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Smashwords book reviews by Mandy Shemery
- The Ghost Of A Flea
on Nov. 24, 2010
When I saw the first chapter was set in 1975, I thought it was going to be one of those novels that illustrates an important clue that happened in the past and then jump forward to present day for the remainder of the novel. Not so. When I realized the entire novel was going to be set in 1975, I was surprised, but pleasantly so. To have a novel published in 2010, but be entirely set in 1975 is a form of bravery in my opinion. The same bravery that was evident of authors who published novels in the early 20th century, but wrote about the future.
It was refreshing to read a novel without modern day electronic capabilities. To write in such a way, makes me believe the author actually thought about the details of the book: how a character would get out of a certain predicament, how a scene would play out without the use of cell phones, etc. The author was actually able to focus on and perfect the plot of the story rather than take the easy way out. It was wonderful.
The two main characters, Roger and Peggy, were a nice contradiction to each other. Roger was a little wimpy and naive, whereas Peggy was cunning and strong-willed. It took Roger a little longer than I liked to stop being so naive. I was grateful when he finally started acting with some authority and backbone.
There was a part of Peggy that reminded me of myself ... flitting from relationship to relationship until finally meeting that one nice guy that changes the way I see men. Despite Peggy's independence, there was an underlying vulnerability to her that I recognized and understood. I did wonder about her honesty for most of the book and was hoping that she wouldn't betray Roger in the end.
Overall, this novel was rather enjoyable. It was a classically written mystery without the overshadowing of modern conveniences. It kept you turning the page wanting to know more. It is definitely one that I will remember and enjoy reading again.
- Lovers and Beloveds: An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom Book One
on Dec. 16, 2010
This book surprised me. I didn't expect to be drawn into an erotic fantastical story like this one, but I was. When it ended, I wanted to know more ... What happened during Temmin's two years and two days as a Supplicant? What was the result of Teacher finally knowing that 'it was time?' What happened to Mattie and the guy that helped her when she twisted her ankle? There's so many questions that I have that I want to read the second book in the series (hint hint MeiLin!!!). =)
Reading Lovers and Beloveds brought to mind all of the mythology stories I've read over the years. This story has the same type of vibe to it. There were gods the mortals worshipped, presented gifts and sacrifices to and the gods sometimes possessed the bodies of mortals.
There were definitely some erotic situations in this story. If you like that sort of thing, which I do on occasion, then this book is for you ... Just make sure you have your sweetie around for when you're finished reading for the night! =)
- The Watcher
on Jan. 12, 2011
This is the second ebook I've read written by John Brinling and, I must say, I am not disappointed.
This is a murder-mystery/whodunit/paranormal experiences all wrapped up in one. Once I began this book, I was quickly intrigued and did not want to stop.
I will say that the reader pretty much knew who was committing the murders early on into the story, but that did not take away from the story! All it did, for me, was to make one wonder how everything was going to work out so the evil person/people would be found out. Would good triumph over evil? Would Janet have a happy ending? These questions and more kept me aptly reading until the end.
If you enjoy a murder mystery with a slightly different twist to it, then trust me when I say that you will enjoy reading The Watcher.
- The Digital Sea
on April 11, 2011
The cover has a simplistic design. It's not really eye-catching or contemplative. The title, though, automatically makes you think of electronic technology and the vastness of it.
When you first begin to read the book, each chapter takes the time to introduce you to each of the main characters that you need to know about. Eventually, you start to see them intermingle until, by the end, they are full immersed in each other's stories and everything ends up making sense. The action in this story was supported by the futuristic technological advancement of our society. It was easy to believe that, one day, our country (no matter where you are) would be like those depicted in the book.
The ending didn't answer all of the questions I had so I'm expecting a sequel to pop up sometime soon to continue this engaging story.
Zel Aurora - A woman willing to do anything to find and give her daughter peace.
