March 30, 2013

Easter Wishes

Wishing all my awesome followers, bloggers and fellow authors, who celebrate Easter this Sunday, a sunny spring with lots of joy and accomplishments!


March 29, 2013

Reviews (X)

March 16, 2013 - by ioniamartin

Shadows of the Past by Carmen Stefanescu

When Anne and Neil leave on a one-week holiday hoping to reconcile after a two-year separation, little do they know that destiny has other plans for them. Their discovery of human bones and a bejeweled cross in the hollow of a tree open the door to the supernatural realm and the anguished life of Genevieve, a nun from medieval England.
Can Anne save her relationship and help Genevieve her eternal rest?
The twists and turns in this paranormal tale keep the reader guessing up to the end and weave themselves together into a quest to rekindle love.–Description from Goodreads.
ebook, 231 pages
Published December 4th 2012 by Wild Child Publishing edition language English
You can find this book here
Or you can go visit the author Carmen Stefanescu and find out more HERE
I am very proud to introduce “Shadows of the Past” By Romanian author Carmen Stefanescu. This is an amazing debut novel that really captured everything I love so much about history, paranormal and romance.
My thoughts on this novel:
It isn’t often that I put a book in my “I must read this again pile.” I read so much that I usually won’t read a book more than once because I am always ready to move on to the next one I haven’t experienced yet. This is one of those rare times when I know I will read this book again.I am a huge history buff and I adore historical fiction. This is historical plus a lot more. This book has an exciting plot with a paranormal twist that is so well done that it doesn’t leave you rolling your eyes like so many of the paranormal romances of recent memory have done. I fell into this book hard and never wanted to leave. Although I enjoyed Anne and her role in the book as a contemporary character, I was completely drawn into the story and fascinated all the way to the end by the story of Genevieve and Andrew. This is the kind of love story that is timeless and makes you feel warm inside. I was happy while reading this.
Although from the cover of this book it would seem that it is more adult in nature, this novel would also be appropriate for a YA audience. The romance is believable and beautiful, but is never too steamy. The mystery of the connection between Anne and Genevieve is really the heart of this book, and it is a supremely written mystery at that. You can’t quite figure it all out until the very end and even then, on the very last page there is more to think about.
Carmen Stefanescu has written a love story for those of us who know what that really means. If you have high expectations for your romance novels and expect to see characters with plenty of development, life and purpose then this is the book for you. When you read this novel, you feel you have entered another world. Stepping back in time through Carmen’s descriptions and research, this was an incredible journey.
I would recommend this book to everyone YA audience and over. One of the best romances ever.
Aș dori să-i mulțumesc lui Carmen pentru ca mi-a oferit sa citec această carte uimitoare. Am fost surprinsa și încântata de cât de mult mi-a placut. Carmen, esti o persoana minunata!
Nu de multe ori mi s-a intamplat ca am pus o carte pe care am citit-o în  teancul “Trebuie să citesc acest roman din nou.” Am  de citit atât de multe carti, că de obicei nu voi citi o carte mai mult decât o dată, pentru că sunt mereu gata pentru a trece la urmatoarea pe care nu am experimentat-o încă. Acum este una dintre acele rare ocazii când știu că voi citi aceasta carte din nou.
Sunt o mare admiratoare a istoriei si ador ficțiunea istorică. Acesta este un roman istoric, plus mult mai mult. Aceasta carte are un subiect incitant, o combinatie de paranormal cu iubire si istorie, cate putin din toate, care este atât de bine făcut încât să nu te faca sa dai  ochii peste cap de frustrare,  asa cum se intampla cu atât de multe dintre romanele paranormale recente.  Shadows of the Past este genul de carte care ai vrea sa nu se termine.
Deși mi-a placut de Anne și rolul ei în carte ca un personaj contemporan, am fost complet atrasa în actiune și fascinata până la sfârșit de povestea lui Genevieve și Andrew. Aceasta este un fel de poveste de dragoste, care este atemporala și iti da un sentiment placut de bine. Am fost fericita în timp ce citeam asta.
Deși, din coperta acestei cărți s-ar părea că este dedicata mai mult adulților, acest roman ar fi, de asemenea, adecvat pentru o audiență YA. Romantismul este credibil și frumos, dar nu este in nici un moment prea senzual. Misterul legăturii între Anne și Genevieve este într-adevăr miezul aceastei carti, și este un mister extrem de bine scris. Nu iti poti da seama de  adevar până la sfârșit și chiar și atunci, ultima pagină  lasa loc la intrebari.
Carmen Stefanescu a scris o poveste de dragoste pentru acei dintre noi care știu ce înseamnă aceasta cu adevărat. Dacă ai așteptări mari de la un roman de dragoste și așteapti să vezi personajele evoluand, atunci aceasta este cartea pentru tine. Când ai citit acest roman, ai impresia ca esti introdus in o altă lume. Pas cu pas, mergi înapoi în timp, prin descrierile lui Carmen; aceasta a fost o calatorie incredibila.
As recomanda această carte pentru toata lumea, audiență YA și peste. Unul dintre cele mai bune romane de dragoste din toate timpurile.

