Book Review: Jewels of Truth: The Journey of the Soul Continues by Ivan A. Pozo-Illas A.K.A Atrayo

jewels_of_truth_the_journey_of_the_soul_continues-pozo-illas_a_k_a_atrayo_ivan_a-32850670-556066055-frntlGenre: Non-fiction, Spiritual, Non-romance

Page Count: 258 pages

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Your spiritual journey of self-improvement continues in volume three of the Jewels of Truth series by Ivan A. Pozo-Illas, a.k.a. Atrayo. In this new compendium of 365 statements of spiritual wisdom, Atrayo shares daily inspirational tools to explore all of the must-haves in your life, including love, faith, forgiveness, and certainly, God(dess).

From these poignant and concise statements, rather than lengthy diatribes, you can easily and quickly find the essential kernel of truth to help you on your journey today.

No matter your religious or spiritual traditions or background, this volume is written from an all-inclusive perspective. Jewels of Truth: The Journey of the Soul Continues is the sacred and uplifting result of clairvoyant automatic writing as the genesis motivation to reach the masses. The channeled spirit teachers are all angelic in divine nature. They are nameless as a united continuum of the Holy Spirit.

Spirituality has a core need in our lives. No matter where you are on your journey, these messages of hope are shared in love.

Let me start off by saying that I am really not qualified to be reviewing this book. Ivan A. Pozo-Illas was generous enough to donate to the Borgen Project in exchange for an honest review. While I am happy to do it, I am probably not doing this book justice.

As someone with absolutely no background in philosophy or religion, this was a difficult book to get through and review.

I do know that despite the author’s claims of it being all-inclusive for all religious backgrounds, the book was more tilted to the Christian faith, with most of the proverbs talking about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. There were plenty of mentions of God(dess) as well, which was the basically only indication these statements of wisdom were not strictly for Christian. While Mohammed, Buddha, and Krishna are mentioned maybe four times, and always in a list of other important religious figures from different religions (never for their specific teachings), Jesus is mentioned 22 times, usually in passages like this:

It has been written in the Biblical New Testament that “Jesus the Christ” once stated that to enter the “Kingdom of God” one must be as innocent as a child in spirit.

On top of that, these statements of wisdom, to me at least, were pretty long and wordy. It was difficult to get through. A lot of the time I did not understand what was being said, but that could just be chalked up to my own ignorance on the subject.

This is probably more useful to people more educated about spirituality than me, but it is definitely not for the everyday person, at least not most of it. There were some things that were interesting, like this quote celebrating diversity in religions.

No one religion can have a monopoly on God and/or on his favoritism. To say so is a lie and a sin to the diversity within Creation itself.

For the people more educated about spirituality, this could be a useful book. For beginners like me, not as much. You can get Jewels of Truth at your local bookstore. By buying it through this link, you will also be supporting the Arbor Day Foundation.

Husband and Wife Write Letters to the Bitter End

Book Review: To the One I Love by Dawn Gena

to_the_one_i_love_cover_for_kindle00001Genre: Contemporary

Word Count: 3,880

Average Smashwords Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Through letters, Jonathan and Emily profess their love for each other. You can see snapshots of their lives as they meet and marry, and part ways. Time is fluid in this, with only the Chinese zodiac signs to give you an idea about how much time has passed.

This story was way too short and everything happened way too fast. It was like watching a television show for the first time and skipping entire seasons between episodes.

For instance, the mothers of the two main characters got into a fist fight at the engagement party and at least one of them was arrested for it. Why did the fight start? Do the mothers have a history of being violent? Maybe they have bad history.

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The ending was abrupt. It implied a violent ending that had no foreshadowing in the previous letters.  The story is a series of romantic snapshots into these people’s’ lives, but I would have preferred a little more reality with some context to what was happening.

The writing drove me crazy at times, too. Mostly it was witty, passionate and made me smile.

What other lovers? Whoever came before you fell out of existence at your first caress. You are my only…for now through eternity.

But sometimes it was pretentious and absurdly wordy.

“Fleeting and cold is my opinion of email, text and phone calls. I make no apologies for my old fashioned views on modern technology. It may not be instant, and might take a bit more effort (of which you are more than worthy!), but I prefer to sit and put pen to paper.”

It wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t great, either. Bascomville and Grind are both better literary romances.

You can find it for free on Smashwords.

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Book Review: Eternity by Maggie Shayne

6baad4c8166fb3b89d4ff0a592bfab85300 years ago, Raven St. James was hanged for witchcraft. But she revives among the dead to find herself alive. She is an Immortal High Witch, one of the light. A note from her mother warns that there are others, those of the Dark, who preserve their own lives by taking the hearts of those like her.

