Book Review Tuesday – Summoned – #BRT

This is the first book in the From Smokeless Fire series by author M.A. Guglielmo (and her debut novel). Beautiful cover. Wow. I was wayyyyy out of my comfort zone with this one, but stay with me, because I stayed with the story.

I found Summoned a unique paranormal story, and though I don’t usually (ever) read paranormal, I really enjoyed the fact that this book seemed different – jinns!

Zahara is a jinn who loves sex, shoes, and lots of sugary sweets. She is an absolutely mesmerizing character, and kudos to the author for her creativity in drawing out Zahara. Zahara is summoned by an ordinary guy named Daniel Goldstein, and their mission is to stop a fallen angel who’s bent on destroying the world.

Daniel’s deceased Jewish grandmother plays a significant role as well, and Guglielmo takes the reader on a whirlwind journey to mysterious Morocco.

I enjoyed the fact that the author showed a lot of originality with this tale. It’s exceptionally well written, too. Banking on the timeless theme of good vs. evil, Summoned will captivate the reader with its unique spin. I did struggle a bit to stay with the story around two-thirds in – maybe that was just me, but it seemed a little slow. But I stuck with it and I’m glad I did. So, even if you’re not a reader of paranormal, I can recommend this book as a good escape novel.

You can grab a copy of this first-in-a-series book at Amazon

Next book review is Tuesday, June 7. I have some catching up to do!

RI Authors Showcase – Meet Maria Guglielmo

Welcome to the Rhode Island Authors Showcase! Each day in November, this blog will feature a different Rhode Island author. Read the post and leave a comment and you are eligible to win this day’s giveaway!

Leave a comment every day this month for over 30 chances to win either our Grand Prize (a $250 Amazon gift card), our Bonus Prize (a $100 Amazon gift card), or a Cheer-Up Prize (amount to be determined), just in time for holiday shopping!

A winner will be randomly selected one week after the publication of the blog post, and the Grand Prize and Bonus Prize winners will be randomly selected on December 7, 2021. For the daily giveaways, the author will contact you directly to coordinate delivery. Print books for delivery within the US only, please.

M.A. Guglielmo

M.A. Guglielmo is a neurosurgeon, mother of two awesome daughters, and a life-long fan of speculative fiction. Her Italian grandmother may or may not have been able to cast the evil eye on difficult neighbors, and she loves telling a good story, especially if magical curses and witty villains are involved.

Her interest in Middle Eastern politics and culture inspires her to incorporate mythology and folklore from the region into her writing projects. After having the wits scared out of her by ghost tales told to her over a campfire in the Moroccan Sahara, she’s come up with a plan to travel to all the potential settings for her novels. Since those include the mountain-ringed home of the Jinn and a modernized version of the Greek Underworld, some items on her bucket list might be harder to achieve than others.

She enjoys interacting with other authors in classes such as Odyssey’s on-line writing workshop and in her local writer’s group, as well as attending conventions like Boston’s Muse and the Marketplace and Rhode Island’s own Ocean State Summer Writing Conference.

She’s co-authored several papers in clinical journals and a chapter in a medical textbook. Her current fiction projects are described here ( and she posts about the research for her writing here (

Maria was born and raised in Rhode Island, and graduated from Yale University with a degree in biology. She completed her M.D. degree at Brown University Medical School, and went on to complete the Brown University Neurosurgical Residency program. After several years enjoying the company of sunny friends and overcast skies in Portland, Oregon, she moved back to Rhode Island, where she’s a neurosurgeon in academic practice. She lives there with her two daughters, assorted pets, and is always dreaming of the stories that can come out of her next travel destination.

Follow her website here:

And connect with Maria on social media by following these links:

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Amazon author page:





In Book 1, Summoned, the reader is introduced to Zahara, party girl of the paranormal, who floats up out of a lamp in Daniel Goldstein’s apartment, ready to trick an evil sorcerer into giving up his soul. But Daniel, whose Moroccan grandmother has reached out from beyond the grave to command him to raise a jinn, wants to do good – by stopping a vengeful fallen angel.

