Tag Archives: other: reviews

reviews: A Night with the Knight of the Burning Pestle

The Grocer Errant on Goodreads

Anna Mladen said: I don’t know what exactly I’ve been expecting from this book, but by 12% on that kindle scale I was suddenly awake and breathless to see how all of this will play out: it was like certain discourse from certain Tumblr/Twitter feeds where ‘righteous’ citizen are up in arms to lay down the law of the land. Er. Fandom world, but not only.

The good Citizen in the book/play is up by the stage by this point, demanding that she’ll have representation in the play, or else. Who can deny the RL echoes of this one with the number of ‘shoutout’ we are subjected to these days….Just like 400 years ago, it seems. Eh. Wonder what that means?

There’s little I love more than seeing history intertwined with contemporary events all over again. It brings out perspective, my ears start to sting from lessons we should have known already, and the ‘original’ and monumental game-changing concerns of these days are starting to lose something of their shiny and pressing edge. Issues become once again man-made problems, and thus seem easier to overcome. One can breathe better, hope beating again in the chest.

reviews: A Certain Persuasion

The Good, the Bad and the Unread: Grade B (Good) from Stevie

Excerpt: Pretty much every letter of the QUILTBAG is represented here, along with retellings, prequels, sequels, and stories about readers of the various novels. There are even references to Colin Firth tucked away in there. Of course, such a mixed collection is going to have some stories that appeal more than others; however, in this case none of them disappointed me. … A highly enjoyable book whether read from cover to cover in a single sitting or dipped into at will over a prolonged period.

And if you wish to read more:

Universally Civil, an article by anthology editor and contributor Julie Bozza in the online magazine of The Jane Austen Centre in Bath – a particularly supportive and friendly bunch!

Why Queer Retellings of Classic Stories Are So Necessary, an article by Lindsay King-Miller on the Vice Magazine website, which mentions the anthology.

reviews: The Fine Point of His Soul

My alternate history, The Fine Point of His Soul, received its first review on Goodreads from its proud dedicatee! It has also received terrific, thoughtful reviews on the Jessewave site – which is particularly appreciated, as their main focus is male-male romance, a theme which is only a subplot in this novel – and also from Narrelle Harris, a writer who knows how to spin a darn good yarn.

Discovering Diamonds: Highly Recommended by Richard Tearle


Excerpts: … an excellent read. … not exactly a romp, but the action moves along at a good pace, the dialogue is suitable for the ‘romantic’ poets and the plot and settings authentic. … an intriguing mystery and very well told to boot!

Mortal Words: 4 stars from Narrelle M Harris

Excerpt and summary: Bozza … evokes the language and cadences of the time period without sounding like a pastiche – her prose has an easy, thoroughly readable flow. Through Andrew Sullivan she has a narrator who is practical but has a love of the noble and poetic, particularly explored through his friendship with Keats and the discussions he has with all the poets. Bozza writes artists who converse like artists without getting pompous or sounding like she’s simply reworking material from their own poetry or diaries. Her understanding of the poets in question and their worldviews feels extensive, and she manages to incorporate these ideas with a light touch and a sensibility for how they impact the characters, their interactions and the overall story. … the inexorable pace of it is taut and full of anticipation. … The Fine Point of His Soul is a beautifully crafted novel of Gothic horror, evoking original tales of the time period while achieving its own storytelling voice.

Reviews by Jessewave: 4 stars from LadyM

Excerpt and summary: One of the things I love about Julie Bozza’s writing is the fact that she can change her writing style from book to book to fit their tone and theme. Whether it’s a gritty police procedural, beautiful love story set in Australian Outback or, in this case, speculative fiction set in alternate 1820s, she wields the chosen style with ease and brings to life an amazing cast of characters. And here, in The Fine Point of His Soul, the style beautifully matches the story’s characters, especially the three most famous among them, romantic poets John Keats, Percy Shelley and Lord Byron, their heightened emotions, doubts, fancies, loves and losses, pathos. … Bozza’s portrayal of Keats warmed my heart, but I fell head over heels with Byron (though I suspect every reader will have their own favorite). He is a proud man, sometimes hard, unreliable and insecure. He sees himself as a man of action, but the gentleman and lord in him always win. … The Fine Point of His Soul isn’t a perfect novel … [however] In Keats’s own words: “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.”