March 24, 2013

The Next Big Thing Book Hop

I would like to give a big thank you to Leti Del Mar author of the delightful The Inadvertent Thief, for tagging me to be part of The Next Big Thing Book Hop.

This is where one Author tags another to talk a bit about his or her current project.  So read on to get an insider's look at my newest novel and discover the work of some fellow authors! Leti, thank you for giving me the opportunity to introduce: Shadows of the Past 


1. What is the title of your book?
 Shadows of the Past

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
I read a small article in a Romanian newspaper about a haunted mountain in England. The souls of two sinners, a nun and a priest who break their vows and elope, can’t find their rest. The tourists visiting that mountainous area hear agonizing moans during the night.

3. What genre does your book fall under?
Paranormal - the genre I feel comfortable writing. I am attracted by everything that has a link to karmic retribution, to past lives. I believe in reincarnation and in special powers we, humans, possess even if we aren't aware of it and so can't put these powers to use. Genevieve, the leading character in Shadows of the Past, can feel if the person in front of her is a good or evil one, while Anne has premonitions and visions.  I do believe in ghosts. I consider them to be wandering spirits who can find no eternal rest, the same as Genevieve couldn't, because they have not fulfilled their mission during their existence in flesh and blood on earth.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

 Jordana Spiro, playing the leading part in The Mob’s Doctor, is the best actress to impersonate Genevieve. Jordana is fragile in appearance, looks like a kindhearted person ready to help those next to her, yet she’s determined and brave. 
The Abbess should be played by Madeline Stowe from the series Revenge, while Dan Stevens from the series Downton Abbey is the perfect Andrew.

 5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Shadows of the Past - the story of Genevieve and Anne. Jumping from past to present and back, it focuses on the lows and highs of the two, alternatively revealing the hardships, passion, truth or betrayal they meet. Their destinies seem to weave together, although they live in different epochs. 

 6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The book is represented by Wild Child Publishing from the USA.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Not very long, I think. Around three months. Then I passed it through several beta readers, native English speakers, as vocabulary usage may become a bit tricky for me, a Romanian.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I can't really say. Every author wants to consider her/his work as unique. However, if I think better, I would say Adam and Eve by a Romanian classic writer Liviu Rebreanu. 

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I was telling you about the article I read. The moment I put down the newspaper I knew that I had to write the story of the two unfortunate lovers. I wrote a poem first, a ballad. Later, I thought that just a poem was not enough. I felt Genevieve’s story must be told in detail. This is how Shadows of the Past came to life.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
The combination of paranormal elements with history and with Wicca beliefs and suspense. The twists and turns that keep the reader guessing to the end. And above all the romantic element that is the main thread all along the story.

Check out the next stop of this Book Hop and visit Cami Skiba and who talks about her project, Born in Sin
Ella Medler as she talks about her book, Eternal Island. 

 Make sure to check out these great reads!

March 20, 2013

Reviews (IX)

February 21, 2013 - by Liz (

Read from February 19 to 21, 2013

We start off with a quick look into the life of Genevieve, a 15th century nun who is meeting the love of her life, a priest named Andrew to talk about leaving the Abbey. When you start the book, you think that Genevieve and Andrew's love is the reason they decide to leave the church. But once the story really starts rolling you see that Genevieve has not had an easy life. In fact, she's struggled through more than most people could handle in a lifetime by the time she's just 14. She thought she'd found her place in the world when she arrived at the Abbey and met the Mother Superior who was "more mother, and less superior". Living happily there for four years, she learn to love her surroundings, her fellow nuns, and the lifestyle. But when a new Abbess comes to take over, Genevieve's hard-won life of peace is changed forever.
We also follow the life of Anne, a woman on vacation in England with her former lover Neil. They are avid mountaineers and we join them mid-trek through a rather ominous forest. The purpose of the trip is to reunite them after a two year separation due to infidelity on Neil's part. When Anne starts having strange visions of a certain 15th century nun, she learns more and more about what happened to Genevieve all those years ago. Anne wonders about what part she plays in Genevieve's life and death as they unravel the nun's story.