In Book 2, Soul to Steal, Zahara is back in the human world enjoying cool fashion, hot cars, and hotter men – anything to avoid obsessing over Harut, the fallen angel who saved her life and stole her heart in Morocco. Besides, her usually disapproving mother has given her an important quest: find and protect a half-human cousin who’s gained strange new magical powers.

Book 3, Price to Pay, finds Zahara tired of saving the world from imminent doom, and her enemy to almost-lover Harut’s “no hanky-panky before marriage” rule is driving her crazy. To take the fight to his evil brother Marut, Zahara returns to the land of the jinn to cobble together an alliance between the peoples of the Mountains of Qaf to defeat the fallen angel. Everything that can’t go wrong does anyway, and after dealing with a malfunctioning magic carpet and killer unicorns, Zahara has to steal back an enchanted feather from a feared necromancer and face down the father she’s never known. As more of the jinn join Marut in his plan to destroy humanity, Zahara needs Harut’s help more than ever—to save the world and her heart. But when the final confrontation comes, defeating one brother may mean Zahara loses the other forever.

Intrigued?! I am! One lucky winner can choose which of the three books they want, and all you have to do to be eligible is leave a comment on this post. If you want, you can answer this question: What is your favorite genre to read?

Join us on SATURDAY, DECEMBER 11, from 9:00am to 3:00pm at the CROWNE PLAZA in Warwick for the 9th Annual Rhode Island Authors Expo!

Book-a-Day #Giveaway Featuring Author D.R. Perry

Leave a comment on today’s post and you’re eligible to win this author’s giveaway. Each day in November that you comment gives you an entry into the Grand Prize drawing at the end of the month! (Print copies for US residents only, please. If you live outside the US and win, you’ll receive a digital copy of the book.)

D.R. Perry is back this year, this time with a series for young adults and the young at heart. Across the span of ten books, this series visits an institution of higher magical learning with a diverse cast of characters.
Nothing’s normal at Providence Paranormal College. When everything supernatural comes into the public consciousness in the mid-90s Great Reveal, the school broadens its admissions criteria from magical folk to anyone with the GPA to succeed.
Lynn Frampton’s the first regular human student admitted at PPC. But a series of life-threatening accidents and incidents begin on campus at the same time. Who’s behind this and can they be stopped? Only if the powers of friendship and love prevail.
Providence Paranormal College is available in both paperback or electronic format as ten individual books or as two omnibus volumes.
D.R. Perry writes fun Young Adult Paranormal, tongue-in-cheek Urban Fantasy, noir Alternate History, and soon, witchy Cozy Mysteries with cute magical critters. She lives in Rhode Island where all her books are set.
She hopes you have as much fun reading her books as she did writing them.
Find all of her books on Amazon and visit her website
Hope to see you on Saturday, December 1 at the Rhode Island Authors Expo!Rhode Island Authors Expo!

Spirits in the Night

My college pal and roommate Judy lives in Vermont. Always has. She and her husband raised their three children in the small, picturesque town of Saint Johnsbury in what is known as the Northeast Kingdom. This town of about 7,600 people symbolizes small-town New England, with a Main Street, a village green, and stately old homes.

A few years ago, the family joined most of the rest of Saint Johnsbury to witness the lighting of the giant evergreen on the village green. Children’s eyes widened at the multi-colored lights covering the tree. Adults smiled with memories of Christmases past, and everyone was in good cheer. But it was cold outside (after all, this is Vermont). Judy’s husband was ready to leave, to walk back to the warm house on the hill. They turned to go, but Judy stopped, turned, and snapped a few more pictures of the tree with her camera. She tucked the camera back inside its case and they hurried home for hot chocolate.

Later, Judy uploaded the photos to her computer and couldn’t believe what she saw. This is one of the photographs. The others look the same. Nothing has been retouched, and there was nothing wrong with the camera. In fact, all the other photos she took that night came out “normal.”

photo by J. Quiet
photo by J. Quiet

No one was smoking nearby, and there was no fog, or steam, or smoke of any kind.

Maybe just a few old friends stopping by to see the tree lighting. What do you think?