Sasha - Zel's companion throughout much of the book, until he meets an untimely demise.
Jartelle - A man who travels all over the world and is not who he appears to be.
From the beginning to the end, The Digital Sea dragged you into its depths and drowned you with a futuristic reality that threatened to overload your senses. With its action-packed storyline, it will keep the reader turning page after page until the end. I would recommend this story to anyone who appreciates future-based story lines mixed with surrealism.
- My Superhero Sister
on May 22, 2011
I hate to say it, but I'm not a big fan of the cover. I understand it ... I'm just not a fan. It reminds me of the old comic books with how the two girls are drawn.
The story definitely has action and suspense while still dealing with the normal teenage feelings of inadequacy, jealousy over an older sibling and low self-esteem.
It definitely kept my interest. However, I must say the ending lacked a little oomph for me. I understand why the author went in the direction she did, but I did not find it as exciting action-wise as the pages before it.
Ellen - Holly's older sister and superheroine, Suprema - Ellen has taken after her father's side of the family and has become a superhero. She's smart, attractive, fun and people are drawn to her ... which can be a source of contention where Holly is concerned.
Holly - Ellen's younger sister and normal human - Holly has her father's physique, but her mother's human nature. Holly is jealous of Ellen and how perfect she is. Only when Holly is thrown into an unexpected situation does she somewhat understand how Ellen's life must be.
Tad - New kid in town - He has just arrived in Century City and is Holly's crush. Even though Tad is in Ellen's grade, Holly tries her best to get Tad to notice her and like her. He's the All-American good looking hunk that all the girls go ga-ga over.
There were a couple writing errors and some questions left unanswered (for me), but overall I was drawn into this book and enjoyed it. I would recommend this more to the teen crowd rather than the adults.
- The Bad, The Good and Two Fly Fishing Women, and a Life-Changing Day on a River
on June 03, 2011
I like the photograph, but from the story you get the sense that Amanda is at least a teenager ... not an adult woman like what is depicted on the cover.
One grandmother, terminally ill with cancer, decides to go fly-fishing one last time before she meets her end. One school girl, sensing something's wrong, leaves school early one day to go home and search for her grandmother. Along the way, she encounters a man who helps her see another side of people and life while another man is intent on hurting her.
In the midst of this is Shana ... Amanda's ever-present companion and protector. Will they find Amanda's grandmother? If so, what exactly will they find when they reach her?
Despite its short length, the book exemplifies a few familiar addages: Things are not always as they appear, never judge a book by its cover and do not pre-judge a person until you've walked a mile in their shoes.
- Two-Fisted Tweets
on June 04, 2011
I enjoy the comic book look of the cover.
Is there really a plot? Of course, you could say there are 30 plots ... each one the length of a tweet (Twitter update ... for those not familiar with Twitter-speak). They're really there to spark your imagination. You can come up with your own back story and future ending for each of these tweets.
A unique 'book' that can ignite a reader's imagination, if they are so inclined to use it. Some were humorous and some .... not so much.
- The Second Fly Caster: Fatherhood, Recovery and an Unforgettable Tournament
on July 04, 2011
The man fly-casting on the cover could be either a depiction of a grown-up Erik or the depiction of Erik's father during Erik's younger years.
This is a short story layered in meaning. We begin thinking we know everything there is to know, but then we learn of Erik's father's past and his reason for fly-casting. This helps us to get a better understanding of the family dynamics between Erik and his parents.
Then, after Erik grows up, goes off to war and returns again, the art of fly-casting becomes Erik's respite from the demons he brought back with him from the war. As he's mastering this art, the realizations of his father's past come upon Erik bringing with it understanding, forgiveness and peace.
Erik's Father - A veteran who uses alcohol to cope. He can become mean while under an alcoholic rage (don't most people). When he finds fly-casting, though, he uses that as his therapy to deal with his PTSD and becomes great at it.
Erik - Idolizes his father and his fly-casting abilities.
