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A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, and Bloomsbury Review, among many others.
She’s traveled extensively and lived in 3 continents, but now calls Belgium her home. When she’s not writing, reading, editing or reviewing, she enjoys walking her dog, traveling, and spending time with her family.
Visit her website at www.MayraCalvani.com. For her children’s books, visit www.MayrasSecretBookcase.com.
on Nov. 14, 2013 :
Gabriel and Liz, his ex-girlfriend of 3 years, are sitting in a tavern one Friday night. While having a discussion on the morality of the death penalty. A woman, Kamilah, walks up to their table asking to join their conversation. Gabriel can't take his eyes off of her, he is fascinated by everything about her, including her views on the topic. After that moment, things start to get weird and Gabriel goes on the adventure of his life. Liz feels like she's losing her mind. Will Gabriel open his eyes to the real Kamilah in time? And what do these events have to do with his twin sister's baby?
A little disappointed in the ending, I wanted it to go the other way, kind of. I think you'd have to read it to understand what I mean, I don't want to give away any spoilers. Overall, I really liked the story. I love the back story of the lights. An interesting twist and consequence to a normally controversial topic. This story was definitely unique, haunting... I have never read anything like it, my dreams last night were so creepy! Good and Evil are shown in such a gray light, what one knows to be right or wrong, morality is brought into question. Amazing how this author was able to really make the reader think about how some things, really aren't as black and white as we might think they are.
(reviewed 62 days after purchase)
on Oct. 27, 2013 :
Calvani has a straightforward writing style with dark undertones. This is a well written novel with a solidly built plotline. In this story Calvani takes the everyday battle of good vs evil, both in the world and in an individual, and brings it forward in a big way. She also builds the world in which her characters find themselves. As a reader you can visualise each of the different scenes based on Calvani’s awesome descriptions.
There is a lot of character development at the beginning of this story, so it starts out quite slow slow and was very hard to get into. That said, Calvani ends up creating some vivid individuals to carry her story forward. The very passionate characters in this novel are real and raw. Each one is unique but still easy enough to identify with. Some real dense topics get discussed in a manner that seems completely natural. Not only does this advance the plot of the story, but it really helps to develop them mentally for the readers.
As a whole this was a unique novel. Although the subject matter was very interesting I found the story as a whole hard to get into.
Please note that I received this novel free of charge from the author in exchange for an honest review.
(reviewed 31 days after purchase)
on Oct. 24, 2013 :
In a tavern one Friday night, astrophysicist Gabriel Diaz meets a mysterious young woman. Captivated by her ethereal beauty as well as her views on good and evil, he spends the next several days with her. Soon, however, he begins to notice a strangeness in her, especially the perverse way she seems to take pleasure in toying with his conscience.
The young woman, Kamilah, invites him to Rize, Turkey, where she claims her family owns a cottage in the woods. Despite a heavy workload, and the disturbing nightmares and visions he's having about his sister's baby that's due to be born soon, Gabriel agrees to go with her.
But nothing, not even the stunning splendor of the Black Sea, can disguise the horror of Kamilah's true nature. In a place where death dwells and reality and illusion seem entwined, Gabriel must come to terms with his own demons in order to save his sister's unborn child, and ultimately, his own soul...
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The story was very intriguing and I found myself wondering about Kamilah's true motives. I give this book an A+! and look forward to reading more from Mayra Calvani in the future.
(reviewed 28 days after purchase)
on Oct. 07, 2013 :
I'm actually on the fence about this story; I don't hate it, but I don't love it either. It was a little strange for me. I'm getting ahead of myself ...
Gabriel and his ex-girlfriend, Liz, are at a tavern having a philosophical discussion over some drinks. Kamilah "overhears" them and inserts herself into the conversation. Well, right away, Liz begins to get jealous and treats the woman coldly. Gabriel, man that he is, falls into lust at first sight. It also helps that Kamilah is mostly on Gabriel's side conversation-wise, which is just a boost to his ego. One thing leads to another with the end result being Gabriel and Kamilah having sex. One-night stands are so commonplace nowadays that this isn't even shocking. After their little soiree in the bedroom, Gabriel and Kamilah begin spending the majority of their time together over the next few days. This does not help Liz's jealousy ... even though her and Gabe are now just friends. Eventually, Kamilah invites Gabriel to travel to Turkey with her and spend a week there before he goes off to Brussels to be with his twin sister, Elena, who is about to give birth.
During their stay in Turkey, Gabriel finally begins to notice that Kamilah is acting strangely. He hears stories of otherworldly creatures that are known to exist there, but disregards them with his scientific mind. Unfortunately, it turns out that Kamilah is one of these fabled creatures and he is unknowingly (literally) dying to strengthen her powers. In the process, he puts his twin sister's child in danger as well.
The book is a quick read and I was able to go through it in a day. The story itself was a little creepy, and I liked that, there just seemed to be something "off" about it that I can't quite figure out. I never really got lost in the story and that did disappoint me. Like I said, though, I'm on the fence with this one. If you want something new to read and you've got a few hours to kill, why not check this one out and see if you agree with me.
*A Smashwords coupon code was provided by the author for the purposes of this tour, hosted by Pump Up Your Book, and in exchange for an honest review.
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)
on Sep. 14, 2013 :
A spine chilling horror story.
Tumbling into a second relationship straight after finishing one, is not a good idea, however who could have known that Gabriel Diaz, relaxing in a bar with an ex-girlfriend, would have his world turned upside down when the beautiful, mysterious Kamilah comes over and introduces herself, or could have foretold the incredible repercussions which were to follow.
From that night, they are inseparable, Gabriel is infatuated with Kamilah, and in turn, she seems fascinated by him. Although he is due to visit his sister for the birth of her baby, when Kamilah announces that she’s decided to visit her homeland, Turkey, Gabriel decides to go with her.
When they arrive in Rize, Gabriel discovers another world, where things are not always what they seem, superstitions and folklore are rife and the locals appear strange and aloof, perhaps afraid...
They hike to Kamilah’s remote cottage, high in the mountains, looking forward to a romantic holiday away from the world, but soon Gabriel discovers that things are not as they seem, the forest holds dark secrets. As the story unfolds, he finds himself doubting what he hears, or sees with his own eyes, even his sanity.
I loved this story, which started as a romance, then quickly evolved into a spine chilling horror, transporting you back to a land where folklore legends, based on truth are alive, and unimaginable creatures walk the earth.
(reviewed 5 days after purchase)