I'm a blogger who loves reading and talking about books. I enjoy reading all genres and I'd never say "no" to a book that looks promising. My blog focuses on Fantasy and YA because this kind of light, relaxing reads help me take my mind off things. But you'll probably find other genres as well (Contemporary, Classic, Sci-Fi), as I never hesitate when it comes to recommending amazing books. My reviews are honest and highly subjective, reflecting exactly what I think about a book at the moment I finish it. It did happen to me to change my mind the second time I read something, so I strongly believe it all depends on how a book makes you feel and the messages you're open to at a certain moment. In my opinion, a great book will tell you a different story every time you re-read it.
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Smashwords book reviews by Oana Ilaşi
- Stitch (Stitch Trilogy, Book 1)
on Dec. 01, 2012
This is one of the rare times when I don’t know how to start my review because, well… I enjoyed this book so much that I forgot to take notes, I didn’t stop to think about anything, I just went with it and loved every word! So, “Stitch”… “Stitch” is one of those very few books that pull you in and make you think about the characters and “OMG, what’s going to happen next” even when you should be working or going about your daily routines. Every time I got some free minutes, I’d just grab my Kindle and steal two or three pages. That’s how good “Stitch” was!
Samantha Durante managed to create a compelling universe where nothing is what it seems to be and the reader is as clueless as the characters themselves. Her novel has everything it needs to keep you on the edge until the very last pages: fast-paced action, incredibly well developed characters, a sweet romance story, a complex plot, a major twist and some very well placed clues that somehow prepare you for what’s to come, yet when IT happens you’re taken by surprise. “Stitch” has easily earned its place on my list of favorite dystopian novels.
Alessa Khole is a student at the Eastern State University and is struggling to build a new life after her parents’ death. But she’s got only one friend, Janie, and she can’t care less about the campus life and the sorority parties, so everything seems pointless… she can’t bring herself to move on. Until she starts seeing… a ghost. What’s even stranger than being the only one in the house who can see the apparition, is that she feels like she knows this blue-eyed boy and craves to hold him and keep him safe. Confused by these unexplainable feelings, she is determined to find out who the boy is and how he died, hoping this will bring her peace. This is how Alessa learns his name is Isaac Mason and he died in a fire in 1917 along with his entire family. Sounds like a ghost story until now, right? Well… you need to brace yourselves because Isaac is no ghost, he didn’t die in a fire, Janie is not Alessa’s best friend and Alessa is not even a student at the ESU! Confused much? Yeah, I’ve warned you you’ll be just as clueless as the characters, because someone is playing tricks with their minds and their memories… they don’t know what’s real anymore and what if everything is just a… show?
Ok, I’m not going to tell you anything else about the plot because I really don’t want to spoil your surprise. So I’ll tell you about the characters. I loved the fact that the author took her time to thoroughly describe the characters and their emotions, following all their thoughts, plans, hopes and insecurities. I could really relate to them and I genuinely cared about Alessa, Isaac and Janie. They are realistic, alive and palpable. Also, the plot was well-thought and the story kept me glued to the pages no matter if it was a ghost story and a sweet romance (the first half of the book) or a complex, intriguing dystopia (the second half).
Samantha Durante’s debut novel, “Stitch”, is a book you won’t easily forget. I can’t wait to read the next novel in the trilogy – “Shudder” – and see how Alessa and Isaac manage to survive in the desolate world they’ve been thrown into and bring freedom to all those who are trapped in the cruel game created by a higher, privileged class.
- The Lamp of Many Wishes
on Feb. 27, 2013
“The Lamp of Many Wishes” is the story of the jinni after Aladdin’s death. What happened to the lamp? Did Aladdin leave it to one of his children? This is a good question, indeed. Such a wonderful object can become very dangerous in the wrong hands. We saw what happened when the evil magician had it. So, the author builds an interesting story around this question, and I must say I rather liked the result.
Before he dies, Aladdin summons the jinni and gives him a last order: from then on he would only grant three wishes, so that no one who comes in the possession of the lamp would have the entire power of the jinni in his hands. Then he hides the lamp in his treasury, among hundreds of other similar lamps.
As the years passed and no one found the magic lamp, the adventures of Aladdin and the jinni became a children’s story. Until Malouf Ali Akbar, the Grand Vizier of Tabuk, hears about the lamp from an old storyteller and uses all his magic tricks to find it. When he does, and the jinni tells him he will grant him three wishes, what do you think the Vizier’s first wish is? Well, of course, for the jinni to grant him as many wishes as there are stars in the sky. The jinni admits that Aladdin’s plan had a serious flaw, and he couldn’t do anything but obey.
This short story is a really light and enjoyable read. It is quite clever too. Don’t expect the Vizier to come up with great wishes that would turn him into a powerful, wealthy and feared man. At first he does, but he gets bored so easily of everything he gets, that he soon asks the jinni to take it all away. This does raise some thought-provoking questions, like “What would you wish for if you had a magic lamp?” or “Would you really be happy if anything you ever wanted would be yours just like that?” Yeah, maybe we could all use a magic lamp, but wouldn’t life get really dull?
If you want to find out how the jinni makes the Vizier release him after endless days or making him water the flowers, dust the furniture and cook, maybe you’ll give this short story a try.
on Dec. 06, 2013
Oh, how I love a well written book with a carefully built plot! And how I love to see the characters grow with every page I turn! I can’t even remember why I wanted to read “Guiamo” so badly. Maybe it reminded me of my passion for Ancient Rome and for the Latin mythology. Maybe the beautiful cover drew my attention, and the book description promised me a well researched historical novel with just enough fantasy elements to keep it interesting. It doesn’t matter now, really, because Marshall Best delivered much more than I expected.