This was a short story that has a big impact.
- Darwin's Children
on July 13, 2011
The girl on the cover has a sexy fierceness about her. When I first received the book for review and saw the cover, I wasn't sure why she had the yellow and red colors around her. I thought maybe it was her aura. After reading, though, I now know that it is a depiction of Jaycie at the highest point of her powers ... go get 'em girl! =)
Unusual, different, relatable, humorous, intriguing, empathetic ... all of these adjectives describe the story and the emotions the story can draw from you while reading.
I enjoyed this book. It was fast-paced and kept you interested. Once I started, I didn't really want to put it down. The characters are wonderfully human, but still has that super-power thing going on.
Jaycie - I would venture to say this girl is spoiled, but she doesn't act that way. She's down-to-earth and is willing to help people (even without her super-powers). She has tough decisions to make and handles them rather well for a teenager.
Mason - Jaycie's father - A single father working as a doctor to take care of his daughter. He is reasonable and loves spoiling his daughter. He still excepts Jaycie to abide by the rules and will discipline her when needed. Basically, this is a well-balanced man ... someone all women dream about, I'm sure! =)
Allison - Jaycie's trainer - This woman kicks Jaycie's butt during their workouts. She pushes Jaycie's beyond her comfort zone, but not to the point that Jaycie'll get hurt. Allison is Jaycie's mother-figure and they treat each other as such. There is a definite bond between Allison and Jaycie that will be difficult, nay impossible, to break.
Matt - A regular human boy who is attracted to Jaycie and vice versa. He's a sweet southern gentleman, but don't let that fool ya ... when this boy has had enough, by George, he'll let you know! He seems to get mad pretty easily sometimes, but he's still a wonderful well-rounded character.
John - Jaycie's godfather - What I wouldn't give for a godfather like John. He's patient, humorous, giving and loves to give Jaycie pretty much anything she wants ... whether it be information or gifts.
Simply put ... I loved this book. I'm eager to see what's going to happen with the characters in the next book. I would recommend this to all YA book lovers out there ... even the adults who are young at heart. =)
- Dirty Little Angels
on July 26, 2011
The cover photo is pretty self-explanatory ... especially when looked at after reading the book's summary. I'm glad the photo was kept in black and white instead of color. It has a more neglected feel to it.
The story is told from Hailey's point of view. Right away we are introduced to her family:
Cyrus, Hailey's older brother who hangs out with the wrong people and will eventually get into trouble because of it;
Jules, Hailey and Cyrus' father, who lost his job and is now struggling to provide for his family ... although he doesn't seem to be trying too hard to find actual work; and ...
Lena, Hailey and Cyrus' mother, who is so lost in her own grief she barely realizes what is going on around her.
Realistically written, this story felt ... gritty. You follow a girl's life as she struggles to find love, acceptance and her place in this world. Unfortunately, she begins life at a disadvantage by being from the "wrong side of the tracks." I believe this pre-disposed Hailey to enter into various life situations she wouldn't have encountered otherwise.
This can be classified as an emotionally disturbing 'coming-of-age' tale, which feels all too familiar. We've all known or seen a person in these circumstances. If you haven't, well, maybe you should. It would help you get a more realistic perspective on a life different from your own.
- Weaver Of Darkness
on July 29, 2011
Definitely disturbing, but I like it. The spruceness of the title's lettering with the little flourishes set atop the slight creepiness of the cover art presents a nice contrast.
For me, the book started off reminding me of a cross between I Know What You Did Last Summer, Chucky and Scream. It did get better as I kept reading.
Minus the prologue, this book starts off common enough: boyfriend and girlfriend walking home from school with friends talking about what they're going to do that night. Then the freakiness hits the proverbial fan ...
Without giving away spoilers, I will say this novel contains twins who represent good and evil, a loyal servant/protector to the good twin, ghosts, shapeshifters, witches, demons, gods, delusions, love, human sacrifice ... this novel has it all.
