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Featured Author: Jackie Wang

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Who is Jackie Wang?

JACKIE WANG lives in Vancouver, Canada with her real-life alpha hero and their rambunctious daughter. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. In her free time, she likes to read (voraciously), geocache, fill in adult coloring books and watch sappy movies.

  1. When did you start writing? I began writing short stories and poems when I was thirteen, but didn’t attempt a full-length novel until I was twenty-one. I began working on my first romance novel shortly after the birth of my daughter, and it took one year to finish! After that, I found my calling, and three years later, I’ve published 6 novels.

  2. What is your inspiration? I get some inspiration from my favorite authors, books and movies. But most of my characters are inspired by my own life story or the stories of people I know.


  3. How did you come up with your stories? Most of the time, when I least expect it, an idea will pop into my head and I will jot it down. I’ve come up with plots while grocery shopping, jogging, or just walking around the mall.


  4. Where is your favorite place to write? In the living room, alone. Preferably when it’s early morning or late at night, so it’s quiet.


  5. Do you plan your stories before starting? Yes, I plan a character development arc, and a very loose plot. But most of the time the plot evolves as the characters take on a life of their own.


  6. When did you first consider yourself an author? When I self-published my first novel on Amazon in 2015, even though before that I’d written hundreds of poems, articles and over twenty short stories.


  7. Do you see writing as a career? My biggest goal in life is to write novels for a living, so I try my hardest every single day to be as productive as possible. I would love to be a professional, career author.


  8. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Sometimes I’m a bit too much of a perfectionist and I will delete lots of words and start all over again. For my upcoming novel, Villain, I wrote and deleted almost 20,000 words (like 1/3 of the novel) before I wrote the first full draft.


  9. What was the hardest part of writing your book? Editing. And finding enough time to write. I have a part-time job, a toddler, and a house to manage, so it can be challenging to find free time to write.


  10. Can you share a little of your current work with us? I just finished VILLAIN, which is a dark romantic suspense with an unbelievable number of plot twists. The protagonist is an anti-hero, and I had so much fun creating him. I had to do a lot of research and quite a bit of soul-searching for this book, but I’m very pleased with how it turned out! My beta readers love it too, which is encouraging!


  11. Do you have advice for any other writers? The old adage I guess. Practice makes perfect. I’m not a master of words or anything, but I’ve written over 750,000 words in the past three years, and I think practice, more than anything made me a better writer. No amount of textbook learning can teach you how to craft a good novel, because when it comes down to it, every author has a unique voice. It took me a long time to find mine, but I’m glad I never gave up. That’s another thing. Don’t. Give. Up.


  12. Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers? I feel so blessed to have such an amazing group of fans who have supported me in unimaginable ways. Before I discovered ways to connect with my fans and fellow authors, I felt like I was writing inside a bubble. It got really lonely. But once I became part of the community, I received all the motivation, support and advice I needed to pursue my dream. So thank you all, from the bottom of my heart!

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Read our review for Crescent Hill

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How we review

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Welcome to Bona Fide Book Reviews, where we promise to say it like it is. This might be our blog, but we’re writing it for you, the reader. We post in the hopes of guiding you and preparing you. A negative post doesn’t mean the book is bad. It just means we didn’t care for it. Don’t let that scare you off. We hope that a positive post will encourage you to read the book, but it’s no guarantee that you’ll love it as much as we did.

Here is a guide on how we review.

  • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – It changed our worlds
  • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – It blew us a way
  • ⭐️⭐️⭐️ – It was good, but it wasn’t our favorite
  • ⭐️⭐️ – It wasn’t great, but the author really tried
  • ⭐️ – It was so bad we wish we had a time machine so we could go back and unread it

We also comment on:

  • The genre and general reading age
  • The level of sexuality
  • Whether there was graphic language
  • Did we cry and if so, how much
  • If it is part of a series, which book and whether it is a stand-alone
  • Level of character development
  • How hard did we laugh

We also do not guarantee that there won’t be spoilers. These are our honest reviews of these books and not solicitation. The reviews are written in first-person, but it’s a collaborative effort.

We promise to never let an author sway our opinions through any forms of badgering, guilt-tripping, or gifting. We stand strong against the current, for you.

Thank you and welcome to Bona Fide Book Reviews.