Guiamo is a 10-year-old orphan who is abandoned by his uncle near a fishing village. It turns out this was the best thing his uncle could have ever done for his nephew, because Guiamo is taken into care by an old fisherman who teaches him everything he knows, and then sends him to his friend, Gabinius, a wealthy bladesmith who treats him like his son and offers him all he needs to grow into a strong and intelligent man. It is quite clear from the beginning that Guiamo is special. The Oracle predicted his coming into Gabinius’ house, and he soon finds out his grandfather is a powerful Druid. Moreover, when he visits the temple of Mars, the god of war, the priests give him an ancient, magical spear that is said to have been built by Mars himself.
One of the things I loved about this book is that the main character, Guiamo, needs to learn in order to become a great man. Even though he finds out he is special and he can control the powerful spear of Mars, nothing comes easy to him. He starts low, works, and fulfills his duties towards his protector. He knows there are rules he needs to respect, and steps he needs to take in order to reach his potential. He remains humble at all times, grateful for everything Gabinius has done for him, and simple in his demeanor, never considering that his intelligence, wits, and newfound abilities set him apart from the others. Naturally, I can’t wait to see how this character evolves in the next novels.
I can’t find anything negative to say about this novel. Some readers might find it slow at times, and that is because the author introduces many details about the traditions, society and politics of the period the action is set in. This didn’t bother me at all, because I always had a clear image of the characters’ world. The fact that the author has done such extensive research for this series can only be a plus. It gives consistency to the writing, and everything seems so much more realistic.
I also loved the words of wisdom Guiamo learned from his tutors, and I believe younger readers will find them interesting and worth remembering. Thus, the book doesn’t only prove to be enjoyable, but also quite educational, which is always good when it comes to a YA series. I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves historical novels (especially about the ancient times), mythology, and fantasy.
- Turning Lesbian: When Bi Is Not Enough
on June 03, 2014
I picked up this novella because I loved the cover, and the description sounded very intriguing and promising. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised to discover it has a lot of drama, romance, and hot scenes for such a short piece of writing. The author managed to balance everything very well, and I couldn’t put it down once I started reading it.
First of all, I loved the characters. I could totally relate to Rachel and understand how much she suffered after her boyfriend decided to leave her for another woman. I also liked the fact that she remained strong and positive, and chose to be his friend even though he had hurt her. This is not something that anyone can easily do. Rachel’s decision to avoid men and date women instead was understandable, and this made the character very believable, and her actions realistic.
Kathryn is also an interesting character, and I liked how she raised Rachel’s confidence and made her feel desired and appreciated. Meeting Kathryn was very important for Rachel even though things turned out a different way. I admit the twist took me by surprise. Sienna Wilder is such a good and clever writer, that it is impossible for the reader to predict what might happen next. It was one of the few moments when something happened in a story and I didn’t see it coming. This was one of the things that made me want to read more of the author’s writing, along with the complex plot, well-developed characters, and very hot erotic scenes.
Fans of the genre will absolutely love the sex scenes in this story. There is one that takes place in a doctor’s office, and even though I thought it was a bit unrealistic, it was very well written. I mean, I can’t imagine something like that happening in a doctor’s office, but it worked great for the story. And the chemistry between Rachel and Elizabeth is perfect. After that particular point in the story, I wished that something would happen and Rachel would end up with Elizabeth instead of Kathryn.
After reading “Turning Lesbian”, I feel like Sienna Wilder is going to become a popular name in LGBT literature.
- The Arab Marylin Monroe - Erotic Prelude
on June 04, 2014
After reading Sienna Wilder’s novella, “Turning Lesbian”, I wanted to see what else this new LGBT author has published. I love it when I come across an interesting book description, I give the book a try, and I discover an author I know I will stalk forever to make sure I read everything he/she publishes. This is what happened with Sienna Wilder. I read “The Arab Marilyn Monroe” in one sitting, and now I can’t wait for the next novella in the series.
This novella is just as hot as the first one I read. Olivia and Fairuz are perfect together, and I liked the fact that they come from completely different cultures. Olivia is Greek-American, and Fairuz is Algerian, which makes for interesting discussions about religion and how love between two women is seen by the people belonging to different communities. This adds depth to both the characters and the story, turning the novella into much more than the readers might expect. Needless to say that those who love cross-culture romance stories will absolutely love “The Arab Marilyn Monroe”.
I liked both main characters, but I must admit that Olivia was my favorite. After she meets Fairuz, she realizes that her relationship with Peter will never work. I loved the way she decided to give him the news, and the scene right before she left him was insanely hot. I can’t imagine a better way to torture a man than by allowing him to look and not letting him touch. And the scene was even sexier because Olivia was thinking about Fairuz the whole time.
The relationship between Olivia and Fairuz was not only based on their hot encounters, and I loved the fact that they became very close in a short period of time by talking and understanding each other. There are some sweet and romantic scenes where Fairuz is very gentle with Olivia while helping her move past her relationship with Peter and start a new life. It seems like they were made for each other, and after reading the last page of the novella, I only wanted for them to find a way to overcome all the obstacles imposed by Fairuz’s religion. The Epilogue promises a second book, so I can’t wait to find out what the author has in store for Olivia and Fairuz.