Melissa - An only child stuck in a home with parents who are too busy for her.
Jerry - Melissa's boyfriend and son of the town's sheriff. He does everything he can to protect her.
Hunter - He has vowed to protect Melissa at all costs no matter the circumstance. He's wise, mysterious, strong, loyal and faithful.
Mark - New kid in school who befriends Melissa and seems to take a personal interest in her. Will he come between Melissa and Jerry?
This novel has a lot of familiar aspects (especially to an avid reader), but they're written in a style that is different and engaging. I would recommend this to any fantasy and mystery lovers.
- The Dream
on Oct. 11, 2011
The cover's okay. It doesn't relate to the story in any way, though.
Girl has a bad dream where terrible things are happening to her ... and then she wakes up. Are her waking hours any better than her dream?
Poorly written, redundant and boring. The only good thing I could find was that it was an extremely quick read.
- Delilah Dusticle
on June 19, 2013
Delilah reminds me of Rosie from the futuristic cartoon, The Jetsons. She can go up walls and eradicate dust from every person, crevice, it doesn't matter what or where it is. There's a catch to Delilah's skills, though ... they only seem to work when she's happy and content.
Unrequited love can be very hurtful and that's how Delilah becomes extremely sad and depressed. Once her heart is broken, Delilah starts trailing dust everywhere. Dust even puffs out of her mouth when she speaks, which I find slightly disgusting and it made me want to clean just reading about it. For a little girl reading this story, though, it's very emotional and has a magical feel to it.
Eventually, Delilah becomes best friends with the last person she ever expected. As their friendship grows, Delilah becomes happy again and is able to eradicate dust once more. This first book in the series does end happily for Delilah and I was glad to see it.
This would make the perfect book for little girls, probably around 7 or 8 years old. To be a short story, it has a lot happening. Don't mistake what I write, though ... even though there's a lot happening the story does not feel rushed or lacking in any way. It really is the perfect little story to read to your daughter, niece, granddaughter, etc.
*An ecopy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
- Dark Lullaby
on Oct. 07, 2013
I'm actually on the fence about this story; I don't hate it, but I don't love it either. It was a little strange for me. I'm getting ahead of myself ...
Gabriel and his ex-girlfriend, Liz, are at a tavern having a philosophical discussion over some drinks. Kamilah "overhears" them and inserts herself into the conversation. Well, right away, Liz begins to get jealous and treats the woman coldly. Gabriel, man that he is, falls into lust at first sight. It also helps that Kamilah is mostly on Gabriel's side conversation-wise, which is just a boost to his ego. One thing leads to another with the end result being Gabriel and Kamilah having sex. One-night stands are so commonplace nowadays that this isn't even shocking. After their little soiree in the bedroom, Gabriel and Kamilah begin spending the majority of their time together over the next few days. This does not help Liz's jealousy ... even though her and Gabe are now just friends. Eventually, Kamilah invites Gabriel to travel to Turkey with her and spend a week there before he goes off to Brussels to be with his twin sister, Elena, who is about to give birth.
During their stay in Turkey, Gabriel finally begins to notice that Kamilah is acting strangely. He hears stories of otherworldly creatures that are known to exist there, but disregards them with his scientific mind. Unfortunately, it turns out that Kamilah is one of these fabled creatures and he is unknowingly (literally) dying to strengthen her powers. In the process, he puts his twin sister's child in danger as well.
The book is a quick read and I was able to go through it in a day. The story itself was a little creepy, and I liked that, there just seemed to be something "off" about it that I can't quite figure out. I never really got lost in the story and that did disappoint me. Like I said, though, I'm on the fence with this one. If you want something new to read and you've got a few hours to kill, why not check this one out and see if you agree with me.
*A Smashwords coupon code was provided by the author for the purposes of this tour, hosted by Pump Up Your Book, and in exchange for an honest review.