Keats on Goodreads

  • Bryn Hammond said: The trio of star Romantic poets, Keats, Shelley, Byron – sort of like the Three Musketeers – with each his companion or offsider (wife, servant, friend) and – if I’m going to run with the Three Musketeers – our d’Artagnan is nothing of a poet, he’s a lieutenant in the navy, who requires their help or other input – it isn’t always assistance, at least from Byron – in a secret mission, sensitive both to the Home Office and to the lieutenant’s heart. … [Recommended] If you like unlikely heroes in speculative histfic, or want to meet Bryon, Shelley and Keats. Believe me, you want to meet Keats.
  • Sanna said: Unusual, skillful incorporation of real historical figures with a fascinating narrator and fantastical gothic story.
  • Abigail Bok said: This is an odd little book, but I found considerable interest in just about every page of it. I enjoyed the characters’ companionship, their attachments and their conflicts; and their dialogue and activities seemed believable. I felt they were all people I might know. … I was especially delighted to discover an author who is writing as she pleases, without looking over her shoulder at what “readers” might want or expect. The greatest pleasure I found in the reading was its unpredictability—the fact that it was not written to some kind of formula or genre. The author followed the story where it led her. I hope to find more such works!

Readers’ Responses

Lisa Scott: The Fine Point Of His Soul is an innovative historical mystery, set in Rome in the 19th century. It is a tale of friendship and the encounter between good and evil featuring the Romantic Poets, a valiant naval lieutenant and the inscrutable figure of Iago.

Somebody has stolen important papers from the English government. The lieutenant must travel to Rome to retrieve them from the suspected thief. He enlists the help of John Keats and his friends and together they embark on a journey that will lead to disturbing and fatal events, causing them to doubt their own sanity.

I loved the premise of this enthralling novel – a fusion of true historical facts and settings with a ‘what if’ scenario. The scenario being what could Keats have got up to in the last few months of his life, after he had been quarantined aboard the Maria Crowther in the Bay of Naples.

It is a wonderfully written tale with a well-realized historical setting, very likeable characters and an intriguing original plot. In reading I was transported to the piazzas and pavements of C19th Rome and longed to be part of the ‘gang’ so I could join in with their tea drinking and plotting.

The story contains some references to literary details, which a less cultured reader (like myself) may have felt a little daunting – but not to worry, as the lieutenant is not so well read either and so the author kindly ensures that where necessary, explanations are given to the lieutenant and vicariously to the reader via Keats and his friends.

The author’s knowledge and love of Keats emanates from the pages, which makes the book all the more a joy to read.

reviews: The ‘True Love’ Solution

Thank you to everyone who’s giving my latest novel a try! I had a lot of fun writing it, and I hope that makes it a lot of fun to read.

Bike Book Reviews: review by Becky

Excerpt: Jules captured my heart on page 1 of this book, what with his swinging hips and artfully styled ginger hair, how could one not fall in love? … it is a great read. 

Books Laid Bare Boys: 4 stars from Fiona

Excerpt: I enjoyed this so much – it was well written and properly researched so no distractions from the story line. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to read an amusing feel good old fashioned romance (with a bit of gay sex thrown in for very good measure!)

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words: 3.75 stars from Stella

Excerpt: I discovered Julie Bozza in the Butterfly Hunter series and fell in love with her style. That’s the reason I soon jumped into the chance at reading The ‘True Love’ Solution. What I particularly like of this author is her way with words, she can always bring me into real and at the same time dreamy worlds. This is exactly what I felt with this last story.

Bayou Book Junkie: 4 stars from Jaymie

Excerpt: The writing was very good and the author is definitely talented.

Engaging Secrets: 4 feathers from Gretchen

Gretchen seems to have found it a rather unexpected book – weird and quirky! – but concludes: Overall there were things I didn’t like but mostly I enjoyed this book very much. It’s different and well written with complex characters.

