, the independence of children, and the grief associated with loss. One of the book’s highlights is Mecke’s expert handling of the topic of dependency. Mecke dives into the murky waters of dependency with a deft hand. She shines a light on the possibilities of making the most of dependency and even turning it into a tool for personal growth.

As the years creep up on us, many older individuals find themselves losing touch with their ages. The days blur together, and birthdays slip by unnoticed until a loved one surprises them with a cake adorned with a number that jolts them back to reality. Despite this, we may not feel old, but our bodies, physical health, and societal acceptance serve as constant reminders that we are indeed getting older.

Aging Wisely is a must-read for anyone looking to live their best life at any age. With its insightful content, relatable anecdotes, and practical advice, it is a guidebook for navigating the emotional complexities of aging and embracing the fullness of life. In addition, the author’s vivid imagery and descriptive yet simple language bring the aging process to life, making it a truly immersive and thought-provoking read. 

Pages: 150 | ASIN : B0BFD8S5MY

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The Name I Choose

The Name I Choose is an impassioned historical fiction novel written by Holly Brough. The story begins in 1823 and the majority of the story takes place in Spain. The refreshing plot follows the life of a character named Amalia, a young woman who is sent away from her home in the first chapter.

Prior to the first chapter, the author creates a mysterious scene involving three characters, and the story begins as if it were a thriller. The prologue is written in an intense way and leads the reader to wonder how the original characters’ lives will be connected to the rest of the plot.

I enjoyed the details in this historical fiction novel and felt it added much depth to the story. The book reminds readers of what a woman’s place in society was like at that time, and how cruel it can sometimes be. But even though it’s emotional and dark at times, the solid writing and deep exploration of character helps the reader to identify with Amalia’s dilemmas and limitations. Amalia’s interactions with the characters who have a higher status than her remind the reader of the significance class had during this time.

The story feels grounded and authentic, which elevates the emotional impact of the story, but there were still some turn of events that I did not see coming. The main character’s likeability is the best feature of the story. While the beginning of the book is intense, the rest of the story is more methodical, emotional, and thoughtful.

I enjoyed the convincing historical aspects, intriguing characters, and the emotionally-charged plot. I would recommend The Name I Choose to readers who like dramatic historical novels that take place during a pivotal moment in history.

Pages: 370 | ASIN: B0B14569DR

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Colton’s Terrible Wonderful Year

Colton, a 14-year-old boy, lives with his dads. Being an only child, he is adored and doesn’t need to be corrected very often. Colton is dealing with the difficulties of adolescence, which can be challenging. The year seems to be jam-packed with events, from him and his best friends becoming involved in a shoplifting case, losing his cousin, and him developing a crush while on vacation. Colton yearns to see his surrogate mother, and his fathers are unsure of what Colton’s sexual orientation will be. He will experience a mental shift as a result of the pandemic and his encounter with the Saxton family. In any case, his parents are committed to guiding him toward becoming a good person.

Colton’s Terrible Wonderful Year is a emotionally-resonant account of a young black boy who experiences racism and discrimination. Having two gay fathers does not improve the situation in a society that once forbade homosexuality. This impassioned book provides thoughtful insight into what it’s like to encounter prejudice based on race. Colton is a wonderful character. He’s smart, curious, compassionate, and adventurous. His parents’ unique love story and complementary personalities make for a compelling read all on their own. Colton is determined to avoid disappointing his parents, despite the ups and downs of adolescence. The author has done a fantastic job of accurately conveying the emotions of the characters which makes them feel authentic and relatable. There were many fascinating characters whose presence elevated the story and I think readers will be drawn in by the young character’s youthful mischief.

Colton’s Terrible Wonderful Year is a compelling mix of teen drama, romance, friendship, and love. The well-crafted plot moved along smoothly, and the characters felt familiar yet unique. This stirring coming-of-age story is short and easy to read, making it accessible to a wide audience. Young adults will find this LGBTQ romance novel relevant and entertaining. I recommend Colton’s Terrible Wonderful Year to teenagers and adults who enjoy reading young adult fiction that has heart and something to say.

Pages: 239 | ASIN: B0BRVFQLWM

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The Nocturnal Devil: A Griffin Knight Mystery Thriller

The third installation in the Griffin Knight series is the best yet! Griffin and his friends are faced with hunting down a serial killer in New York City before he claims his next victim. As two women from a New York City neighborhood are reported missing, the only clue linking the disappearances is that they frequent the same stretch of blocks making up an east-side neighborhood. Griffin, currently on leave due to his injuries from the Seattle adventures, is called back into action to help Noah, his closest thing to a partner, solve the crimes. The story is steeped in intrigue right from the beginning, which is one thing the author is very good at doing. There’s rarely a dull moment in Miguel Angel Hernandez Jr.’s books and that is plain to see in The Nocturnal Devil.

