Book Reviews

Book Reviews

ReviewsHere at Magnhild Press, we take our book reviews seriously, but more than that, we sincerely appreciated our readers who take the time to write their reviews. Jotting down your impressions and feelings about books you’ve just read to actually write reviews takes some pondering and even a little self-exploration. We encourage reviews, even as simple as, “I liked it,” or “It wasn’t my cup of tea,” so we know what our readers are thinking once they’ve read one of our titles. Thank you, dear readers!

An intriguing story with breathtaking action
By jaycee February 24, 2018

After completing the first installment of Shellam’s Trilogy, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the second book in Em Series (Mackenna on the Edge). MacKenna (sic) on the Edge begins seventeen years after the breathtaking conclusion of the first novel. We catch up with Em whose haunting past has her spiraling into an abyss. Cleverly woven backstories fill in the missing pieces for the reader and give detailed insight into how the characters have evolved. This emotional, teeth-clenching, enduring love story had its grip on me. I finished reading it in three days and can’t wait to begin the third book in the series. Great job Djuna Shellam!! Keep Writing!

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The love story between MacKenna and Alice is gentle

By jaycee February 24, 2018

I adore this book (The Incredible Transformations of Alice Hollywood). It is a touching and emotional story. The author grapples with social issues of the time, such as gays in the military and sexual harassment. The love story between MacKenna (sic) and Alice is gentle, perilous, and at times, humorous. It is a heartwarming journey of two women in love in a world unaccepting. Definitely gets 5 stars from me.

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 Well written, detailed and enthralling story!

By Karen Collett on November 29, 2017

I so very much enjoyed this (The Incredible Transformations of Alice Hollywood) book! Exceptionally well written. The author dives deep into the characters and brings out their believability. The story is incredibly detailed, putting me right in the setting along with the characters. I loved the characters, got mad at the characters, hurt and rejoiced with the characters. Bravo! Well done!

I can’t wait to finish reading the next book Makenna on the Edge Book 2.

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You HAVE to read this book!

By Xeripha Mae Jones on May 13, 2016

I have read all three books in the series and Prairie Fire is a fabulous read as a stand-alone or as the third volume in the series. Shellam’s ability to interweave several stories at a time without causing confusion is phenomenal. I have fallen in love with all her characters and look forward to more books in this series.

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By Patty R. on May 13, 2016

Djuna Shellam’s interwoven tales in “The Em Suite” just keep getting better and better! The characters are so well drawn that you will find yourself, in turn, cheering for them and getting absolutely infuriated with them. One thing you will not be is bored, as the stories of Em, Dot, and, of course, Prairie Fire, further unfold. If you read this book and love it as I did, then you must go back and read “The Incredible Transformations of Alice Hollywood” and “Mackenna on the Edge.” You will enjoy a very good read as these books continue the stories of the wonderful “Em Suite” women in a non-sequential and extremely interesting way.

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Excellent story
By UK Lass—June 23, 2016

Wow, what a story. The writing style is seamless, story engaging, characters interesting. Enjoying the series 🙂

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Shellam’s Hat Trick!
By Juan La Deuce—October 16, 2016

“Prairie Fire,” the third book in the Em Suite series from master syllable crafter, Djuna Shellam, burns, churns, yearns, titillates (heavy emphasis on titillates), and once again, dangles a juicy carrot for what is yet to come.

The phrase “oh what a tangled web we weave” doesn’t begin to cover the subject matter throughout — though deception isn’t necessarily intentional, just a byproduct of everybody’s sweatpants getting torn off on whatever day contains a “y.”

Once again, Shellam takes the exposition of character to unparalleled proportions. We know everything about everyone, and then we don’t, but then we do even more so.

Though my mental incapacities preclude me from absorbing too many stimuli in one reading sitting, I clipped through “Prairie Fire” at a torrid pace thanks largely to the multi-textured time shifts and timeless titillation. Did I mention the titillation yet?

You’ll enjoy the dickens out of Em, Eve, Prairie, Fiona, Dot, and the whole damn gang. De-lish!

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Another fascinating book from a talented author
By UK Lass—September 29, 2016

Wow, what a story. It meanders through different periods in time seamlessly, all the time answering questions that have been simmering in the background. It builds nicely to a conclusion, but still leaves plenty for the next book in the series to explore. Very entertaining.

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Great character creation! 

By “Luvagoodread” February 4, 2014

*The Incredible Transformations of Alice Hollywood* (Kindle Edition)
This was a well-thought-out storyline. Shellam’s phrasing is so entertaining and the story of Alice unfolds in a most interesting and in-depth manner. I loved this book! It is not your usual fly-by-night lesbian romance. A delight for all readers!

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Shellam Reloads, Unloads, Obliterates Target
By Juan La Deuce—July 20, 2016

Far be it from me to not in some way make everything about myself, but here we are. I am a slow reader. The reasons are many (slow-witted, lazy, distracted by catnip frogs, binge eater, etc.).