Romantic Fanatic Book Blog: 4 stars from Brave One

Brave One particularly enjoyed the ‘sweet love story’, the humour, and Jules’ family dynamics.

The Novel Approach: 3 stars from Jules

While the ‘love triangle’ aspect of the tale did not suit, Jules still found a lot of things to like about it. Archie, Leonard, and the strength of the opening chapters and the final chapter saved this one for me.

Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews: 4.5 stars from Mark

Beware of spoilers if you click through to this review!

Conclusion: This book has no big angst factor, no biting your nails, no heart breaking break-ups, big tear jerking making up or reunion scenes and no broken characters.  It is light on the erotic but thoroughly entertaining as it focuses more on the characters, and what wonderful characters they are too. I was in immersed in this book from the beginning and thanks to Julie’s wonderful writing was introduced to another set of vibrant, lovable characters.

Mortal Words: 4 stars from Narrelle M Harris

Conclusion: All up, The ‘True Love’ Solution is a light, fun, gentle, sweet read that dances its sprightly way to a lovely and satisfying conclusion. It’s a perfect pick-me-up if life has seemed a bit dark lately, and a cheerful confection if life’s good and you want to celebrate True Love, even if it does wobble off course sometimes.

Readers’ Responses

Tess on Goodreads gave it 4 stars and said: This was a delightful, sweet and very British romance. One thing I really loved was Jules’ relationship with his father, Archie. Probably one of the best father/son relationships I’ve seen in gay romance.

Ije on Goodreads gave it 5 stars and said: I needed to read something like this. Something that has a strong loving family, a character who loves to read romances and adores authors. … This is a lovely story which is touching, gentle, beautiful in its simplicity but very realistic.  And it is going onto my list of exquisite reads for 2016!

Keela on Goodreads gave it 5 stars and said: It was solidly adorable. I will definitely be reading from Julie Bozza again.

Sharon on Goodreads gave it 5 stars and said: I rarely award five stars but this book had it all: good story, well written, good editing.

reviews: A Pride of Poppies

Rainbow Awards 2015: Honorable Mention

Judges’ comments: Consistently good short stories. … An excellent anthology of World War 1 stories all told with a remarkable eye for authenticity and a great deal of love and compassion. … Wonderful read!

The Book Breeze: review by Ace Katzenbooks

Conclusion: A good collection of stories, and an excellent reminder that even when things are tough, we can remember that for LGBT people a hundred years ago, they were much more dangerous.

Prism Book Alliance: 4 stars from Feliz

Conclusion: This anthology is, in my eyes, a must for readers interested in the WWI – era as well as for fans of the contributing authors. (who might even discover new favorites, like I did.) It’s high-quality writing throughout, not to be consumed as a whole, but best enjoyed one story at a time.

Historical Novel Society: review by Christoph Fischer

Conclusion: Entertaining, emotional and thought provoking this not only fills a gap in WWI literature, it is also a very moving and stimulating read with plenty of original ideas. 

Very highly recommended.

Editors’ Choice, and Shortlisted for the HNS Indie Award 2016

Long and Short Reviews: 4 stars from Astilbe

Excerpt and conclusion: They say that tough times bring out a person’s true colors. If this is true, I want to meet all of these characters. … a beautiful collection that I’d recommend to anyone who has even the slightest interest in World War I or GLBTQI fiction.

Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews: 4 stars from Sally and Mark

Comments about individual stories: A lovely but bittersweet story of wanting to be normal and fitting in. (No Man’s Land) … Oh this was beautiful! Absolutely beautiful!! (I Remember) … I particularly loved the gentle innocence of both young men and the very practical steps they took independently to try to find out what was what, and the misunderstandings that this engendered. (Inside) … For such a short story the author has packed in a lot of emotional wallop and a lot of sharply drawn secondary characters, including a number of period appropriate but benign women, unusual and refreshing for M/M. (A Rooted Sorrow) … This story blew me away. My historical knowledge is so rooted in European history that it’s always a joy to be shown another country and another way of life, in this case in Cambodia, then under French rule. (Anh Sang)

Adventurous Hearts: review by Narrelle M Harris

Excerpt: … a superb collection of stories that give voices to those who were silenced by the mainstream at the time. … a damned fine read which will break your heart, fill it with hope and remind you that love will find a way to grow, even under the harshest conditions.

