Book Review: The Vestals Conspiracy: A Novella

About the book:vestals


Title: The Vestals Conspiracy: A Novella (Prequel To The Nina Monte Mystery Thriller Series)

Author: Tomasz Chrusciel

Published: December 3rd 2017 by Agato House

Source: Received from Authors DB in exchange for an honest review

Format: e-copy


Nina Monte, a renowned professor of ancient religions, receives a cryptic message. Her former mentor and a prominent Italian archaeologist, Filippo Oliveri, needs her to come to Rome—he believes only Nina is capable of understanding the true significance of his new discovery.

But when she finally reaches the excavation site, Oliveri is gone. Instead, Nina comes across a series of clues that somehow connect an ancient prophecy, a mystical ritual, and a masterpiece of Michelangelo himself. But soon the magnitude of the discovery lures those who will stop at nothing to solve the mystery and, once and for all, silence everyone who stands in their way.

If you love historical mysteries, don’t miss this gripping read! “The Vestals Conspiracy” is a stunning introduction to the Nina Monte Mystery Thriller Series.

 Check it on: Amazon  & Goodreads

 My Review:

I received a review copy of this book and almost 100 pages that made me forget how time passes by and made me wonder how come this is over? Not so fast! “The Vestals Conspiracy” is a great start for a series, is a promise of more mysteries that will be uncovered by the great professors.

Nina Monte’s passion for history and ancient religion is visible from the start, from her efforts to answer all the requests she receives of lectures or participations in projects in her line of work. However, when her former professor and mentor Filippo Oliveri asks her support in his latest archeological founding, she comes to his aid. What they discover is far beyond their wildest dreams. Past and present reunite as they follow the mysteries of a religious group of women serving the roman goddess Vesta.

In their search, they will face people with less than honorable intentions, they will have their faith put to the test only to realize the importance of what they uncovered. Suffice to say that this novella is worth your time. And if you need more incentives to start the entire series, at the end of this book there are three chapters from “Fast Track to Glory” that will nurture that curiosity.

Even if I am mostly a Romance and YA reader, this type of historical mystery is always a joy. Have fun reading this amazing series and come back with your comments and thoughts below. 5 starts and I cannot wait for more!


“Fast Track to Glory (Nina Monte Mystery #1)” is already out since January 2016 and the second book is scheduled for this year. So hurry and catch up with Nina!



About the Authortomasz


Tomasz Chrusciel wrote his first story at sixteen, but it would take another twenty years for his love affair with writing to become the central focus in his life.

After obtaining a master’s degree in Political Science & International Relations in Poland, Chrusciel found himself in the corporate sector. The work stoked his passion for global politics, but his imagination craved greater freedom. After moving to Ireland and falling in love, he finally left his job to become a full-time fiction author.

His debut novel Illusive Intrusion was followed by Fast Track to Glory. Both works have since earned Chrusciel a dedicated readership that continues to grow each day.

Wanderlust regularly draws the writer to extreme corners of the globe seeking new settings, personalities and historical events to inspire his next novel. When he isn’t researching destinations or convincing his cat-loving fiancée to let him adopt a dog, he’s at his computer furiously typing his latest scene, or chatting with his readers on social media.

Find him at if you’d like to join the conversation.


Book Review: Muffy & Valor: A True Story

About the book:muffy

Title: Muffy & Valor: A True Story

Author: Karl Beckstrand , Brandon Rodriguez (illustrator)

Published: August 16th 2017 by Karl Beckstrand

Source: received in exchange of an honest review

Format: e-copy


(Nonfiction, dogs) After a painful injury, a little dog named Muffy learns empathy for a German shepherd that has been hit by a car. Illustrated dog book teaches compassion, friendship, courage, and trust (kids ages 4 – 7). 700 words in dyslexic-friendly font by award-winning children’s author Karl Beckstrand (Mini-mysteries for Minors [multicultural/bilingual series]), illustrated by Brandon Rodriguez , 28-page picture book (also hard and soft cover) with Hispanic family, minority child, big dogs, and online extras

Check it on: Amazon  & Goodreads

My Review:

I received a review copy of this book and this is such a fine book to read to your children! I loved it so much and I do believe it is a very useful way to spend some time with the little one, while inspiring a love of books and animals.

There is a strong moral angle to Muffy’s story and a quite real one, since this is a true event, as indicated by the author. While the illustrations help the child relate to the action, the final part where the author tells the real story is more for the adult reader and thus appealing to a different kind of audience as well.

The beautiful images drawn by Brandon Rodriguez are very vivid and shiny in a sort of way. Since I read this book on a Kindle, my impressions about the format may not be as accurate. But I liked how the emotions were painted on the characters and the different variety of dogs included. I was not very fond of the way Valor’s wound was presented, maybe it could have been censored somehow, but this has not affected my rating at all.

All in all, this is a very interactive book, with beautiful illustrations that will for sure catch the attention of children. Well, even I liked it, at my almost 30 years. Now I really wished I had a dog…


About the Authorkarl

Karl Beckstrand is the award-winning and bestselling author of 18 multicultural titles and more than 50 e-books (reviews by Kirkus, The Horn Book blog, School Library Journal, ForeWord Reviews). Beckstrand earned a B.A. in journalism from BYU, an M.A. in international relations from APU, and a certificate from Film A. Academy.