That being said, I ripped through “Mackenna on the Edge” faster than its predecessor, “The Incredible Transformations of Alice Hollywood” (which I had already given high marks to), because the story grooved along so naturally, so invitingly, and winking all the while as if to suggest I might be getting lucky on every forthcoming page.

If there’s a “series” of anything, I will not get involved without starting at the very beginning. But Shellam so deftly crafts her stories and characters, each book could stand on its own merit and be enjoyed being read first or second.

Shellam takes her characters so deep, she might get called before Congress over juicing allegations. Many minor characters are introduced along the way and, in just a page or two, take on a remarkable back story all of their own. Without giving anything away, a happy seaman ascends at “Mackenna’s” end as a reward for a good deed.

I’m about to embark on the third book in the series, “Prairie Fire,” and am certain Shellam will again not disappoint pushing me to emotional depths I simply don’t have the ability to reach on my own in the three-dimensional world.

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By Barry Schnell on January 19, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

Keen details galore infused into deep characters thrust into fantastically difficult situations (The Incredible Transformations of Alice Hollywood). There’s something for everyone—love, humor, fear, hope, and tactical hanky-panky. It was easy to get sucked into Shellam’s wonderfully descriptive settings and exchanges of fanciful dialogue shared between friends and enemies, masters and subordinates, and the sober and un-sober. If you were only going to read one more book, make it this one.

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A vivid tale!
By Patti R—July 14, 2014

This is a truly unique and moving story of two most interesting women. You don’t have to be a lesbian to enjoy this tale involving homophobia in the military in the seventies. (As a side note, I have a lesbian sister who was in the military slightly later in time, and I think she went through a lot of what Alice and Em experienced. This book made me appreciate more fully how difficult it must have been for her.) Djuna Shellam makes her characters come alive and writes in such a way that you feel you are watching the events unfold in front of you. Read this book before you read “McKenna on the Edge,” which is the sequel. And then let’s hope Djuna continues to write more!

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Even better than the first!

By Patti R—July 14, 2014

This sequel to “The Incredible Transformations of Alice Hollywood” does not disappoint! In fact, I liked this continuation of the story of Alice and Em even better than the first book. Djuna Shellam’s ability to create vivid characters and scenes is still present, and the story builds throughout the book to a shattering conclusion. Keep ’em coming, Djuna!

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A strong book

By Anne C. Eriksen (Norway) May 19, 2014

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

I found the start a bit slow, and with too many details. I was impatient and wanted the main characters to open up for their relationship. After I while I liked the details, and the “movie” in my head was very clear. I must say it was increasingly more difficult to close the book, as I needed to know what happened next. Throughout the book, new stories unfold, really good incorporated in the main story. I found the language of Alice rather strong, but all in all: I really liked the way the stories were nested together. A good “plot”. And I loved the end to be “the beginning”.

The story is from mid 70’s, and the book can also be read as a history book of how the homophobia could be life-threatening and ruin peoples life.

The title could have been “The decisive moment”, this book has many decisive moments.
Djuna Shellam, I look forward to your next book!

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by Wenley Om

Expect to put off a few things you intend to do when you pick up a book by Djuna. In Alice Hollywood, Djuna will introduce you to a few women you will find difficult to walk away from. Share the experience with your partner or selfishly turn the pages yourself. 

The characters easily become familiar and their ability to reach you and keep you entertained is what a reader expects when opening a book by Djuna. You will flirt with fantasy and indulge in forgotten passions and you WILL want more. MacKenna on the Edge will remind you, love is its most precious when it is given willingly without regret. 

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by IMS

Almost from the beginning of this story, I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. The characters, slowly developed, really grew on me to a point I felt I knew them and actually cared about what happened to them. Yes, the beginning is a bit slow, but I actually didn’t mind that. It’s like a sloooow burning ember that suddenly erupts into a raging fire. Sometimes books just jump into the “good stuff” so quickly you almost don’t even care. By the time this story’s smoldering embers got hold of me, I was hooked and happily swept up into the flames.

To me, Alice is a complex and somewhat tortured character, but even though the story is about her, it’s so much more which is something I really liked about the story. The rest of the cast of characters add so much to the ever-churning plot. And what I liked the most about the story, is that unlike too many books in this genre, it wasn’t a one-dimensional story with one-dimensional characters. There are so many luscious layers that give the story so much depth. I also enjoyed the organization of the story, which I suspect is what kept me turning those pages. Chapters didn’t just go from one scene to the next obvious scene. Some people may not like the suspense that creates, but I do.

The Incredible Transformations of Alice Hollywood is not just a love story. It’s a comedy, a tragedy, a suspense-filled mystery, and yes, a love story. Some scenes made me laugh, some had me holding my breath, and I will even reluctantly admit to crying. By the end, all I could think was, what? It’s over!? I truly enjoyed it, and I think I’ll read it again—after I read Shellam’s next book, that is. I’m dying to see what happens next!

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