Odds and Ends: review by Kizzia

Excerpt: …  I can, hand on heart, say that I didn’t find one story that didn’t move me or make me think about some aspect of living at a LGBTQIA person during the war that I hadn’t considered before. This is something that, given my deep and abiding interest in WWI, you should know is no idle praise …

Reviews by Amos Lassen: review by Amos

Conclusion: This is an anthology in which every story is an excellent read and a look at an age that none of us experienced personally.

On Top Down Under: 5 stars from Kazza K

Overview: A Pride of Poppies is a quality anthology. There isn’t one story I didn’t enjoy. The editing is superb and the writing exceedingly good to sublime. … I could not believe the depth and breadth of storytelling in each and every individual story.

reviews: Mitch Rebecki Gets a Life

There’s no denying that Mitch hasn’t been quite as enthusiastically received as his creator might wish, but I’m very glad and grateful for the thoughtful responses that have been coming in from readers and reviewers.

Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance: 4 stars from Mark

Introduction: I feel the most important thing to say upfront about this book is that it’s not a traditional M/M romance. It’s there but really only plays a very minor background role in the overall story. Knowing this beforehand then you can sit back and enjoy the story for what it is; a story about investigative journalism and how Mitch has a nose for digging up the dirt on people no matter where he lands up. This is what intrigued me and I have now read a number of books where the MC(s) are gay but that’s it; they just are.

Mark also kindly asked me to do a guest post, so I wrote about the ‘fish out of water’ theme. Do drop by and share the love with Sinfully!

Boys In Our Books: 2 stars from Susan

Excerpt: There were still flashes of the Bozza writing that I really enjoy. But the story as a whole and the way that it was put together really did not work for me.

Love Bytes: 3.5 stars from Dan

Excerpt and conclusion: This was an interesting read and take on a reporter’s life. … I enjoyed the book. It was well edited and I would say the writing is above average. It was an interesting afternoon’s read.

Rainbow Awards 2015: Honorable Mention

Judge’s comments: Enjoyable story with interesting characters. Loved the different perspective on Australia and Australians, and the ending was realistic, rather than cliché.

Mitch on Goodreads:

Currently 18 ratings, 10 text reviews, and an average of 3.50 stars.

  • Ije gave it 5 stars, and said: If I had to describe this story I would call it ‘slice of life’ – ‘a story telling technique that presents a seemingly arbitrary sample of a character’s life.’ Although I don’t think this sample of Mitch’s life could be described as arbitrary. Another way of describing this would be to borrow from my mentor Viv Thomas and describe this as a story of a ‘second choice life.’ A slice of second choice life. … This is a great book, kind of philosophical and a really refreshing change from my usual magic, murder, mayhem and mates.
  • Seventhdevil gave it 4 stars, and said: Overall I wish the book was longer, and fingers crossed there’ll be a sequel.

reviews: The Thousand Smiles of Nicholas Goring

I’m happy and grateful for the response to this third volume in my Butterfly Hunter series. Thank you to everyone who is accompanying Dave and Nicholas through the last chapters of their journey together!

Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews: 5 stars from Mark

Introduction: OMG, beautiful, absolutely beautiful. It is of course no secret that I have just loved this series so far but the third and final book just brings everything to a close of what has been just one gorgeous and exquisite story from beginning to end.

Mark also asked me to do a video for the Sinfully Sexy site, so please go check it out! I make a fool of myself, but hey it’s all for the best cause – that is, True Love!

Boys In Our Books: 3.5 stars from Susan

Excerpt: I love the care with which Julie Bozza writes David and Nicholas. She’s very deliberate in the ways she progresses their story, their relationship, their interactions and as someone who’s taken this journey with them through the series, I appreciate it so much.