Duncan Wallace’s forbidden love for the secretive lass costs him his life.

300 years later, he loves her again, tormented by hazy memories of a past that can’t be real. She tells him of another lifetime, claims to be immortal. Though he knows she’s deluded, he can’t stay away. And the Dark Witch after her heart is far closer than either of them know.

Continue reading “Book Review: Eternity by Maggie Shayne”

Book Review: Bascomville by Mark A. Calde

Genre: Contemporary, Teen

Page Count: 284

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.67 out of 5 stars

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Welcome to the life of Max Bascom, whose home is Bascomville. Bascomville has its own special kind of normal, where fathers can get job leads from their sons and Christmas dinners can end up to be Chinese take out. Max does his best to navigate Bascomville and to keep it running as smoothly as possible through good times and tragedy. And he also forms a special bond with the girl next door, Janice, who understands Bascomville despite coming from a world much different. 

This book is so fabulously written. I usually don’t take review requests, but I’m glad I did for this book. It’s part romance, part literary masterpiece, and it captures “growing up” so well. I wish I had this book when I was in middle school or high school because I can relate to making your own kind of normal.

“Us? Normal?”

“How do you know we aren’t? How do we know everybody doesn’t make their own?”

She considered this for a moment then dismissed it. “If everybody made their own then nothing would be normal. Nothing could ever be normal.”

“Exactly.”

That’s my kind of definition of normal. And I think everyone needs to remember that normalcy doesn’t really exist a little bit more.

I didn’t see the plot twists coming ahead of time and I never got bored. On top of that, this book is incredibly quotable. There’s some good life advice in here, like when Max helped Janice cover up vandalism on her house:

And I knew then that ultimately we can save neither ourselves nor our loved ones from life. We can only live it.

Max is a complex character that I like and dislike. He is, ultimately, human, not a hero. He tends to overreact sometimes when Janice is involved, but for the most part he’s likeable. He’s loyal to his family, loves his little sister, and wishes for a world with a level playing field.

My favorite character is his little sister Lily, though. She actually has it worse than Max. She lives at home with her parents after Max goes to college and has to deal with her mother pretending she doesn’t exist and her father pretending to be her best friend to make up for it. Her home life is lousy at best and she practically raises herself for her last years of high school. But she’s strong enough to not break under pressure and she’s not one for self-pity.

“Fair is for dorks. I don’t need fair to make things work.”– Lily Bascom

So why only a 4.5 instead of a 5?

It’s because of the long descriptions, like this one that characterizes Mr. Birnbaum, Janice’s father, through his workshop.

I stepped inside and caught my breath. It was, to me, a foreign wonderland, this workshop. I am not a particularly handy person, and the panorama of neatly arranged rows of tools hanging on pegboards, the fittings categorized in plastic bins, the copper piping slung above the rafters, the worktables and vises and clamps and braided electrical cords all echoed the prowess of this man. I felt humbled, and strangely calm. I still wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing but I was no longer nervous about it. I could leave disappointed, even chastised, and be all right with it. Such was the power of Sheldon Birnbaum and this place.

While these descriptions certainly add character and depth to the story, they can sometimes be a little excessive and make my attention lag. This book is certainly not a fluff book and isn’t meant to be one, but the long descriptions make it slightly more harder to get through than it has to be.

This is a good book for anyone to read and I can’t recommend it enough, especially to teens. It helps us remember that we all need to make our own normal.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter to get my list of high quality free romance novels when it’s finished, as well as updates about my blog and exclusive content. I’m in the final stages of editing and hope to be done soon. Have a good day!

5 Great Romance Novel Bloggers to Follow in 2017

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Smart Bitches Trashy Books

These guys are the ultimate romance novel bloggers. With snarky reviews, cover snark, shopping lists, giveaways and Help a Bitch Out (for when you can’t remember the name of that book you love) there’s plenty here for everyone. SBTB is great for when you want to find new romance recommendations, or just need some laughs. One of my favorites is reading the Cover Snark, because it’s hilarious. Here’s an excerpt from one of their most recent Cover Snark, this one for the cover of the box set Dirty Desires. 

Continue reading “5 Great Romance Novel Bloggers to Follow in 2017”

Book Review: DreamZ by A. R. Von

25421901-_uy472_ss472_Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Word Count: 12,470

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.54/5 stars

My rating: 3/5 stars

To be honest, I automatically started to dislike this book because “Dreams” is spelled with a Z. And while it was okay, it was not as good as it could have been.

Wunder has been dreaming about a man for as long as she can remember, always the same man. The dreams leave her aroused to no end at night. Unfortunately, this man doesn’t exist in her life, at least not yet. But her love life is nonexistent and thanks to her being half zombie, that’s not going to change any time soon.

