Book Review, Inspiration, Reading Challenge, Signal Boost

Book Review: Halloween Romance by Donaya Haymond

Hey all, Sam here.

Have you ever had those times where you miss a certain book you remember loving from many years before and you just want to revisit it? Or you find yourself missing a friend and so you want to do something that reminds you of them and lets you remember the good times?

Well, I was starting to feel quite a bit of that recently…so I looked at my bookshelves and decided that I have a few friends who are published authors (whether small press or self-pubbed) and I should probably get around to talking about my friends and their stuff more. And I have quite a few of their books,……and I’m pretty sure I haven’t talked about a lot of them here on the blog…and I want to support my friends more.

I don’t have a huge following online, but I want to use the following I do have and my voice to promote my friends and speak up about things that are important to me.

Selene believes Ferdinand would abandon her if he knew she was a werewolf, something that isn’t supposed to exist. Ferdinand hides his vampirism from her for the same reasons, and must also hide from a world that thinks he’s evil. He’s just a melancholy English major who had a serious misadventure last summer. She’s just a college student with a bizarre family history. A comedy of secrets and a romance of accepting what makes us different.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars (nostalgia rating is 5 stars)

It’s funny because Goodreads only has me listed as having read this book in 2010 and just now in 2023. But I read this book back when it was on fictionpress back in like 2004, and then it was published by Eternal Press in 2009. Sadly EP closed up shop, and so now you actually can’t get this series anymore. Which is a shame, because I adore the Legends of Laconia USA series.

Originally written when Donaya was like 13, I found them when I was about 16, and there was something so interesting and charming about this romance between a werewolf and a vampire. The characters felt so mature to me then. Now I read this and can look back on my memories fondly, but I can also see points where the characters feel like they could have more depth and more expression

This book is short, only like 130 pages in total, so it is pretty quick and easy to read. I still love Selene and Ferdy (sorry, I can’t call him Andy like Selene does…plus the fandom holds strong. So many of us called him Ferdy back in the day), but I think looking back on these books after having gone to college and having experienced romance in something outside of fiction and having lived a bit more…the whole story feels a bit diminished, a bit less.

I still love these books and this story, and I still enjoy Donaya’s writing (although I’ve also loved seeing her writing grow and develop over the years), but this is very obviously her first book. There’s nothing wrong with that. All of us who are writers have that first book that we look at with fondness, remembering the feelings that went into finishing it and editing and all of that. But I know when I look back on my old writing, I also have this itch to improve on the weak areas….and it makes me wonder if Donaya has ever thought about circling back to this series.

Because, see, this was originally written as a twelve-book series, following four sets of families in Laconia. The first five books were published by Eternal Press, and there were plans to edit and adapt some of the later plot lines to bring them all together and wrap the series with a sixth book. Sadly it never made it to publication.

I think vampires are starting to swing back into focus. I’m seeing more witch and werewolf and vampire books circulating around again…and now might be a great time to bring back Selene and Ferdinand (and all of the later characters who I won’t mention here because that would possibly be spoilery).

There were still plenty of moments when I laughed or cried or gasped in reaction to what was happening on the page. I love when stories can evoke those kinds of responses. There’s something so wonderful about Selene and Ferdinand’s relationship, and maybe medium stakes for the story, so not quite a cozy paranormal, but still mostly nice and cute.

And, like I said, this is a short book. I think it only took me an hour to read…which is way better than those fictionpress days when there was that awful wait in between chapter releases. Wow, those were the days. Some stories would update daily or a few times a week, and we all acted like that wait was agonizingly long. We were so spoiled. I sometimes miss the community there, and the feedback when posting chapters.

I’d love to see what Donaya’s experience over the last decade+ would mean for building upon this story and these characters and this world. It would be awesome to revisit this tale with even more depth and detail and awesome bonuses. ….Maybe I’ll have to send her a message, check in with her, and see if she’s been doing any writing.

It feels weird to talk about and review a book that is difficult to snag a copy of. There might be some thrift store copies out there somewhere, maybe. But since the publisher shut down they are out of print, and honestly I don’t even know if Donaya got the rights back to the books. If she has the rights, maybe she could do a re-release, even if just digitally. Who knows what will happen?

Well, that is all from me for today. Thank you so much for stopping by, and I’ll be back soon with more geeky content.


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