Rainbow Awards 2015: Honorable Mention

Judges’ comments: A really engaging story that was easy to follow despite being the 3rd book in a series I had not read. … Very heartfelt, with a poetic, enchanted feel to it. The slow pace works for this particular story. Having read the first two books in the series probably would have helped, but wasn’t necessary, which is always the sign of a great read.

The Thousand Smiles on Goodreads:

Currently 49 ratings, 15 text reviews, and an average of 4.16 stars.

  • Kaje gave it 4 stars, and said: I love established-couple romances, and this one was smooth and lovely to read.
  • Kat gave it 5 stars, and said: This makes me happy, the perfect ending to a wonderful series.
  • Don Bradshaw gave it 4 stars, and said: Written perfectly in Ms Bozza’s descriptive style the reader feels as though they have discovered something magical
  • Niki gave it 5 stars, and said: The writer could not have ended this series in a better way. Dave and Nicholas have come a long way as this 3rd book revisit them 7 years later.

Readers’ Responses

Dianne listed it in her Best of ’14 and said: Gorgeous writing. The perfect, beautiful love and understanding between Nicholas and his Davey is once again delivered in stunning form. The series story arc is delivered full circle in reverent prose. The sublime Australian outback and culture plays a crucial and unforgettable role. When I read this book, this series…I am right there with them. I’ll never look at a blue butterfly again without thinking of these two men.

reviews: A Threefold Cord

The Romance Reviews: 5 stars from KindleRomance

Excerpt and conclusion: I found this story fascinating. I love to feel like I’m in the middle of what’s happening in the minds of the characters, and this story did a great job of really pulling me into Grae’s head. … A magnificent and emotional reflection on the complexities of a relationship among three men.

The Novel Approach: 5 stars from Tina

Excerpt and conclusion: Julie Bozza has created a powerful and emotional novel about Grae, Ben and Chris, three men who have in common their love of theatre. Their chemistry as actors when they work together is undeniable. Their lives off stage and screen are not always so harmonious. … Ms. Bozza writes in a way that made their coming together feel very organic. … I don’t mean to imply that it was a smooth ride for our three guys. It felt real, sometimes painfully so. Every issue was faced head-on. … A Threefold Cord was beautiful, moving, and wonderful. I completely enjoyed it. The setting: the pure Britishness of it. The plot which had the theatre almost being a fourth member of the relationship between Ben, Grae and Chris. It is a beautiful and intensely emotional story.

Mrs Condit and Friends Read Books: 5 stars from Feliz

Excerpt: All three main characters are lovingly drawn, essentially ordinary people with mundane flaws that make them all the more human. And yet they’re able to go beyond themselves for love’s sake. They disregard conventions and overcome their own misgivings out of love. It’s beautiful, it’s amazing what people are able to do for love, and the reward makes it all worthwhile. This was the message I took from this story, and it made me close the book with a blissful sigh. Highly, highly recommended.

Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews: 5 stars from Tina

Excerpt: I loved the guys from the start. … Julie is a wonderful storyteller, a gifted writer, she is a genius at weaving magical, deeply moving stories.

Tina also interviewed me, and asked some particularly thoughtful and engaging questions, so I’d love it if you went to check out her review and the interview as well!

Boys in Our Books: 3.5 stars from Jenni

Excerpt: Just when I thought I knew myself: my likes, dislikes, things I will and won’t tolerate in a book. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, Julie Bozza walks in with her book about a polyamorous love affair among three actors. … Has Bozza changed my mind about all ménage? Heck no. But if she’s writing about it, I’m reading it … and probably liking it lots.

Hearts on Fire Reviews: 5 stars from Mandy for the eBook

Excerpt: Julie just has such a unique way of telling her tale. Gentle, slow and patient. Her characters are adults and they act like it, they feel strong emotions but are mature and careful and considerate of the ones they love.

Hearts on Fire Reviews: 3.5 stars from Barb for the audiobook

Introduction: Very British. Very, very British. A UK author in a UK setting with a British narrator with a very proper dialect. If you don’t like all things UK, don’t bother to pick this up. If you do—you’re in for a treat.