The two stories are equally compelling because something is connecting these two women who lived over 500 years apart ...the question is: Are they joined by mutual love or desperate hate?

The Best Thing: The dual narrative was done really, really well. Especially with the added challenge of flashbacks and paranormal activity. I was impressed by the masterful way the stories were melded and the seamless historical elements that were included throughout. The research and knowledge on a range of subjects that was shown in this book was impressive for the genre its in.

The Worst Thing: I felt there was a problem with the modern romance part of the story. The character of Neil didn't seem authentic. There was no real insight into who he was as a person and, instead, he seemed to be a tool for relaying bits of information and a prop to fill the reincarnation parts of the story. The romantic relationships in the story came off as a bit hokey in general, which was disappointing because the story itself was such a fascinating one. It was also surprising because the paranormal aspects of the story were flawlessly executed.

Overall: Definitely worth a read and it serves as an interesting book in terms of crossing genre lines. I'm an avid young adult, fantasy, and classic novelist, so to read and truly enjoy a paranormal, historical romance was a wonderful surprise! 4 out of 5.

March 8, 2013

International Women's Day

International Women's Day is here. Let's celebrate It!

I wish happiness, love and joy on Women's Day to all the powerful, smart, talented women over the World.

March 4, 2013

Reviews (VIII)

February 20, 2013 - by Sheri Boston (

Title: Shadows of the Past
Author: Carmen Stefanescu
Publisher: Wild Child Publishing
Pages: e-book, 231
Genre: Paranormal, Historical
Source: Author


Anne's relationship with her boyfriend Neil has disintegrated. After a two-year separation, they pack for a week vacation in hopes of reconciling. But fate has other plans for them.

The discovery of a bejeweled cross and ancient human bones opens a door to a new and frightening world--one where the ghost of a medieval nun named Genevieve will not let Anne rest. This new world threatens not only to ruin Anne and Neil's vacation but to end all hopes of reconciliation as Anne feels compelled to help free Genevieve's soul from its torment.

Can Anne save her relationship and help Genevieve find her eternal rest? Or will evil win again? 

My Review:

I don't normally read historical books, but, the author contacted me noticing my interest in paranormal novels and asked if I might give her book a try. Her brief description interested me and I gladly accepted. I must say I was pleasantly surprised! The book goes back and forth between Anne and Genevieve, past and present, and weaves a mysterious story. Genevieve's life is so full of tragedy and loss. It's heartbreaking to read at times.  

And don't let the cover fool you. The small touches of romance here and there are, as she explained to me, just very sweet and nothing steamy. The bulk of the story is Anne trying to piece together her strange visions and finding out what happened to Genevieve and Andrew! :) The two intertwining love stories are more like a happy little bonus to the exciting story.

Carmen Stefanescu does such a great job with descriptive details and you can easily picture everything she's laying out before you. Even though it isn't normally my type, I mostly have a hard time with how people, well women especially were treated historically. Especially back in the 15th century which was Genevieve's time period. Still I enjoyed reading it and I want to thank her for giving me the opportunity to read it! It's worth the read, funny enough the mysterious historical side of the story is what grabbed me the most. I just had to find out how Genevieve's tale ended.

 4 out of 5

March 1, 2013

Martisor - A Romanian Spring Tradition

May we all have a wonderful spring, full of flowers and joy!

Below, a few words about one of Romanian precious traditions:

Mărţişor is a traditional celebration of the beginning of Spring, on 1 March. The name Mărţişor is the diminutive of marţ, the old folk name for March (Martie, in modern Romanian), and thus literally means "little" or "dear March". Mărţişor, marţ and mărţiguş are all names for the red and white string, from which usually a small decoration is tied, and which is offered by people on the 1st day of March. Mărţişor tradition is very old, and, according to the archaeological research, it is traced more than 8000 years ago. The spring celebrations, of flowers and nature fertility, were consecrated to him. So, the New Year celebrated on the first day of March is the rebirth of nature.

Initially, the Mărţişor string used to be called year's rope, made by black and white wool threads, representing the 365 days of the year. ‘'The Year's Rope'’ was the link between the winter and the summer, black and white representing the opposition and also the unity of the contraries: dark & light, cold & warmth, death & life.

According to the ancient Rome tradition, the ides of March was the perfect time to begin the war campaigns. Related to this context, it is considered that the red string of Mărţişor signifies the vitality, while the white one is the symbol of victory.

In modern times, the Mărţişor lost most of its talisman properties and became more of a symbol of friendship and love, appreciation and respect.