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Amazon Review Bias

It has been brought to our attention that there are coerced reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Amazon will remove reviews that are not in the author’s favor. We stand by our promise for honesty and will never review a book that is pressured from the author and even if our reviews are taken down from Amazon we do rate and review on Goodreads. This blog is for you, the reader, and not a way for authors to promote their books in a dishonest fashion.

Dark Wine at Midnight by Jenna Barwin

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The beings referred to as the Lux are not actually human and very few know they even exist. Their goal is to protect the human population from war and extinction by an equally hidden vampire population.

Although the vampires try hard to prevent overpopulation since their food source, humans, would be depleted, there is a constant political push and shove. Some vampires feel there are too many rules, such as no one being allowed to create another vampire for the most part, no legal hunting of humans, and lots of meals courtesy of a blood bank. The Lux has discovered there is a group planning to topple their somewhat fragile government and return to their old ways.

Dr. Cerisse Patel lives with her people at the Lux Enclave. She prefers to think of herself as a scientist, but her superiors prefer she be a spy, even though she is pretty sure she lacks the talent. Vampire Leopold knows Cerisse as a human hired to be his envoy. This means she will live amongst vampires for many years, as she will be a daytime employee; the eyes and ears for Leopold. At the same time, she will watch out for the rebel vampires on behalf of the Lux.

After months of training and learning vampire protocol, Leopold sends Cerisse to the vampire community, Sierra Escondida. She is to seek out a certain property for him, where they hope to build a research lab that will benefit all vampires. Hopefully, the community will be willing to financially support such an endeavor. At the same time, she is to watch for the rebel vampires. She hadn’t expected the vampires to like her presence right away, but she is unprepared for the open dislike she faces.

The vampire hierarchy is extremely strict and immovable. Slowly, she approaches individuals to find they are not amenable to the research lab in their community. They dislike the thought of humans being employed and working on their turf. The strictly upheld law of no unmated humans in their midst is taken seriously.

Henry Bautista is one of the original founders of the town and he and the others created the basic laws and, as the years pass, have changed them as needed. Cerisse, an unmated human, is right in the heart of them. Henry is disturbed by her entrance as Leopold’s envoy and even more so by his attraction to her.

I found the story interesting. The first chapter starts with the Lux. Basically, I was left in the dark about them and confused about their abilities and differences from humans. The author mentions Cerisse’s abilities as if the reader is already aware of them. I had to turn back a page looking for a paragraph where I must have missed the ‘and here it comes’ moment. It was several chapters before I acquired any significant knowledge of Cerisse as a Lux, and I felt like the author didn’t have a finished product with this character, that it would have been helpful to the story if more information had been given. As it is, Cerisse has several interesting and handy skills, making her the latest in super-women. I thought Cerisse needed to have a more mature personality, being a Lux of substantial years. Also, the ending is quickly rolled up, as if the author was racing towards the finish line.

The grading:

  • Genre and general reading age – Romance/Fantasy for adults.
  • Level of sexuality – Graphic.
  • Is there graphic language? Yes, but definitely milder than a lot of books.
  • Did I cry? No.
  • Did I laugh? No.
  • Is this part of a series? This is book one in the Hill Vampire Series, complete with a cliffhanger.
  • Level of character development – They did not change or mature.

I rate this book ⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars.

Available here on Amazon

New Release: 10 Dates by Emily James

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Joanie Fox can’t wait to settle down and marry the man of her dreams. However, when her engagement starts to look more stalemate than soulmate, her best friend stages an intervention sure to make even the most hardened serial daters wince: 10 Dates in 10 Days.

Statistically, if you kiss a lot of frogs there’s bound to be at least one that’s not a complete toad, isn’t there? With nothing to lose, Joanie embarks on a crazy rollercoaster of blind dates. After all, what can possibly go wrong in the search for Mr. Right?

10 Dates is a standalone, sexy, laugh out loud romantic comedy with a happy ending. It is not for the feint hearted and is best suited for readers over the age of eighteen due to sexual themes and mature content.
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Careen by Kerri Ann

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This book does a wonderful job of prepping any readers who have not read the first two in the series, but I sure am glad that I read them first. They give this book deeper meaning and I was able to enjoy it so much more. So, while I highly suggest this story for all romance readers, my advice is to start with book one.