Threefold on Goodreads:

  • Dianne gave it 5 stars, and said: Julie Bozza gets into the heart of her characters and puts them on full display – bruised, battered and bound back together by love – like no other. Astounding. Brilliant. Mesmerizing.
  • Pjm12 gave it 5 stars, and said: It all felt very organic. I loved the way Ben and Grae found each other. I loved the way Chris integrated into this couple, and I especially love the use of the stage plays to keep everything moving forward. I actually could rave on about this one. It felt so real, and no issue was dismissed or shoved to one side. They dealt with Grae’s jealousy and Ben’s protective nature and Chris’ vulnerabilities. And Grae’s mum was just a little bit awesome. Will definitely reread this.
  • Kat gave it 5 stars, and said: What I loved most about it was that it felt honest… it’s a book about three people in a relationship, Ben, Grae and Chris. After some minor ups and downs they come together and while I liked the book so far, I loved it then because it didn’t stop with them coming together, there was no HEA and that’s it, on the contrary, there was hard work for the three guys and that was brilliant.
  • Isabel gave it 5 stars, and said: This is my Julie Bozza debut, and what a marvelous experience that was! Her writing is amazing! The story is carefully written, the plot is slowly developed, and we can appreciate every word with calm and understanding! … One of the things that I love more about this kind of books, is to see how the author creates a menage that we can actually think that is doable… you know, something that could actually happen and be real. And the story of Grae, Ben and Chris, is just like that… it looks real!

Readers’ Responses

Shell said: I read A Threefold Cord in one sitting. It is a wonderful story about love, companionship, and acceptance. The slow burn relationship between the three main characters was a joy to read. Grae, Chris, and Ben are well written and fleshed out with fully formed personalities and traits.

Julie writes with a smooth and effortless style and gives just the right amount of detail for your imagination to create the rest. I never see the words within her stories they flow seamlessly.

Her experience in the Romance genre is clear.

reviews: Of Dreams and Ceremonies

Some terrific responses from readers and reviewers!

French edition:

Mon Paradis des Livres: 4/5 from Jessy

Conclusion: Pour ma part, même si mon âme rêveur et romantique a préféré le premier opus, il fut plus que ravi de cette suite certes un peu trop courte mais aux allures féeriques… où Amour, Tendresse, Volupté et Bonheur sont au rendez-vous.

English edition:

Reviews by Jessewave: 4.75 stars from Feliz

Excerpt: I loved how both Nicholas and Dave remained true to themselves while at the same time, they managed to grow toward each other, making a stronger couple in the end. Amazingly done and embedded in a smoothly flowing, at times almost poetic narrative laced with this author’s trademark gentley mocking humor–despite some minor niggles, this was a worthy sequel to a wonderful book and a treat to read.

Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews: 5 stars from Mark

Excerpt: Once again Julie … comes through with a wonderful story.

Boys in Our Books: 4 stars from Ami

Excerpt: I am in love with how Julie Bozza writes …

The Romance Reviews: 3 stars from Kindle Romance

Excerpt: If you enjoyed the first story in this series, then this is a must read …

MM Good Book Reviews: 3 stars from Cat

Excerpt: I think the story is very good. I loved both Nicholas and Dave. The story was one of the most beautiful love stories I have read in a while. I love the descriptions of the places they visit, I felt as if I were there. There is a touch of mystery mixed in that added a bit of excitement to the story. … If you like sweet, sensual, emotional romances, sexy Australians, hot English dignitaries, butterflies, beautiful scenery, and a little very sensual, loving mansex, same-sex weddings and happy for now endings, this is for you.

Of Dreams and Ceremonies on Goodreads

Currently 3.88 stars, with 83 ratings!