Continue reading “Book Review: DreamZ by A. R. Von”

Her Wicked Ways

51wuzpp2b40lGenre: Historical

Word Count: 101, 790

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.62/ 5 stars

My rating: 4/ 5 stars

This book has a slightly shaky start, like most romance novels do, but it pulls me in pretty quickly. It starts off with Montgomery “Fox” Foxcroft committing highway robbery to save an orphanage. Yeah, starts off like your run-of-the-mill soap opera.

The job is supposed to be simple for Fox. Rob a corrupt MP to support the orphanage he runs. Unbeknownst to him, this MP is carrying something even more precious than money. He’s transporting a disgraced heiress named Miranda Sinclair. Miranda’s a beautiful woman who distracts Fox so much that he forgets he’s committing a crime to save some kids and ends up making out with her. Not his finest moment. But it does give him an idea. To seduce Miranda and marry her for her money. But when she starts volunteering at his orphanage, he realizes that she’s not just a spoiled heiress, but also likeable, capable, and someone that he might even grown to love.

This story is fantastic! I re-read it when I realized I hadn’t written a review for it, and it was good even the second time around. Both Miranda and Fox are excellent and the chemistry between them is spot-on.

Miranda comes off as entitled at first, and she is, but she grows out of that pretty quickly. In truth, she’s a very strong person who regularly rebels against the restricting rules of London Society, because come on, why would anyone want to live by those rules? Despite everyone calling her incompetent and useless, she’s smart and very capable. She steals a kiss out of Fox the first time she meets him, and she raises more money for the orphanage in one night than Fox managed to raise in an entire year.

Where I shall stay when we get there. Is this Stratham’s house adequate?” (Her brother asked)

“Yes, more than. You’ll be quite comfortable. Are you sure you’re allowed to stay there?”

“Ah, sweet sister, when will you realize the rules are not the same for you and me?”

But Miranda knew all too well. Perhaps that was why she always broke them.

The only irritating thing about Miranda is that she bends easily to her parents’ will. And while I get that they are her parents, it frustrates me to no end that she complied so quickly, even when it hurt Fox and she didn’t agree with them to begin with. I also hate that she didn’t figure out that Fox was the highwayman. Sure, she might not associate a random, masked stranger with the impoverished owner of an orphanage right away. But then she meets the highwayman again… and then sees Fox again…. she knows she feels the same lust with both of them, and she still doesn’t figure it out? Oh please, she’s smarter than that.

Fox is incredibly lovable, despite his ridiculous jealousy over just about every man that Miranda comes in contact with. He gets jealous over Miranda’s former lover who’s so unimportant he doesn’t even turn up, and he gets jealous over Stratham. He even gets jealous over one of his charges when Miranda compliments the boy’s new haircut. Possessive much?

However, I do like how wonderfully insecure Fox is. Despite being confident in most areas of his life, and refusing to think people in higher class were better than him,  Fox is constantly unsure around Miranda. He thinks she’s totally out of his league, even at the end.

 “That you would give yourself to me is incredibly humbling.”

A twinge of embarrassment heated her face. “Why?”

He smiled. “Because you’re Miranda. A goddess to my mere mortality. I am a beast beside you.”

Damn. Montgomery Foxcroft sure knows how to woo a woman.

And he is so hopelessly in love with her. Even when he was desperate for money, he wasn’t willing to force Miranda to marry him by compromising her because he didn’t want her to hate him. And even though his original intention in courting her was to get her money, he started appreciating her for much more. Unlike her parents, he saw her for the brilliant woman she was and was quick to defend her to anyone who said otherwise.

Love.

The word drove a knife clean through his heart. Did he love her? He didn’t know, but he wanted her for more than money. More than desire. He wanted her here. With him. With all of them. He’d never seen the children so happy. So light. He’d never felt so happy or light—and that said a lot given his cursed financial woes.

He also doesn’t ever want her change. Unlike everyone else in this story, including her brother, the only immediate family member she has who is remotely nice to her, Fox doesn’t think she has to change, and doesn’t even want her to.

“You’re staring at me like I’m food again.” His words heightened her arousal and further emboldened her.

She feasted on his male beauty. “I’ve never seen anything as delicious as you.”

“Christ, Miranda. Ladies don’t talk like that.”

She traced her fingers around his nipples and watched them tighten. Her own hardened in response. “You don’t like it?”

He swallowed audibly. “I like it fine.”

Her Wicked Ways has an excellent story that I could read again and again. And I probably will. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes historical romance novels and even those who don’t. You can read it for free on Smashwords.

If you do decide to read it, let me know in the comments. I’d love to know what you thought about it.