This one picks up right after book two, with the humorous introduction of our couple. It was a fantastic start that only got better. Officer Risen arrests the darling of  the Crown empire, China. You can’t get better than that. Through a heartbreaking, yet entertaining encounter at the courthouse, he’s assigned to be her jailor for a month. Needless to say, that leads to a lot of tension, both emotional and sexual.

I had already fallen in love with China through the other books, but picking this one up without prior knowledge will not stop readers from appreciating her fiery attitude and her desolation over the tragedies that have befallen her family. Careen follows her in the immediate aftermath and how she copes, and doesn’t cope, with her hardships. Risen is fantastic. He’s a mystery and has more depth than is originally alluded to. He knows when to give her distance and when to push her towards addressing her problems. They are truly a perfect match. Unlike in many other novels, their friends are more than simple walk-on-walk-off characters. Her girlfriends are funny and touching, while his best friend is a riot. They all added beautifully to this story.

While this book is not the end of the Anchor & Crown series, it is a fantastic happily-ever-after for China. I love the book and the strength of the characters. The build-up is wonderfully done, providing background and personality to the main characters. Their relationship is electric and is more than lust-at-first-sight, although there is a lot of references to excited nether regions upon their meeting and subsequent interactions. I was so involved that I hated for the story to end, and end it did. Very abruptly. It felt a bit rushed and tied up too nicely at the very last second. I would have loved to see more of what became of them after her house arrest and his duty as her jailor was finished, but the future is not seen past a few weeks of increasing infatuation and, dare I say, love.

For the grading:

  • Genre and general reading age – Romance and only for mature adults. If it was a movie it would be NC-17.
  • Level of sexuality – Extreme. Not only are there many lustful moments that require cold showers, but the actual deed is graphic and beyond steamy. This is one story that made me blush while reading it.
  • Is there graphic language? Of course. China swears like a sailor and Risen mumbles obscenities under his breath throughout. It’s built into the rough exteriors of the characters.
  • Did I cry? No, but my heart hurt for her.
  • Did I laugh? I chuckled a few times. It’s extremely entertaining, but has serious undertones that make it more drama than ha-ha.
  • Is this part of a series? This is book three in the Crown & Anchor series. Next up, Whiskey gets his turn.
  • Level of character development – Both of the main characters are highly developed. They are loveable and remain consistent all the way through. It would have been great to see a little more of Risen and his decision about what his future holds beyond the story, but watching China accept what has happened and try to move on was a joy. She goes from a spoiled kid to a more mature adult who is ready to listen before making judgements.

Out of the three books currently available, this is by far my favorite. I’m relieved that I read the others and I believe other readers will find a greater appreciation for China if they read those, as well. That said, it is a wonderful book with characters that are relatable, aside from the obscene wealth, and are a pleasure to watch evolve. If there had been just a little more end to the ending it would have been a solid five. Even though I could have stood more, I’m happy to award it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 stars. All romance readers, especially those that love the hot moments, should pick this up.

Available here on Amazon

Available here on Barnes & Noble

Mended: A Sweet Home Dixie Novel by Kayla Marie

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Ashley Thomas is a beautiful, emotionally traumatized widow with an equally traumatized son, Emmett. By the time he is thirteen, he has decided that school and family have nothing left to offer him. He’s been in trouble more than once, sent to juvie, and is on probation. At her wit’s end, Ashley decides they need a change, so she packs them up and moves from New Jersey to Alabama. Immediately, she likes the slow drawl in their speech and the kindness they show her and her son. On the other hand, Emmett is not impressed and doesn’t care who knows it.

Emmett develops an explosive attitude and brings his mother to the brink of tears on multiple occasions. He drinks, smokes, ditches school, and thinks he’s an all-around badass. If only his mother would leave him alone and stop letting him know that she won’t protect him from the law anymore. Of course the first time she lets him out by himself, he finds an open garage door and must sneak in to find something to steal. This is how he meets Wade Hudson, a kind man who would rather help than condemn Emmett.

The local diner is where everyone meets and it’s also where Wade immediately falls for Ashley. She doesn’t want a relationship, so he pretends that he never met Emmett. In a small town like Mason, everybody knows everyone else or is related to each other. Therefore, they are stealthily aware of everyone’s private matters. Ashley prefers that Emmett’s troubles not be broadcast, nor the gloom that weighs her down over the death of her husband. It’s hard to remain aloof, though, when she needs a friend so badly and the people care so much.