  • Simsala gave it 5 stars and said: I highly recommend Of Dreams and Ceremonies and its prequel to all people who believe love is nothing but a chemical reaction. These books will convince them that that’s not true. … And now let me go back basking in that peaceful, warm, and cozy place that is a Julie Bozza romance.
  • Dianne gave it 5 stars and said: This highly anticipated sequel to Butterfly Hunter blesses the reader with more gorgeous writing as the story of Nicholas and Dave is dazzlingly spun out. These are two of the loveliest men I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting acquainted with, and in the most glorious of settings as well. Just all around beautiful and gorgeous.
  • Don Bradshaw gave it 4 stars and said: I cannot wait for the third book in this remarkable trilogy.
  • Pjm12 gave it 5 stars, and said: Every bit of this was perfect for me. Each line, every glance, every smile. It just got to me.

Readers’ Responses

From Michelle Peart: I really like Nicholas and Dave and after I finished The Butterfly Hunter I actually missed them for a while so it was lovely to catch up with them again. They are both well written and fully fleshed out with well-formed personalities and traits. There doesn’t need to be a dialogue tag or an action beat for me to know whose speaking. Nobody does dialogue like Julie! I also love Nicholas’s quintessentially British family and how they accepted Dave into their fold.

I love some of the descriptions, for example – the books making random rainbows amongst the sea of blue in Nicholas’s bedroom – love it. And I like Nicholas’s blog entries throughout the story.

Of Dreams and Ceremonies include three ceremonies, my favourite been the third ceremony the Corroboree. I just adore Julie’s descriptions of Australia, its people and its customs. You can feel her passion for the subject in every word and verbal illustration. I felt a bit sad that there wasn’t more of the story set in Australia as I feel this is where Julie shines but, the second ceremony, and subsequent yarn, in Cornwall more than made up for it with its myths, magic and legends – love a bit of myth!

A lovely bubbling along romance with two guys I would love to hang out with. I now quite fancy a second honeymoon in the isolated cottage on the cliff edge myself!

It’s bonzer mate!

reviews: The Apothecary’s Garden

My age-difference male-male romance, The Apothecary’s Garden, has received some truly lovely attention! Thank you to everyone who’s giving this one a go. ♥

My Reviews and Ramblings: from Elisa

Excerpt: This was quite a beautiful romance, and strange enough, while the pace was slow, for various reason I will explain, the story wasn’t at all boring, and actually it was captivating, like a blanket wrapping you in winter, letting no desire to go out of your nestle. … I liked how respectful the author was of these two men, and how she didn’t deprive them of the sexual nature of their relationship. Tom is 23 years old and it would be unbelievable if he hadn’t desires; sure their love making is different from that of two twenty something fellows, but nevertheless is satisfying for the both of them.

Bachelors and Bombshells Book Reviews: 5 smooches from Runell

Excerpt: I can only hope that ‘once upon a time’ the story between Hilary and Tom actually took place because this slowly formed friendship that then unfolds into love … It’s just a love, that if it existed, made the world a little better of a place. […] This was my first book by Julie Bozza so I can’t compare this work to any of her others, and I don’t want to compare it to any other author’s work because that’s like comparing apples and oranges (cliché, I know, but it’s true). All I know is that if her other work is anything like ‘The Apothecary’s Garden’, I’ll give it a go.

Bittersweet Reviews: 4 stars from Aurora

Excerpt: Trusting Manifold Press to release quality work, I decided to buy this without reading either the blurb or the extract so I had no idea what The Apothecary’s Garden was about and it proved to be a fabulous surprise because I don’t always like Julie Bozza’s releases. I had almost made my mind up that Bozza’s style just wasn’t for me, but I fell in love with last year’s Butterfly Hunter and everything just sort of clicked into place after that. … Bozza’s prose is beautiful and has a dream like quality similar to Butterfly Hunter which may be why I liked it so much. The book literally starts with the words “Once upon a time” which I will admit made my heart sink a little but once the setting is established, the writing becomes more intimate and I was quickly drawn into Hilary’s world. More importantly, Bozza has set her readers a challenge with this book and that is to open their minds to the idea that love can exist for two people who are generations apart and it shouldn’t really matter.

