Tag Archives: reviews

This is a really good week :-)

AztecLady wrote a lovely review of CASTLE OF THE WOLF on Karen Scott’s blog. Here’s an exerpt:

I like the novelty of setting the story in Germany, since most romance novels set in this period seem to unfold in Britain, and I definitely like the fact that both protagonists are rather older than the norm for Regencies. By far, though, the part I liked best was the supernatural/mystical side of the story, which is interesting in itself, since it is more tangential than intrinsic to the development of the main story line.

She also posted her review on several message boards, where people then had lovely discussions about the novel. (At this point you may imagine me once again jumping and dancing around the room.)

Then, this morning my author copies for BEWITCHED arrived. It’s always such a thrill to finally hold the finished book in your hands. And to feast your eyes on a whole box full of your books!!! (I was so happy to see the package, I nearly hugged the postman. Now the poor guy is probably convinced I’m completely crazy. Ah well … the sacrifices we make for our art! *g*)

And THEN a few hours later I found the latest issue of the German romance magazine LoveLetter in my mailbox. Wheeee!!!! Tina Dick, who reviewed BEWITCHED, did not drop dead while reading the novel, but instead enjoyed it a great deal. “Hinreißend ist der Historical durchweg, egal ob lustig oder düster.” Yay!

And another review

Today Harriet Klausner’s review of BEWITCHED went up on the Barnes & Noble website. She gives the novel five stars and concludes:

The story line is lighthearted yet allows the audience to believe in a paranormal early nineteenth century London in which at least in the Schwab universe, magic works though not always for the good. Fans will be BEWITCHED by this enchanting charmer.

First Review Is In!

And it’s a good one! 🙂 I have to admit, this time around I’m really, really afraid of the reviews because I had only such a short time for revisions (and I would’ve wished to have more!). So imagine my delight when I’ve just found out that I’ve got a 4-star review from RT! Whee! Here are the important bits:

Enchantment and romance abound in Schwab’s captivating tale of a spell gone wrong, a love potion gone right, deceit, revenge, black magic and redemption. Her romance captures the aura of the Regency and the essence of a paranormal, which should make it a surefire hit with fans.

Littlebird Blue on THE LILY BRAND

When I sent out ARCs for CASTLE, I also sent one to the Green Man Review and Camille Alexa picked it up. She didn’t like the book. She read it twice, just to be sure, but she still didn’t like it and she was very sorry about this, which becomes quite obvious when you read her review: even though it’s a bad review, she still had a lot of nice things to say about the novel. (It becomes even more obvious when you read the blog post she wrote after said review went online. She’s a real sweetheart!)

Anyways, I offered to send Camille THE LILY BRAND in the hope she would like this one better than CASTLE. And apparently she did! *biiig smile* She blogged about it today and had again lots of nice things to say about my writing style:

Sandra is an excellent writer. I love her sense of detail, her unusual settings, especially her use of dark, broody landscapes with their hint of fey and madness.

Now isn’t that nice? She goes on to say that TLB “as a small but enthusiastic fan base.” Cool. I didn’t really know that. I mean, I knew that there are people who’ve enjoyed TLB — and some of them quite a lot! –, but I didn’t think of it in terms of a fan base. (But hey, I’m the girl who constantly worries her manuscripts might kill her poor editor!)

Okay, so Camille goes on to say: “[TLB]’s exciting in the ways of the best grand adventures: unapologetic.” Hehe. (Have I already mentioned that some of my friends were quite shocked when they read TLB?)


More reviews: Deb from CA Reviews gave CASTLE an 8 and wrote:

This is a lovely spin on the classic “Beauty and the Beast” kind of tale. Lovers of myths and fairy tales will find many references here that add an extra dimension to the story. To say that Fenris is a tortured hero is understating things considerably. He has a decent reason, unlike many other heroes of this type. And Celia is a great character. She is innocent in many ways, but she is also intelligent and strong-willed. When life offers her a chance and a challenge, she does not back down from it. The story has a wonderfully gothic feel with a touch of the paranormal. I’m hoping to see many more books from this very talented author.


In addition Carrie Lofty, who’s the founder and one of the contributors to Unusual Historicals, blogged about CASTLE a few days ago: she didn’t like it 100%, but overall, she seems to have enjoyed it as she ends her review with: “. . . Schwab does a marvelous job of setting the Black Forest scene. Loved it. We get quirks, holidays, and a peek at a culture generally ignored by romance writers.”

Now I just need to find out how to stop speaking Chinese in class.

Smart Bitches Review, or Wheeee!!!

While I was away, I got a lovely, lovely review from the Smart Bitches, which included several mentions of the word brilliant (as in “[Cissy]’s freaking brilliant” or “Schwab’s use of multiple legends and fairy tales to parallel the protagonists’ story is particularly brilliant . . .”). To say I’m thrilled would be an understatement. 🙂

Schwab’s storytelling also has tight turns that drop the reader like a rollercoaster from merry heights of whimsical happiness for Cissy into plunges of holy shit terror and uncertain fear – which make it bloody hard to put the damn book down. The mix of nefarious characters, mystery, intrigue, and deep, churning sexual attraction don’t help either when you might be trying to get something else done.

You can read the whole review here.