This is a well-written romance, however, it is a typical one. The characters are sweet and Emmett is the only one who has a dark side until Wade unsurprisingly takes him under his wing, opening the door for a relationship with Ashley. Overall, it’s a rather bland story. There is very little conflict, if any, and none of the characters reveal any doubt, disappointment, bitterness, joy, relief, etc., all the emotions that make life interesting. There are usually emotions I can do without in a story, but it would have been great for these characters to show something.

A small amount of the story is dedicated to Wade, his brother who is in prison, and their father. There is some intimation of the ugly side of prison life and I feel if the story has this smidgen of grit, why isn’t there more exposure in the lives of the characters? As it is, the relationship with Wade and his family stick out like a sore thumb. In conclusion, the author shows real talent, but the characters don’t support it.

The grading:

  • Genre and general reading age – As I stated, it is romance for teens and adults.
  • Level of sexuality – The love scenes are far from what is now considered “normal”. They are the now-unheard-of “fade to black”. It was actually a relief that I didn’t have to deal with explicit sex.
  • Is there graphic language? Not much.
  • Did I cry? No.
  • Did I laugh? No.
  • Is this part of a series? Yes, the Sweet Home Dixie series.
  • Level of character development – These characters do not evolve. They are basically happy most of the time.

I give this book ⭐️⭐️ stars.

Available here on Amazon

Forbidden: Better Wear Your Flak Jacket by F. Stone

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October 2047. Eliza Ramsey is a paramedic, and although she has never been to the Republic of Islamic Provinces and Territories (RIPT), she is excited when she is asked to accompany a group of Americans traveling for Habitat for Humanity. At first, she doesn’t feel comfortable waiting at Samarra’s International Airport for the others to arrive and, unfortunately, as time passes she catches the attention of Security and spends a nerve-wracking time being questioned. Finally, she is informed that the rest of the team will arrive that evening.

After waiting for hours, she spots fifteen Americans. She introduces herself and they all toss their luggage into the back of a large truck and climb aboard their waiting bus. After her ordeal with Security and her long wait, she is exhausted and looks forward to a relaxing two-hour ride to their camp. She is jolted awake when the bus pulls into a gas station; time for snacks, drinks, and restroom breaks. Knowing this is a break in their expected schedule, Eliza feels uneasy and moves into the truck holding their belongings, hoping to calm her anxiety.

As the vehicles travel through Samarra, Eliza’s nervousness increases, noting they are off track. She is confused when they pull into the local police compound and soon after she hears loud voices and screaming. Deafening gunfire drowns out the screams and just when she thinks it is over, more shouting ensues and she realizes the police are in the middle of a gun fight. Racing from her hiding spot, she notes that none of the Americans have survived. It is in the midst of this chaos and fear that Eliza meets Captain Hashim Shariff, the police commander, and the one person who can ensure she survives her trip to RIPT.

This is a story of a Canadian woman and a Muslim man carefully feeling their way into a relationship in a tale ripe with action, loyalty, love, treason, and murder. I enjoyed this book immensely and it is definitely not a run of the mill romance. I remained on high alert throughout, watching for the next betrayal, murder, or finally the first kiss. The author presents a well-informed story of the morals, beliefs, and dress code of this Arabic society. It was utterly engrossing!

The grading:

  • Genre and general reading age – As I said, it’s not just a romance. This book is more suspense than anything else. The age is geared towards adults and there is a political aspect, many characters to juggle, and the need to understand how religion can engulf a people and their society, making this a more mature read.
  • Level of sexuality – Mild.
  • Is there graphic language? I think I have read too many books that have graphic language as a given, so I didn’t really notice it. However, the author warns of the violence and vulgar language, so I’m pretty sure she’s spot on. Therefore, she recommends 18+ and I agree.
  • Did I cry? No.
  • Did I laugh? No. Far too much suspense for that!
  • Is this part of a series? I have not heard of a sequel, but it does have a cliffhanger at the end, so I hope to see more.
  • Level of character development – These characters were highly developed and never let the story down.

It is with great pleasure that I give this book ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars.

Available here on Amazon