Once a technical recruiter in Silicon Valley, Beckstrand’s early work was produced by two publishers (the first died the day they were to print his book!). Since 2004 he has guided Premio Publishing & Gozo Books. An engaging speaker and workshop facilitator, Beckstrand has experience in high tech, public policy, film, and broadcasting. He teaches media at a state college—including TV/radio scripts and Web content—and contrasts traditional publishing with digital book publishing.

His Y.A. fiction, short stories, kids’ e-book mysteries, nonfiction/biographies, Spanish & bilingual books (with ESL/ELL pronunciation guides), and wordless books feature characters of color and usually end with a twist. He has lived abroad, been a Spanish/English interpreter, and speaks on diversity. He enjoys volleyball and kayaking (usually not at the same time).

Beckstrand has presented for SUECON (education conference), Taiwan’s Global Leadership for Youth, California’s Capital Book Festival, Utah Educational Library Media Association, Called to Learn conference, Salt Lake City Book Festival, PCI Webinars, Utah Humanities Council, Profnet, Murray City Writer’s Workshop, Utah Housing Coalition, LUW, Midvale City Reading Program, Utah Office of Education, professional groups, and schools. His racially diverse work has appeared in: Amazon, Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble, Border’s Books, Brodart, Costco, Deseret Book, The Children’s Miracle Network, The Congressional Record of the U.S. House of Representatives, Papercrafts Magazine, LDS Film Festival, EBSCO, Follett, iBooks, Kobo, SCRIBD, various broadcasts, and


Twitter: @karlbeckstrand

Book Review: A World without Color

About the book:aworldwithoutcolor


Title: A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat

Author: Bernard Jan

Published: July 1st 2017 by Bernard Jan

Source: AUTHORSdb

Format: e-copy


One story. Two endings. Genuine and fictional. Which ending is yours?

What do you say to someone who is dying? And what do you say when that someone can’t understand a word you are saying? How do you comfort each other throughout… and beyond?

My love, if you go away in a few days, the world will lose its colors and darken like the land of Mordor. If you go away and leave me to wander aimlessly, alone in this sea become wild, like a ship with a broken rudder and drowned sailors, and if I don’t find comfort in the warmth of your body, clutched in my embrace at the end of the day, I’m afraid I won’t survive.

“I don’t regret anything. Marcel was not only my cat, he was my everything. My brother, my friend, my world shrank in a soft gray-striped furry ball.”—Bernard Jan

Powerful. Emotional. Honest.

A heartfelt and moving novella.

Check it on: Amazon  & Goodreads or on Book Depository (with free delivery world wide)

My Review:

This is one truly emotional story! I must agree, the connection that forms between a pet and its master is formidable. In this book, we have an analysis of this bound, to its most sensitive aspects. So I can only appreciate what the author managed to express in this amount of pages.

The writing is very emotional and it depicts very well his emotions and conflict. Any pet owner will identify with his story and with all he has had to deal with. I used to be an owner as well, so I can relate to some of these states. As well, the connection he has with Marcel is presented in detail. Marcel is no longer a cat, but a piece of his heart, a life companion. All the events they had to go through together are heartwarming at least.

There comes a point in the book where I must admit I stopped enjoying it that much. While I understand that Marcel is important to our narrator and I can understand the attachment he has for him (due to the large amount of sentiments included in the story, I cannot address the cat as “it” as I feel I would offend the author’s intentions), I believe it is pushed to the extreme a little bit. I would address some of those lines to my boyfriend, or husband. I believe, as much as one would love his or her pet companion, addressing it with “my love” is a little too much.

“A World without Color” is a truly remarkable story, just not a story for me. While I enjoyed the writing and I appreciated the remarkable amount of emotions that this book offers, for me it was too much. Objectively, I would give all 5 stars for sure, but personally, I cannot give more than 3. So let’s maintain an average and go with 4 stars. Still, I would not recommend this book to readers dealing with depression, as it could amplify it.

About the AuthorBernardjan

“There is no greater joy than to share what you love with those who appreciate it.” – Bernard Jan

Bernard Jan is an author – a novelist and a poet – from Croatia, seeking representation of a literary agent for his work translated into English.

His first books have been written at the beginning of war in Croatia in 1991, amidst the air alerts and illusory attempts when he wanted to believe and think that life is normal, that everything is alright with the world.

In his lifespan he has written and published five novels, two novellas, one book of poems and an essay in Croatian. Four of his manuscripts, together with his book of poems, are translated into English and are available for representation and publication.

Bernard Jan has been a member of the Croatian Writers’ Association since December 30, 2003.

His passion for entertainment resulted in his becoming a partner of Tom’s Music Place, which was established in 2009 by his friend Thomas Carley Jr. with the goal to respect the music.

Jan’s need to help others came to the fore during his volunteering years: first in advocating for environmental protection, and then his volunteering, activism, work and advocacy for animal rights to the present day. He did some volunteering for the refugees, too, because suffering does not know about the borders and when it comes within your reach, in your yard, you simply have to do something.

As part of his animal advocacy activities, Bernard Jan has translated “Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust” by Charles Patterson into Croatian language.