Castle of the Wolf got reviewed in the Chicago Tribune!!!!!!!!! (Please imagine me hopping up and down and from side to side and generally about and around with joy.) And they liked it. Isn’t that fantastiggerish? Here’s the thingie:

Celia Fussell thought she was doomed to life as a poor spinster, when she unexpectedly inherited a castle in Germany — with one condition: She must marry the son of the former owner within four months. When she arrives, she discovers a few other things her lawyer failed to mention. Not only is her new home a gloomy, rumored-to-be-cursed ruin, but the son of the former owner doesn’t seem to want to turn the castle over to her.

In “Castle of the Wolf,” Sandra Schwab’s nuanced characters, detailed setting and writing seasoned with a soupcon of tart wit blend together to create a magical, fairy-tale, Regency historical romance.

Website Update

I’ve just updated my website: among the new goodies is the first part of the Wolfenbach Library in the Members Section, that is, explanations of some of the intertextual references in CASTLE OF THE WOLF. In order to get access to the Members Pages, you need to subscribe to my newsletter (see brandnew icon at the top of the sidebar!).

Other exciting new things on the website include: more Secrets of Wolfenbach (e.g. about the very special cards Cissy receives from Mrs. Chisholm, complete with pictures of the little Queen’s two faces) and more reviews with an extra section of blogger reviews. So far, I’ve been extremely lucky with reviews: most people enjoyed CASTLE OF THE WOLF and have written lovely things about my novel (in one case, even a reviewer who didn’t like CASTLE wrote lovely things about it!). Among the reviews I’ve recently discovered is this from The Romance Studio:

“Castle of The Wolf was an enjoyable read from beginning to end. The setting being in Germany made for a nice, refreshing change from the typical English surroundings. Ms. Schwab does a wonderful job with descriptive details throughout the whole story. Celia comes across as a very strongwilled woman who gets very creative in her attempts to bring brightness into her husband’s dark world. Fenris is a dynamic character and the touch of paranormal surrounding him makes him even more intriguing. Celia will not back down from her husband’s dark side and both help the other put the past behind each other. This story is a treat and highly recommended to those wanting an entertaining, captivating read.”

Luuuuuvely, isn’t it? *beaming smile*

Anyways, I hope you’ll enjoy all the new things on my website!

Hmmm …

I’ve just found a 1/2 star review of Castle. Yes. Half a star. Not even one star. Half.

Soo, what is the normal procedure in such a situation? Should I e-mail her and thank her for reading and reviewing the book? Even though she certainly didn’t say such nice things as Camille, who didn’t like the book either, but still had some — many, actually –nice things to say about it, and who loves my podcast. 🙂


(Of course, if I wrote the half-star reviewer an e-mail it would be terribly tempting to include some snarky comment like “I’m really glad your head didn’t explode while reading my book.” Which of course would not do and would fall into the category of bad author-behaviour. And before I’d knew it, my name would be all over the internet. — Hmmm. Sometimes, bad author-behaviour sounds like awfully good promo … *ggg*)

New Podcast Episode!!!!!

I’ve finally managed to put together a new episode of Sandy’s Podchatter, and to make up for lost time, I’m reading Chapter 9 and 10 of “Betrayal” (it’s like “Buy 1 Get 1 Free!” *g*), in which we meet Miss Simmerly again (whose musicale was so rudely interrupted when Ash dashed away) and the hero is presented with a new mystery, while another mystery is solved for us readers.

I hope you’re going to enjoy the episode!


In addition, some more reviews went online this week: at Dear Author and at Rosario’s Reading Journal. At both blogs, CASTLE OF THE WOLF got a B. Yay! They wrote such lovely things as:

The characterizations are deft. . . . There is a certain fairy tale quality to the story, even above and beyond the obvious theme of beauty and the beast. Perhaps it is the setting, deep in the black forest. Perhaps it is the hint of otherworldly elements embedded in the castle walls. Perhaps it is just the story itself of a poor and plain young woman taming the angry beast of a hurt young man.

on Dear Author and,

I had a lovely time reading COTW, and not just because of the yummy setting. Cissy is great. She’s such a sensible, determined woman, ready to go after what (and who) she wants.


As it should be in a good gothic, the setting is almost another character in the story. Schwab really makes the Black Forest come alive with her vivid, colourful descriptions, and I loved that it isn’t a gratuitous “exotic” setting, but really plays a role in the story. And the atmosphere! That was excellently done.

Added to this wonderful atmosphere is a very intriguing touch of the paranormal.

on Rosario’s Reading Journal. Is it any wonder then, that I walked around this week feeling totally giddy with joy? In addition, I found the May issue of the LoveLetter in my mailbox yesterday. And there’s my ad, the lovely interview, and the even lovlier review:

Von Beginn an sehr präsent ist . . . eine ansteckende Heiterkeit, die einen ausgleichenden Gegenpol zur Verschlossenheit des gequälten Helden bildet. Entstanden ist ein wonniger und zugleich ergreifender Historical mit märchenhaften Anklängen in einem zauberhaften Ambiente.

Seufz. Ist das schööön!

Now isn’t this fitting?

The first review of CASTLE OF THE WOLF that goes online is a negative one. *headdesk*

Ah well, this morning I’ve got a sneak preview at yet another review — and she really DID like it. So this has probably something to do with the cosmic balance of things. Or something. Who knows? *shrug*