Reviews by Jessewave: 4 stars from Sirius

Excerpt: Julie Bozza is a writer whose writing I love and whose work I also respect very much if for nothing else than for the fact that she tries to write about so many different things in her stories. … I really loved both guys in this book. Hilary was such a sweetheart and it was really a sweet and gentle read overall. Almost nothing happens in this book besides them meeting, restoring a garden together and slowly, so very slowly, moving towards each other. The conflict is about Hilary worrying over him being so much older than Tom. You really have to like slow moving books if you want to enjoy this one, where the two characters are figuring out their relationship and whether they would have one. Tom was an old soul, who was also smart, resilient and so very determined to get what he wants, or should I say whom he wants. But he was also a bit naïve and sometimes too persistent. … I thought that the guys had chemistry together and while I was reading the book, I even managed to almost forget about their age difference … I still highly recommend the book though if you are okay with a huge age difference between the protagonists.

Boys in Our Books: 2.5 stars from Sue

Conclusion: Obviously The Apothecary’s Garden is not meant to be any of the things I was looking for, so the joke is on me – but I was so bored, I wanted to cry. I can see why everyone adores it because it’s lovely and gentle and very sweet, but yeah not for me.

The Novel Approach: 3.5 stars from Lisa Horan

Conclusion: The Apothecary’s Garden is a book I’d recommend unreservedly if you’re looking for a story that leads you quietly along the path to its happy ending. Don’t read it if you’re expecting loads of angst and conflict, don’t read it if you’re expecting erotica, but do read it if you’re looking for an understated and touching romance.

Hilary on Goodreads

  • Enny gave it 5 stars and said: For this gem of a book I’ll ignore my resolution not to post reviews here anymore because it deserves all the love it can get. … Things like date of birth becomes completely unimportant when you meet your soul mate. And the author did a wonderful job of showing how they both liked the same things, had the same values and how well they fit together. … both men have a deeply caring nature, putting the other’s need before their own and this is what ultimately convinced me that their relationship might actually work. … Plus the prose in the book is absolutely beautiful. Some sentences absolutely took my breath away which is another reason why this is a 5 star read for me.
  • MandyM gave it 5 stars and said: Wow! This is quite brilliant. The May/December pairing doesn’t usually appeal to me and luckily I didn’t realise that was the theme of this novel because I might have missed out on reading it. … I loved Hilary with his knitted tea cosies, his gentle courtesy and his repressed sexuality. And Tom with his youthful exuberance and idealism. The age difference was explored sweetly and thoughtfully. … But away from the book and its beautiful prose, do I believe that Tom would really have fallen for Hilary? I don’t know. But as a romantic fantasy and a love story it was beyond beautiful.
  • Vio gave it 4.85 stars and said: Yes, I am one of those readers where this theme doesn’t work, usually. … What convinced me to keep reading? The beautiful narrative, the fears about pursing a *forbidden* relationship. The courage and will to change … It never once entered my mind that this was a substitute father relationship, its love, plain and simple. … The author is a gifted writer and a wonderful storyteller, she is a whiz at weaving magical stories. I’m impressed, I fell for it, hook line and sinker. A deeply moving story, Highly recommended.
  • Emma gave it 6 stars (!) and said: Spectacular. Marvellous. Wonderful. The most acutely romantic book I’ve read in years. Cried happy tears all the way through, and bought a Bach album. Best of 2013 for me so far by a mile. I wish I could read it again for the first time all over again.
  • Feliz gave it 5 stars and said: In a word, I loved this book. It can’t hold a candle to my all-time favourite Julie Bozza book, Butterfly Hunter, but it comes close. Everything about it was just so up my alley– the garden, the slow pace, the sheer British-ness of both Hilary and Tom. And yes, even the much-belabored age difference…ok, 40+ years is huge, but considering who these two are, it became almost negligible.

Hilary on Amazon UK and Amazon US:

  • Ulysses Dietz said: If this was the last m/m book I ever read, I would die happy.
  • R Parklane said: Looking forward to many more stories from this exceptional writer in the MM romance genre.

Readers’ Responses

Jenre listed this as her favourite male-male romance book read in 2013 in the Contemporary category, and said: This author is a bit of a find for me this year. I love her intelligent writing and the way she manages to make a very large age gap work effectively as a romance in this book. Both characters were charming and the story has stayed with me long after I finished.