Although Griffin is still dealing with the trauma of the events of taking down Colossus, and losing his friend Felix, he finds comfort in a new love interest, Samira. She is a doctor who works with the police department and she helps to heal his body and calm his mind. I enjoyed the throughline in this series because of its consistency and long time fans will be able to pick this book up and find it even more intriguing because of it.

When the case hits several dead ends, Griffin reaches out to Ashe to use her hacking abilities to help solve the crimes. Ashe is also keeping a watchful eye over Griffin as Sapphire hires assassins to ambush Griffin at his home. Ashe proves to be very helpful in using technology to identify the potential serial killer. I enjoyed the multiple layers to the mystery and the technical aspects of unravelling it. The killer is a character that was fascinating and he is definitely one that readers will not soon forget, especially the twisted and deadly fight that Griffin is lured into.

I was happy to learn more about Griffin and his background. I also enjoyed the integration of advanced technology into the story. I have no idea if something like Smart Goggles and the Theia drone exists, but they are interesting and well-thought-out tech that adds a James Bond or Jason Bourne quality to the story. From the suspense, the chilling account of the killer, the use of technology, and the background of Griffin, The Nocturnal Devil is a sensational crime thriller that delivered excitement and intrigue in equal measure.

ISBN: 978-1-959354-04-8

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Off Kilter

Book Review

In the thriving and evolving art scene of Los Angeles, a mystery envelopes the community, and James Terra, a well-known artist, seems to be at the center of it all. With one minor accident after another, James begins to realize that everything that is happening to him and his loved ones may all be connected, but the reason for such intentions always leaves him blank. As he begins to connect the dots, he slowly realizes that someone powerful has other plans for the art community, and his role in the scheme of things is far larger than he expected.

Off Kilter, by M. Lee Musgrave, is a compelling novel that packs the right amount of art, romance, and mystery that keeps its readers intrigued with every chapter it throws. From the start of the book, the author’s writing style will have readers drawn further into the storyline and drama. The author has a fantastic method that mixes creative and descriptive writing, beautifully enhancing the imagination of readers for each setting and what takes place in it. Furthermore, the way each clue was gradually given was well thought out, unlike some mystery novels that offer a “savior” in the novel that immediately solves the mystery. Instead, this allows the audience to piece together the mystery in their own time, identify the culprit, and bask in theories based on what they have read.

For somebody unfamiliar with fine arts, I could comprehend the parts of the novel that heavily feature it and dig up clues that the author wanted me to get from the conversations and descriptions. Moreover, I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys mystery novels. The setting of the story is one of the most famous places in the world, the City of Angels. It takes place in current times, during the rise of COVID-19, so it will be easy for readers to imagine the world the novel built. 

Off Kilter is the exciting sequel to M. Lee Musgrave’s first mystery novel, Brushed Off. This romantic thriller keeps readers engaged and on edge as the mystery slowly unfolds. Readers will love following along as James discovers who is behind all the trouble that plagues him in this fascinating new mystery thriller.

Shrieks and Sounds and Things Abound

Young Julien is excited for the end of the school day; he has finished all his work and is now ready to settle in and read the latest comic starring his favorite superhero, Bluebullet! Just as he gets to the book’s exciting parts, a dapper crow hops up and starts squawking. Julien tries to shush him unsuccessfully. Returning to his story, he is interrupted again, this time by sneezing bees! Alas, this is not the end of the distractions. At one point, Julien losses his temper with the creatures around him, and suddenly out of the sky, appears none other than his hero, Bluebullet. Can his hero help him sort out his mess and finish reading his comic?

Shrieks and Sounds and Things Abound: The Quiet Wants of Julien J. is a fantastically well-written children’s book about dealing with tough emotions. Author Dr. Drew Palacio has written a story that many children will relate to. The frustrations of trying to concentrate on something, be it reading, building a lego set, or doing school work, sounds, and other activities, can be extremely distracting. This especially reminded me of my son, who is on the spectrum, and all distractions can trigger reactions like Julien has in this book. The advice that Bluebullet gives Julien is perfect and written in a way that elementary-level children can comprehend and put into practice.

Shrieks and Sounds and Things Abound is a wonderful children’s book on dealing with strong emotions and learning an appropriate way to respond to things. This imaginative story is perfect for teachers and families to help children learn how to control their feelings without lashing out and teach them skills that will last them a lifetime.

Pages: 32 | ISBN : 1953021506

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